Four years ago we decided it would be interesting to try
and find out who the 100 most powerful people in rural Scotland are. It proved to be a can of worms – there was little agreement about what ‘power’ means, and besides which, how on earth do you compare, say, a conservationist tagging birds on a Hebridean island with a textile or agricultural magnate employing thousands of people? Gradually, though, we began to establish some sort of consensus, even though the process was patently unscientific and employed a fair degree of subjectivity. For instance, there were some people who gained entry simply because they were mentioned time and again. Others were included on the say-so of a single trusted source who knew an area of Scottish life inside out. Nevertheless, the end result was a feature of which we were very proud. Judging from the postbag we subsequently received, not to mention the huge fillip in sales, it appears you agreed that this was an exercise worth undertaking.
Since then several of those titans of rural Scotland who were included have died, others have changed jobs or seen their fortunes decline, while some issues which were more prominent in 2013 – land reform would be an obvious example – have receded in importance.
Indeed, individual and collective circumstances have changed so much that we feel it would be worth updating our Rural Power 100, and have started working on doing so. We are far from perfect however and are bound to miss some people who should be included, so we’re asking for your help – if you know anyone you think deserves inclusion, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org explaining who, what, why and where. Together we can make this list even more comprehensive than last time.
‘ How do you compare a conservationist tagging birds with a textile magnate employing thousands of rural people?’
Richard Bath, Editor