The Crofter’s champion
HISTORY, they say, has a habit of repeating itself, which is why I took more than a passing interest in what our new Highland MSP Donald Cameron had to say about crofting and crofting law in The Oban Times a few weeks ago.
If there is anyone living in the Highlands and Islands who has the background to offer an opinion on crofting in the Scottish Parliament since MSP John Farquhar Munro (1934-2014) passed away, Mr Cameron from Lochaber, must rate high in the list.
Not only is he a lawyer who has been involved in rural issues for many years, he is also the great grandson of Donald Walter Cameron of Lochiel (1876-1951) MP for Inverness-shire, a native Gaelic speaker and an active member of The Napier Commission whose deliberations led to the first Crofter’s Act of 1886.
Donald Cameron MP, travelled the length and breadth of the Highlands and Islands gathering evidence from cotters, crofters, factors, landowners, ministers and priests about rents, living conditions, leases, fairness and security of tenure. Land-leaguers who wanted the right to buy their land, thought the Act didn’t go far enough.
That may have been so, nonetheless, the meticulous evidence collected by Lochiel and his fellow commissioners brought the plight of the crofters to a wider audience and provided a solid foundation on which future legislation has been based.
Many of MP Donald Cameron’s estate and personal papers can be accessed at the Lochaber Archive Centre, in the West Highland College, Fort William.