A bet­ter deal?

Ru­ral Scot­land has suf­fered years of ne­glect at the hands of the main­stream po­lit­i­cal par­ties

Scottish Field - - COMMENT - WORDS ALAN COCHRANE IL­LUS­TRA­TION STEPHEN DAY

Now that we have a new par­lia­ment, can we nec­es­sar­ily as­sume that it will have a new out­look, a new set of pri­or­i­ties? Sad to say that’s far from a ‘given’; the record of suc­ces­sive Scot­tish Par­lia­ments since the first in 1999 has been a pretty de­press­ing one in that the ob­ses­sion of each of them, no mat­ter which party (or par­ties), has been with the Cen­tral Belt.

That’s not all that sur­pris­ing since that’s where the bulk of the peo­ple – also known as vot­ers – live. But in my re­cent trav­els around the coun­try, there is no doubt that the feel­ing of alien­ation amongst coun­try folk to­wards Holy­rood and all its works is grow­ing rather than de­creas­ing, in spite of the re­as­sur­ing but phoney words from the var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

When the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment first got go­ing there was wide­spread feel­ing amongst many, es­pe­cially those on the Right, that this new body had noth­ing to do with them and that, there­fore, they needn’t bother vot­ing in its elec­tions. That this was a wholly my­opic, not to say plain daft, view has been proved with each sub­se­quent elec­tion, and mea­sure af­ter mea­sure that af­fected ev­ery­one be­came the law of the land.

I had ab­so­lutely not a shred of sym­pa­thy for those who moaned about what had passed onto the statute book, but who’d never both­ered to vote in the four elec­tions since 1999. That said, in my opin­ion there is very lit­tle doubt that ru­ral Scot­land has had a pretty poor deal from what

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