Constable Propaganda

Constable Propaganda or Crofting Commission Propaganda (Upper Coll Common Grazings)

The real “dictatorial regime” was clear for all to see despite or perhaps because of their propaganda

Colin Souter’s persistent insistence that he can continue to act as ‘committee’ to the Upper Coll Grazings is perplexing indeed in the face of clear opposition to his involvement from the majority of shareholders.

Following the meeting of shareholders called by Mr Souter in Upper Coll last night he issued a press release (he is the only ‘clerk’ in the country known to advise the press of shareholders business in this way). This press release is very much in the tone of propaganda issued on behalf of the Crofting Commission who remain silent on the issue and appear to allow Mr Souter to speak for them.

The Crofting Commission have been under fire for many months now over an alleged abuse of power in removing three grazings committees from office in circumstances thought my most onlookers to be completely unjustified and unreasonable.

I would offer my comments on this latest ‘propaganda’ by quoting sections of it (in italics) with my analysis following each section:-

A third official meeting of shareholders was chaired at Upper Coll last night by the Grazings Constable, Mr Colin Souter.

It is very debatable whether a meeting of shareholders convened by a reputedly illegal grazings constable can ever be an official one. On the illegality of his appointment see:-

Crofting Commission’s appointment of Grazings Constable is illegal

Grazings Constables Risk the Clink

Crofting Commission knew they were acting illegally in appointing Grazings Constables

Grazings Constables were added to the Sump by the Crofting Commission

During his opening remarks, Mr Souter was interrupted by the former Committee chairman, apparently wishing to raise a point of order. Mr Souter responded that he would take the point at the conclusion of his statement to the meeting.

If a point of order was raised at the outset of the meeting should it not have been taken immediately? Mr Souter clearly does not want to let shareholders have their say and is suppressing their right to be heard at a shareholders meeting. That is not the role of a ‘clerk’ even if legally appointed.

In response to that delay, a number of former Committee members and their supporters, many of whom have no shares in the grazings, got up and left the room, in what was declared by those shareholders remaining, to be an obvious pre-planned move. The meeting continued with the remaining shareholders present and worked constructively through a busy agenda.

Mr Souter omits how many left the meeting and how many remained. I understand that 11 people (shareholders or proxies for shareholders) walked out leaving only 4 shareholders (2 full shareholders and 2 half shareholders remaining).

Shareholders vote with their feet at Upper Coll by leaving the meeting arranged by Colin Souter

Shareholders vote with their feet at Upper Coll by leaving the meeting arranged by Colin Souter

Another 4 people remained whose status were not declared but who were not shareholders. No proxies were presented by them at the beginning of the meeting.

The 11 who left the meeting had the clear support of 26 out of 42 shareholders who had signed a petition that stated:-

“I support the election of a new Grazings Committee to run the affairs of Upper Coll Township. I also request the removal of the illegally imposed Grazings Constable with immediate effect.”

Thus Mr Souter decided to proceed with a meeting in the clear knowledge that a very small number of shareholders (perhaps only 4 out of 42) supported him and the meeting in question.”

The meeting continued with the remaining shareholders present and worked constructively through a busy agenda. Shareholders were provided with additional new information and after discussion and debate, voted on a number of issues, many declaring it was the first such opportunity to vote on shareholder matters in the grazings for a number of years and hoped it was an indication of the way forward.

Why were possibly only the 4 out of 42 shareholders present at the meeting “provided with additional new information”? Surely any additional new information should have been provided to shareholders in advance of the meeting. How can decisions be taken on such matters in the absence of actual consultation thereon?

Mr Souter sent a letter to all shareholders on 12 September. Why was this additional new information not included with that letter? No vote should have been taken on such issues in such circumstances. Although any vote was, in any event, very much a minority one given that the majority had expressed their vote on the entire meeting at the outset.

Mr Souter set out his current activities and explained his goals on a number of current matters, some of which are seen as contentious in some quarters and have been the subject of targeted public criticism by supporters of the former Committee, including the Solicitor, Brian Inkster, who had been engaged by the former Committee to support them in their dispute with the Commission, which eventually led to their subsequent dismissal. Mr Souter has since written to Mr Inkster seeking his co-operation to repay the fee he charged, as it had been approved only by the former Committee and not by the wider body of shareholders, who had never been consulted on the matter.

Mr Souter omits to mention that a seven page letter has been issued by me on this subject to Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Minister responsible for crofting, and copied to him. This highlights the serious errors in Mr Souter’s understanding of the position of legal fees, his meddling in VAT affairs, his role as grazings ‘constable’ and his close and unhealthy association with the Crofting Commission and/or their Convener all as set out in:-

Crofters and Lawyers

Crofting VATgate

Inspector Constable

The Crofting Bat Phone

I have expressed my concerns to Mr Ewing about this illegal ‘constable’ being allowed to wreak havoc by the Crofting Commission. Mr Ewing has already had to rein in Convener Colin Kennedy. Now it is time for him to rein in another Colin.

Mr Souter also detailed his correspondence with other parties and the approach being followed. The meeting voted unanimously to support his current activity and the work on which he is currently engaged to ensure the Grazings are fully legally compliant in all matters. Shareholders expressed their wish that if necessary he continue beyond the current term which expires in November but it was explained that under the Crofting Act, there is no provision to extend the tenure of a Constable, once appointed by the Commission.

Possibly only 4 out of 42 shareholders does not give Mr Souter a mandate for “his current activity and the work on which he is currently engaged” or indicate any desire by the shareholders for him to “continue in ‘office’ beyond his current term”.

One thing that Mr Souter has got right in law (maybe the first thing so far) is that under the Crofters (Scotland)  Act 1993 there is no provision to extend the tenure of a Constable, if legally  appointed by the Commission, once the period of tenure comes to an end.

During the meeting, shareholders voted to approve the revised draft of Grazing Regulations, which has been the subject of a wide consultation process over the last three months, subject to some final amendments offered from the floor.

It is very concerning indeed that Mr Souter may think he can force through revised Grazings Regulations  (which are believed to possibly seek to retrospectively validate actions taken unjustifiably by the Crofting Commission) on the basis of a meeting with only a minority of shareholders who have appeared to support the Crofting Commission throughout. Some of those shareholders are alleged to have been personally in breach of the existing regulations and Mr Souter has done nothing whatsoever to deal with those allegations. Again this demonstrates that he is not acting in any way impartially.

On the question of impartiality it is very revealing to note that Mr Souter arrived at the meeting with Donna Smith of the Crofting Commission. Donna Smith is part of the Senior Management Team at the Crofting Commission and is expected to become acting/interim Chief Executive when Catriona Maclean’s notice period comes to an end.

Colin Souter arrives for the meeting of Shareholders at Upper Coll with Donna Smith of the Crofting Commission

Colin Souter arrives for the meeting of Shareholders at Upper Coll with Donna Smith of the Crofting Commission

Much has been made by Mr Souter of his independence from the Crofting Commission although the real position has been clear for all to see. It is now publicly apparent, if it was not before, that Mr Souter and the Crofting Commission are indeed working hand in hand.

This is disturbing indeed and would explain why Mr Souter has not taken up on behalf of shareholders their legitimate concerns and claims over the handling of the whole sorry affair by the Crofting Commission.

Once more it adds to the evidence of the alleged abuse of power at the heart of the Crofting Commission.

After the marathon 4-hour meeting, Mr Souter said, “it was obviously a disappointment that a number of those present made a decision to leave the meeting before it had properly got underway but  I respect their right to do so. Those remaining were sufficient in number to continue with business and to their credit, actively contributed to a very positive discussion in a number of areas. I was able at this stage, to explain to shareholders precisely what I am doing and why I am doing it and was reassured to receive the unanimous support of the meeting.

In respecting the right of those to leave the meeting Mr Souter should also respect their views and the views of the 26 shareholders who signed a petition against him. In respecting those views then clearly nothing discussed at the meeting last night was carried as a vote of the majority of shareholders originally attending: given that 11 effectively voted for the meeting to end.

Mr Souter advised he was aware of the recent unofficial meeting held by disaffected former committee members, and it’s outcome, but dismissed it stating, “I would be delighted if all shareholders engaged in the current process, constructively. We are continuing to make good progress to resolve a series of issues raised and a new set of Regulations was a key element in moving forward. There are some outside influences at work here and I do not believe they are contributing positively for the future benefit of the grazings.

The meeting Mr Souter refers to was certainly not “unofficial” but necessary under and in terms of the existing Grazings Regulations. Indeed Mr Souter, if he had any legal standing, should have been ensuring that what he refers to as an “unofficial” meeting happened. It is a great credit to the former committee that they knew the Grazings Regulations better than Mr Souter and what needed to be done legally in terms thereof.

The Grazings regulations state that:-

“Not later than one month before the term of office of the Committee ends they shall give notice to the shareholders of a meeting for the appointment of a new Committee. This meeting must take place before the term of office of the existing Committee ends. At least 10 days’ notice of the meeting must be given; this shall be done by advertisement in each of two successive weeks in one or more newspapers circulating in the Committee district, or by notice posted up for two successive weeks in a public place or places approved by the Commission. The new Committee appointed at this meeting shall take up office immediately upon the retiral of the existing Committee. The Clerk of the Committee shall inform the Commission of the names and addresses of the members and Clerk of the new Committee.”

If we assume, as Mr Souter does, that his appointment as Grazings ‘Constable’, was legal then that appointment, in terms of the Order issued by the Crofting Commission, comes to an end on 10 November 2016.

That being the case then the shareholders must give notice of a meeting to elect a new committee not later than 10 October 2016. Being organised and sensible shareholders they have not left it to the last minute but organised it a good month or so ahead (which they are entitled to do under the Grazings Regulations).

They have carried out all the steps they need to in order to legally form a new Committee. That Committee will take up office immediately on 10 November 2016 or earlier if Mr Souter resigns his position as Grazings ‘Constable’. Something that many consider he should do so in light of the petition from the majority of shareholders calling for that.

When asked about a recent petition allegedly signed by a majority of shareholders seeking his dismissal as an ‘illegally appointed Constable”, Mr Souter responded that the Commission had repeatedly endorsed his appointment, as recently as the day before the unofficial election meeting and offered his view that the conduct of former Committee supporters had perhaps more in common with a dictatorial regime.

It is not a question of endorsement by the Commission. It is a question of democracy in action within a common grazings. If there is any “dictatorial regime” involved surely it is the Commission and Mr Souter who fall into that camp. They are dictating what they consider the position to be to a clear majority of shareholders who think otherwise.

He added, “How many people do you know who would be happy being door-stepped and told to sign a petition, whilst their neighbour is standing over them? It strains credibility! I would be happy to see all of those folks at our next shareholder meeting. There are serious issues being addressed and it’s about time some former Committee members accept their continuing agitation is not serving themselves or the grazings well. They have a duty to fellow shareholders to accept their own shortcomings and that they have learned from them and are willing to move on. Continually misrepresenting the position in public is not helpful and does nothing to heal the rift they have opened up here in Upper Coll, between shareholders.

On the contrary it is unfortunately Mr Souter who continually misrepresents the position. E.g.:-

The Wrong Grazings Committee!

Mr Souter also advised that during the meeting he informed shareholders he has requested the Crofting Commission now facilitate a meeting with the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service to discuss some of the findings from his review of the former Committee records and accounts. He declined to comment further on specifics, stating “it will be for other authorities now to determine whether there is a need for further action”. The date for the next shareholder meeting has not been set.

From the outset the Crofting Commission and then Mr Souter hinted at irregularities within the three Committees that were dismissed with no evidence whatsoever to back this up. Mr Souter appears to have been put into Upper Coll by the Crofting Commission to find something, anything, to justify his illegal appointment in the first place.

Nothing he has produced to date has evidenced this. Declining to comment on specifics now questions once more what he and the Commission are actually up to. This is not his role as ‘Clerk’. If any shareholders feel there has been any impropriety that has affected them it is for them, not Mr Souter, to take whatever action they may deem appropriate. Mr Souter is now, as the Commission did so before him, casting aspersions unjustifiably and without any basis on former committee members.

This is quite appalling. If anything shareholders should be reporting Mr Souter to the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service for his potentially illegal and fraudulent activities including in particular the manner in which he has taken control of the shareholders finances.

One can only hope that Fergus Ewing MSP does now step in to resolve this tragic mess.

Brian Inkster

Image Credits:-

Main image: INGSOC 1984 Propaganda Poster (detail)

Other images: An La – 13 September 2016 © BBC Alba

16 thoughts on “Constable Propaganda

  1. Kenny Macdonald

    The constable’s first quest was to uncover something that would justify the dismissal of the Committee.

    Evidence had to come within preceding year.

    None found.

    His next task was to uncover something in the 5 year audit that would justify the Commission’s public claim of financial irregularity; a highly charged media term for embezzlement.

    Nothing found.

    His next task was to search further back for something that could be used to fog all the issues arising out of the obvious multiple failings of an untrustworthy statutory body.

    The idea that this would pass the first hurdle on its way to court is ridiculous. The thought that it gives a trade off position to individuals who have chosen to work outside the protection the law would have otherwise afforded them is a grasping at a straw.

    All who were party to wild allegations and extra judicial practice had better examine the depth of their pockets.

    Reply
    1. Duncan MacLeod

      It is patently obvious to anyone who has been paying attention what has happened. As Kenny MacDonald points out. The initial complaints did not mention most of the issues the Crofting Police Officer is now forensically examining. He is not acting in a way that would be acceptable by ANY grazing committee or clerk in ANY crofting township.

      So what we’ve found out:
      – Colin Souter has access to confidential internal legal advice and internal policy papers available to no grazing clerk and indeed to no-one else outwith the Crofting Commission
      – a very senior employee of the Crofting Commission accompanies Colin Souter and provides support at all his meetings in the Upper Coll township
      – Colin Souter has been investigating supposed previous transgressions by a succession of grazing committees, going back a decade, mostly completely unrelated to the original complaints
      – he plans to involve the procurator fiscal for unexplained reasons
      – he has imposed new grazing regulations with the support of only the very small number of complainers and their cohorts, without support from the vast majority of shareholders

      So what do we conclude? Elementary Dr Watson. This is a police-style investigation. Souter has been given, and has then taken upon himself illegal and increasingly draconian police powers. Without legal authority to do so, the Crofting Commission has installed an Officer of the Unauthorised Crofting Police to investigate anything he feels like investigating in the historic management of successive grazing committees in Upper Coll.

      The Commission initially tried to pretend he was legally appointed and was a Grazings Constable to give some sort of supposed fig leaf of lawfulness to the awfulness. But by their actions they have tacitly admitted he is not a Grazing Constable. And was never intended to be.

      All the evidence shows Colin Souter was appointed as an investigating officer of the Crofting Police Commission to satisfy the complaints of a very small number of grazing shareholders. He appears comfortable he is representing only their interests not those of the majority of shareholders. And the reason? We have no idea. For reasons unexplained it looks like the Commission, through the Crofting Police Officer is determined to provide succour to the complainers. And to wreak revenge on the former grazing committee members in any way possible. Either damage to their reputations. Or financially. Preferably both.

      The Convener, Commissioners, Unauthorised Crofting Police Officer, none of them appear to care anything for the possibly permanent damage, divisions and antagonism they have created within one crofting township. The emotional and mental damage to individual human beings living within that township. The possibly permanent damage, antagonism and loss of trust they have created between the regulator of crofting and crofters. And they care nothing for the probably permanent damage they have done to the good name of crofting.

      Shame on you. Shame on the whole lot of you. We despise what you have done. This is without question the worst Commission for crofting. And the worst, most shocking convener of a public body we have ever seen.

      The Scottish Government and Fergus Ewing’s continuing toothless apathy in the face of this very significant tragedy for crofting is heart-breaking.

      Reply
  2. Lewis Kermack

    “Not later than one month before the term of office of the Committee ends they shall give notice to the shareholders of a meeting for the appointment of a new Committee. This meeting must take place before the term of office of the existing Committee ends. ”

    I can’t see how the meeting last Saturday could have been convened in accordance with the grazing regulations as you suggest it was, when the committee was removed in April (which is not disputed). Therefore the meeting was “unofficial ” and no “committee ” could be elected to which the grazings regulations could give legitimacy.

    As the constable is exercising the functions of a committee, only the constable could validly convene a meeting to elect a committee. If, as you say, his appointment is a nullity (on which I am unpersuaded), then no one can call such a meeting .

    The statement “They have carried out all the steps they need to in order to legally form a new Committee” cannot be correct.

    Reply
    1. Brian Inkster Post author

      Lewis

      The starting point is, of course, that Colin Souter has no authority or role in law as ‘committee’, ‘clerk’ or ‘grazings constable’.

      He has it would appear been appointed by the Crofting Commission as their Chief Inquisitor or perhaps Witchfinder General at Upper Coll. The Commission are paying him (the shareholders certainly won’t be, unless 4 out of 42 are) and his assistant, Donna Smith, to carry out a forensic audit of at least 8 years or more to locate fault that might justify the Crofting Commission’s action in dismissing a committee for not producing 5 years of audited accounts. Colin Souter has failed in that task but like any good Inquisitor remains determined to find a witch or two to burn at the stake regardless.

      You claim that if his appointment is a nullity (which, even if you may not be persuaded, it is) then “no one can call such a meeting”!

      What nonsense.

      The position is, of course, covered by Section 47(1) of the Crofters (Scotland) Act 1993 which reads:-

      “The crofters who share in a common grazing may from time to time, at a public meeting of which public notification has been given, appoint a grazings committee of such number as the meeting shall decide; and a person may be appointed to be a member of a grazings committee notwithstanding that he is not a crofter.”

      The Act does not go into the same detail as the Grazings Regulations do with regard to the mechanism for appointing a committee. The shareholders did not need to follow the letter of the Grazings Regulations in these particular circumstances but they decided to do so.

      As a result the new committee appointed by them on Saturday night are for all intents and purposes the current committee with immediate effect given that Colin Souter’s appointment is a nullity.

      However, they have given him the opportunity to step aside and, of course, return the shareholders papers that he illegally holds and control of their bank account that no one can fathom out how he managed to get his hands on. Rather than doing the right thing he persists with the notion that he can continue with the pretence of being a grazings ‘constable’ with the apparent support of the Crofting Commission and only it seems 4 out of 42 shareholders. All four I am told being the or related to the original complainants that brought the Crofting Commission into the matter in the first place.

      Thus the shareholders have indeed “carried out all the steps they need to in order to legally form a new Committee”. That is much more than Colin Souter has been seen to legally do to date.

      However, with two competing ‘committees’ it is unlikely that anything will be capable of being progressed by the true committee elected on Saturday in a meaningful manner until 10 November 2016 unless Colin Souter reconsiders his untenable position before then.

      Reply
  3. Morag's seanair

    That’s the best two liner I’ve heard in a very long time indeed. In the middle of the day too!
    If you didn’t laugh……..

    Reply
    1. Morag's seanair

      When I replied to Janice’s two liner it only showed two replies but then when I pressed “Send” two more turned up. The internet’s steam driven here!

      BTW, how can LK post an hour later and not acknowledge comedy gold?

      Reply
  4. Roy Pentland

    The current Convenor is paid a salary of £20,000 but by all accounts he’s the richest crofter in the land. So one has to assume money wasn’t the prime motive for acquiring the position of Convenor. So what other reason could there be? Scratches head for a moment.

    Perhaps it was power? The power to wield his mighty hand across all those who defy him, question his motives and punish those who disobey his will.

    Surrounded by lackeys* who will do whatever they are told to do, at whatever the cost, this Convenor is costing the Commission much much more more than any £20,000. Loss of integrity, respect, goodwill, honesty and reputation is priceless. Someone higher up needs to take action soon.

    *The definition of a lackey is a person who does your dirty work, or who does whatever you ask.

    Reply
  5. Lewis Kermack

    Brian

    I don’t believe there was any reference to section 47(1) in your blog. There was a specific reference to the clause of the grazing regulations and you include the statement “It is a great credit to the former committee that they knew the Grazings Regulations better than Mr Souter and what needed to be done legally in terms thereof.”. I take from your response that you would have to agree that what was done was not intra vires in terms of the regulations. Your response that “The shareholders did not need to follow the letter of the Grazings Regulations in these particular circumstances”, unbacked by any authority, is not very persuasive. You have been quick to condemn the Commission for apparently not being perfect in their procedures, so can you be so forgiving of failures by the former committee, or has your analysis got little to do with law?

    For my part, I think that section 47(1) ceases to have any application once a committee has been compelled to make regulations under section 49(1), where the regulations make more detailed provision. Otherwise, wherever shareholders were disgruntled with their committee, on your analysis those shareholders could call their own meeting and elect their own competing committee. The result would be a complete breakdown and anyone interested in the future of crofting would not be recommending it.

    I’m also still bemused at your certainty of Mr Souter’s illegality which seems foolhardy on the part of a lawyer when the question is being considered by one or two courts. It is particularly reckless when people who do not share your training seem to be relying upon it. Will you be there to pick up the pieces in Upper Coll if it turns out that you’re wrong? It will need to be sorted out in the long run but you seem determined to make it worse. Whether or not you consider Mr Souter is in de iure control, he is recognised as being in de facto control.

    Reply
    1. Brian Inkster Post author

      Lewis

      This is not a legal text book it is a blog. It serves to raise issues, pass comments and engender debate. You have entered that debate and as a result a fuller analysis of the law is being explored including now reference by me of section 47(1). I took that as read previously and was originally simply making the point that Colin Souter didn’t have a hang off what he should, if legally appointed, have been doing in terms of the regulations but the shareholders did.

      I have always maintained that his appointment was illegal and as a result some fairly obvious conclusions flow from that without having to necessarily highlight them.

      What I sometimes highlight is the “what if he was actually legal” bits leaving the “he is not legal” bits as taken for granted.

      You believe that my statement that “The shareholders did not need to follow the letter of the Grazings Regulations in these particular circumstances” was “unbacked by any authority”. You clearly, like Colin Souter, choose to not read much of what I write. The authority in question was of course section 47(1).

      You also, once more, completely miss the point. You state that I “have been quick to condemn the Commission for apparently not being perfect in their procedures, so can you be so forgiving of failures by the former committee, or has your analysis got little to do with law?” What I said, and will repeat (a common theme when arguing with you) is that under and in terms of section 47(1), which applies to this situation, the procedures are not set out to the letter as they are in the regulations but the shareholders followed the regulations which is all due credit to them. As a result they stayed well within the law. This is a far cry from the Crofting Commission who have in effect gone on record to say that their own rules can be broken by them (look out for a detailed and revealing post on that one coming up soon).

      I note that for your part, you “think that section 47(1) ceases to have any application once a committee has been compelled to make regulations under section 49(1), where the regulations make more detailed provision”. Nothing in the Act states that.

      You opine “otherwise, wherever shareholders were disgruntled with their committee, on your analysis those shareholders could call their own meeting and elect their own competing committee. The result would be a complete breakdown and anyone interested in the future of crofting would not be recommending it.” No, that is not my analysis at all. Section 47(1) clearly covers the situation where there is no committee at all. At Upper Coll there is no committee because the Crofting Commission failed to appoint a new committee under and in terms of section 47(8). Having failed to do so it is open for the shareholders to start again under section 47(1).

      You have always been “bemused” at my “certainty of Mr Souter’s illegality”. I am equally bemused by your certainty of his legality especially in the face of no reasoned legal argument to support your view. My view is backed up by others including rather ironically the legal advice clearly received by the executive of the Crofting Commission which the Board apparently ignored. Perhaps that was on the basis of contrary advice given by you to the Board? You are perhaps then as, or more, foolhardy than I.

      You claim that “the question is being considered by one or two courts”. My understanding is that the Crofting Commission are currently doing everything in their power to stop it being considered by the courts. No doubt due to concern as to the outcome if it were actually heard in court. They are seeking to have the appeal thrown out on competency and/or jurisdictional grounds. If they win on a technicality (and they may very well do so) no one will ever know what the court thought of Mr Souter’s appointment.

      As a lawyer I am as entitled as you are to take a view on the matter and of course had to do so when representing shareholders in the other two cases of ‘illegal constables’. In both those cases the constables were stood down hopefully as a result of pressures brought to bear on behalf of my clients. I am strongly of the view that the correct and just thing happened in those two cases and should also happen at Upper Coll.

      The “pieces” that need to be picked up in Upper Coll are not ones that might arise if it turns out that I am wrong. Those are the pieces already created by an out of control Crofting Commission and a delusional Grazings ‘Constable’ under their control.

      I am determined to make it better not worse. I believe that the Crofting Commission and their Grazings ‘Constable’ need to remove themselves from Upper Coll without further delay otherwise matters will, as they have been, get much worse before they get better. I would advocate mediation to attempt to heal the wounds and resolve differences. That is a role that the Crofting Commission could have played in this from the outset rather than the adversarial and judgemental one adopted by the Convener from day one (although I appreciate that was apparently down to the seat he was given).

      Mr Souter is not in de iure control and he is certainly not recognised as being in de facto control (other than perhaps it seems by maybe 4 out of 42 shareholders).

      Reply
    2. Iain MacKinnon

      Dear Lewis,

      You insinuate that Brian Inkster’s contributions on Upper Coll ‘has little to do with law’. In the sense that there is a distinction between law and justice, you may be right. Given your legal background, and alleged close connection to the Crofting Commission convenor, it would still be good to learn of your own interests in the Upper Coll issue, and with what intentions you are contributing here.

      Reply
  6. Linda Brackenbury

    Information Roy Pentland is the game, or rather one of them..having acquired by ill means Caolas, on the Island of Coll for vast amounts of money, sold to a holidaymaker!
    then the taking down of the Villagers in Arinagour,
    forcing Martin Smith to sell land for which Kennedy never paid a rent on..
    then the case on the apportionment..
    flooding the land with livestock in order to force SNH & RSPB to pay out vast amounts in subsidies, ridding the island of English incomers (his words not mine),
    holiday houses, vacant farms, vacant crofts, wind turbines, yes the convener must be worth a few bob..he neither needs to work nor want, but he does, for a PUBLIC BODY, ie; the crofting commission where he has access to information relating to all crofters everywhere..
    The crofting commission have done themselves no favours allowing him to carry on regardless.
    The government ie: Fergus Ewing MSP, does himself no favours by failing to intervene if only to protect his own tenants on croft land.

    If you believe the crofters are hard done by just now, you are mistaken..wait until your home is invaded , your possessions are touched, photographed and placed within a file for future use..
    notices to remedy, notices not to..
    the crofters as of yet may not have experienced this..YET.
    You can bet that the convener & his cronies will have a file on every crofter , it is just a matter of time.

    Reply
  7. Lewis Kermack

    Humbug

    [Moderator’s Note: This appears to have been posted by Lewis Kermack as a reply to Brian Inkster’s last comment and not, for the avoidance of any doubt, to Linda Brackenbury’s last comment]

    Reply
  8. Kenny Macdonald

    The Crofting Ommission.
    Check list.

    All the duty of care.
    All support and advice.
    Some of the Crofting law.
    Some of the expensive legal advice.
    Some of formally adopted procedures.
    Some of the executive’s internal direction.
    All the meetings with the Committee or Clerk.
    All preemptive enquiries.
    Etc.

    The Crofting Commission.
    Check list.

    Hold adverserial non agenda meeting.
    Threaten dismissal.
    Force immediate distribution of funds.
    Force 5 year financial scrutiny costing £1250.
    Pretend not to know what audit really means.
    Remove from office unlawfully.
    Fail to have another committee formed.
    Appoint unlawfully a constable.
    Give him an unlawful remit.
    Accuse volunteers of embezzlement.
    Discourage people from taking office.
    Destroy confidence in the Regulator
    Create tension throughout crofting counties.
    Waste innumerable volunteer hours.
    Prepare power grabbing new regulatons.
    Etc.

    Positive outcomes.
    Check list.

    There are none.

    Reply
  9. Linda Brackenbury

    O how I wish I could upload files, letters and photographs…
    great blog as far as I am concerned, regardless of the war of words,

    humbug, THE PERFECT WORD to describe many of the conveners and/or his best buds attitudes towards others, whether that be verbally or in writing,
    Every lawyer sees the same law different, every court sees something else.. the convener lost every case he brought against my husband, mainly I suspect because the courts in question considered the convener to talk humbug 🙂

    And for the avoidance of doubt.. everything I have written is true, I can prove all of it, not that I need to of course, as at least a few on this blog know it already.

    Reply
  10. Janice MacDonald

    What I don’t understand, and it has been perplexing me for some days now, is how Mr. Souter got his legs under the table. Same tables – I have checked. Did you know that Mr. Souter has longer legs than Mr. Kennedy? (these might come in useful in the near future for high tailing it off the island). Also, same lighting – so no improved ambience. Also, same chairs – yet Mr. Souter was able to conduct a productive meeting without slouching or appearing too informal. We have little evidence of this fact, and only a few people stayed to enjoy the show.

    Why does Mr. Souter still feel the need to inflict such pain on the majority of the people in Upper Coll?

    I trust that he is being well paid for all of his digging through files. Pity that he has not asked for some clarification on points before reporting wrong conclusions. Shame on you, Mr. Souter.

    Reply

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