Following the revelations yesterday that the Crofting Commission has been deleting its online history and thus, in effect, using historical revisionism to paint a different picture of ‘The Common Clearances‘ a call has been made, once more, by the Scottish Crofting Federation for an independent investigation into their actings.
The Scottish Crofting Federation has released the following statement:-
The Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF) has reiterated its call on Scottish Ministers to intervene in the crofting common grazings debacle and to instigate an external examination of the Crofting Commission, following revelations of a cover-up.
“’The Crofting Commission are lying to us’ would perhaps be too strong an accusation” the chair of the SCF, Fiona Mandeville, said, “but it is clear that they are spinning distortions. Saying one thing and then trying to hide the evidence that they have indeed said something else in the past is duplicitous to say the least.
“This has gone far enough” Ms Mandeville continued. “It seems we can no longer hope that the Commission will come clean and will behave honourably. We have encouraged the Commission all along to allay the fears of crofters and to try to rebuild confidence. With the recent public statements they at last appeared to be moving around to the right direction, but with this ‘cover-up’ exposed they have now drastically reduced confidence further. We reiterate our petition that the Scottish Ministers intervene and ensure that an impartial examination of the Commission’s recent conduct is carried out by a competent external body.
Ms Mandeville concluded, “This is extremely disappointing. It seems that the only way to deal with this is through an external audit of the Commission’s behaviour over the common grazings. And we do mean a full audit.”
The reference to the full audit is, of course, a reference to the Crofting Commission’s insistence that Upper Coll Common Grazings Committee should produce full audited accounts where this was clearly unreasonable and unnecessary for a Grazings Committee to be expected to do and contrary to what the Crofting Commission had previously stated was expected of Grazings Committees. We will return to that point in greater detail on this blog in future posts as it is worthy of detailed examination to demonstrate clearly how unreasonable the Crofting Commission were being.
However, as the Scottish Crofting Federation say, it would certainly be appropriate for a public body such as the Crofting Commission to have a full audit carried out on it in these circumstances. Given the continuing and mounting evidence surrounding potential abuse of power within the Crofting Commission, the Scottish Government should, indeed, instigate such an audit as a matter of priority and without further delay.