Nominations open for Crofting Commission elections

tand as a Candidate for the Crofting Commission

Fishermen may apply

An election is being held to elect Crofting Commissioners from the six crofting constituencies:

  • Shetland
  • Orkney and Caithness
  • East Highlands (East Sutherland, Easter Ross, East Inverness and Moray)
  • Western Isles
  • West Highlands (West Sutherland, Wester Ross. Skye and Lochalsh)
  • South West Highlands (Lochaber, Argyll and Bute, Arran and Cumbrae, Small Isles)

One Commissioner will be elected from each constituency and will, along with the three Commissioners appointed by the Scottish Government, make up the Board of the Crofting Commission.

Nomination forms and other documents relating to the election can be downloaded from www.cne-siar.gov.uk/electionoffice/croftingelection; obtained on request, by e- mail to elections@cne-siar.gov.uk; or from the Election Offices detailed in the Notice of Election. Completed nomination forms must be submitted by Thursday 26 January 2017.

An election will be held in each contested constituency by postal ballot, with votes having to be returned by 4.00pm on Thursday 16 March 2017.  The count will take place in the Town Hall, Point Street, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis HS1 2XF on Friday 17 March 2017 at 10.00am.

View from the Crofting Law Blog

The election nominations have been called at a time when the current Crofting Commission remains in chaos. The board is divided, the Convener is ostracised but remains in position possibly pending the outcome of a complaint made by him against Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Minister with responsibility for crofting. Vacancies for two appointed Commissioners remain unfilled.

With elections now in sight there is perhaps a glimmer of hope that they will herald in a new batch of commissioners and, as a result a new and improved Crofting Commission. However, the current Convener, Colin Kennedy, has already expressed his intention to stand again for election. He has been accused by many as the root cause of the problems that have plagued the Crofting Commission throughout its first five years of existence. So will it be a change for the better on 17 March 2017 or another 5 years of chaos, trouble and strife? That is now in the hands of the crofters who are the electorate.

The image used to encourage people to stand for election as a crofting commissioner is curiously of a fisherman. I had the following exchange about that on Twitter:-

To stand for election as a crofting commissioner you do not actually have to be a crofter as long as you have been nominated by a crofter entitled to vote at the election. So a pure fisherman, without a croft, could be a crofting commissioner.

My father was a Shetland fisherman and not a crofter. He was not even a fisherman with a croft. However, he would, I am sure, have made a better crofting commissioner than many of the crofters who hold that position today. Perhaps non-crofters being nominated for and being elected as crofting commissioners would avoid the conflicts of interest and power struggles that have plagued the current Crofting Commission over the past five years? Perhaps it would be a good thing for crofting? What do you think?

Brian Inkster

One thought on “Nominations open for Crofting Commission elections

  1. Linda Brackenbury

    God forbid that the present convener should stand again, I would like to believe that the crofters in Argyll, having had the experience of the last five years would not wish to repeat the exercise, I do not deny that the present convener is a crofter in his own right, and that possibly his knowledge of crofting is expanse, however, he is not a lawyer as he professes to be..or rather a layman of legal background.

    He was, as I understand the written word, elected by the crofters of Argyll to the position of Commissioner and it was after he became a commissioner that he was again elected by CC’s Commissioners/ his colleagues to that of being Convener, of course I could be mistaken in my understanding,

    So it is said that Colin Kennedy has said that he will stand again for election, but in what position? Commissioner? representative of crofters in his area? or as Crofting Convener? Or does he intend to just stay put, relying on those voters who got him to where he currently is?

    I am annoyed by the seeming indifference of far too many both in the Commission and in the Government, they seem to think all this mess will just go away and that Colin Kennedy will eventually get the message and step down..
    It simply is not good enough that half a board is with him and the other half isn’t and whilst I do understand that Fergus Ewing MSP has good reason to keep quiet pending the investigation, I cannot fathom why matters have been allowed to get this far..whereby, everyone and everything appears to be at a standstill.

    Simply put, if a person or body of persons are not fit for the job..they should be sacked!
    If a minister or convener is unfit for purpose, sack him no ifs or buts.
    In any other job a person creating such havoc within his / her work place would have his / her P45 by the days end, why not the Commission or for that matter the Government itself!

    Also,
    If as I understand crofting/ crofter’s ..that the crofter is fully expected to have an outside income .
    If a crofter has a boat/is a fisherman too that, that is his outside income and it wasn’t that long ago a crofter could apply to the government for a loan in order that he may purchase a boat,
    its not a question of a fisherman crofter turning his back on his croft but is a means of making his croft viable,
    diversification is a wonderful thing (Colin Kennedy does not believe this UNLESS, it is him doing the diversifying ) it allows a crofter to bring to his croft a means of making it work, regardless of which way it is done..it keeps people on the land..it gives families a future,
    I think it is a good idea..think on the resources and the experience any Commissioner could draw upon..and therefore, impart the advice sought by others, it could just be the saving a rather downtrodden Crofting commission..

    Reply

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