It is exactly one week since the Convener of the Crofting Commission, Colin Kennedy, walked out on a Board meeting at Brora Golf Club. The remaining Commissioners who convened a Special Meeting in his absence called on his resignation.
The Scottish Crofting Federation have expressed bewilderment that Mr Kennedy is still in place despite it being clear that he now stands alone. They have referred to his position as a farce that is getting in the way of important business.
Russell Smith, Vice-chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation said:-
The Crofting Commission board meeting last week was certainly an eye-opener. It quickly became apparent that the Convener had lost the support of his board and it came as no surprise that he left the meeting with his tail between his legs. What is astounding though is that he still has not resigned. What does it take for him to get the message?
At the Board meeting of the Crofting Commission, held in Brora last week, observers were treated to a bizarre display involving the Convener, Colin Kennedy, attempting to force his will on the rest of the board and officials. Failing in this he closed the meeting without any business being conducted and left. The meeting was re-convened with vice-convener Iain George MacDonald in the chair and normal business was resumed. Mr MacDonald issued a full and open apology for the recent debacle involving the Commission’s handling of common grazing committees.
The apology is very welcome and shows the other Commissioners do have integrity. However, the apology should have come from Mr Kennedy, along with his resignation speech, both because he is the spokesman for the Commissioners and because he has been the chief antagonist in the whole affair. Mr Kennedy has been very destructive for crofting and for the Commission, and it is time to put an end to this sorry episode.
There is much to be done in crofting development and in rural issues, especially with the uncertainty over the effect of the European referendum. Mr Kennedy is standing alone now, his position is a farce and he is getting in the way of important business. It is time for the Commission, as a body, to have him removed.
Image Credit: Farce of Nature © Aleks Ortynski
It is now only 12 days until the deadline for applying for the 2 vacant posts on the Crofting Commission board. No-one who knows or cares anything about crofting will apply with Colin Kennedy still the Convener and with the Crofting Commission in such an inexcusable mess. So anyone who does apply is either extremely brave or extraordinarily foolhardy. Or has not been paying attention for the last year or more and so obviously does not know or care about crofting.
Unless Fergus Ewing removes Colin Kennedy in extremely short order, he will have allowed further damage to this disastrous public body by significantly reducing its chances of attracting 2 quality candidates.
Ewing’s weak management of this affair is a matter for considerable concern. He appears to be prioritising protecting himself from political risk when he should be prioritising reduction or removal of massive risks to a public body and the system of crofting. Fergus Ewing should have dealt decisively with this damage to crofting many months ago. If he again fails to act at this most crucial moment, crofters will not forgive his cowardice.
If the convener had to apologise to every person whose life he damaged he’d never be done ..
How long would it take him do you think to touch down on every crofting area in Scotland?
not long if he had his way..and anyone getting in his way is to be crushed underfoot..
Farcical in many ways, but nevertheless, real for those he targets..
I would say to the crofters who voted him in…you do not know him well enough to entrust your futures to him..think hard before you mark your X
I agree with Duncan MacLeod that there is little chance of attracting two Commissioners in the middle of the present turmoil. I am also very concerned at the Job Description, which leaves the door wide open for potential ‘power problems’, and puts immense managerial and professional responsibility on the shoulders of the unfortunate appointees.
I thought of becoming a Commissioner, but, having seen that terrifying JD and having considered the circumstances, I have dismissed my idea as madness.
My response – as someone formerly well used to working in Highland and Gaelic public life, and with a strong crofting interest – illustrates his point perfectly.