Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Terribly disillusioned.

Perhaps it is wrong to write when angry and upset but I am going to anyway.

There was a chance to 'talk' to Alex Salmond, Scotland's First Minister, today on Mumsnet.

There were many intelligent and emotive issues expressed eloquently. I added my tuppenceworth but did not receive a full reply.

I have written about our day to day life on the farm here on this blog but have held back on many things for fear of retribution.

So here is a heartfelt letter to Mr Salmond from the wife of a tenant farmer.


Do you know how it feels to have to ask a laird to use your own money to repair a house or barn and wait for permission?
Do you know how humiliating that feels?
Can you understand how demoralising it can be if a laird decides to ignore your request and the subsequent lengthy, expensive business of taking them to court?

Do you realise how demoralising it is to plough a field, sow it with grain, harvest and store the crop only to have your harvest rejected as the Scottish maltsters find it 'cheaper' to import from Europe? Scottish whisky should be made from Scottish barley.

Do you know how it feels to have land taken from you for shooting? Can you invisualise how a farmer feels when pheasants are allowed to ruin his crop, destroy bales of silage then have winter crops trampled on by shooters yet still have to pay for the field?

Do you know how it feels to have to boil water, every day, so your new born baby has a chance of survival. How can it be right that a laird owns the supply yet dodges the law which says that every human has the right to clean water?

Do you know what it is like to live in slum housing with fungi growing on the walls, huge gaps in the external walls which let rats in, yet have to ask permission to have it mended?

Do you know how hard it is for us to struggle on in an industry which is forgotten and unsupported?

Can you see how angry people become when their farm rent is increased due to the global price of a crop rising yet their own crop has been rejected? Why should the laird benefit when he gives no input into the farm? They are his buildings after all and it is his legal responsibility to repair or replace. What do you do when he refuses?

Can you put yourself in the shoes of an elderly farmer who knows he should retire, lives in a rural area which is void of services yet is loathe to be thrown on the scrap heap as he has a wealth of experience which he could teach a new entrant? Why can he not be given a small piece of land and a house in exchange for his talents?

Are you aware on how it feels to be harassed and bullied by people with land, clout, money?

I will bet you that you do not.

I will continue to raise my children with dignity and manners, respect and vision plus how to view right from wrong. I have taught them about injustice, oppression and feudalism since they were tiny.
My husband and I will continue to work our piece of land, offering our stock the best husbandry we can, mending dangerous buildings, wading through deep mud, the bitter cold both inside and outside the house and continue the fight for our corner.
For our right to work without harassment, for the right for our industry to be recognised and fully supported.

Come and walk a mile in my wellies, Mr Salmond, and see how it feels.


  1. Otter, I hope you are actually sending this to Mr Salmond as well as posting it here.

  2. Agree with OEM.Love your blog.

  3. Thank you. I think I will send it to him.

  4. This is so stunningly well-written. You should definitely send it. I retweeted it a week or so ago, I think, but then I have no influence WHATsoever.

  5. Just to update that I received a very insightful and deeply thought provoking reply from Mr Salmond today.

    I am delighted that he not only read the blog entry but he provided very useful information for each point and has actually helped us to feel a little more optimistic for our future.

    A very chuffed GentleOtter.

  6. Brilliant!
    Written straight from the heart and more to the point, it is the gods honest truth.