The Crofting Commission Convener crisis has moved into the realm of absurdity, says Patrick Krause, chief executive of the Scottish Crofting Federation.
Mr Krause says: "In his latest statements to the media, Colin Kennedy, the Convener of the Crofting Commission, has said that he has no intention to stand down, despite widespread calls for his resignation.
"He refutes any wrongdoing and claims to have operated within the law, notwithstanding the fact that lawyers and the Cabinet Secretary for crofting, Fergus Ewing, who is himself from a legal background, have said he is wrong.
"Kennedy has accused the Scottish Government of legal wrong-doing and suggests that the Cabinet Secretary should resign. Kennedy has no legal background, but an astonishing amount of arrogance matched only by his shamelessness.
"As expected Kennedy appears to be trying to pass the blame for the whole fiasco to his fellow Commissioners, to the CEO, who has left the Commission for a new job, and to the staff of the Crofting Commission. Everyone is to blame but him, and in his latest outbursts to the media he is accusing everyone in the Commission of misconduct, even though he has been responsible for how the Commission operates since the ousting of Susan Walker, the previous Convener, back in May 2015.
"One responsibility he is trying to duck out from is the appointment of grazings constables to take over from removed grazing committees. Papers obtained under a Freedom of Information request show that he was given advice by senior officials in the CEO’s report to board, that imposing constables on the grazings shareholders was not legally competent. But he went ahead and did it anyway. He has been found out and trying to put it on the Commission staff is not going to wash.
"To top this Kennedy said on the BBC that he had no knowledge of the fact that his fellow Commissioners have no confidence in him. He must be the only person in Scotland who hasn’t heard that the Commissioners unanimously agreed that Mr Kennedy should stand down. This came immediately following his petulant abandonment of their September board meeting in Brora, the meeting at which he was due to issue an apology to crofters affected by the recent actions taken by the Commission based on his misinterpretation of law.
"How much is this whole affair costing the public purse? The resources being used trying to clean up after Mr Kennedy’s bungling must be astronomical. We have the existential crisis of Brexit staring us in the face and the fundamental weaknesses in the whole regulatory framework, yet a phenomenal amount of everyone’s time and energy is being expended on this test of Kennedy’s pride versus reason."