Who runs Scotland? That’s been the central question of The Ferret and The Herald’s investigation. Along the way the journalism investigation bureau has examined the men and women who walk the corridors of power.

They have pored through the lobbying register, ministerial diaries, First Minister-hosted dinner and event lists, advisory panel minutes, and examined what happened to the recommendations made.

They have studied the ownership of media, natural resources and iconic Scottish produce such as whisky, and exposed how arms firms wield unaccountable power at Westminster. They also looked at what happens to profits and links to tax havens, finding that multinationals and individuals mostly benefit while the Scottish people often don’t.

The individuals listed below are not the people running Scotland, but a selection of some of the most influential today – people who caught their eye plus a round-up of other interesting people.

In a democracy elected politicians are supposed to front the show – but what power and influence lies beneath?

Some names here will not have seen on any ballot paper but nonetheless these people have more influence than most in Scottish society.

Some may be familiar such as Sir Tom Hunter and Mike Cantlay, both of  whom have had a major interest in the future of Loch Lomondside.

It is notable, says The Ferret, that some stayed within the establishment when political power transferred from Scottish Labour to the SNP. Others will be newer faces.

It added: “Our criteria was to look at a combination of wealth or salary, land and property, access to political power, professional influence, connections…and then to bear in mind any x factors we found along the way.

“You’ll notice they are white, and mostly male. Our findings suggest the old power bases are holding firm.”

Sir Tom Hunter

Worth £729 million, Hunter, PICTURED RIGHT,  was named as Scotland’s 13th richest man this year, despite losing his billionaire status after the 2008 financial crisis.

He started Sports Division by selling trainers from the back of a van. It was sold to JD Sports for £290 million in 1998.

Perhaps best known for the Hunter Foundation, in 2005 he received a knighthood for “services to philanthropy and to entrepreneurship”. He also chairs and helps to fund children’s charity The Kiltwalk, along with Social Bite, a social enterprise employing homeless people.

Hunter still has business and political sway. Last year an Oxford Economics reportfunded by his foundation, called for Scotland to lower taxes and increase borrowing. Signatories included Andrew Wilson, of the SNP’s Sustainable Growth Commission and co-founder of Charlotte Street Partners.

The Ferret has revealed Hunter’s regular access to government. He had 13 phone meetings with seven ministers last year. Projects in train include a £10 million leadership centre at Loch Lomond, targeting teachers and head teachers.

The proposed £10 million leadership centre at Ross Priory on Loch Lomondside.

Mike Cantlay OBE

Cantlay is chair of NatureScot and the Scottish Funding Council which invests around £1.9bn of public money into Scotland’s colleges and universities. Members of SFC’s board are appointed by the First Minister.

Cantlay was previously chair of Forth Valley College. Additionally, he served as chair of VisitScotland and chair of Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley. He also advised VisitBritain based in London.

In 2006 he was elected convener of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority and more recently served as chair of Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd which is responsible for 11 airports across Scotland. He was awarded Public Sector Leader of the Year at the Scottish Leadership Awards 2012 and was made an OBE in 2014 for services to tourism and hospitality.

So, who else is on the Ferret list?

Read all about it on The Ferret website today

Lorna Hughes, editor of The Sunday Mail, and Dorothy Bain QC., Lord Advocate.

  • Alison Evison
  • Anders Povlsen
  • Andrew Kerr
  • Annemarie O’Donnell
  • Anton Muscatelli
  • Benny Higgins
  • Callum McCaig
  • Catherine Salmond
  • Corporate
  • Deirdre Michie
  • Donald Houston
  • Dorothy Bain QC
  • Ewan Crawford
  • Featured
  • Gill Smith
  • Iain Livingstone
  • Ian Wood
  • Katy Bowman
  • Keith Anderson
  • Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen
  • Landowners
  • Leslie Evans
  • Linda Hanna
  • Lisbet Rausing
  • Liz Lloyd
  • Lobbying
  • Lord Carloway
  • Lord Smith of Kelvin
  • Lorna Hughes
  • mike cantlay
  • Murray Foote
  • quangoclass
  • Robin Currie
  • Ruth Charteris QC
  • Scottish Government
  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum
  • Sir Angus Grossart
  • Sir Tom Hunter
  • Stephen McCabe
  • Susan Rice
  • Who Runs Scotland

Leave a Reply