RSS Follow Become a Fan

Delivered by FeedBurner

Recent Posts



Alex Salmond
land reform
Nicola Sturgeon
Scottish Nationalists


May 2017
April 2015
January 2015
September 2014
August 2014
June 2014

powered by

View from Stirling


Land Reform: the briefing paper produced for the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee

It is possible to read the briefing paper on Land Reform * produced for the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee and think at first glance that they may have a point…

Had the reader recently landed from Mars he might consider it reflects a kind of optimistic naivety whose authors believe their own prejudices to be sacrosanct and that numbers can be used to prove almost anything.

However should the same visitor meet up with a rational human neither politician, left wing, or exclusively urban, he might start to question the rationale of the committee’s approach to land reform.

For a start he might look at those who compiled the report and conclude that they were not exactly representative of anything other than a narrow clique whose agenda was clearly political.

Indeed they state unashamedly that “Between them the group have SNP, Labour, Scottish Green Party and Liberal Democrat affiliations” – well blow me down!

How irritated must they be that the man in the street seems largely unmoved by their almost Marxist denial of property rights and their espousing of the common good – so far, presumably, as it does not interfere with their privileged position as tribunes of the people.

[Indeed, as one reads the paper one begins to understand why Zil lanes were so appreciated as the just reward for time-serving lackeys in the late unlamented Soviet Republic. If you have ever spent time in a properly socialist country you soon learn that only the politicians profit].

The basic precept of the report is private ownership bad, public ownership, good. It confuses – seemingly through a mixture of ignorance and envy - the justifiable desire for the population to have access and enjoyment, which no one denies is, and should be, a right, with the fact of ownership and the right to run your property as you see fit. The committee may not like it, but these aims are incompatible.

The public are, I believe, entitled to enjoy all Scotland’s wonderful countryside, with access at all times – the only exception being those rare and usually temporary occasions when it interferes with management of the land.

It seems to me that those who wrote the report are not remotely interested in this; instead they wish to involve themselves in the running of estates, forgetting that the very thing they claim to want to preserve has been created by generations of farmers and land owners who all know a great deal more than they about land management and preservation

I suggest the public does not know or care who owns the land, only that it is beautiful, well run and that they have access; what the report proposes is that land would be better run by urban “experts”,   who may have passed the odd exam but whose practical knowledge is non-existent.

In truth the proposals in the report are directed purely at empowering organisations like Scottish Natural Heritage to take control over areas for which they are they are unsuited. It is unfortunate and symptomatic of what I fear is the long term aim of land reform advocates  - the erosion of the rights of ownership, not in the public interest, but in their own.

The rationale of the report is “to create a mood for change which can be supported beyond the constraints of an individual political party or section of society and to build a consensus amongst the people of Scotland for actions which will improve their lives.”

In other words, to create a desire for change where there is currently none, for purely political ends.

The report seems to be founded on the uninformed prejudice that all landowners are seeking to take as much as possible from the public purse and return as little as they can. It fails to address why there is subsidy and assumes all landowners are in it for the money, when in practice most large estates are subsidised by private as well as public money.

Indeed it goes on to infer that the offsetting of estate management losses against landowners’ other (non-landed) business interests is immoral and beneficial to the landowner at the same time.

You can’t win – on the one hand you are stealing from the public purse on the other you are using profits from elsewhere to offset losses on the estate! It is this kind of woolly and envy- driven socialist thinking that invalidates any reasonable points that the report might have been able to make.

In my experience the reality is that as soon as anything is taken into public ownership it immediately employs too many people because there are no constraints, builds ridiculously expensive offices and headquarters where there were none, and then proceeds to run the operations ineptly.

In case there are any out there who believe that public ownership would mean freedom of access for all, look at how similar envy-driven bureaucrats and jobs-worths behave once they are in control to appreciate just how unpleasant it would all become.

Land ownership is an emotive subject for a very small politically driven group of people with their own agenda; it is certainly not the public’s interests they have at heart. In the same way that watching cookery programmes makes you an expert chef, special interest groups are often armed with no more knowledge than the occasional visitor.

The plethora of groups involved in preserving the Cairngorms alone forms a monstrous regiment - however well intentioned. The Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland, the Cairngorms Campaign, the John Muir Trust, The National Trust for Scotland, the North East Mountain Trust, Ramblers Scotland, the Scottish Campaign for National Parks, the Scottish Wild Land Group (even the name betokens “townie”) the RSPB, the Mountaineering Council for Scotland and doubtless others, all vying to be obligatory consultants to anything, anywhere.

As ever with politicians it’s all really easy, you just sit in the cheap seats and shout “Gie us the land”.


*432:50 Towards a comprehensive land reform agenda for Scotland. A Briefing Paper for the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee by James Hunter, Peter Peacock, Andy Wightman and Michael Foxley .

In his introduction to the paper, chairman Ian Davidson MP outlines the reasons for its commission. “During our investigation of the Crown Estate it became clear that the wider issue of land reform in Scotland required to be looked at. Accordingly, the Scottish Affairs Committee agreed to request that a paper be drawn up to stimulate debate.

The Committee has now received the paper and agreed to circulate it without change or comment. Some of its comments and proposals will be seen as radical, others as commonsense, but between them they address one of the major yet underexplored areas of Scottish life: the ownership and control of the land itself”.




23 Comments to RIGHT TO ROAM, BUT RIGHT TO OWN ...:

Comments RSS
Mike Haseler on 21 October 2014 19:49
I very much share your views of the public sector which albeit ever so well meaning is toxic to almost everything it touches. However, on land reform, I do think that Scotland has a historic problem with too many large land owners who have prevented economic development. My proposal would be to take all landholding beyond a nominal size into public ownership ... and the give it straight back to the people of Scotland by way of a lottery. HOWEVER, those who currently own the land will have a 100 year lease. This way, no one will lose their land, but in 100 years time, future generations should have a much more equitable distribution of land ... at least there should be much more variety in ownership. The most interesting thing will be to see how the value of land whose effective ownership ends in 100 years will be valued.
Reply to comment on 12 June 2016 09:29
it is so informative post about such topic. and absolutely agree with you that we must something with this.
Reply to comment

steam keys on 29 January 2017 11:58
The key are equally important as steam wallet codes these codes add cash to your wallet. get free gift cards and online free keys generated online free steam wallet codes are the dream of any big playing games.
Reply to comment

mxf on 05 July 2017 12:17
it’s absolutely gorgeous.
Reply to comment

Big Data Services in Indore on 29 July 2017 12:22
Thanks for the post.
Reply to comment

Dental Clinic on 23 January 2018 08:32
Now a days most of the people are in stress, because most people go into business for themselves because they want more out of life. This will be relaxing to all.
Reply to comment

essay cloud on 28 February 2018 11:58
I'm impressed by what has bee shared so far.. I agree with you that our politicians are there to serve, not to rule. But it's so no as it seems to be...
Reply to comment

online resume writing services on 04 May 2018 20:51
The public are, I believe, entitled to enjoy all Scotland’s wonderful countryside, with access at all times – the only exception being those rare and usually temporary occasions when it interferes with management of the land.
Reply to comment

play free sudoku on 25 June 2018 05:43
Online games are very nice and amazing to play free with fun and enjoy.
Reply to comment

Help with Finance papers on 09 October 2018 06:41
I Personally Like Your Post, You Have Shared Good Article. It Will Help Me In Great Deal.
Reply to comment

Do My Nursing Homework on 09 October 2018 07:19
This Is Really Great Work. Thank You For Sharing Such A Useful Information Here In The Blog.
Reply to comment

Jennifer Lo on 25 January 2019 11:17
The post is really superb. It’s varied accessory information that consists during a basic and necessary method. Thanks for sharing this text. The substance is genuinely composed. This web log is frequently sharing useful actualities. Keep sharing a lot of posts.
Reply to comment

drakordrama on 20 February 2019 08:51
Your post will help me to find a reliable lawyer. I am so glad I've found your website!
Reply to comment

monitors accessories on 09 July 2019 11:07
A computer monitor is an output device that displays information in pictorial form. A monitor usually comprises the display device
Reply to comment

sims 4 cheats on 09 August 2019 10:30
Your post give me lots of advise it is very useful for me. I want to introduce for you about the game. in this game, you can create character and operate as same as in the real world. Click link to participate games.
Reply to comment

Julia K. Hunt on 15 August 2019 10:49
These are the essential things required by any business setups. In order to become successful, you should follow some successful business Leader like Arviv Click Here For More Information.
Reply to comment

avenue south pricing on 17 November 2019 03:38
Avenue South Residence is a brand-new masterpiece situated at Silat Avenue in Bukit Merah jointly developed by consortium which comprises of UOL, UIC and Kheng Leong Company. Sitting on a huge plot of land, the 2-tower block with 56 storey will yield 1,074 units! Aspiring buyers will definitely be able to secure a choice unit from 1-bedroom to 5-bedroom type of layout. Avenue South Residence also have a commercial component that comprises of childcare and commercial shops.
Reply to comment

Anonymous on 17 November 2019 06:25
Reply to comment

Anonymous on 18 November 2019 04:42
The Florence Residence is a brand new condo, with 128 condo facilities, situated in Kovan developed by Logan Property Holdings Company Limited. A Hong Kong-based property developer, Logan have built an impressive portfolio in the residential segment in the People's Republic of China (PRC) such as Hong Kong and Guangdong
Reply to comment

Anonymous on 19 November 2019 04:57
Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information.
Reply to comment

Anonymous on 22 November 2019 05:29
This particular papers fabulous, and My spouse and i enjoy each of the perform that you have placed into this. I’m sure that you will be making a really useful place. I has been additionally pleased. Good perform!
Reply to comment

sims 4 cheats on 10 December 2019 07:32
I really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. I assure this would be beneficial for most of the people.Get ready for yoga, cucumber slices and mud baths! The sims 4 cheats spa day is now available for playsation4
Reply to comment

Danald Wilkins on 21 December 2019 13:12
Thanks for sharing such a great article. Google
Reply to comment

Add a Comment

Your Name:
Email Address: (Required)
Make your text bigger, bold, italic and more with HTML tags. We'll show you how.
Post Comment