Wow! For Land Reform anoraks such as myself, this last week or so has been truly inspiring. Behind Scottish Independence itself, Scottish Land Reform surely has to be the next biggest ticket on the agenda. I've posted before on the landmark Land Reform Group report, but it now looks like the SNP Government with Nicola 'The Sturge' Sturgeon at the helm is really pushing to make things happen. Hell, it's almost 'cool' to be discussing the future of our land, rather than the likes of me ranting on about it in a bothy to anyone who will listen.
Can you believe that not only do 'sporting estates' (i.e. playgrounds for our establishment fun-killers) get an exemption from business rates, but we actually subsidise them to the tune of £millions per annum? In fact this vile Tory-led Government - the Government of the 'Bedroom Tax' - has almost doubled this despicable subsidy - a subsidy that actually pays for landowners to lay waste to vast acreages of land by slaughtering all manner of wildlife, both 'legally' (e.g. stoats, weasels, foxes, corvids) and illegally (raptors) whom then sell it back to us as 'conservation'. Combine that with heather burning and bulldozing access tracks and you end up with huge upland deserts. If that constitutes 'conservation' then I'm proposing a movement that espouses shagging for virginity.
At last we have a real chance of some ancient wrongs being righted. Bring it on!
'Bring out the violins. The land reform programme announced last week by the Scottish government is the end of civilised life on Earth, if you believe the corporate press. In a country where 432 people own half the private rural land, all change is Stalinism. The Telegraph has published a string of dire warnings - insisting, for example, that deer stalking and grouse shooting could come to an end if business rates are introduced for sporting estates. Moved to tears yet?
'Yes, sporting estates - where the richest people in Britain, or oil sheikhs and oligarchs from elsewhere, shoot grouse and stags - are exempt from business rates, a present from John Major’s government in 1994. David Cameron has been just as generous with our money: as he cuts essential services for the poor, he has almost doubled the public subsidy for English grouse moors, and frozen the price of shotgun licences, at a public cost of £17m a year. (Guardian article, Land Matters article & Raptor Persecution article).