Land and freedom

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Michael Kelly concluded an article on the independence referendum, only two weeks ago, by saying: “That’s why there’s really nothing much to debate.” Like many Scotsman readers, I’m sure, I was therefore disappointed to see him back with a feature so soon (Perspective, 1 August) – and, again, with nothing much to say.

By chance, in the same issue, you reported an attack by landowners on the Scottish Government’s Land Reform Review Group (LRRG). This included an astonishing page of free publicity for various lords, dukes and earls, a class described by the late Tom Johnston, Labour’s great Scottish secretary, as “the descendants of successful pirates and rogues”.

Some 50 individuals own 
20 per cent of Scottish land. Estate owner James Carnegy-
Arbuthnot said: “One of the principle reasons why land in Scotland is owned by fewer people than elsewhere in Europe is because so much of the land is unproductive wilderness.”

Informed opinion holds that the very opposite is true: our land is unproductive because of the extremely concentrated pattern of ownership. Independence is a prerequisite for significant change. The referendum dialogue provides an opportunity to consider what sort of society we wish to live in. Nothing to debate? Really?

Malcolm Kerr

Brodick

Isle of Arran