SNP stuck in rut on land tenure reform

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I AM surprised at the surprise expressed by Lesley ­Riddoch (Perspective, 27 May) in respect of how the highly concentrated private-land tenure system in Scotland (perhaps the most concentrated in the world) has ­resulted in most of the direct cash benefits of renewable developments accruing to a 
relative handful of land-
owners.

Bearing in mind what has happened in respect of 
forestry and agricultural grants and subsidies over many years, this should come as no surprise to such a 
seasoned commentator in this field.

The implosion of the Land Reform Review Group (LRRG), the resignations of some of its senior members and its failure to engage with the most pertinent requirements for strategic land-tenure reform in Scotland will, of course, surprise none in the broader land-reform movement.

It will surprise Alex ­Salmond and his senior SNP colleagues least of all as they appointed as chairperson someone from one of the ­biggest landholders in the country. Two other appointees are members of the ­Scottish Rural Business and Property Association.

Thoughts of sheer utter disgrace come to mind, ­especially in respect of the long SNP pedigree in advocating radical land reform.

It is sad that some commentators are still bedazzled by the “neo-tribal kibbutz­nik” approach of community buy-outs, while ignoring the oxymoron presented to the national community by the creation of privately-owned national parks.

In any case, several of the depositions to the LRRG pointed out the real alternative to state buy-outs, or ­indeed wider state expropriation, through the medium of the collection of societally created land rental value.

The path to an extensive, participatory democratic system of private tenure, equal to, or better than, 
the favoured Fennoscandian analogues is being wilfully ignored by the political and chattering classes. Why?

Ron Greer

Blair Atholl

Perthshire