I have to confess to knowing very little …

Comment posted Are tenant farmers, let down by bad law, also snagged in politics? by Ken MacColl.

I have to confess to knowing very little about agriculture. My nearest connection was a great grandfather who followed the plough on Mull many years ago.When the Coll crofter started to explain to me some of the finer points of crofting tenure I really struggled to comprehend such complexities.

I am intrigued by the idea that the current administration should be excoriated by Labour politicians for the shortcomings of badly drafted legislation inherited from the Lab/LibDem days although I agree that the present government has a duty to kisten and to amend, if that is possible, such legislation. I would be interested in looking at how that legislation was originally drafted and passed through the parliamentary process. Who was the responsible minister? It does not surprise me in the slightest that our ex-MSP should have taken advantage of the legislation for personal gain before decamping to the European Parliament.
Those who are affected should first approach their local MSPs- constituency or regional list to raise this through the Cabinet Secretary’s department.Have any approached Michael Russell? I wonder if Mairi is not editing the responses of Fergus Ewing just a little? Land Registration may seem a simple matter but sadly is hugely complex and compicated and John MacEwan and Andy Wightman
will testify to that. Were it so why has it not been resolved prior to 2012?
I do not for a moment doubt Bob Chicken’s sincerity on this issue and I wish his campaign well but would point out that this is well outside the remit of any councillor although, of course, any individual is free to campaign and support any cause as they choose.

Recent comments by Ken MacColl

  • The Stones, The Stars and Professor Thom
    Genuinely sorry to miss this talk but Putechan Lodge is a long haul from Oban!
    Professor Sandy Thom is the grandfather of my sister-in-law and was a genuine polymath-with wideranging interests and considerable expertise in engineering, mathematics, astronomy, sailing and almost any other field that attracted his interest.He was truly “a living example of the power of a flexible mind and a versatile disposition.”
    During the war he worked on the aereodynamics of fighter aircraft.
    Only after retiring from the Professorial Chair of Engineering Science at Oxford did he devote his undivided attention to one of his many other interests, the locatin and distribution of megalithic monuments across the west coast of Scotland and further afield.He worked closely with Marion Campbell in Mid Argyll. He is considered to be the father of archaeoastronomy.
    If you are able, go to the talk and enjoy.
    Then support the campaign to safeguard the Sighthill Stone Circle.
  • Disappointing stunting from Michael Russell
    And, W.S., if you reveal your name, will we be entitled to make assumptions or presumptions about your ethnicity -as if it should matter?
  • Another question for Andrew Mitchell
    Were it not for whistleblowers and serious investigative jounalists-for too few around at present-we would know far less about those entrusted with our government.
  • Campbell Cameron: Saying Yes
    Pot, kettle , black….responding to Gus mackay is rarely a productive exercise but could I suggest that while the march was in support of Independence for Scotland, those who carried placards stating “YES” were in support of that cause.
    My family had a long tradition of active support for the Labour party in Argyll and I recall how my father used to explain to me when I was a child the importance of countries like India and Ireland gaining control over their own destiny. Mind you he also spoke about the obscenity of nuclear weapons and the massive importance of the NHS and the principle that care should be free at the point of delivery.At that time the abolition of the House of Lords was a stated aim of the party.As a working class boy who got to university he would have been appalled at the notion of the Labour Party introducing student fees. I suspect that he would not have been singularly unimpressed with either Blair or Brown.
    Devolution, even in times of financial stricture, has mostly worked well for Scotland and it has worked best in those areas where services, like Health and Education are in our Holyrood’s control and our own priorities are able to be addressed – contrast those with the chaos under Westminster control! The progression to independence is part of the process started in 1999 and perhaps the most significant factors of Saturday’s rally were the contributions from Dennis Canavan, Ruth Wishart and the growing Scottish Labour for Independence movement.
  • Campbell Cameron: Saying Yes
    I am the bloke in the blue fleece and I am entitled to look older than Campbell Cameron for the simple reason that I am considerably older.

    Campbell is as hale and hearty as ever.

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15 Responses to I have to confess to knowing very little …

  1. Tenant farmers throughout the country will be feeling more despondent than ever with the news that dairy companies are cutting 2 pence per litre from the price the farmers receive

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      • You are incredibly gullible and plain wrong if you think only Wiseman are cutting milk prices to farmers . Dairy Crest were first to do so and the rest are about to follow , with a strong possibility prices may be as low as 22 pence per litre to farmers by this autumn .

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        • Yes, you are correct about Dairy Crest. I did forget to add their name.

          Perhaps we should wait ’til autumn to discuss price falls!

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          • You bury your head in the sand if you like , today Arla is the latest milk processor to drop the price paid to farmers by two pence per litre .

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    • Mairi, that blog was heart-rending. It is not the first sad tale that I have heard since learning of the inequities suffered by tenant farmers. I am only sorry that I didn’t pick up the issue earlier.

      Since newsroom has published this piece I have had calls from other tenant farmers telling me about the treatment that they get at the hands of landowners (many of whom are absentee owners). The system of tenancy, as practiced in Scotland, is positively medieval.

      In many cases tenants don’t speak out because they are in fear of their livelihoodds and homes as a result of the power that the Gill judgements has given to the wealthy landowners.

      My party tried hard to correct this situation in 2003. If the drafting of the act is wrong I can only apologise on their behalf and say that I, and others in the party, will campaign vigorously to get the reforms, that are so clearly needed, onto the statute books as soon as possible.

      Once the election is over, whether I win or lose, I will start campaigning to get this matter treated with the urgency which it so obviously needs

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      • And you and all of the tenant farmers for whom you will campaign, in or out of the council, may count on For Argyll as a platform to support this very necessary reform.

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  2. Well said Bob. Earlier today I endured the a committee stage of the Land Registration Bill in the Scottish Parliament. In essence it is a simple measure – to create a full Land Register for Scotland, a listing that (a) is embarrassingly lacking right now, and (b) is left to excellent individual campaigners like Andy Wightman who collate and publish who actually owns our land.

    Sad to say, even sensible, practical amendments were knocked back by the Minister – Fergus Ewing, often on the grounds that ‘lawyers and land-owners have been consulted …’. I cannot accept the rationale that if lawyers and landowners think it is OK, then the rest of us should blithely accept it. For example, there should be no completion date, says Fergus. If owners don’t register their land – that’s not a problem. The Keeper can ask them to do so, but no date has been set by which time owners must comply. So the Register can remain incomplete, and those with something to hide can continue their concealment.

    There seems to be a worrying pattern, whereby the SNP high-command don’t want to do anything that upsets the land-owners. And if that means tenants suffer, or communities wither, then that is of no interest. This is not even what the SNP grass-roots want.

    Bob – count me in on your campaign. This whole issue needs a lot of effort, and I’m very keen to help.

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  3. I have to confess to knowing very little about agriculture. My nearest connection was a great grandfather who followed the plough on Mull many years ago.When the Coll crofter started to explain to me some of the finer points of crofting tenure I really struggled to comprehend such complexities.

    I am intrigued by the idea that the current administration should be excoriated by Labour politicians for the shortcomings of badly drafted legislation inherited from the Lab/LibDem days although I agree that the present government has a duty to kisten and to amend, if that is possible, such legislation. I would be interested in looking at how that legislation was originally drafted and passed through the parliamentary process. Who was the responsible minister? It does not surprise me in the slightest that our ex-MSP should have taken advantage of the legislation for personal gain before decamping to the European Parliament.
    Those who are affected should first approach their local MSPs- constituency or regional list to raise this through the Cabinet Secretary’s department.Have any approached Michael Russell? I wonder if Mairi is not editing the responses of Fergus Ewing just a little? Land Registration may seem a simple matter but sadly is hugely complex and compicated and John MacEwan and Andy Wightman
    will testify to that. Were it so why has it not been resolved prior to 2012?
    I do not for a moment doubt Bob Chicken’s sincerity on this issue and I wish his campaign well but would point out that this is well outside the remit of any councillor although, of course, any individual is free to campaign and support any cause as they choose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. The serious point Ken, if you care to engage with the topic rather than make cheap party political points, is that lots of legislation emanating from the Scottish Parliament appears to be wanting. Don’t take my word either, http://www.firmmagazine.com/news/2797/Judge_challenges_quality_of_Scottish_Parliament_legislation.html

    For that both the technical drafters and all the politicians (ministers in government and others in the scrutinising committees) need to take responsibility. All parties need to have a look at what they could do better. No-one wilfully drafts or votes to pass poor quality, weak or ineffective laws. But it happens. I think because we legislate too much, too often and too readily – ie go for quantity rather than quality.

    Many problems needed an administrative solution, not a legislative one. Is the latest anti-sectarian legislation actually going to achieve much? Did we ever need to *legislate* on the nutritional standards of school meals? Take action – fine, but pass laws that then keep lawyers and courts busy? I don’t think so.

    Anyway, I know lots about agriculture, having myself been reared on a farm. But since you won’t take my word for it watch the video yourself http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/newsandmediacentre/41356.aspx to see how Fergus Ewing appears to be content to serve the interests of land-owners and lawyers.

    I fully understand that establishing the Land Register, despite its simple premise, is not straightforward. But for the legislation and the Register itself to have much value at all, some important provisions were vital, in my view. Such as a target date for its completion. Even one that could be revised, long-term (eg ten years was mentioned). But that was rejected by Fergus. So we are legislating to create Land Register that we acknowledge may be, in perpetuity, incomplete. That doesn’t even start to make sense in my opinion.

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  5. Further depressing news for tenant dairy farmers , with Wisemans confirming another 1.7 pence per litre price cut from 1st August and other dairy companies set to follow resulting in the biggest ever gap between the cost of production and the price received by farmers .

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  6. What a terrible ending to this mess, certain people now have blood on their hands. Was it really worth it to get that little bit richer? Where is the love? RIP Peter Riddle…

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