Well said Bob. Earlier today I endured …

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

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.

Mairi also commented

  • 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.

  • Gentle Otter’s fantastic and vivid blog, http://gentleotterblog.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/awful-news.html, tells you a lot about the miseries experienced by tenant farmers right now. Bob is right to highlight this.

    Sorting this is firmly in the gift of Lochhead and the Scottish government. All that is lacking is POLITICAL WILL. I despair about the reluctance of the SNP to challenge the wealthy landowners.

Recent comments by Mairi

  • Sunday Herald still dishonest on last week’s smear on Labour
    I’ve not heard you whine, Hunchy ;)

    My comment was aimed at the whining from Chris Dolan in his letter, complaining about something that’s been fixed ie his play is being listed on the Council’s website.

    Your question is, I’m guessing, rhetorical.

  • Sunday Herald still dishonest on last week’s smear on Labour
    For some days now this play HAS been listed on the Council’s site.

    http://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/content/whats-corran-halls

    This is truly pitiful whining from supporters of separation.

    It’s easy to see who’s winning the referendum arguments when they trot out lies like this.

  • Political whodunnit with reverberations
    What an interesting piece of analysis! Perhaps the original writing belongs more in the Horror section than Whodunnit ;)

    The brand new currency plan did pass muster with Alex Salmond because it made it through to the printed version. Here’s what Mike Russell wrote, and what Alex evidently approved for publication:

    “A country without its own currency is a country not only without a steering wheel, but also without brakes and an accelerator.”

    Here’s a link to a photo of the page in question.

    http://t.co/hpnqGoPEWV

  • John MacGregor
    That’s a very thoughtful, warm tribute in such terribly sad circumstances. I hope his family and friends take some comfort from these kind words.

    Condolences to all who are affected.

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    It’s highly instructive to hear what a UK MP like Anas has to say about the situation in the Middle East. He is an influential member of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East, and his commitment to this area and interest in the issues affecting it pre-date his election as an MP, by some margin. Here’s what he’s said about the most recent violence http://www.anassarwar.org/?p=1230

    So we should judge that booing for what it was: the bullying tactics of political opponents who have little genuine interest in the cause of Palestine. Surely they’d have been listening, if they really cared?

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15 Responses to Well said Bob. Earlier today I endured …

  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

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • 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 .

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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

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

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • 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 .

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • 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

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • 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.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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 .

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  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…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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