Scottish land reform shame and why we need the EU (or maybe Mugabe?)
Up here in the land of blue faces, sporrans and men who wear skirts, land reform has been a big deal for a long time (I mean 100s of years). Sadly, the Scottish parliament turn out not to be Bravehearts.
A Green Party proposal to outlaw offshore ‘ownership’ (estimates suggest that around 750,000 acres of Scotland are ‘owned’ in offshore accounts) has just been rejected by a Scottish National Party majority in Holyrood. And if they cannot be radical during their honeymoon period, history tells us they may never.
The aristos are being mean and the peasants are revolting, the leaders are dithering. Where is Mel Gibson when you need him? Oh yeah – he’s in rehab from being a misogynistic, anti-Semitic git.
Right thinking Scots feel they’ve taken a Claymore in the gullet as Holyrood side-stepped this chance to take a long overdue move towards land equality.
My dear bleaders (blog readers) may do a double take. Lairds getting their own nasty way? The masses cowering? You may ask yourself, ‘am I reading Browngirls’ blog or have I stumbled on a manuscript from ye 1600s written on sheep guts by yon scribe?’
Of course not being one of the aristocracy (or male) I would not be writing at all. I would perhaps be talking to a kindly clergyman who is writing this down by light of a stinky tallow candle while ye olde rats chew our toe nails in exchange for me washing his undies on a rock down at the river’s edge hoping not to get ravaged by marauding white walkers – (oh no that’s Game of Thrones sorry) while my husband picks tics out of the sheep with his cousin’s second-hand wooden teeth.
Having been victim of the droit de seigneur (which I don’t think every actually got to Scotland apart form in Braveheart) my eldest boy looks a wee bit like the duke and is also a total bastard. But my other bairns – with their deformities and nits and rickets and plague boils are real sweethearts and catch rabbits and collect dry grass for the fire in our hovel – apart from the one that was hung for steeling dung….
I mean bloody hell.
If like me your geography is a bit crap – let me tell you The Cayman Islands (there are three) where the duke keeps his chunk of Scotland, are situated a bit south of Cuba and a bit North West of Jamaica. They don’t wear tartan in The Caymans but obviously have a nasty history with slavery. Maybe that is why tax-evading Scottish feudal lords feel at home there?
Basically, faced with the proposition that they put an end to this fiscal farce and centuries of exploitation of ill-gotten gains, the Scottish Parliament DIDN’T. Maybe Uncle Bobby Mugabe should have a word with Nicola? I don’t mean the starving your own people, political repression and using public funds to buy yourself a millions dollar birthday party yada yda yada – just the getting rid of the nasty greedy land thieves thing.
When the bogey man of ‘legal challenge’ was dangled, the politicians in power (!) turned and ran with their yellow bellies showing (actually that doesn’t work as an analogy because you would see their bums if they were running – but you get me). The particular selfish bastard (I use the term bastard advisedly in relation to the Duke Beccleuth) has approximately 240,000 acres of Scotland registered in the Caribbean. Even I know that Scotland ain’t in the Caribbean.
And this is a global problem. Maybe it’s not fair to expect Scotland to start the ball rolling on something that requires major untangling. Many of these havens have their own registered banks and Oxfam – for one – reckons these banks hold TRILLIONS of dollars of individuals’ wealth, much of it accumulated from tax avoidance and other gross behaviour (that's a tax joke by the way).
Ask yourself this, with the world in the state it’s in – what kind of person uses a tax haven because they have more money than they know what to do with and don’t want ANY of it going to fund hospitals, roads, schools, provision for the elderly or disabled, in the country THEY LIVE IN?
And back to the current Euro sideshow - we need a body the size of Europe to tackle this pandemic cancer, eating away at the planet’s resources. Is it too crazy to suggest that UK property must be registered in the UK, French property in France, German property in Germany and so on and so forth?
Sentient Scots hoped that early legislation would pave the way to substantially fairer land policy. However, last Wednesday 16th March, the day Osborne delivered his latest Viagra budget (I’m no good at this but I’m all pumped up so I will just keep on and on and on…) the Scottish Parliament rejected proposals which would have made this particular type of massive tax evasion and humongous Scottish CON illegal. What a sad day for ordinary people – another one…