Scotland’s Lawless New Bosses!

June 11, 2022 Off By Mark Paul

I wrestle with social injustice, unresolved inequity is anathema to me, especially when there is a solution. The plight of society more than a decade into a downward spiral towards poverty, homelessness, mental disorder and crime-to-survive when we have the answer, is like tying a person to a chair in front of a table of food and drink and watching them starve to death!

To me one of the most pressing and urgent issues is the land grab here in Scotland by corporations offsetting their carbon footprint, ostensibly as redemption for their polluting activities and justification for more.

Corporations have enormous financial clout and, in a world where money talks the loudest it won’t be long before Scotland will be owned almost entirely by absentee landlords both British and foreign, some, and perhaps most of whom have never even stepped foot across our borders, and have very little concern for our communities. Donald Trump springs to mind and his callous destruction of the dunes at Balmedie despite their SSSI assignation, and initiating Compulsory Purchase Orders on properties that stood in his way, sanctioned by Alex Salmond who couldn’t wait to shake Trump’s hand, and Scots yet again betrayed by one of their own!

If Nicola Sturgeon imagines that a corporate presence in the highlands will bring prosperity to Scotland, I might suggest she takes a look at the American West. Once a wild terrain where horses roamed free now peppered with mines, oil wells, wind farms, industrial farming units (CAFOs) and monoculture crops.

In 1984 the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) started rounding up horses removing them from the range due to a relaxation of land regulations and heavy lobbying from wealthy ranchers who wanted cheap grazing on public lands for their own cattle. 40,000 horses were corralled in holding pens, bursting at the seams with intolerable condition, many horses dying of starvation and malnutrition, the BLM waived fees to encourage more adoptions which failed, resulted in 20,000 horses being slaughtered.

Much of the land in the mid-western states of America is now owned or controlled by corporate interests with devastating effects on the ecology. Allegedly, you can drive thought 500 miles of Iowa and not see a single insect or bird. Glyphosate sodden corn from horizon to horizon, mostly to feed the poor wretched cattle, pigs and other livestock in confinement, and all the while, overflowing slurry lagoons permeate the air with a stench that is destroying health and driving people out, leaving ghost towns where once thriving communities lived.

This is a clear and perhaps partly familiar picture and one that could so easily be repeated here in Scotland, and it has already begun. A subjugation that would make the clearances look like a holiday excursion! If an unregulated corporation wants your town they will have it, and there is no one that can stop them.

Nicola Sturgeon needs to act quickly, by initiating AGR/LVT and setting a covenant on land sales, such as in Finland, where land can only be bought if you have been resident for 9 months or more. Conditions on Scottish land sales must include community participation, community involvement in all decisions relating to land use. A prohibition on government campaign contributions or financial inducements. No rent increases, no evictions or CPOs on homes and strict conditions on government grants for ecological projects.

The referendum can wait, rejoining the EU can wait. Ms Sturgeon really needs to take a long hard look at her own back yard and ask herself how important her home really is!