Dick Balharry, one of Scotland’s foremost naturalists died today. Last week, in Glen Feshie, he was awarded the Geddes Environment Medal for a lifetime’s achievement in environmental work by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (pictured above). I am grateful to the Society for its permission to reproduce Dick’s paper together with an introduction by Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the RSGS.

Mike Robinson, RSGS CEO, introduces Dick Balharry’s vision for land use in Scotland.

Our most recent Geddes medal was awarded to the highly respected conservationist Dick Balharry, at a special event in Glenfeshie this past weekend.    A popular awardee, Dick has influenced, inspired, advised and encouraged so many institutions in Scotland and helped establish the country’s first nature reserves at Beinn Eighe and Creag Meagaidh.    Surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, Dick, who is terminally ill, asked to share the award with his wife Adeline, and used the event to highlight his hopes for the future of environmental land management in Scotland.

His belief was that the current tools used to encourage environmental land management were not sufficient, and that in addition to the basic legislative carrots and sticks, there was a need for a scheme that can give formal recognition to good practice and be respected by all interested parties. For instance, he asked, how is it fair that a land manager who chooses to reduce deer numbers to enhance the habitat and forest cover, has to pay to ‘fence out’ deer from neighbouring estates who continue to artificially prop up high densities of deer, instead of those neighbouring estates being forced to fence high numbers ‘in’?He also stressed the apparent absence of any integrated vision as to what constitutes the “public interest” in Scotland.

His paper is critical of both government and landowners but seeks to provide a middle ground for discussion rather than further polarised debate. As someone who has worked at the forefront of Scottish land management for the past fifty years we thought more people should be given the chance to hear his views, and have reprinted his paper in full below.

DELIVERING CHANGE THROUGH VISION, EMPOWERMENT AND RECOGNITION

by Dick Balharry

Today I would like to promote the concept that an “agreed vision” for land use has the potential to be a powerful motivator for change. The basis of the concept is simply that, with a vision you open up the possibility of recognising and celebrating success. As I will explain the idea is based on adding value to the existing tools of “carrots” and “sticks” to empower change.

If the opportunity allows I would welcome discussion.

Before that I would like to say a little about my formative years, where the ideas I wish to share today have, at least in part, their origin.

Background

As a boy, living in a small village on the outskirts of Dundee, I was fascinated by the natural heritage. I was given total freedom to explore the woods, marshes and fields and these became my natural habitat. Little escorted walks soon became lonesome adventures. My interests took many forms including creating collections, hunting and hand rearing wild animals. Through these activities I gained an insight into the lives of many different animals: including rabbits, kestrels, jackdaws and jays.

I soon realized that the natural world presented more questions than answers, not to mention that my activities also provided me with a healthy diet and a fast pair of legs.

At sixteen years old, on completion of a year at Dundee Engineering Trades College I turned up for work at an engineering plant. Whatever my destiny I knew then that working in a factory was off the agenda, the noise, the smell of hot oil and cigarette smoke were simply alien and a far cry from my interests, I was gone within the hour.

As is often the case with youthful poachers my first job was as a gamekeeper. The job was on an estate near Tighnabruach and involved controlling predators to protect wild pheasants, and patrolling a river against salmon poachers.

In essence, I was charged with sterilizing the environment of predators in order to maximize the number of birds and salmon available for guests.

However, it soon became clear that the keeping of a fox and a raven did not meet with the Landlord’s image of a gamekeeper. An ultimatum was given to the head keeper “either the pets go, or he goes” – so I left with my furry and feathered friends.

From there I became a deerstalker in Glen Lyon under the watchful eye of Archie MacDonald the Head Stalker. Archie mentored me in the soft skills of the hill and it was always a privilege to be in his company. He was a sincere man of carefully  chosen words, immense knowledge and a sensitivity to all that was around him. I have much to thank him for and I remember him fondly.

When the Red Deer Commission advertised for stalkers in 1959 Archie’s teachings gave me an advantage. The combination of the increased salary and opportunity to work across the whole of Scotland pulled me into a new phase of my life, albeit still focused firmly on red deer. While travelling the length and breadth of Scotland culling marauding deer and marking deer calves I often found my attention diverted to the signs, tracks, dens and eyries of other animals – wildcats peregrines, eagles and even martens.

My career in conservation started in 1962, when at the age of 24, I was appointed warden on Beinn Eighe NNR in Wester Ross. I was given responsibility for over 10,000 acres of mountain and Caledonian pinewood. This was the first NNR in the UK and the focus was primarily on research. At that time the public were regarded by The Nature Conservancy as more of an inconvenience than an asset.

In addition to working with scientists, being a Warden was also my first introduction to what I might loosely call “the establishment”. The establishment can be defined in many ways and it is fascinating, even today, to see how networks based on wealth, social status, formal qualifications and public education influence decision making and how they often over-ride logic and evidence to protect their own interests. Being “out of the loop” as one might say it was soon clear that my dream job came with limited ability to influence decisions taken in Edinburgh and London. Tactful advocacy, persuasion, passion and promoting public support became the tools of my trade.

Throughout my life I have seen the establishment work in weird and wonderful ways. For example I was once informed that educative foreign travel was the province of the Officers, in essence those with degrees rather than Wardens with field skills. However despite this rebuff, with determination and family support, I broke the format and in 1969 attended a course on the Administration of National Parks visiting most of the mid-west National Parks in the USA and Canada along with 40 other delegates chosen from around the world for their experience rather than academic prowess. This was a turning point in my life and fueled my desire to drive change and promote the benefits and joys of Scotland’s natural heritage to a wider audience, by whatever means I could.

Since then I have spent my life improving my knowledge and enjoying the opportunity to enthuse others. I have engaged with everyone I could, including shepherds, stalkers, urban audiences, land owners fellow campaigners, hill walkers, top civil servants, leading politicians and royalty. I have made extensive use of the media. Those who know me well, know that my language still gives away my prejudices and frustrations with the establishment.

Reflections

On reflection my career has been a vocation, privileged and fortunate.

It was a career that brought me close to many of Scotland’s iconic species and allowed me to discover the magic of the Highlands and Islands. It introduced me to the knowledge and the culture of the people who live and work there and it allowed me to meet many of the scientists whose names were made by the opportunity to work in the Highlands and Islands.

I am always pleased to hear that my interest in the natural world has helped inspire others and if, through my talks and media presentations, I have contributed to developing the interests of a wider public then that is a worthwhile legacy.

Sometimes I am asked to name a favourite animal, plant, bird or place and I give an answer. However as Patrick Geddes would have said to give an answer is like plucking one petal of the six lobed flower. This is an easy trap to fall into: the simplicity of the individual is always easier to describe than the whole.

Now with the focus of mortality, single and sectorial interests seem less important. Rather it is the whole which captures my imagination: the need for quality jobs in rural areas, the need to break the dependency cycle, the need to see our wildlands as an economic asset, the need to have regard to carbon emissions and the need to think long term.

We depend on our rural environment and it depends on the public being interested. It is this phrase “public interest”, used so freely by many that now strikes me as of paramount importance in the land use debate and is central to our ability to make change.

I have no quarrel with wealth, who owns the land, how they were educated, or their country of origin, so long as they manage the land giving due respect to the interests that we all rely on.

Public Interest and Vision

So what does “public interest” mean? or indeed look like?

The uncertainty and absence of clear thinking around this commonly used phrase is the main problem as I see it. Managing the land with respect for specific interests and specialisms is fairly straight forward and one that defined our approach to nature conservation from the 80’s through to today.

However, integrated land management for a collective “public interest” remains to be addressed. The main challenge being the absence of any understanding as to what the collective “public interest” looks like at a landscape level.

Change requires vision and leadership. Without the vision and the necessary clarity of purpose, the debate on rural land-use has become polarized and permeated by the politics of envy and criticism.

It is not only the vision that is important for change but also how it is presented, the weasel words of “balance” and “sustainability” need to be avoided if we are to progress. It should have been done long ago and I cannot help wonder why not? Is it simply too difficult? Perhaps the structures of government with their respective experts are too divided? Perhaps there are too many interest groups? Perhaps as a society we are too fragmented to allow for a simple vision to emerge?

Whatever the excuse it is my personal belief that the vision can, and indeed must be defined in order to promote integrated delivery and empower those who own the land with responsibility. It is my view that the vision needs to be defined in a way that provides scope for flexibility, allows owners to make choices and provides the opportunity to be respected for the approach they take. Our current system, focused on protecting single interests, was necessary and while it continues to have its place it has its limitations. My objective here is to suggest an additional approach that adds value to the existing system.

I ask you to think for a minute and consider, if it were possible, where is the vision and the leadership necessary to make it happen going to come from? Who is going to lead the charge against the sectorial approach and promote the need for an integrated approach? Who is going to review public policy mechanisms from outside the box and come up with new thinking?

I do not know the answer to these questions, but to future leaders who have the opportunity to respond to the challenge, I would like to make an observation.

Formal recognition and Empowerment

Existing attempts to deliver public policies rely on two simple means of influence, offering monetary incentives (carrots) or punishing through regulation (sticks). In effect a two legged stool.

This is a shooglie stool and it is my belief that a third leg of influence could be added to help promote a more sophisticated approach to influencing human behaviour. I believe this type of approach will empower those who own land to take responsibility and make changes. That third leg is “formal recognition” and I believe it is necessary, for three reasons.

 Firstly it will require an agreed vision

 Secondly it will empower owners to manage with confidence

 Thirdly it will promote transparency

These are the three reasons why I think it is necessary. The reasons why I think it has potential to deliver are simple and both come from familiar observations of human behaviour. We are all aware of the motivational benefits of rewarding people with recognition and we are equally aware that people need to fit in and feel secure, comfortable, safe and protected.

Throughout my career I have seen the insecurity and fear of being different from the norm of a social group working to maintain inertia and stifle change. The establishment, I mentioned at the start, relies heavily on this insecurity to protect its interest in the status quo.

The beauty of “formal recognition” is that, if well designed, it offers security. The key to this security comes from the level at which the recognition is awarded. The concept will only work if the recognition provides an effective shield from the critics in the establishment, interest groups and government.

The detailed basis and process for awarding “formal recognition” is for others to think through, but to me the key elements are, that formal recognition:

 is respected, not necessarily liked, but respected.

 comes from both government and interest groups.

 is based on robust logic and best evidence.

 is an award given to landowners for all their holdings.

 is based on a flexible and intelligent understanding of the integrated land management challenges, rather than being prescriptive.

Whether “formal recognition” as a scheme would have levels of award and how long the award would last for are details to be worked out in the future.

It is the simplicity of the principle and its potential to empower that I would like you to take away today.

So, given the known benefits and the simplicity of the approach why is “formal recognition” missing from the government tool kit?

It strikes me that the problem is that no one has taken responsibility to grasp the nettle and explain what the “public interest” looks like at a landscape level. The consequence is that we live with no clear vision and we have developed a culture that highlights what we don’t want rather than what we need.

If we could describe the vision, then that would open up the possibility for this third leg of formal recognition to be added, alongside the carrots and sticks, as a complementary means of influencing land owners.

In summary if the public interest was expressed at the level of land management units and high profile recognition was given to those who deliver it, then I have no doubt that the associated benefits of security and marketing would help change the behaviour of those who own the land.

In effect you have set out the safe, moral high ground and you have provided security for those who wish to break from what has become the established norm of “traditional sporting estates”.

Remember not everyone wants to lead when it involves sticking his or her head above the parapet.

An example

An example is Glen Feshie; where we are today.

I have had a long history with Glen Feshie that spans from 1964 to 2015 involving 6 different owners. I have seen the result of the carrots and sticks at work here, indeed I spent many years doing my best to deliver a positive outcome with these limited tools.

But did these two tools achieve the desired results? No they did not, as a critical look at the evidence shows.

Consider the facts, the current owner has neither taken full advantage of all the carrots offered by government, nor been cowed by legislative sticks nor indeed been restricted by sectorial interests. He is delivering well beyond what these crude tools ever sought to achieve.

Glen Feshie has remained a “sporting estate”. Yes, a “sporting estate”, and like you I am fully aware of other “sporting estates” in Scotland where large tracts of land are managed solely for the benefit of a few wealthy people with little or no regard for the public interest. However these are the “sporting estates” of the past and the ones to which Glen Feshie sets an example for the future.

So how does Glen Feshie estate differ?

Well it generates income by providing opportunities for paying guests to shoot deer and grouse just like any old fashioned estate. But there the similarity ends. Today, Glen Feshie is being managed towards a vision, a vision of stewardship, inward investment, local employment and public interest. This vision is delivering tree regeneration without fences and allowing for the development of a natural tree line. It is welcoming to all who take responsible access into the glen. It maintains, and landscapes the foot paths along with the few hill tracks that are necessary for management.

The result is an estate that matches and possibly out performs any government owned land that I can think of, especially in terms of attracting private inward investment, delivering conservation benefit and generating income.

I respect that the results we see here today have come from a visionary land owner who was willing to put his head above the parapet and never sought recognition. It is my belief that if we recognise leaders who are willing to change, others will follow.

Red deer and fencing

Finally, and without apology, I would like to speak about the management of red deer and the regeneration of trees without fences.

Those who said it wasn’t possible spoke loudly, and those with a vested interest in managing the land for the benefit of the few, still do.

I suspect that the reality is that those who objected never doubted that trees would grow or that deer numbers could effectively be reduced, but rather they realised it would be a long costly road and one they didn’t relish having to travel themselves or indeed could not afford to travel. Controlling deer numbers at low levels is costly and requires resources including young fit men. However, it also presents the opportunity for marketing an activity that is essential for protecting our wildland and one that requires greater levels of skill from both the stalker and the client.

The sad fact, witnessed throughout Scotland today, is that in many areas fencing deer out of young native woodland has become a way to maintain easier stalking opportunities and to protect established relationships and social networks. In effect many deer fences are built to protect the interests of the few.

In the context of red deer and of Scotland I see this as a major injustice. If people wish to manage land exclusively for the benefit of the few without regard to the wider public interest then they will never have my support. To those who argue that fences are required to make sport shooting economically viable I would simply say that you are inviting society to question the legitimacy of your ownership model – one that places trophy stags higher than the long term interest of the public and the planet.

But if you must fence then it is my view you should, at your own cost, erect high boundary fences to keep your deer in. This is “not natural”, but then what is natural about maintaining deer at artificially high densities for the benefit of a few?

Higher densities help maximize the sporting opportunities for a few but they also increase the numbers of deer that die in winter from lack of food and shelter. Owners tend to distance themselves from this responsibility claiming that deer are wild animals for which they cannot be held entirely responsible. As it stands that is indeed the law. However the decision to have high numbers of red deer on the hill and the decision not to provide native woodland for shelter remain unequivocally the management choice made by owners.

The result is that, on what we have come to call “traditional sporting estates,” most owners receive the benefit of income from shooting red deer without either accepting effective responsibility for their welfare in winter, or having true regard to a wider public interest. “Traditional sporting estates” cannot stand on the moral high ground of estate ownership as they have tried to claim for over the last 200 years. Rather they embody the selfish greed of a Victorian era, outdated and ludicrous.

The moral high ground of the future will be for those who wish to hunt deer in a natural environment, free of fences, where deer have access to the food and shelter they require; where there is a natural tree line and the public are welcomed and give recognition freely for a job well done.

These are the “sporting estates” of the future and I believe we are standing in Scotland’s first.

If a mechanism existed to formally recognise the results that have been delivered here, then I have no doubt that the positive outcomes would be replicated on other large estates in Scotland.

As I mentioned earlier not everyone is a visionary leader willing to challenge and make changes from the front. Most like to remain within the fold of the status quo until the route to the “safe ground” has been mapped out for them. The route I am outlining is a position of transparency and clarity where the public interest is genuinely delivered within a wide range of different approaches to management: a route that provides others with the confidence to break from the establishment.

In the 1980’s all the vegetation in this Glen, including the heather, was shaved bare by the incessant demand of hungry red deer. Today, following a few years of investment by a visionary, the natural processes that began 9000 years ago are giving revival to the land.

I have lived to see an impossible dream come true and that – is very special.

I sincerely thank Anders Povlsen, Thomas & Ali MacDonnell for hosting this day and for working so hard to make it very special and thank all the estate staff, whose efforts we now witness in this beautiful glen. A Natural Living Caledon Forest Treasure with all its associated life dating back to the ice age, approximately 30 tree generations. Here we have an example of how a sporting estate and the public interest can work together.

The challenge I leave behind for those who follow is to clarify the vision, devise a method of formal recognition respected by all sides in the debate, give rewards on delivery of results and seek change through empowerment.

The Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) is the leading educational charity in Scotland providing geographical understanding on contemporary issues which shape our future.

Established in 1884, it has a long and distinguished history of promoting an understanding of the natural environment and human societies, and how they interact. In addition to awarding prestigious medals RSGS seeks to make connections and contribute to scientific and policy debate, so as the years march on it is my hope RSGS along with others will help provide the motivation required to make “a vision”, “formal recognition” and “empowerment” central parts of public policy.

It is an honour to be asked to accept the Patrick Geddes Medal and I am delighted that Glen Feshie was chosen as the venue.

Patrick Geddes, biologist, sociologist, geographer, philanthropist and pioneering town planner was born in Ballater 1854. He was well known for innovative thinking and promoting the idea that physical geography, market economies and anthropology are

inseparable interwoven structures, akin to a flower

He was famous for, amongst many things, being critical of thinking that focused on single elements. In 1917 he commented that

Each of the various specialists remains too closely concentrated upon his single specialism, too little awake to those of the others. Each sees clearly and seizes firmly upon one petal of the six-lobed flower of life and tears it apart from the whole.”

I think the concept of formal recognition for land management that delivers on an agreed long term vision chimes well with Patrick Geddes’s approach and I hope my career has contributed in some small way to increasing the value we place on our people and our natural resources.

It is with pleasure that I accept the Patrick Geddes Medal in Glen Feshie.

Thank you.

Dick Balharry MBE

Glen Feshie 18 April 2015

25 Comments

  1. A great loss to his family and Scotland.

    Reply

  2. Very, very sad news. A great loss to his family, us, and in a beautiful irony, on Earth Day, to the Earth. She has lost a great champion. A truly great, inspirational, and an Honour to have known person. R.I.P.

    Reply

  3. Catherine Christie

    I am a born Scot, now reside in USA, but my love of Scotland never ceases.
    Thank you for sending this wonderful article, truly opened my eyes for the need for land management.
    What a wonderful man he was and is just about my age.
    He is off to tend the forests, etc in heaven.
    Bless him and bless his family.

    Catherine Christie
    Arroyo Grande, California

    Reply

  4. I spent 3 years volunteering at both Creag Meagaidh & Beinn Eighe over a decade ago now. Although then familiar with the often crude execution of ‘Traditional sporting estate’ model, the philosophy and concept inherent at both Reserves was more than a breath of fresh air for me.

    I only had the opportunity to meet Dick twice, at each reserve, yet on each occasion I remember his vision and passion with fondness.

    In so many ways, it is very reassuring to know that the visionaries who bring about change may have considered themselves outwith ‘The establishment’ yet their truest legacy is for their lessons taught become our curriculum for the next stage.

    A wonderful man sorely missed.

    Reply

  5. Mary V. Armstrong

    Pity Dick never made it to Glentrool & the Galloway Hills in time to appreciate, influence, rescue & re-instate the rich legacy of evolved landscape, embracing the socio-cultural built & natural heritage of its open shepherded hills & glens… before the most irresponsible absentee landlords in the UK,…. the Forestry Commission.et al…, laid down their heavy indelible footprint to ravage our fragile earth, erase evidence of Europe’s greatest civilisation inherent in our archaeology… flout our hefted hill sheep, goats & deer from roaming “free”; to finally cast aside any LOCAL people too…..ALL IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST ?

    Reply

  6. A heroic life, cut far too short.

    Reply

  7. I have known Dick for many years through work and he line-managed me back in the 1980’s. I looked up to him all my working life as a model for, not just good sensible conservation, but also his independent mind and way of thinking. We have perhaps lost a great person and charterer, but his legacy will remain and hopefully some of the visions he had will come to fruit in the future; I certainly hope so. Thank you Dick for who you were.

    Reply

  8. I only met Dick once when he gave a talk, but he left me with a permanently increased distaste for fencing.

    Thanks for publishing this paper, and I second the remarks of all the above.

    Ed Iglehart

    Reply

  9. Lisa Schneidau

    Thank you for publishing this paper. I’m heartened to read that he was straight-talking to the last!

    Dick Balharry was a great inspiration during my formative years in conservation, and I am sorry to hear of his passing. I hope that others in Scotland will now take up his challenge. It’s certainly given me food for thought for conservation here in Devon!

    Thank you Dick.

    Reply

  10. I hope the Royal Scottish Geographical Society have taken note of Dick’s call for a system of formal recognition of good practice in estate management.

    Reply

  11. I didn’t know Dick Balharry but heard him speak once a few years back and read the fascinating book he co-wrote on the history of the Being Eighe nature reserve. He will be a great loss to conservation management in Scotland.

    Looking at the photo at the top of his post I see Anders Povlsen among the group honouring him. At one level, Scotland’s second biggest private landowner represents everything that is wrong with landownership in Scotland. However the fact that he has bought into a more environmentally sustainable vision of land management is a huge achievement for Dick Balharry and others who have been fighting against the traditional model for decades.

    Reply

  12. If anders polsen is a vision of the future, god help us all.
    All the sporting estates should be dismantled asap. and re opened to people.
    Canada is the place to shoot genuinely wild animals, and possibly to be killed by them. It all adds to the fun.

    Reply

    • You say that hector but if the Povlsens of this world aren’t going to pay for all this, then who is? The £4m a year they’re estimating to raise from sporting rates isn’t going to cover it and in times of austerity, I can’t see the taxpayer stepping up to fund the balance.

      Apart from that, very refreshing to see Dick Balharry making positive suggestions for change rather than just slagging people off which is what 99% of the land reform “debate” consists of.

      Reply

      • Scotland doesnt need anders polsen or any other billionaire playboy .
        If he got his way, he would empty scotland of people completely.

        Reply

  13. drennan watson

    I have studied landuse in a range of European countries and, Regarding Hector’s point that we don’t need Anders Poulsen and whether we need him what I find is that, with incoming landowners, you also import the culture of their society. Arab landowners tend to introduce a paternal culture. The purchasers of estates who made their millions in the City of London arrive with a capitalist culture with its focus on status and their own interest(Look at Upper Glen Esk). Danish culture has a strong sense of “civitas” the common weal and our duty to it. That’s why most of the windfarms are community owned, why the Nazis never got hold of Danish jews etc. I think Anders Poulsen imported Danish culture and behind Dick’s speech was the need to have that sense of civitas in our approach to landuse. The recent book by and American, “Getting to Denmark” is about this. Mind you – we would not be permitted to buy up large areas of land in Denmark.

    Reply

    • A good point, anders polson is not the worst, but the fundamental point is that i cannot go to denmark and buy one acre, never mind 200,000 acres.
      4,000 acres is enough hill land for anyone, scottish people have been barred from ownership for too long already.

      Reply

      • drennan watson

        Yes Hector – there should be more community landownership for a start. When I see the mistakes made on Cairn Gorm by the HIDB/HIE you realise that one effect of barring local people from owning land is the loss of the knowledge and experience you find in people who live in the Alps – where they have mountain communities who have owned and managed their land for generations. We don’t have mountain communities in Scotland. We just have communities who happen to live in mountains – that somebody else owns. Look why we do not have an indigenous Scottish highland tradition of mountain guides like they have in the Alps. When climbers first went to the Alps, they asked the farmers to help guide them but the farmers never went up that far and said try the foresters who said they didn’t go up that far either – try the hunters who go after ibex and chamois. From that they developed their guiding tradition. Anyone asking “hunters” in the Scottish highlands (landowers/stalkers/keepers) would be told they were trespassing and disturbing the deer. So on tradition developed for this and other reasons.

        Reply

        • In scotland you would be lucky to find a farmer, and all the foresters are bussed in and bussed out.
          Laird lives in london, estate office in edinburgh,
          Local knowledge all gone

          Reply

          • And this last winter just proves your point in my area. Small and large landowners who are resident all year round are busy now removing the huge amounts of windblown timber while the absent landowners who “s forests are run by foresters are leaving it all to rot which I suppose is good for the local ecology.

  14. Doug McGregor

    Andy, Now that we have a overwhelming Scottish mandate for change , I hope the SNP proposals for land reform are enthusiastically pursued. A Tory government will be unlikely to interfere in these reforms as that would display their self-interest too blatantly.

    I look forward to your next blog being one that explains what progress we can make and the possible effects in both short and long-term. Some strong ,easy to understand arguments around land ownership in Scotland will help scots understand how crucial this subject is to their future.
    Best regards.

    Reply

    • I thought Scots already understood how crucial land ownership was to their future. The suggestion they may not and need coaching with some “easy to understand” arguments from Andy Wightman speaks volumes about the state of the land reform so-called “debate”.

      Reply

  15. Doug McGregor

    I am pleased you dislike my suggestion , it demonstrates I am on the right track.

    Reply

  16. Doug,
    No you are on the wrong track. What is required is information so that we can have informed discussion…not arguments from one side only. it is unfortunate that when asked for information to back up statements/claims some people refuse to provide this.

    Reply

  17. Snow

    What statements / claims are you referring to ?.

    Reply

  18. Doug McGregor

    Am I allowed on your track? Hundreds of years of discussion and we’re still feudal , that is the fact of the matter.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.