Dialect – Andy Wightman discusses his book, ‘The Poor Had No Lawyers’
Crofting, land & wealth swallowed up by faceless corporations
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How we organise our housing is a disaster – but who benefits?
Who was responsible for the sub-prime mortgage crisis??
Who has made a fortune out of the impoverishment of others?
It’s related to the way we hold land and other countries like Germany do it much much better.
Scottish writer Andy Wightman helps Tony Gosling and Martin Summers to get to grips with the effect of land tenure on the modern world
AUDIO: Andy Wightman discusses his book ‘The Poor Had No Lawyers’
Who Owns Scotland? How did they get it? What happened to all the common land in Scotland? Has the Scottish Parliament made any difference? Can we get our common good land back? In ‘The Poor Had No Lawyers’, Andy Wightman, author of ‘Who Owns Scotland’, updates the statistics of landownership in Scotland and takes the reader on a voyage of discovery into Scotland’s history to find out how and why landowners got their hands on the millions of acres of land that were once held in common. He tells the untold story of how Scotland’s legal establishment and politicians managed to appropriate land through legal fixes. From Robert the Bruce to Willie Ross and from James V to Donald Dewar, land has conferred political and economic power. Have attempts to redistribute this power more equitably made any difference and what are the full implications of the recent debt fuelled housing bubble? For all those with an interest in urban and rural land in Scotland, The Poor Had No Lawyers provides a fascinating and illuminating analysis of one the most important political questions in Scotland – who owns Scotland and how did they get it?
Andy Wightman: The Poor Had No Lawyers – Who Owns Scotland (And How They Got It) (Birlinn)
A provocative book doesn’t hold back its criticism of how Scotland’s land have been divvied up by the rich and powerful.
A few years ago I was sitting next to a leading Scottish builder at a black tie function. He explained his work succinctly: “Any fool can build houses. Any fool can sell them…”
A fascinating book full of lot of analytical data. The author clearly knows his subject and as a Land Law practitioner I can see that Scotland has been very slow in registration of its Land Titles which has aided a minority to control large swathes of land. Compulsory Registration should be passed by the Scottish Parliament for all land in Scotland by a specific date. The author’s description of the Common Good Fund and the mismanagement of it by the Local Authorities makes interesting reading. The Burgh’s again typical of people’s greed.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is curious of what has been going on north of the border in relation to land ownership for the past 800 years.
Wightman is an expert on land ownership, but he and this book are about much more. In short, what he is addressing is how power is exercised in Scotland; in our past and to this day. The forces of reaction – from feudal barons to the present day ‘great and good’ constantly usurp others rights, taking from the commons and individuals.
And what Wightman beautifully challenges – in detail – is the Scots blindness to this because of our old comfort story of being an egalitarian nation. What this has masked is that Scots don’t want to face up to issues of power, privilege, abuse and exclusion. Yes we love going on about some mythical wrong done to a group in the far distant past, but real misuses of power – involving complexity, the abuse of the law and due process – well forget it.