Land reform is as relevant to the centre of Edinburgh as to remote parts of Scotland.
That is the message from leading land reform campaigner, Andy Wightman, as he addresses a public meeting organized by Edinburgh Green Party this week (Thursday 25 November).
Mr Wightman, who lives in the city’s Inverleith area, has long been one of the drivers behind the land reform movement in Scotland which, over the last 20 years, has seen a number of communities take ownership of land, usually in remote or island areas.? However, he insists that the real test of land and property reform will be when it starts to make a difference in urban areas.
In his latest book, “The Poor had no Lawyers”, Mr Wightman accuses the city authorities of mismanaging Edinburgh’s historical common good assets, while also taking a side-swipe at the Edinburgh legal establishment for its complicity in controversial land dealings across the centuries.
“In Scotland’s towns and cities is to be found the oldest form of common land dedicated to public use, in medieval burgh charters. Over the centuries, however, much of this has disappeared through nepotism and corruption. In addition, the management of public land is increasingly being handed over to unaccountable public/private partnerships and if the Long Leases Bill currently in Parliament is not amended, Edinburgh’s citizens will lose their most valuable piece of common land – the Waverley Market. Land reform is long overdue in urban areas.”
Alison Johnstone, the Greens’ leading candidate to take over from Robin Harper as Lothian Green MSP next year, said:
Andy has done us all a great service in lifting the lid on the great historical wrongs of how Scotland and Edinburgh is owned as it is.? Some of these wrongs continue to the present day.? If I am lucky enough to be elected as Lothian MSP next year I will take with me the conviction that land and property reform is unfinished business.? And I will look to core Green policies, such as Land Value Taxation, as a means of redressing some balance.”
The event “So what has land reform got to do with Edinburgh?” takes place at the Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace on Thursday 25 November at 7.30pm.? The event is open to all members of the public and is