Our Land is a campaign coalition created and supported by Common Weal, Women for Independence, Scottish Land Action Movement, Radical Independence, Global Justice Now Scotland, 38 Degrees Scotland and Land reform campaigners Lesley Riddoch and MSP Andy Wightman. The festival launches each year on the 12 August to tie in with the ‘Glorious Twelfth’, the traditional start of the grouse shooting season while the campaign for land reform is ongoing.
The New Campaign
Our Land 2016 was a festival to celebrate our connections with Scottish land – rural and urban – and our forests, lochs, rivers and seas. Our Land events throughout August 2016 highlighted the enduring problems that arise from unaffordability and unavailability – problems that won’t change fast despite the recent Land Reform Act (March 2016).
Last year, Our Land activists urged parliament and government to ‘#bebrave’ in legislating for land reform. And SNP rank and file delegates at the autumn conference told the leadership to do exactly that. Over-timid proposals came back a bit stronger.
But we need to go further, and faster. Scotland belongs to us all – Our Land aims to make that a reality.
Like in 2015, this year we had speaking events across Scotland to showcase local land campaigns, where DTAS explained what levers the Land Reform and Community Empowerment Acts give communities for change – and the campaign set out the next 5 key demands of the Our Land campaign for the new Parliament. Keynote speakers included the newly elected Green MSP Andy Wightman, land reform campaigner and Blossom author Lesley Riddoch and the Director of Common Weal Robin McAlpine – musicians supporting Our Land include Tommy (Reckless) Mackay.
The five demands are
Transparency: everyone should know who owns land
Productivity: policy should encourage land to be used productively
Affordability: tax should help make land more affordable
Availability: more people should have more chance of buying more land
Accountability: public land should be used for public good