Doesn’t bode well really

SNP ministers have admitted they do not know if their controversial land reform plans will damage food production despite warnings they risk breaking up family farms.

The Scottish Government confirmed it has conducted no analysis of the impact of their radical proposals on the output of the country’s food sector despite stating it is worth £790 million per year.

In the long term who holds land, who can inherit it (by right that is, not choice) is one of the most important determinants of whether land holdings are of an economic size.

Critics have also warned that the SNP’s plans to overhaul the law of succession, giving a greater number of relatives a right to inherit a share of family farm, would cause some to be broken up into holdings too small to be economically viable.

Yep. One can argue, sa Napoleon did, that offering all children an equal right to real property will break up the vast estates. And if that’s what you want to do it will. But the same rights will lead, over time, to the smaller holdings being broken up as well until everyone’s got a half acre and the only possible crop is potatoes. As happened in Ireland early 1800s. And it was the British that imposed those inheritance laws in order to break up the Catholic estates too.

The SNP might have some romantic idea of crofters everywhere. Or an anti-elistist idea of breaking up Buccleugh’s estate or summat. But farming’s really not going to be more efficient if a few generations down the line everyone ends up with a veg patch and room for a pig.

16 thoughts on “Doesn’t bode well really”

  1. Scotland’s GNP is about GBP150bn. Even if this reform literally Zimbabwe-fies the agricultural sector and reduces its value to zero, that doesn’t matter in the slightest – it’s a one-off 0.5% hit to the economy.

  2. I have a surveyor’s drawing of the parceling of land in my village after a few generations of Code Napoléon, circa 1960.

    It looks like medieval strip farming, with tiny strips.

    They had to re-parcel the land since it was ridiculous – the surveying effort took years, just for a small village.

  3. It rather started off badly, with the construction of the Scottish Parliament Building.

    Increasing from the first realistic budget of £109M to a final construction cost of (allegedly) £414M.

    Reality need not interfere with these peoples’ whimsies.

  4. Looks like SNP is going to give Tammany Hall a run for its money for wasting public money. At least the guys at Tammany Hall are honestly corrupt; they’re in it for themselves. SNP is doing it for the Greater Good(tm), thus doing it with a clear conscience.

  5. It’s the Green dream: instead of one person in a hundred working in agriculture, make it five or ten people. It creates jobs, don’t you see?

  6. Most peasants try to leave the land if there is a modern economy within the vicinity, parcel of land or not. Of course if the Scots removed planning restrictions and allowed people to do whatever with their patch, something useful might evolve.

  7. Bloke in Germany

    Except today land is tradeable and either one beneficiary buys the other out or all beneficiaries sell out to another buyer. In the past peasants didn’t have any money at all, and the Irish Catholic landlords basically didn’t either.

    You can prevent the strip thing by charging huge fees to divide inherited properties (they do the same thing in reverse in Germany to discourage what the authorities believe to be the pernicious “luxury” of knocking two apartments into one).

  8. I’ve said it before…

    The SNP are a single issue party who will do anything to achieve their aim. They set policies according to which little group of proto-nationalists they are trying to appeal to that day.

    The land reforms they are proposing appeal to those still trying to get revenge for the Clearances.

    Tomorrow it will be a naked tax bribe to some Scottish industry.

    I saw a quote from a senior Scottish civil servant about John Swinney, the SNP Finance Minister: “John would live in a cave if it meant “freedom”.”

  9. I thought you could leave your possessions to whoever you wanted to? Disinherit your black sheep child if you so chose? Leave it all to the cats home? Are the SNP proposing to abolish freedom of legacy?

  10. Usually, but not invariably, spelt Buccleuch.

    “thought you could leave your possessions to whoever you wanted to?” Not in Scotland; nor, nowadays, in England either.

  11. There was a reason the English aristocracy practised male primogeniture for a thousand years. Hence the preponderance of second sons being curates etc.. pace several Jane Austen novels, they had to do something.

    If you read the companion book to Downton Abbey it’s actually quite a faithful representation of the end times of the great families.

  12. Peter MacFarlane

    It doesn’t matter whether it “works” or not;

    1. It pisses off people generally regarded as “English”, ie all significant landowners or proprietors of significant businesses, and
    2. The party is always right.

    Never be the first to stop clapping!

  13. John Miller: The original estimate of the Scots parliament building was £10 mil to £40 mil. In itself a suspiciously large margin of error right at the start.

    Don’t kid yourself about Scotland–it is one of the most corrupt countries there is–certainly at the higher level. Neil Craig was the expert on this but he seems to have dropped out of sight. He was a UKIP man up there so maybe he is trying to keep a low profile.

    The original Forth Bridge cost–updated to todays money–£320 million. The estimate for rebuilding is £2200 million–8 times the cost. When materials, tools and technology are better and cheaper now than then. The cost of a tunnel instead of a bridge is even better. Norwegian engineers have driven over 700 miles of road tunnel thro’ granite linking up the islands in their northern archipelago. They can do a mile of road tunnel for approx. £4 million. Ten miles of road tunnel beneath the Forth = £50 million approx. Our own dear engineers estimate £6600 million to do the same job.

    The SNP need to be brought to heel. With a toerag like BlueRinse on the job there is zero chance of that.

  14. Oh bloody Hell.

    One less of the good guys. He will be sorely missed.

    Why is it that the scum seem to be near immortal as well as immoral.

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