Scotland will very soon be ours once again. If we are to be a strong, confident and enterprising world nation we desperately need to be free in conviction and honest with ourselves.

sideactivity are of no doubt all Scots are made of the right stuff; independent of mind and passionately visionary. We see this every day in our rural township. But we desperately need open and expansive debate from every view-point. With this in mind, it may surprise the Scottish Government that, as well as Scotland, we here in the crofting counties have our own first-hand experience of being ruled by a system that is foreign to our universal freedoms and civil liberties?

So, we (at sideactivity) humbly and respectfully submit our view-point for the consideration of the Land Review Reform Group.

Those who live on the land and have been connected to the land for centuries should have the right of determination to act as they see fit in a capitalist country, rather than face the whims of an authoritative body whose sole aim is not, as is often claimed, to be the true protectors of our culture, but to force us to be tied, under threat of eviction, to a system which suffers the population to toil under the ever increasing burdens, restrictions and enforcements of a living museum. [last paragraph; ‘The making of the crofting community’ James Hunter]

As crofters ourselves we earnestly believe the people of the Crofting Counties of Rural Scotland should be encouraged to buy their land/crofts as is already the case, and once bought, they should be designated as being removed from the legal definition of crofting…? Then, if they are single-mindedly drawn to crofting, as we in sideactivity are, they should be given every encouragement to receive grants just as any other farmer in the UK.

Surely it is dependant upon the individual free will as to whether the citizens of rural townships of Highland Scotland should be a bricklayer, dentist, fisherman, architect or anything else they see fit. And, not to be locked into a system that forces them in only one direction, under threat of being throw off their croft by the Crofting Commission. Surely townspeople should always be encouraged to engage in anything to improve their economic circumstances, and in the mean time if they want to be crofters – then be crofters. Although, not everyone who lives in the Highlands wants to be a crofter? In fact, most are not?

Sideactivity are all crofters from Skye. We love being crofters. But we all feel very passionately that our fellow townspeople are being forced into crofting?

The shucksmith report highlighted issues that would seek to strengthen crofts; not people. Crofts don’t define our way of live, people do. Townspeople. Thousands of them. Yet they were not asked. Crofters were asked. Townspeople’s views were not sought.

To say this was a thorough report into the grievances of crofting way of life would be deluded. The true nub of the question became super-imposed by focusing on the efficacy of the crofting system, whilst claiming to strengthen our ‘culture’. But our culture is the people, not an agrarian system..?

This land is our land, the peoples, and our ancestors land, we will defiantly defend it from all-comers. And, that includes any over-politicised, self-important authoritative bodies, such as the Crofting Commission, the Landed Elites of Scotland and the Legislatures, that believe they are acting in the peoples best interests?

Crofting is fine for us crofters; we all get grants that help us survive. But wouldn’t we get agricultural grants to preserve/steward the land even if we weren’t in a fragile crofting area?

Many of our fellow townspeople don’t choose to croft. Should they be punished for that? Some are teachers, one’s an award winning architect… shouldn’t they decide what’s best for them not the government, landlord or Commission?

1. Abolish this soviet style agrarian system, that is surely the true reason why the land of our fathers is persistently and widely labelled as fragile.
2. Cut out the swathes of red that cover the political map of the highlands from the Great Glen – north westwards and…
3. Free our fellow townspeople from a life of burdens. ‘leave a man alone to his fate’, said Burns

Cement your place in history alongside Angus Stewart of Braes and Burns himself; the two men quoted at the inauguration of the Scottish Parliament. Do this for Angus and Rabbie and for Scotland.

Pass a law tomorrow that hands over crofts to their rightful stewards; the ones that have toiled for generations without autonomy. Give them all rights to their crofts – wholly free of mineral burdens, etc.

Give the people of the highlands their universal rights and leave them to their ‘fate’. Stop meddling. Encourage pluralism of aspiration. These handouts and conditions taint us and suspend us in formaldehyde like lab specimens. They choke us. This land is not fragile.

‘Millions’ are earned here – in the heart of Scotland. From fish-farming, forestry, whiskey, renewables, hydro, land prices, houses prices and the majority of it is invariably syphoned off to international corporations around the world. Scotland is rich. And rural Scotland is richer still. But above all that, our people are our priceless asset. Let them share in the wealth of this great nation and the wealth of their own culture, unfettered by burdens. Only then will there be true reform.