From my column in The Scotsman today.
"IF I told you an absentee laird controls half of Scotland's sovereign territory you would be surprised. If you learned this individual collects rents from those using the land, but expects Scots to fund its maintenance, surprise might turn to anger..."
It is, of course, the Crown Estate, which claims to own half Scotland's sovereign territory (it doesn't, the land is public) including the seabed. A House of Commons Select Committee has ruled that the Crown Estate lands are the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament and we could pass a law repatriating the revenue they earn. The money stayed here up until 1832, and Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man have got their's back. It is not insubstantial, given the cash likely to be generated by marine energy. The land reform campaigner Andy Wightman says the coalition government could insert a line into The Scotland Act ensuring the revenue is repatriated. But will those highland and island Liberal Democrats live up to their radical heritage?
There's more in the column, so read on here