Authentic Voices

This week’s offering has totally contrasting voices and outlooks dealing with entirely separate subjects but linked inevitably by political change. I’ve been after Andy Wightman for a while because he was the first voice I ever heard talking sanely about who owns Scotland. I lived as a boy in the Borders where there was and to a degree still is a reverence for the aristocrat and the landowning classes. ‘It’s aye been’, as they will tell you.


You could hardly walk the river, fish or deviate from the roads around Selkirk without intruding on somebody’s property although because of the ancient status of Royal Burgh the town owns land to this day which is common. Our Common Riding is just that – touring the boundaries to see they are intact.

We were never far from the doleful influence of private owners though either in the Haining estate – now donated to the town – or up the Yarrow Valley where it seemed every pheasant, trout and river track belonged to the Duke of Buccleuch.

I interviewed the previous Duke for the Glasgow Herald and wrote a piece questioning why one man could hold so many acres, forests, hills, buildings and people’s lives in his hand. The result was that when the article appeared, he tried to have me sacked.

Andy is great value. He is one of the great Scots – erudite and committed – and, like me, left school after his Highers.

Amanda is out and about as usual challenging people about their views, this week younger Scotland.


And for sheer heartbreaking horror listen to Julie Webster tell the story of Maryhill Food Bank, hear her travails in the Benefits Office, the abuse from staff, the effect of being sanctioned and how sometimes people come in and tear the lid off food to eat on the spot. This is Scotland in the raw. If you think this is civilised, vote No and p;rove you couldn’t care less for your fellow Scot. Give it a try at

And let us know what you think through the reply on the website and follow us on Twitter at bateman_podcast.



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11 thoughts on “Authentic Voices

  1. For a meeting of Radical Independence Dumfries and Galloway in Sanquhar- another area owned by the duke of Buccleuch – I traced the history of the lands owned by Scotland’s largest landowner all the way back to the 12th century. Plus a bit of more recent history on coal and lead mining thrown in. The talk is posted on our blog

  2. Andy Wightman doesn’t care about Scottish identity or Scottish sovereignty.

  3. Bowls Scotland have complained to the BBC for cutting short coverage of the final when they were on their way to a Gold against Malaysia in favour of a preliminary Hockey match featuring England. In support of Bowls Scotland I have sent the following complaint to the BBC.

    “Scotland were homing in on a gold medal against Malaysia in the bowling when the BBC cut the coverage and moved onto showing the preliminary hockey match showing England. Given this was a final featuring a win for the host nation, Scotland, I find it strange that the BBC switched to the early stages of another sport. I find it hard for the BBC to justify this other than bias in favour of England. Not only are the majority of the presenters English, with only one presenter Scottish, the BBC are also covering the events as if they are the host nation ie. covering anything with England first. Didn’t it occur to you that it would have been more respectful to Scotland to have had Scottish presenters. As a Scottish licence payer I am very disappointed.”

    Please support Bowls Scotland by complaining to the BBC. Thanks.

  4. Elizabeth Fairgrieve

    The BBC know exactly what they are doing. They do it to provoke.

  5. On all the approaches to the town of Inveraray can now be seen prominent, professionally produced, field posters suggesting that “we” are proud to be Scots but “delighted” to be TOGETHER.
    It is not really surprising that the local landowner is a proud SCOTBUT and an enthusiast for the status quo which serves him and his family very well. He is unlikely to be using the local foodbank and would not be expected to be looking to support the grass roots movement to make Scotland a fairer and more democratic country. In the present climate he is entitled to his view and the freedom to express it in this manner but I wonder if such action is not a little tactless and self serving?

  6. Well he has lost my business as I had been thinking of a visit to the George Hotel in Inveraray for lunch.

  7. Thanks Derek,

    Would love to have heard more from Andy Wightman – but inspired enough to go and buy his book now.

    The marginal seats in the UK i was aware of, but the idea that national political policy can be so heavily influenced by such a small section of the UK populace is worrying.

    Could it be argued that Scotland in voting Labour so consistently over the decades in General Elections has effectively silenced our political voice as it’s now taken for granted ?

  8. The Scottish Parliament may currently have all the powers necessary for A Wightman’s vision of land reform. The problem is that these powers would be removed the moment that anybody tried to use them. Just as the HofL stripped us of powers over renewable energy they’d do the same to protect themselves over land reform. Until we are free from their influence proper reform of land ownership and stewardship in Scotland just can’t happen.

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