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Thread: Andy Wightman

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Default Andy Wightman

    I have been taking a look at what is going on with Andy Wightman lately, and so far, I like what I see. In the past I have read his book, The Poor Had No Lawyers: Who Owns Scotland and How They Got it, which is well worth a read.

    There was an article recently in The Press and Journal, which explains a lot about him and what he stands for....Land and Freedom: Why no one owns Andy Wightman.

    Some highlights from the above mentioned article:-

    The divisive debate over transgender rights, led to Mr Wightman’s departure from the Scottish Greens on a point of principle. He had wanted to vote for the amendment, which aimed to give sexual assault victims the right to choose the sex, rather than just the gender, of the medical professional who examined them. But he was told it was a “transphobic amendment”, and that “disciplinary action would follow, and it could lead to his deselection or expulsion if he didn't follow the Party line”. So in the end he resigned, and still gets a lot of backlash because of this.

    He has now decided to stand in the regional list in the Highlands and Islands as an Independent candidate, as he is moving to Lochaber to be near his mother, and believes people should live in the place they represent. "It’s the only effective way you can operate."

    During his forestry studies at Aberdeen University his attention turned to the controversy over forest planting in part of the Flow Country in Caithness and Sutherland.

    Conifers were being planted in a tax concession scheme created by Margaret Thatcher’s government, with investments written off against personal income tax. It attracted celebrity investors such as Cliff Richard, Terry Wogan and Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins.

    He believed if there is going to be new forestry, new jobs and new industries, then it should be local communities, local famers, local landowners, local crofters doing it.

    “That was the point that it crystalised to me that it was important to bring land back into greater local control, by which I mean not just ownership but the whole governance about determining how it was to be used.”

    After writing the above mentioned books, community groups across Scotland were calling on him for his assistance with various local battles, as were political parties seeking to fine tune their policies on land reform.

    Mr Wightman later joined the Greens, although he continued advising other parties. It was only in the aftermath of the 2014 independence referendum that he considered standing for election.

    “I’m not a nationalist. but I’m a profound supporter of having more say and all the rest of it,” he said.

    After his election as a Green MSP in 2016, Mr Wightman soon realised that “unless you are in government, you are not driving the agenda, you are actually quite reactive”. He said: “So what you need to do is, pick up two or three things – I mean as well as doing all the work you need to do in committees etc., – but pick up two or three things that you want to pursue, and campaign on. Which is what I did with the whole short-term lets stuff, which was affecting Edinburgh very badly, and we made progress on that.”

    He also encountered a familiar problem when he arrived at Holyrood. ‘Shocking ignorance’

    “There were meetings, where I would sit down with organisations, I won’t name any of them, but who you would expect to know quite a bit about how the political process worked, but were shockingly ignorant,” he said. “I thought, well, how are we going to make a success of democratic institutions like the parliament, unless people understand how things work? We lack political literacy, I call it, in this country, and one of the reasons for that is that we don’t have enough democracy. The idea that Highland Council is a local council, when Ballachulish and John O’Groats are in your same local council, it’s just utter nonsense.”

    One of Mr Wightman’s solutions to the problem, which he admitted might not be popular with everyone, would be to create far more local authorities.

    “Generally speaking, I’m going to make a big pitch in this campaign that whether it is on health, or transport, or the environment, decisions taken in Edinburgh, or indeed Inverness, should be taken much, much closer to home. We need more local democracy, not less."

    In the next parliament, if elected, Mr Wightman promises to bring forward a “Land for the People Bill”, that aims to devolve powers over the foreshore of the Crown Estate and also introduce new controls on the spread of holiday homes in rural areas.

    He said he also hoped to unite the 15 MSPs for the Highlands and Islands in a new “caucus” that would fight for the region’s interests at Holyrood.

    There is a lot more to the man, and the member's bills he has previously worked on. He certainly ticks a lot of the boxes I am looking for in an MSP.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004


    I noticed that he resigned from the Greens and he was part of the joint parliamentary committee into Sturgeon's handling of the Alex Salmond enquiry, surprisingly he sided with the tories and Labour in that Sturgeon had handled it badly. A later judicial review exonerated Sturgeon to say she didn't break the ministerial code.
    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    Courage to change the things I can,
    And wisdom to know the difference.

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