Andy Wightman would be a genuine loss to Holyrood - Brian Wilson

I was sorry to see Andy Wightman parting company with the Scottish Greens, not out of any sympathy for the Scottish Greens but because he is one of the few MSPs who would be a genuine loss to the Scottish Parliament.

Andy Wightman has quit the Greens
Andy Wightman has quit the Greens

There are precedents for independents finding their way to Holyrood and he may go down that route. If successful, it would make him even more useful since, himself excepted, the Greens have shown little interest in Scotland’s land issue over the past decade.

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When it comes to land use, public policy continues to be made by landowners rather than any democratic process. For example, we hear much about “re-wilding”, over vast areas, as if it was an undisputed good. As far as I know, Holyrood has never discussed “re-wilding” in order to compare it, for example, with “re-populating”. As far as the current incumbents are concerned, the usefulness of the “land issue” began and ended with rhetoric about the wickedness of it all, preferably with the word “English” thrown in. Since in power, the issue has become a non-issue. Yet there is no subject on which devolution could make more difference - if there was any interest.

To challenge the power of land ownership, you have to know its provenance and the law which surrounds it. You must be free of the assumption that Scotland’s status quo is some sort of God-given legacy which decreed that vast acreages would lie derelict, devoid of people and devoted to unproductive purposes.

Andy Wightman ticks all of these boxes. It would a metaphor on 21st century Scottish political priorities if he disappeared because of a dispute about gender recognition.