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The Madness of Class

Under Scotland's Mental Health Act, someone with a mental illness can be detained against their will if a doctor and a mental health officer agree that they suffer from a mental disorder. This must be for the maximum benefit of the individual. It should also respect the wishes of their relatives or carer.

Lady Hamilton, wife of the Duke of Hamilton, said a psychiatrist had suggested they go to hospital to check the duke's medication and she was led to believe this would just be for a few days but after she filled in an admissions form she was told her husband had actually been sectioned for 28 days.

"I said, 'It's alright pet. You're here voluntarily, you can come home if you want to'. Then a voice behind said, 'No he can't. He's been sectioned for 28 days and he may not get out then'."

"I thought, if this can happen to the Duke of Hamilton, what chance has Joe Bloggs got?"

Lady Hamilton managed to have her husband discharge…

The Blue-Bloods of Scotland Mobilise

The Duke of Roxburghe and other members of the nobility have lobbied the government on its moves to help individuals and communities buy land which  has been in the hands of the aristocracy for generations. A Land Reform Review Group (LRRG) has been set up by the Scottish Government to examine ways of increasing community ownership of the land. A forthcoming review of the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act will look at granting an absolute right-to-buy for tenant farmers. That would give them the right to buy-out landowners, even if they are unwilling to sell.

The duke owns the Roxburghe Estate, an enterprise with a £10.1 million turnover with Floors Castle, near Kelso, at its heart  and includes the Roxburghe Hotel and a championship golf course.

 The Earl of Seafield at its head, warned against the “fragmentation” of the land and played the ecological environmental green card to justify his extensive ownership of land as of his shooting and hunting grouse moors were run naturally…

The poor once again pay the rich

The Duke of Roxburghe could net £1.5 million a year from a wind farm on the Lammermuir Hills. The Earl of Moray is estimated to receive £2 million a year from a wind farm near Stirling. The Earl of Glasgow could be earning upwards of £300,000 a year from turbines on his Kelburn estate. These hang-overs from our feudal past earn large sums by renting their land to wind-turbine energy firms whose wind farms are in turn subsidised by extra levies on ordinary electricity consumers.


Alison Elliot, chair of the Land Reform Review Group (LRRG), said the issue would be investigated amid concerns that aristocrats are benefiting from the renewables revolution while the poor grapple with fuel­poverty. Dr Elliot told Sir Robert Clerk of Penicuik, a consultant for Smith Gore and a landowner at the centre of a storm over plans for wind turbines on his estate: “Land is implicated in providing food, space for housing and in overcoming fuel poverty.“We are an energy rich country so why do we have fu…

Blue-Blood Feminism

Daughters of titled aristocrats are calling for a re-examination of inheritance rules amid claims the proposed change in succession lawswhich will allow a daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to become Queen would leave the gentry "two steps behind" the royal family with calls for the aristocracy to overhaul its own traditions to grant women equality with men by ending the rule of male primogeniture.

The anomaly was highlighted last year by Julian Fellowes, a life peer, who described it as “outrageous” that his wife Emma Kitchener’s family title will die out rather than pass to a female heir. The current Earl, Henry Herbert Kitchener, a descendant of Field Marshal Horatio Kitchener, is 92 and has no children. Emma Kitchener is his niece but, under the current practice, cannot inherit.

 Another victim of this sexual discrimination is Lady Clare Kerr whose  father, the Tory politician Michael Ancram, is the 13th Marquess of Lothian, but neither sh…

The Robber Barons

Scottish "noble" families have survived for centuries. In many cases these are people who gained control of large areas of the country by the lottery of inheritance. Often their fore bearers murdered and stole for their estates or were awarded land as payment from a monarch. In the early 1990s at the top of the aristocratic ladder were Britain's 24 Dukes and Duchesses and no fewer than eight of them (33%) were Scots. They were the Dukes of Hamilton, Argyll, Atholl, Buccleuch and Queensberry, Fife, Montrose, Roxburghe and Sutherland. Some of their titles predated the Union of 1707. Next are the Marquises, and again the proportion of Scots is high. Scotland in 1992 had only 9% of Britain's population but it had more than 25% of its Marquises, these being Aberdeen and Temair, Ailsa, Bute, Huntley, Linlithgow, Lothian, Queensberry, Tweedale and Zetland. Of the five women who are Countesses in their own right four are Scots: Dysart, Loudon, Mar and Sutherland. Of the 16 w…

Scots Land?

In Scotland's feudal system of land tenure all rights of ownership are vested in the Crown as Paramount Superior. All rights of land ownership are deemed to derive from the Crown which is the ultimate owner in Scotland. However, it is hard to believe in an advanced industrialised democracy that a natural asset as basic as land can still be largely controlled by a small band of aristocrats. Yet in modern day Scotland a system of land ownership which is feudal and hierarchical has remained substantially intact since the 11th century. A mere 579 private landowners own 50 percent of all land north of the border, giving Scotland the narrowest concentration of land wealth in the whole of Europe. Even in industrialised parts of the area such as the "Mid-Scotland and Fife" EU parliamentary constituency, a small group of private landowners and aristocrats still control much of the land. The aristocrats of the houses of Argyll, Buccleuch, Home, Roxburghe, Stair, Airlie, Lothian, …

The aristocracy keep control of Scotland

An earl will take over from a duke as president of one of Scotland’s major conservation charities. The 16th Earl of Lindsay will take on the role at the head of the National Trust for Scotland, which owns some of the nation’s top mountain estates. He will succeed the 10th Duke of Buccleuch.

The earl, James Randolph Lindesay-Bethune, educated at Eton and Edinburgh University, is currently chairman of the Scottish Agricultural College, United Kingdom Accreditation Service and the British Polythene Pension Scheme.

He is also a non-executive director at Scottish Resources Group and BPI, an associate director of the National Non-Food Crops Centre and a member of the advisory board of Business and a Sustainable Environment. From 1995 to 1997, he was the Conservative Scottish Minister with responsibility for agriculture, forestry, environmental protection, countryside, sustainable development and culture. He is also a vice-president of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and between …

one law for the poor , another for the rich

Ten years after legislation banned the blood-sport forever, fox-hunting still goes on.

The Protection of Wild Mammals (Scotland) Act was passed – in the teeth of furious opposition led by the Scottish Countryside Alliance – on 13 February, 2002. The legislation outlawed the hunting of wild mammals with dogs, but made some exceptions. It is legal to use dogs to flush a fox from cover in order for it to then be shot, so long as this is done as a form of pest-control. The act further states that no offence is committed if the dog kills the fox during the course of this activity, in other words if it was not the intention of the huntsman that the dogs should do so.

These loopholes have allowed fox hunting to continue in Scotland. Hunts now present themselves as pest-control operations offering a service to farmers. The packs of hounds, followed by riders, chase the fox towards waiting gunmen who attempt to shoot it. If the fox is killed by the hounds before it runs towards the guns then tha…

The Lairds of the land still rake it in

Scotland’s aristocrats are earning millions of pounds from windfarms on their estates , according to figures from the Renewable Energy Foundation, a charity that promotes sustainable development.

Fallago Rig in the Lammermuir Hills in the Borders, will earn landowner the Duke of Roxburghe £720,000 a year. In the course of the 25-year lifespan of the windfarm, the Duke of Roxburghe could earn something between £18 million and £62.5m.

Sir Alastair Gordon-Cumming will earn £435,000 from the 29 turbines on the Altyre estate near Forres in Moray.

The Earl of Seafield also has eight turbines on his estate near Banff in the north-east which are estimate to be able to earn him £120,000 annually.

The Earl of Moray receives £540,000 a year from 36 turbines at Braes O’Doune near Stirling.

The Guardians of the Countryside ?

Eggs are crushed, chicks trampled, nests smashed, baits poisoned, birds trapped and shot – and all to line the pockets of the landowners. Birds of prey are being routinely killed to protect the sporting estates of landowners – and perpetrators have tried to cover up evidence of their crimes, according to the Herald.

An authoritative new report for Government advisers shows thousands of rare and beautiful hen harriers are being illegally persecuted across huge swathes of the country. But publication of the report has been blocked by the landowning lobby. Another expert study, due to be unveiled in the next few weeks, suggests as many as 50 golden eagles are being illegally poisoned, shot or trapped every year in Scotland. This is far higher than previously suspected.

"It is the grouse industry that is responsible. They simply won’t tolerate birds of prey on grouse moors.” said Mark Rafferty, a former police officer who now investigates wildlife crime for the Scottish Soc…

The Lords on the Gravy Train

Instead of claiming what they are entitled to , those law-makers and upholders of law and order in the House of Lords are on the fiddle with their expenses .

Peers are exploiting an expenses loophole to claim a tax-free annual income of up to £48,000, it was claimed today . Parliamentary rules mean members of the House of Lords can claim back up to £308 a day for travel, meals and accommodation while performing their duties and is not eligible for tax.

However, under the system they do not have to submit receipts to prove their outlay.
It was reported that nearly two thirds of peers are automatically claiming the maximum amount nearly every time they visit the Lords , viewing it as a right .

Some 259 of the 550 Lords who applied for "day subsistence" - a £78.50 payment for meals and taxis - claimed the maximum amount at least 95 per cent of the time.
272 0f the 406 peers who claim "overnight subsistence" for hotels - worth £159.50 a day -claimed the maximum at least 95 …

No mourning here

One of Scotland's biggest landowners, the Duke of Buccleuch, has died .

As recently as 2005, the duke was believed to be Britain's biggest private landowner, owning 270,000 acres, mostly in the Borders.

The Sunday Times Rich List estimated his wealth at £85 million .

Born in 1923, the oldest son of the eighth duke - whom he succeeded in 1973 - Johnnie Buccleuch was educated at Eton and Oxford and became director of the Buccleuch Estates in 1949. He later became a Tory councillor in Roxburghshire and subsequently Tory MP for North Edinburgh. In 1978 he was appointed a Knight of the Order of the Thistle - the highest honour in Scotland.

He is succeeded by his eldest son, the Earl of Dalkeith.

Socialist Courier will definitely not be wearing black

Blue-blooded Door-to-Door Salesman

The Royal Family - Capitalism personified .

The Independent on Sunday interviewed Prince Andrew , second son of the Queen or "Air Miles Andy" as he is sometimes known as . He is presently employed as a "roving ambassador" for UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the government quango that lobbies on behalf of British business overseas and tries to attract foreign investment to the UK. In November, the former CBI director-general Sir Digby Jones was appointed business adviser to the Duke.

Lord Levene, chairman of Lloyd's of London, wrote personally to the Duke to thank him for helping the reinsurance market in obtaining a licence to operate in China. The Duke had met the vice-mayor of Shanghai and raised the issue.

The Doncaster-based furniture maker BLP also credits him with having helped in the lifting of unexpected tax duties on the new £35m factory it had built in China.

He can be relied on to deliver the official line. Asked whether it was right for the Government…