ARRAN Development Trust (ADT) has plans for an Arran Affordable Housing Fund to add to their fair share of national and local house-building cash (Here’s what locals are doing to tackle Arran’s housing crisis, Sep 26).

They hope for a non-confrontational approach which relies on “changes in policies and rules”. These will rely on our Scottish Government co-ordinating a range of departments to deliver. The Remote, Rural & Island Housing Action Plan is based on accessing housing land. To make real headway the big policy changes involve land reform.

The consultation on Land Reform in a Net Zero Nation closes on October 30. It includes identifying very large estates and insisting they produce monitorable and enforceable land management plans. On Arran for example, Forestry and Land Scotland, Dougarie and Arran Estates each cover more than 3,000 hectares, the proposed size for these management plans. So both public and private estates would be included.

Aspects of acceptable management could include just transition, community wealth-building, nurturing natural resources, wellbeing, food security and repopulation. Therefore, making land available for affordable housing has to be paramount. Changing the rules, as ADT is calling for, has to include public rights to access land at existing use value for affordable homes. This clearly rests on human rights that are applied in proportion. The landowners would not being expropriated, but in keeping with the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement – which is voluntary but proposed to become statutory – a key new clause will come into play so that “land ownership, management and use should deliver a wide range of social, environmental, economic and cultural benefits.”

This can liberate many areas which are under housing pressure. It would allow for small parcels of land to be made available at low prices, so reducing the added costs of remote rural and island barriers to passive house-building.

The SNP Conference in Aberdeen is set to debate this key concept on October 8. Additionally a fringe meeting titled “Land Reform – Build on the Bills” will allow greater debate that afternoon. Land reform interacts with so many aspects of life. These practical debates and responses to the current consultation will encourage the Scottish Government’s Land Reform Bill due in 2023 to meet these needs.

I believe that a ministerial task force to bring together all aspects of land use and management can achieve the greener, fairer Scotland we desire. As a joint proposer of the resolution, I hope the housing needs of Arran and so many other communities can be accelerated.

Rob Gibson
Evanton, Ross-shire

HAVING just read the lengthy article “A window on the Clearances” (Sep 26) I find it strange that three academics bemoan the absence of visual art specifically inspired by the Clearances in Scotland. Perhaps they themselves are, to use the artist Tom Faed’s expression, “slaves to the academy.”

Joseph Beuys came to Scotland with an extended definition of art. He was interested in cultural issues, and maintained “every man is an artist”. Beuys was brought to Scotland by Richard Demarco, artist and promoter, who championed the German artist’s theories (which were recently seconded in a TV interview by past president of the RSA Arthur Watson).

Assuming their philosophy has now become established, then it follows that the most powerful and poignant visual art born of the Scots diaspora is to be seen on the east window of Croick Church in Sutherland, where part of the tragedy is recorded. By what definition are the carvings on the windows not art?

Also these “drawings” are cursive, an aspect of human endeavour which is seen in some quarters to be under serious threat due to increased use of new technology in schools.

The title Window on the Clearances spells for me a lost opportunity and a sad irony.

Allan Lawson
Finzean, Aberdeenshire

WATCHING or reading the news is presently an endless tale of the dire straits the country is in and the depths of poverty large swathes of the population are being subjected to, a situation they had no part in creating.

Endless journalists, political commentators etc make a healthy living/earn fees by continually analysing and emphasising the worst aspects of the situation.

The one question their combined intelligence never engages is how far down the worst affected of those cowed, unrepresented people should be driven in homelessness, poverty in basic essentials such food, heat etc before there is active recovery and resistance, and what form it should take. It’s quite obvious politics cannot answer this.

R Clark

QUESTION: What is the difference between “a special military operation” and “a fiscal event”?

Answer: one is a war against the people of a nation, the other is a war against the poorest of a nation.

John Johnstone