HUMZA Yousaf will deliver his first Programme for Government in early September. At the heart of it will be, I am sure, the absolute need to move the independence case to the point of national decision.

Everything in it must reflect the myriad ways in which Scotland will flourish when the powers of the Parliament are completed and the normality of nationhood returns.

It goes without saying that having full control of the financial levers would mean that national priorities could be met with greater accuracy and speed even in areas that are currently fully devolved, such as education.

Despite the dishonest spin from Tories and Labour, the truth is that the current financial settlement is a major constraint in many areas.

READ MORE: Lesley Riddoch: Land ownership reform key to Scots confidence in indy

This includes much-needed continuing land reform, given the sums that the Scottish Land Fund really needs to revolutionise land ownership and control in Scotland. Good work has been done but much more is needed to make Scotland the country it must be. And that is why, even accepting the shortage of money, a new radical approach to the imminent Land Reform Bill is now essential.

Last year’s Programme for Government said this was being developed to “include measures to diversify land ownership and empower communities to benefit from the opportunities presented by nature restoration and the journey to net-zero emissions”.

Fair enough, but now it needs to be supercharged in order to meet the expectations and requirements of the country.

A paper by Dr Calum MacLeod for the Jimmy Reid Foundation, published in July, put the matter well. Outlining the case for greatly accelerating change, he argued that: “The need to speak truth to landed power by asserting land reform’s role as a progressive force for the common good has never been greater.”

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Outlining the policy challenges, he concluded: “A pervading theme cutting across all of these profound 21st-century policy challenges is the growing recognition that Scotland’s people in our rural and urban places are being increasingly locked out of their fair share of what should be land’s common wealth.”

Breaking those locks so that the unnatural phenomenon of a tiny number of people (many non-resident) owning the vast majority of our land and land-related assets (rural and urban) is eliminated once and for all must be the aim of that next piece of land reform legislation and MacLeod’s detailed arguments for items to be included in the bill are convincing and well researched.

For example, while the existing proposals do include a threshold for invoking a public interest test when land is to be sold or transferred, the suggested level of 3000 hectares is universally regarded – apart from by the landowners themselves – as being far too high.

The National: Labour's Scottish Labour’s environment spokesperson, Mercedes Villalba this week told The Herald

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) – hardly a revolutionary organisation – has suggested 1000 hectares and the Labour MSP Mercedes Villalba (above) has brought forward a draft bill to reduce it to 500. I have to say I favour that figure and I also support a cumulative total for individuals or companies and the sale or transfer of key community assets – piers, harbours, shops, hotels – as being triggers for the test as well.

But we need to do more. Back in 2014, a Scottish Government-appointed body, the Land Reform Review Group (LRRG), published its final report with 62 recommendations. Its chair, the much-respected land reform authority John Watt, has recently observed that while some have been implemented, many are still languishing in legislative limbo.

It is time they were revisited and the new bill brings a perfect opportunity to do so. Reforms to inheritance and succession are long overdue, as is the development of a National Land Plan.

The Scottish Land Commission, under the convenorship of Andrew Thin, has done much good work and it could be put to further progressive purpose by developing such a strategic route map.

That process should also take account of a tremendous paper by the always inspirational Alastair McIntosh (below).

The National:

Commissioned by Community Land Scotland and published in May, this tackles the issues of rewilding and natural capital with particular reference to the emergence of “green lairds”. It proposes a Bronze, Silver and Gold standard for landownership, with each level characterised by the degree of real involvement of communities in decision-making.

A new bill adopting the LRRG proposals, influenced by MacLeod’s commentary and rooted in McIntosh’s practical vision would be worthy of a new administration under a new first minister, determined to change Scotland for the better as we move towards independence.

The link between land reform and the constitution is close. Land reform isn’t just about tinkering with the status quo. It is about changing the balance of power and privilege and answering the age-old question: “How can the people of Scotland benefit from the resources of Scotland?”

Earlier this year, the determination of the local community on Rum not to allow yet another millionaire outsider to create a playground for the incoming rich was, fortunately, a key determinant in the eventual decision by public bodies to seek a different way forward.

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The current stooshie at Kenmore, where super-wealthy Americans want to create an exclusive community and have bought up everything in sight to allow them to do so, is another illustration of how backward and establishment-orientated some of Scotland’s current land laws still are.

“The people are mightier than a lord” was the motto of the reforming Highland Land League more than a century ago. It is time the cry was taken up again, this time by a Scottish Government determined to do away with the unfortunate reputation of our country as being one of the least equal in Europe.

The only people who are desperate to preserve that situation – to ensure that a rich man can always sit in his castle with a poor man always at his gate – are Tory lairds and their apologists at Holyrood and Westminster.

We should not let them do so for a single minute more.