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Announcing a people's parliamentary Jubilee Bill for the redistribution of land

Tony Gosling | 19.08.2008 01:00 | 2008 Days Of Action For Autonomous Spaces | Analysis | Free Spaces | World

Redistribution of land to the British people and other nations is long overdue. Over the centuries it has been stolen through various sorts of enclosure or privatisation.

The Land Is Ours - Levellers and the English Revolution
The Land Is Ours - Levellers and the English Revolution

With Northern Rock and the credit crunch it may no longer be possible to continue with the existing system of land tenure here in Britain and possibly the world. Call it a kind of long overdue 'Jubilee'.

Citizen’s Land Security Bill
The Land Is Ours/Bristol Housing Action Movement
10-12 Picton Street. Montpelier, Bristol, BS6 5QA – 0117 944 6219

Object: To begin the process of returning the land in the UK to the people to whom it rightly belongs.

Methodology: Given that land – and its associated rights - is a free gift to mankind as a whole – not to particular individuals, this legislation will begin the process of divesting particular individual and corporate freeholders of title to excessive amounts of that land and distributing it fairly to whoever amongst the poorest in the land wishes to have it

Current situation: With roughly 10% of the population of the UK owning 95% of the land many ordinary people are entirely without security – the strain on current housing stock means prices are spiralling out of all realistic measure of a home’s actual worth and the need for more homes is only being restrained by a draconian development control system.

Historical models: There are two historical models which will be referred to throughout this bill, both occurring in and around the 1880’s in the British Isles. Firstly the handing over of title to land in Ireland to impoverished tenants through a series of acts of parliament culminating in the Wyndham Acts. Secondly the enshrining in British law the customary practices of the Scottish crofters through the Royal Commission into the grievances of the Crofters and the subsequent Crofting Act.

Powerful landed interests: human beings can be particularly nasty and graspingly territorial when it comes to the idea of controlling or owning land. Dirty tricks and underhand tactics to dilute or stop such a bill progressing through to legal enactment must be expected and allowed for. At all times it must be explained to landowners affected by this and subsequent bills that their land is held from the crown – it is not their own – and that in almost every case has been gained historically in various unethical ways including as a crude ‘reward’ for bloodshed.

Stages of the bill

1. The setting up of a land commission of 12 individuals with a proven track record in land rights and a UK government ministry of land with the task of ensuring that all Britain’s citizens have access to land.

2. The identification by the commission of Britain’s top 10 individual and corporate landowners and the opening by the ministry of a list of individuals in various degrees of housing need to take part in the land resettlement programme. These individual will be prioritised by a points system similar to that used on local authority housing lists.

3. The organising of people in the land resettlement list into clusters of like-minded individuals and the setting up of individual workers co-operatives using the same rules of succession and land management as in the Crofting Acts. Each Ecovillage will contain a proportion of at least 50% of the land as collectively managed but ideally more like 90% collectively managed.

4. The selection by the commission of 10% of large landowners’ land for reclaiming by the crown (the current ultimate landowner) into the crown estates.

5. The appointment by the commission of a further group of 7 experts in Permaculture, Bioregionalism, alternative technology and low-impact land use to divide reclaimed crown land into areas which can readily support between 500 and 1000 people with a density of roughly ¼ acre per individual. This ‘Ecovillage commission’ will designate particular areas as ‘village centres’ and arrange for the building of large meeting halls. They will also clear and landscaping rail/roadways to be completed by the villagers themselves.

6. The transfer of freehold from the crown estates to the new co-operatives and the apportioning of interest free land ministry loans repayable over at least 80 years to build on granted land.

The Land Is Ours -
Ecovillage Network UK -
Bristol Housing Action Movement -

Tony Gosling
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Hide the following 2 comments

Whole System Democratic Response required

19.08.2008 07:56

I think we'll have more chance of success if we make the link between the loss of civil liberties, uld centralised power structures make genuine participation in decision making about what happens on the that communties land we share, difficult to say the least. A movement for every locality to enjoy a CLT building in which the whole community can come together, to run as they like and make decisions about the local community they share (and by extension debate their position on issues of regional, national and international significance, and where necessary act on it as a decentralised political community) would be a good place to start and could lead to other radical ideas regarding the rest of the land.

But as I said, I think to get people on board the issue 1st needs to be linked to the disempowerment people already feel in their ordinary lives, and the arch-top down constitution we are forced to live under. As we all know, all this comes down to control of the land by a few, but I think your proposal is too much for activists, the already converted and will probably be ignored by the mainstream. IMO we need to mobilise around a simple democratic concept that everyone can feel part of.

But of course I wish you well with it.


PS I don't know if you saw it already but I already made a stab at a charter for land redistribution, you can read it by scrolling down at the URL given.

Mark Barrett
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The New Levellers?

19.08.2008 08:24

Excellent concept, brilliant idea. The time seems right for such a push. I just hope it is not too premature. Although the housing market is bleak- and set to get bleaker- with repossessions going up at an alarming rate, i am somewhat worried that your average english(wo)man will still have too much confidence in their security of tenure, whether rented or mortgaged, to make the jump and follow. As an ex-squatter, forced into rental through health issues, I can see both sides of the argument and I can only hope that this does indeed become a movement with enough impetus to be similar to that of the levellers (@). Is there anything that I can do to help?

"I am a savage and I do not understand how the beauty of earth can be sold back to man"- spiral tribe