God’s country: Ian McLean explains his christian land reform 


McLean shakes up policy conference with religious declaration for reform and independence

BUSINESS BREAKFASTS are generally pastimes for the diary-packed executive, networking managers, and fast-paced financiers. ‘The Scotsman Conferences’ are similar, with a political twist. 

Around 50 names were registered for the media group’s most recent event – focused on land reform – at Edinburgh’s Radisson Blu hotel. The vast majority were from law firms, elected politicians, or various professional agencies. 

Ian McLean, who describes himself as a “community builder” while fronting his one man christian campaign group The Wind of Change, didn’t fit the bill of a regular attendee. So when he asked to make a statement – in lieu of the usual question and answer session – it made sense to expect a unique perspective. 

McLean said that, as a follower of Jesus Christ, he wants greater land reform in Scotland as part of its journey to full political independence. 

“The issue is one of spirituality. Particularly, addressing the feudal system in terms of land reform.” Ian McLean

CommonSpace asked McLean, who shares a colourful variety of poems, essays and thoughts online, why he came to the conference. 

“A very great desire to serve the community in a manner which I feel addresses all the problems that have arisen in this very interesting meeting,” he said. “My main concern is that society today tends to think in the head only, which is very directive.

“What the world needs today – particularly in nature and the five kingdoms altogether – is a lot more work done by the heart – as distinct from the head.”

For many that may appear to be a flowery approach to public policy, but McLean believes that confronting the feudal culture in Scotland is a spiritual challenge.

“Specifically, what people need to do is look within themselves, at all the issues and problems of Scotland,” he told CommonSpace. 

“They will be resolved. The issue is one of spirituality. Particularly, addressing the feudal system in terms of land reform. That is a very powerful negative spirituality [feudalism].

“Whose land is it? Man or God? And man, presently today, is his own God. That is the issue which will be addressed. Scotland will become an independent nation state. That dependence being on the Lord Jesus, which is not an exclusive state of any other religion or convictions. That is all that I can say. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to say it.”

“Our land is a gift from God, and that gift should be treated with respect.” Ex-MSP Dave Thompson

McLean’s Christianity is based on values of social justice. For instance, in his campaign literature he states: “Economic policies in Britain in the last 20 years have been all about selfishness, about how much I can get for myself; about who gets richer and who gets poorer; about winners and losers. The result is that even though our economy has prospered, and though overall examination results have actually improved, our planet is being destroyed at a faster rate than ever.”

McLean is also not the first to advocate a more equal system of land ownership on the basis of his Christianity.

Dave Thompson, in one of his final parliamentary speeches as MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch in March this year, said: “Fundamentally, land is God-given: a finite gift that must be used for the benefit of all, for the common good and in the public interest. Psalm 24:1 says: ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.’ Our land is a gift from God, and that gift should be treated with respect.”

Thompson’s replacement in parliament, SNP MSP Kate Forbes, tweeting on McLean’s intervention added: “Unique & I think fair to say unexpected contribution in Scotsman Debate land reform discussion that the reform Scotland needs is spiritual.”

At the conference newly elected MSP Andy Wightman called for a further land reform bill during this parliament to pursue further change. 

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Picture: CommonSpace