[Diggers350] Re: concepts of land ownership

Malcolm Ramsay malcolm.ramsay at talk21.com
Wed Nov 24 16:04:10 GMT 2010

James Armstrong said: "The king who made the law and defined legality - took the 
land by illegal armed invasion."

I think there's an important point here which in fact offers an opportunity for 
major reform.

As I see it, William the Conqueror did indeed 'make the law' - in the sense that 
he created laws which have lasted. The reason his system has persisted for so 
many centuries is that (despite its flaws) it added something worthwhile to the 
existing social structure; the system he established created a new dimension of 
government which provided a stable foundation which allowed society to develop. 
When he parcelled out land to his tenants-in-chief he wasn't simply rewarding 
them, he was giving them dominion over the people on that land - and that 
involved giving them not just rights but responsibilities as well.

That's where the opportunity lies: over the centuries nearly all those 
responsibilities were taken over by other institutions (leaving the rewards with 
the landowners). One stayed with the landholders, however, because it had always 
been treated as a right rather than a responsibility: the power to 'devise' land 
(to designate the new holder of land when the previous one died) is not really a 
right, it is in fact a responsibility which the Crown delegates to the landowner 
- therefore that power should be exercised in the interests of the Crown (which 
in the modern world means 'in the public interest'), rather than being used to 
indulge the landowner's family.

If the courts can be brought to recognise that fact, it would allow change to be 
brought about on a case by case basis, with large bequests of land being open to 
challenge as not being consistent with the landholders' duties as agents of the 
Crown. It's taken me a long time to recognise it (and there are details that 
need addressing, such as what should happen when a bequest is successfully 
challenged) but  I think this simple change of perspective has the potential to 
change  the whole system within a generation or so; and it's probably the only  
way that reform can come about without significant upheaval.

Of course, the courts can only consider it in the context of a case and I 
suspect most lawyers would be very reluctant to initiate an action like that. 
But if anyone in this group knows a lawyer who might be willing to do so, I'm in 
a position to provide a test case.

Malcolm Ramsay

From: james armstrong <james36armstrong at hotmail.com>
To: diggers <diggers350 at yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Tuesday, 23 November, 2010 23:39:45
Subject: [Diggers350] RE:  concepts of land ownership

Yes , it would be  for the best in the best of all possible worlds if there was 
a way of  "promoting  beneficial  land management "  in an ownership society, 
but that is exactly what is impossible when 'ownership' is exclusive . The 
recurring result of exclusive ownership is exploitation of non -owners. 

Who on earth would advocate 'giving away land free?'  That inplies 'giving 
away'.  After giving  land away-  you have resurrected the ownership system.  
Selling Life time personal tenancies is compatible with common opwnership of the 

You confuse ownership with usage.
It is not necessarily the use of the  land that is the issue.  More its current 
mis-use .
The planning system would still  designate land for housing and for farming and 
for caravan sites etc.
But the market for land would be removed from its malign influence on the use 
of  land.
Reference to 'the original owners' is a hopeless dream. It also begs the 
question. It implies that ownership to-day should be based on some hypothetical 
ownership in the past  - but how far back are you to go?- and advocates of 'no 
ownership to-day' would logically and vigorously demonstrate the inequity of 
ownership however far back you could demonstrate it.
Just one instance- 
Duke William of Caen, and William Eu, and Henry de Ferrers and Bernard de 
Neufmarche    ..... carved out for themselves great estates
 by the sword.  Does that give good title?  Occupation by conquest is both  
illegal to-day and and  condemned by the church then.
The questiion of legality you raise  is also raised  on that issue since  The 
Normans introduced new title to land- All the land of England  was held of the  
king - as a feu- in return for knights service.  The king who made the law and 
defined legality - took the land by illegal armed invasion.
Dont stop there in your essay into the past - Harold at Hastings was Danish . Go 
furher back and you find in Bede cica 700  that 'the king  gave wilfrid land at 
Selsey together with the slaves on it to Wilfrid.  SO  land ownership then 
implied the now illegal practice of slave  ownership.  This was not uinusual but 
the norm. It was tehnorm for Anglo Saxons to enslave the native Britons - the 
indigenous populatin   So going back in history is not the way forward.
For a More up to date approach refer to the last clause in the  title of the 
1947 Town and Country Planning and COMPULSORY PURCHASE ACT.(where land can be c 
p'd by the state  at less than market value.) Legal is as legal does. 

I suggest the desirability of de commodifying land is not essentially to change  
the  usage of the land but  to end two endemic weaknesses  of private exclusive 
ownership as at present.
a) End Monopolising land ownership and using the monopoly against the public 

 eg to garner CAP benefits paid for by the public which thepublic don't qualify 
for (£3.9billion a year at present.) another example is  

plc housebuilders cornering land with Planning permission and then not building 
thehoises required  so that thescarcityu value drives uop the price of new 
houses and also the  value of teh  landbanks of horded land.

b) buying and selling land as a commodity and speculating on  it.  The systemic 
rise in price of  farmland from  around £2,000 and acre to 

currently anything up to £8,000  yields a staggering bonus to  land monopolists 
(some 197,00 of them) At 70% of UK land as farmland and 60million acres in UK 
you work out the benefit to the  exclusive 'owners' and the harm to  new 
entrants into farming and to food prices.. 

Maybe I'm wrong and or misguided .  Please correct me 

 gers350 at yahoogroups.com
From: liliapatterson at hotmail.com
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2010 12:32:04 +0000
Subject: [Diggers350] concepts of land ownership and protecting the biodiversity 
of the land

Dear Everyone,

there seems to be some discussion about the difference between ownership and 
responsibility of ownership and also freedom of distribution and also of 
management practices towards different possessions that can be either owned or 

Can I remind some people that these concepts are all different and mutually 
exclusive and also just because someone might say that they want to own some 
land and then give it away for free - does not necessarily mean that giving land 
away for free is the best way for the biodiversity of the planet to be improved.

Personally I would state that promoting beneficial land management practices is 
a million times more beneficial than the concept of promoting for land or other 
resources to be given away for free. 

I would also state that it would actually be grossly criminally negligent for 
members of TLIO to continue to promote the confused concept that giving away 
land and resources for free is a positive ideal. It most definitely is not. 

If one would like to consider for example - that the land and mineral resources 
of the Palestinian people of Gaza have just been taken for 'free' by the Israeli 
government, through use of military intervention of the Israeli navy against 
both Palestinian and international citizens, then this would be an 'example' of 
a collective group of people taking 'land and its resources for free' and then 
re-distributing them as they see fit, against the consent of the original 

This is against international laws and the acts performed by the Israeli 
military and navy constitute war crimes. 

Therefore I would really suggest that if TLIO wants to continue in the future as 
a 'credible' organisation, that some people consult 'lawyers' in relation to 
'land rights of ownership and management policies' in relation to how to 
effectively promote better ecological systems to help more healthy lifestyles 
for people on this planet as a credible part of the environmental movement in 
the future, otherwise their statements are questionable and therefore 
ridiculous, in the wider international context of the debate about how the 
'environment' and 'biodiversity of life on this planet' should effectively be 
managed in the future in a way that is equitable and fair for all, including 
landowners, whose rightful access to their own land is being exploited or 



-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://mailman.gn.apc.org/mailman/private/diggers350/attachments/20101124/ee00e7d3/attachment.html>

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list