Wales : March 1st - St Davids Day - Adfeddiant - Welsh Land Reform Now !
Today is St Davids Day our Welsh National Day and many people will be singing Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (The Land Of My Fathers) written by Evan James of Pontypridd in 1856.
Today we should reflect on the words of the song and think about the question of Welsh Land; The Land of our Fathers and our Mothers.
Kevin Cahill has pointed out in "Who Owns Britain" Wales remains a country with a small percentage of its people owning land.
This of course also has implications for affordable housing has land is a key element in building new homes and economic regeneration.
Kevin Cahill is of the view that lack of Welsh Land Ownership contributes to structural poverty in Wales.
To understand why this situation came about we need to understand the history of Welsh Land.
Following the complete occupation of Wales by the Anglo Normans in 1282 - 4 and again, in the 1420's following the War of Independence led by the great Welsh Prince Owain Glyndwr, great areas of Welsh land was either taken by the English Crown or 'given' as rewards to English barons for fighting for England in the Welsh Wars.
Ironically this was repeated by the Tudors in the 16th, who were of 'Welsh Descent',One such example being the Dukes of Somerset being given Mynydd y Gwair and much else throughout Southern Wales.
This Mountain is now the centre of a major local issue and national campaign as the Somerset Trust intends to establish a Wind Mill Plantation on it.
Apart from the above, much of Welsh land was common land - which meant that the peasantry had the right to build a smallholding on it as well as hunt and fish but, increasingly over the centuries and up to the present, the Gentry and incoming 'New Conquistadores, such as Iron and Slate Masters began to seize this Common Land by means of Enclosure Acts.
The issue of Anglican Church ownership was very much addressed in the Welsh Tithe Wars of 1886 - 88 by a National Land League but there is still much unfinished business to be taken care of.
Today, the aforementioned land is still occupied by the English Crown and the descendents of the English barons and,increasingly, by outside 'Utility Companies as in the case of the Vyrnwy Estate, It is being extensively plundered of its natural resources, such as water and timber, and is being savagely destroyed by gigantic windfarms.
Plans to start unconventional gas extraction will place whole areas of land and water under threat, when we should be cutting back on our use of fossil fuels.All of this is putting the many at risk, solely to enhance the profits of corporations.
It is our inherited Welsh land and we want it returned to the communities and people of Wales through a Wales Land Act.
We are not calling for the redistribution of Welsh Land to Welsh tenant farmers like in Ireland but for the redistribution of Welsh Land to the people, the re-creation of Welsh common land that our forebears lost, like the one million acres lost to enclosures between 1795 - 1874.
We support new land community Land Trusts, priority right to buy Land by Welsh communities similar to the Scottish Land Reform Act of 2003.
Although the Scottish Land Reform Act is far to limited.
We should set ourselves the task of recovering one million acres of Welsh Land for the community land trusts and other community land owning vehicles over the coming years and March 1st St Davids Day should be the day of Walesnot just in song but in deed as we campaign for a Welsh Land Act.
In view of the fact that our Cymric land is being desecrated by rapacious landlords, hereditary aristocrats, the English Crown and Corporate Utility Companies we have organised a Petition that demands of the Westminster Parliament and the Welsh Government the restoration of the land, by compulsory purchase, to its rightful owner, the People of Cymru, in order to preserve our heritage, the great beauty of this land and the common right of our people to access and make use of it until perpetuity.