Following last week’s trip north by Paul Wheelhouse, this week it is the turn of Humza Yousaf, the Minister for External Affairs and International Development in the Scottish Government. He will be attending a seminar in Helmsdale as part of Oxfam’s Enough Food for Everyone campaign. Here is his pre-drafted speech. In a short piece for Bella Caledonia I outlined my own thoughts about the parallels between the Highland Clearances of 200 years ago in Sutherland and land grabs around the world today.

As Mr Yousaf heads north, he can tune into the BBC Radio Scotland news bulletin for the Highlands and Islands where he can listen to the Chairman of Scottish Land and Estates, Luke Borthwick, argue that “there has been a tendancy in the past to look back at the historic events that have happened particularly up in the Highlands and I think people need to realise we need to move forward” The clip is taken from the PR video released by Scottish Land and Estates last week. There is also a clip from South Ayrshire Stalking’s Chris Dalton whose lease for the stalking rights on Raasay was been the subject of much controversy last week. The clip is taken from a longer interview conducted by Radio Scotland’s Out of Doors programme (see previous blog).

Listen below.


  1. Is Mr Yousaf travelling up the A9 on his motorbike? In his kilt?

  2. Now here is a perfect opportunity for a minister of Asian origin to familiarize himself with a piece of Scottish history . If he can head directly west from Helmsdale he will come to the area which my ancestors were evicted from during the Clearances and he could also take a look around Dunrobin Castle on the return leg and try and work out why it is still there and the estate still owned by those who performed the evictions! This was our land.

  3. Jamie McIntyre

    The trouble is these are not just ‘historic events’ – many in the Highlands live with their consequences every day, and indeed many who left the Highlands (and their descendants) are prevented from returning to them by housing and land prices artificially inflated by ‘scarcity’ of land – in a now largely empty landscape.

    Perhaps if Mr Borthwick were to read this very good article he might reflect on how insensitive his comments appear, and understand what in fact is really needed for us to be able ‘move forward’.

    Moving forward actually involves doing something about the legacy of the clearances, not simply accepting it, and hopefully the ongoing Land Reform Review can contribute to that process.

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