11. December 2010 · Comments Off on Farm Subsidies · Categories: Farming, Land Use, Media, Poor had no Lawyers

BBC Radio Scotland’s Out of Doors programme ran a piece on “What is Scotland’s Land” for a couple of weeks ago. Apparently the whole panel were rather uncritical of the current subsidy regime. They were David Cameron (North Harris Trust), Luke Borwick (Scottish Rural Business and Property Association), Jim McLaren (National Farmers Union), Rob McMorran (Centre of Mountain Studies, University of the Highlands and Islands) and Andrew Bachell (Scottish Natural Heritage).

Listeners complained and the BBC invited me to do an interview on the topic. Here it is.

26. November 2010 · Comments Off on A journey by train in Norway · Categories: Fun, Media


One year ago, over 1.2 million Norwegians watched a film that was 7 hours long and that was shot by sticking a camera on the front of the train from Bergen to Oslo. It is wonderful. There’s a 10 minute clip on the link above and the full film can be downloaded in glorious High Definition (be aware though – it is 246g Gb – probably bigger than many computer hard drives).

My advice? Get a big screen and watch it in a darkened room.

Anyone fancy doing this for Glasgow to Mallaig?


Amidst all the press coverage of the student demonstration in London on Wednesday, one small question was niggling me as I watched the windows being smashed in Millbank Tower.

Whose windows? Who owns Millbank Tower? As it happens, the same question was ocurring to Alex Barker of the FT. His blog claims that it is the Reuben brothers. However, I am always a bit doubtful of such claims as they tend to be born of popular knowledge. Just as the Duke of Buccleuch does not own any of the Buccleuch Estates (see Ch.29 of The Poor had No Lawyers), it is unlikely that the Reuben brothers own Millbank Tower in their own name.

A 2 minute search of the Land Registry turned up Title Number NGL886677 together with a plan which reveals that the 21-24 Millbank and 25 and 30 Millbank are owned by Basio Holdings Ltd. of 1 Palm Chambers No. 3, PO Box 3152, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

So the Conservative Party (who rent offices in No. 30) are paying rent to a company in the British Virgin Islands. I hope they are aware of the Non-Resident Landlords Scheme.

SUNDAY 14 NOV UPDATE On their website The Reuben brothers claim to own Millbank and claim to run all their activities from Switzerland. The first statement is a lie – Millbank is owned by Basio Holdings Ltd. Reuben brothers may of course have an interest in Basio Holdings…..

MONDAY 29 NOV UPDATE There is a Leasehold interest in Millbank (title and plan here) which is owned by TST Millbank LLC incorporated in Delaware, USA. It was acquired for £1,350,000 in 2001 andruns for 125 years from 2000. The Conservative Party are probably paying rent to the leaseholder. But £1.35 million is peanuts to pay for a 125 year lease especially when the freehold cost £35 million in 2007. Who is behind TST Millbank LLC?