Feudalism was essentially a medieval pyramid scheme in Scotland and the UK.

Land was owned by the Crown and given to a sliding scale of nobility in exchange for fealty, which included military support.

The nobles charged peasants rent. The peasants did all the work and were the real wealth creators in society.

Is Scotland becoming closer to a feudal system than we might like to think in 2024?

We still have a hereditary system of monarchy and the Crown estates. 67% of all large private rural landownership in Scotland is owned by 0.025% of the population.

Wages have stagnated for many while house prices and living costs continue to rocket. Wealth requires ownership of property in 21st-century Scotland. The haves have not. You don’t get affluent working in the gig economy.

Most younger people have no option but to rent in the expensive private rented sector because they can’t afford to buy a house or secure a Scottish tenancy. We have an undersupply of housing – which benefits landlords and the house-building sector.

We have a General Election on 4 July, but where are the radical policies to fix our new feudal system? Most political parties nod in the direction of building more affordable homes – a standard mantra over the last decade or two – yet we still have a housing and homeless crisis.

Is the inertia in land ownership and fairer taxes in the UK due to the fact we never had a political revolution?

The French Revolution in 1789 saw the creation of a National Constituent Assembly which abolished feudalism. It nationalised and redistributed land ownership from the old order. Some farm workers were able to own land.

By 1789, France’s gross domestic product was three times that of Britain. In 1791 the “Rights of Man” by the American founding father and Englishman, Thomas Paine was published. Paine argued against hereditary government and titles and supported the French and American revolutions.

At present in Scotland, agricultural, forestry and land-based estates are exempt from paying any local non-domestic or business rates.

Legislation in the 1920s reduced the valuation of agricultural land by 50% and then to 12.5% of its gross value. Agricultural land was removed from the valuation roll completely by the 1956 Valuation and Rating (Scotland) Act.

A decade ago, the Scottish Government-appointed Land Reform Review Group concluded: “There is no clear public interest case in maintaining the current universal exemption of agriculture, forestry and other land-based businesses from non-domestic rates”.

“The Group recommends that the Scottish Government should review this historic exemption, with a view to the phased introduction of non-domestic rates for these land-based businesses”.

Yet, the exemption remains; as does our unreformed system of council tax with bills based on valuations from April 1991. Local authorities have been closing or reducing essential community facilities and services for want of funding.

Why doesn’t the Scottish Parliament tackle the big issues facing most Scots today? A lack of access to affordable, warm and safe housing. Re-introducing a local tax on agriculture, forestry, rural land and other land-based businesses could raise funds to build new councils and affordable housing.

It could also disincentivise over 400 private landowners from owning half of rural Scotland – with land being treated as an investment commodity like gold because of its tax exemptions.