Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

Squatting is Theft, Even When the State’s Doing It

Squatters in Copenhagen demonstrating for more...

Astoundingly deep political philosophy you have there.

Judge Fiona Henderson is not fit to sit in a court.

That’s a strong statement, I know, from a conservative. All judges are human, and so make mistakes from time to time. However, when a judge seems to have almost no understanding of the basic tenets of freedom and rule of law that they are supposed to be safeguarding, then I have to conclude that they have gone off the reservation, and should either be re-captured or shot* for the good of innocent members of the public.

Squatters should be encouraged because they bring empty homes back into use, a judge said yesterday.

Fiona Henderson ruled they were not criminals and there was no evidence they carried out more anti-social behaviour than rent-paying tenants.

Not anti-social. I see … because theft (even if it is only a civil offence at present – is in no way anti-social of course.

Her judgment is a blow to the thousands every year who see their homes invaded – and struggle through the courts to win them back

Yet the judge dismissed claims that squatting victims faced high costs and that those occupying council or housing association properties were queue jumpers.

I pity anyone who came before her claiming any loss of income, since the latter clearly doesn’t count as a “cost” in Henderson-world.

She ordered a list of empty homes in North London to be made public to the Advisory Service for Squatters, an East London-based organisation known as the ‘estate agency for squatters’.

Let’s be clear. Squatting is illegal (in Scotland, rightly) and will soon be so in England (rightly). That’s because it is depriving someone of their property, even if only for a limited period. The judges’ ruling prompted a discussion on LBC radio yesterday where a number of former squatters justified their actions, saying that the year or so they spent squatting enabled them to save up a deposit for a place of their own.

No, you morally deficient ignorami, you stole the money for your deposit since you were living rent-free without the consent of your unwilling landlord.

Naturally, as so often when either illegal or morally questionable acts are committed, the left are ready to justify it with either pseudo-philosophical claptrap, or blatant class hatred, all underpinned by a convenient disregard for property rights. Property is theft, innit? These houses are laying around not being used, so why not?

Well, at this moment, my mobile phone is not being used. It’s not receiving any calls, and I’m not making any. So, is it OK if some scrote walks in and takes it without asking? Of course not. The same goes of my car, which is currently parked on my driveway clearly not going anywhere, assuming I remembered to put the handbrake on.

Yet the logic underpinning the squatter’s cause is that anything that is unused automatically becomes fair game.

Unfortunately this concept is not confined to the morally bankrupt Left. The state has its own squatter mentality with the Empty Dwellings Management Order. The article linked to above mentions that local government minister Bob Neill (who I personally have a lot of time for) is keen to see more of these orders used. Sorry Bob, but I’m not.

Mr Neill, a Tory, said he would step up the ‘empty dwelling management orders’ brought in by Labour in 2006. ‘In the five years they’ve been in force, there have been only 46 orders, and that contrasts with the 300,000 empty homes,’ he said.

(It’s telling that the Mail saw fit to point out Bob’s party affiliation.)

That only 46 have been issued out of a ‘potential’ 300,000 I find rather encouraging, and a good advert for localism as a check on over-centralised power. It demonstrates that councillors are using them extremely sparingly and, I know from experience, usually only in cases where the properties were presenting clear public health issues. That is how it should be, though of course a zero figure would be even better.

What next, if we were to take this view to it’s logical conclusion? Leave money in your bank account untouched for too long, and the state helps itself? Oh, they’ve already thought of that.

Have more wealth than someone thinks you deserve? We know they already have some of that too, in the name of social justice and progressiveness.

What about taking it to the ultimate logical conclusion; when you stop using your body, would the state help itself to that as well? Oh, they’ve already tried that too, one more than one occasion. Thankfully such attempts have been rebuffed so far, though sadly even some Conservatives supported it.

As I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, property rights are the cornerstone of economic freedom. Without economic freedom there can never truly be any individual freedom or liberty. The state should be defending these liberties, not acting like the proverbial vampire guarding the blood bank.

So if the courts and Parliament won’t protect this basic right of freedom, who will?

* It’s a metaphor. You peeps at GCHQ can calm down.

Picture used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

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One response to “Squatting is Theft, Even When the State’s Doing It

  1. Joe November 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Your example of squatting being similar to taking someone’s mobile phone is stupid. “Squatting” someone’s home where they’re living, when they ‘nip out for milk,’ already IS ILLEGAL. Occupying an empty, derelict building is not theft. Who would you possibly be ‘stealing’ it from? The workers who laid the bricks there? The wildlife that used to inhabit that area prior to its construction? Now if you are concerned about theft, you should be concerned about where those original materials came from – the metals stolen from mountaintops and from the indigenous communities to whom those mountains were home, and so on. Your notions of ‘property’ and which beings have the right to existence are social constructs that only protect those who already benefit from its injustice. What you have attempted to steal is common sense.
    Sharing your car with other people, that’s called carpooling. You should try it.

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