The Squatting Ban – A Law Built on Lies

On 1st September 2012 an ancient legal right will be lost to the people of the UK as the ban on squatting finally comes into law.  Treasonous MPs from all main parties overwhelming voted last year to remove the right of the homeless to occupy unused spaces without fear of arrest and prosecution.

No doubt pre-empting the upcoming homelessness crisis, the legislation banning squatting was rail-roaded through Parliament despite 90% of responses to a Government Consultation rejecting the ban.

It is vital to note that only squatting in residential premises is affected by the law and that the fight to save squatting is far from over.  The Advisory Service for Squatters notes that a building is defined as ‘residential’ if it is “designed or adapted, before the time of entry, for use as a place to live”.  Many squatters will not be affected, check the Squatters Advisory website for full details of the upcoming legal position.

Like so much legislation rushed through by this toff Government, there is likely to be chaos as the law is implemented and bewildered coppers face complex legal arguments on squat doorsteps.  Private tenants may also find themselves vulnerable as unscrupulous landlords attempt to exploit the new laws to illegally evict tenants.

But this has mattered little as the privileged public school boys and girls of all parties have conspired to destroy a vital part of the UK’s political and cultural heritage on the back of a few tabloid scare stories.

Proceeding the legislation, a string of smear stories appeared in the media deriding squatters.  Lurid tales of families returning home from holiday only to find their homes squatted appeared alongside headlines demanding that ‘something must be done’.  None of these  fabricated tales mentioned that there are numerous laws in place to address these occurrences –  which are so rare that they demand a full page story in the national press.

Any house-holder currently living in a property or intending to move into one, was fully protected by the law as it stood.  Any house-holder returning to their home to find people living there could have them removed by police as easily as if the intruders were burgling the property.  Squatters themselves are only too aware of this fact which is why abandoned and often derelict properties are frequently sought out to provide homes.

Squatters have been portrayed as middle class artists, trustafarians or  hippies at best, and benefit scum, criminals, or even worse, Eastern Europeans at worst as part of a relentless smear campaign.  It is true that squatting has contributed to the cultural heritage of this country, but squatting is not a movement rooted in counter-culture.

Squatting has been at the heart of political struggle in the UK since the Peasant’s Revolt.  Shortly after the Second World War, tens of thousands of families squatted former air bases and military camps. Even today many street homeless people shelter in abandoned buildings as protection from the elements.  Homelessness charity Crisis has stated that 39% of homeless people have squatted at some point. As from next week, these people will be liable to arrest.

As rents soar, wages stagnate, Housing Benefits are slashed and social housing provision is demolished, the homelessness crisis facing the UK is possibly unprecedented. Therefore it is of little surprise that a Government, many of whom are landlords themselves, should seek to criminalise this scant safety net for the homeless.

According the the Squash Campaign the UK currently has 750,000 empty homes, many of them owned by banks, large corporations, offshore companies and other potential donors to political parties.  These homes will stay empty whilst homelessness soars.

Should sleeping bags once again line the streets of city centres, this law may yet unravel as it becomes impossible to police.  Until then fierce and determined campaigning may yet reveal the legislation to be a paper tiger – Holland still has many large squats despite the ban introduced over two years ago.  The fight to save squatting rights is not yet over and may have only just begun.

http://www.squashcampaign.org/

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18 responses to “The Squatting Ban – A Law Built on Lies

  1. ” benefit scum, criminals, or even worse, Eastern Europeans ”
    errrr…… not sure what to say about that.

  2. was sarcasm aimed at media witch-hunts, have amended slightly for clarity

  3. Disturbing how easy it is to manipulate people. The basic premise – tabloid stories, endless repetition of lies – has not changed a bit since the days of Goebbels and Streicher, whom I consider in all frankness to be the godfathers of modern media scaremongering and scapegoating.

    Anything the government wants, their propagandists can just whip people up into a frenzy of hate and it’s done. Instant mass support. Does democracy even mean anything when it’s that easy to brainwash people? It chills me to the marrow.

  4. The brainwashed many, controllable masses are also very fearful – this too adds to their maleability when it comes to whipping up support for something that ought to be a non starter. As more and more controls are aimed at the most vulnerable, people are less likely in some ways to offer any huge resistance en-masse. This is the part I shudder at.

  5. Shelter is a human right, a necessity; it shouldn’t even have to be thought about.
    To make ‘squatting’ illegal is a crime against humanity.
    Shame on our élites……but of course, they don’t do shame. Shameless.

    • I know, why are we even discussing ‘shelter’, ‘food’, absence or lack thereof in the 21st Century Britain. Having nutritious food in your belly and a safe and secure roof over your head is down their in the Hierarchy of Needs along with having a dump.

  6. It is time to construct our very own british Shanty Towns!

  7. Do you know if it’ll affect occupations at all? I know most occupations are already illegal under the old Criminal Justice Act, but I was vaguely under the impression the new law was going to introduce harsher penalties or something.

  8. Just had a argument with someone .. i said its immoral to have about 1 million houses sealed and left to rot and decay, while we have a housing shortage.. they said people who are homeless most choose to be.. they used t be homeless but..then they trot out the people moved into a person house when they were in hospital and gave me an article about it.. from 2004. from guess who the daily mail.. i hate humanity

  9. It’s a strange thing – the concept of property ownership in 21st century 3rd world farmers republic britain. Private property is a throwback to the landed gentry (aristocracy). The world has changed so much and there is one thing for sure, “we all die”. How can you own something you cannot keep – everything is temporary including us and all we see becomes dust just like us. There is no such thing as a true Christian either, if there was they (all Christians) would come to understand we here on earth cannot own that which belongs to God – we are only his caretakers here on earth, nothing more and the earth is “our host” not the other way round. Even now human kind is creating “our next dustbin”, that being the planet of Mars. Please don’t lose sight of the human nature generally, it is all about greed, the blood sucking parasites, all of them, in Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament will perpetuate this and this is for sure.

  10. Round about typical of this fascist lot of greedy numpties, make as many poor people as possible street homeless, then imprison them for finding shelter. A job creation scheme perhaps, lots of jobs for prison officers and G4S…

    Good 4 public health, a fantastic way to spread disease. Lots of jobs in hospitals, morgues and of course digging mass graves for us useless, worthless scroungers…

    This country will be reduced to a state of utter chaos

  11. cass: you wont be a usless scrounger, you will either be a valuble asset for a grave digger to process or a grave digger, is that a double win?

  12. Pingback: Action against Atos, and other late August adventures. | Cautiously pessimistic

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