Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Robbery For The People

Say what you like about 'The One Show' but in its own unique combination of stupidity and even more stupidity it's has a certain liberals-on-scopalamine quality. Take yesterday's first item: a jolly sermon on the happy side of the state seizing other people's property.

It was all about government legislation allowing councils to seize empty properties.

Cunningly, the average house price was quoted to 'prove' how hard it was to get on the housing ladder. In other words, the BBC used a measure that includes everything from flats to mansions to prove we need Big Government to give out free houses. More specifically, we need Big Government to seize houses from people who aren't using them properly and give them to smackheads oppressed victims of the system.

We saw a boarded-up house on an inner-city street in Manchester and had interviews with local residents, who all agreed the house should be seized, then over to Scallytopia for an interview with the World's Most Articulate Scouser, who agreed that, yes, seizing someone else's house and giving it to him was a Good Thing. What we didn't hear, ever, was any dissenting voices.

In fact, watching that report, you wouldn't even have guessed that these powers allow the government to seize perfectly lovely semis in the suburbs, or that homelessness wasn't simply a matter of rich people using up all the houses, let alone any more sophisticated arguments against it all.

Maybe it was inevitable that there was no one there to point out that allowing the government to seize private property just because they think you're not using it properly is totalitarian insanity, but they didn't even engage with the practical absurdities of it all.

If the state really wants to encourage people to redevelop derelict housing, maybe it could do something about a tax system that does all but sneak in and vandalise the place at night? Ditto, if councils are so good at redeveloping derelict housing stock, why are so many of their own properties permanently wrecked? But no: that would involve engaging with the topic, rather than indulging in mindless boosterism for the Mugabeisation of our nation's housing stock.

(Not to go off at a tangent, but since when was it decided that it was a great feat for councils to successfully renovate properties, armed only with enormous wodges of other people's cash? Seriously, let me bleed taxpayers dry and I'll build you a castle. It's no big.)

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