The Tories are after us…

19 03 2010

…well, not actually us per se, more the travelling folk.

So, I imagine that most people might have already heard about this in one way or another, but just in case anyone has missed it I thought I’d add it in here:

Some lovely Tory (Bob Neill to be exact, the shadow minister for Local Government and Planning) has decided that the current planning system is being taken advantage of by travellers and those pesky human rights lawyers when they’re trying to find people places to live.He’s planning to make a few changes. As Sam says on Indymedia, it is primarily an attack on travellers, but it doesn’t bode well for us.

Amongst the bumf  there is the somewhat worrying intention to “create a new criminal offence of intentional trespass”. Yep, that’s right boys and girls. That means no more waiting for the owner to notice you’re there, just have to wait for the nearest boy in blue to fancy a fight and then you’re out. Squatting will be criminalised. Uh-oh.

Now! Stop! Before everyone fucks off to Barcelona, lets remember a couple things.

Firstly, the Tories aren’t in power. Yet. We’ll see what happens with that I suppose, but if you want to really make sure that its not going to happen, then stop the election. Or just make sure that the Tories don’t get in. You’ll have to make Cameron look like a smarmy, smug, self-satisfied tosser…oh…erm…okay. A challenge? Maybe try making Brown look like he’s got a personality then.

Secondly, this seems to be an idea still, although one thats been around for a while. Something to get the votes of landowners, and landlords, and other rich people. Its gonna take them a while to get it all together anyway. Specially since they are talking about repealing the Human Rights Act so that they can stop human rights lawyers using it to side-step the planning system.  That’s gonna raise a few heckles. It is a very honest indication of their priorities though.

Thirdly…well…I kind of wish there was a thirdly. Otherwise its up to us. Its been tried before with the Criminal Justice Act back in the old days (1993/4) and it didn’t ever go through, although things did change then. Thats when resisting an IPO became a criminal offense. So who knows. The situation was very different back then too. About a third of squatters round that time were families, so general opinion of squatters was probably different back then. I’m not sure the feeling towards us young ‘uns, middle class students and foreigners is quite the same. I also know that now there is nothing like the squatting community that existed back then.

So I have a to do list:

  • Persuade all the voters I know that they will be directly responsible for my homelessness should they vote Tory. I will be calling in favours.
  • Get to know my neighbours. Squatted and rented. Near and far. I really think that now is when we need to be making friends and building relationships with people that we’re going to have to work with if this becomes a reality.
  • Show off. People need to know just how many people are going to be affected.
  • Find out what the traveling community thinks. They are the guys really under attack and its shockingly pointed at them. Disgustingly so. Finding out what they think and want, and showing our support to them is gonna be super important. You can see the Institute of Race Relations analysis of the proposal here.
  • Make sure everyone knows that anti-squat companies are a bunch of bastards. In Holland these companies such as Camelot, Ad Hoc etc have been given a lot of Parliamentary support as a solution to both empty homes and homelessness. They basically being written into the law. I don’t want  the Tories to copy that without any opposition, cause it sounds quite reasonable at first glance.

So, if anyone wants to play at any of the aforementioned games, then please do. I think that (as much as I hate to be a cliche) now we really might have to pull our fingers out and get started if we want to protect our way of life and stop more of our liberty going down the shitter.