Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ann and Alan Keen and the state confiscation of private property

According to the BBC, married Labour MPs Ann and Alan Keen ‘have been given a month to stop their local council repossessing their home’.

Hounslow Council said that the Keens' house in Brentford, West London, appeared to have been empty since last November, and so the Keens have been given notice of the council’s intention to issue an ‘Empty Dwelling Management Order’, allowing it to ‘repossess’ a property if it remains unoccupied and dilapidated for a period of six months. The council is permitted to carry out works on the property house and use it to accommodate other people without the permission of the owner.

Cranmer is disturbed to hear of this, and not because of the further abuse of expenses which this highlights.

Hounslow Council cannot repossess that which they have not previously possessed. This is not a council house, and neither has the council provided the Keens with a mortgage on the property. This is not, therefore, a ‘repossession’.

What it is, however, is something both sinister and grave in a liberal democracy.

This is the lawful expropriation of private property; seizure by the state. The Housing Act 2004 was amended by the Housing (Management Orders and Empty Dwelling Management Orders) Regulations in 2006, and it is a murky piece of New Labour legislation. When an EDMO is in force, the local council assumes most of the rights and responsibilities of the owner and may exercise them as if it were the owner even though it does not become the legal owner. Yet the legal owner is not entitled to receive any rent or other payments from anyone occupying the dwelling and may not exercise any rights to manage the dwelling whilst an EDMO is in force.

Conservative housing spokesman Grant Shapps said it would be ‘deeply ironic’ if the Labour government's powers to allow the state confiscation of private property were used against ‘absentee Labour members of Parliament’.

Actually, the greater irony is that a Conservative controlled council should be applying this Marxist legislation at all.

It is fundamental to Conservative philosophy that the state should guard the rights of individuals in respect of their private property. The rules of property defining rights of owners are both moral and legal. Inherent to capitalism is the owners’ rights to use what they own in any way they choose so long as they respect the moral or natural rights of others. This appropriation, whether by gift, bequest or exchange, permits the owner to profit by it in whatever way they see fit.

The concept of communal property is associated with Marxism and socialism, and assigns rights to the community as a whole rather than to the individual. Decisions concerning the use of property are made collectively and profits realised are distributed to that community.

Grant Shapps should be less concerned with the ‘irony’ of the plight of Mr and Mrs Keen, and thoroughly keen to repeal this odious statutory instrument. It is an unjust redistribution of private property, an infringement of the freedom of owners, and a thoroughly un-Conservative piece of legislation.

32 Comments:

Anonymous Voyager said...

Yes Your Grace but it is funny how this matter only attracts attention when MPs become affected - it is after all 5 years old as legislation.

The fact is that if Mr & Mrs Keen put a FOR SALE sign in front of the house it is exempt, or if they are engaged in construction work on the property it is exempt.

This Secondary Legislation was noted when passed by certain newspapers but the English live in a state of narcolepsy and have so little idea what is actually happening on their island that is is mindnumbing when they discover what kind of a polity they inhabit

25 June 2009 at 10:04  
Blogger Gnostic said...

The state owns both your body and your soul. Anything else is just theirs for the taking...

A conservative council operating this grossly unjust law just demonstrates that there are no conservative blue councils in the UK. Only shades of pink and mauve.

Er...can I say pink? You never know who's listening do you...

25 June 2009 at 10:13  
Anonymous Orwellian Prophet said...

May I congratulate your Grace on another well argued exposure of Socialist excess.

A Conservative Council while probably opposed to EDMO's is surely duty bound to enforce the law? I find it rather amusing that they did so by shafting a Labour MP with his own governments Marxist legislation.
Your Grace has made my day.

On a more serious note, in my home town we did have an extreme case where a property had remained unoccupied for ages and became increasingly dilapidated. It was in a smart neighbourhood and blighted the surrounding properties. I am in favour of a Council taking over a property like that as a last resort, although I would argue that any profit after expenses should still go to the owner and he should not be permanently deprived of his property.

25 June 2009 at 10:44  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

You are right to say: ‘What it is, however, is something both sinister and grave in a liberal democracy. This is the lawful expropriation of private property; seizure by the state.’

I am afraid that the Hegelian idea [he is the German philosopher who influenced Marx] about what the State is, has flowed in from eurocratic cicles where he is deeply admired into our Left-liberal elites:

"[N]o social contract can fulfil the freedom which it generates. It will always remain vulnerable to the tyranny of individual will, and so can break down at any moment. It adds to the agent only an imperfect sense of the objective reality of social order. It is an association of subjects, but not yet an independent objective being. The individual rises to full self-consciousness only in confronting the social object. Only then does he have a conception of the limits of his action. When he perceives these limits, he will see how to express his freedom within them. In short, civil society stands in need of institutions which protect and foster it, and which enshrine the objective reality of the body politic. The sum of these institutions is the State, and if the State is to have the objective reality which individual freedom requires, it must have the status ... [of] a person, with rights, obligations, freedom, and will. Hence the full flourishing of individual freedom is only possible if the individual can 'realize' himself in institutions which circumscribe his rights. What seemed like tyranny is nothing but freedom in its highest, self-knowing form."

Roger Scruton, A Short History of Modern Philosophy, Routledge, 1984, pp. 209-210

Note [from me] the values in Hegelianism, as can be seen from the above explanation, are in direct opposition to the values (individual rights) found in Magna Carta, 1688 Bill of Rights and the US Bill of Rights.

25 June 2009 at 10:51  
Anonymous Tom Paine said...

Your Grace, I blogged about this years ago, when the powers came into force;

http://lastditch.blogspot.com/2006/06/housing-empty-dwelling-management.html

It is a truly appalling piece of legislation which should never have been passed in a free society. Those commenters who are drunk with schadenfreude at Labourites caught in their own trap would do well, as did your Grace, to direct some righteous indignation at the Tory council making using of such Marxist powers. The "duty" argument is the merest piffle.

25 June 2009 at 11:24  
Blogger Swiss Bob said...

The state has been able to compulsory purchase property for decades if not longer. The only difference I can see is that in this case the Keens may not be compensated.

Good, they are both crooks who deserve far worse.

25 June 2009 at 11:39  
Blogger dutchlionfrans1953 said...

WE MUST PREPARE to be ready to act against this STATE-TYRANNY when it shows up, in a way that terrifies those who are in power.

First of all, we must all fight for the GOD-given right to possess & bear arms, and to use them in self-defense, without fear of being prosecuted by the State! This requires first a deliverance of the common mindset against owning a weapon, which mindset is the result of decennia long brainwashing of lies against weapons (with lying 'statistics')by the authorities and media.

Laws that forbid the possession and use of weapons in self-defense are against lawabiding citizens! They do nothing to prevent criminals having a weapon. So such laws are of the devil, who makes people defenseless against criminals, and most of all, against criminal, tyrannical authorities!

Such laws must be abolised as they are in violation of our God-given right to bear arms and use them in self-defense!

The police is NOT present to defend us! They only show up after the crime has been committed. They even wait for the crime to be committed before they move in, for they are generally cowards as they are no longer hired on basis of quality, but police are nowadays hired on the basis of them being one of a priviliged, so called positive-discriminated, bunch that the government wants more of (using FALSE statistiscs that 10% of the population is homosexual and such LIES! Just check PROFESSIONAL SOCCER: How few homosexuals are professional soccer-players? 10%? NO! Not even 1% Yet, the 10% figure serves to enforce evil, devilish laws and evil tyranny by our authorities!) so called to reflect the population... so the police-force and other government agencies are a reflection of what the evil government WANTS the population to reflect, nót what the population now consists of. This is all satan's hand that is visible in all of this.

So, since the government does NOT defend us against crime, we must be allowed to defend ourselves!

If the law does not allow us this God-given right, that only God Himself has the right to take away, it must be clear that the lawmakers are TYRANTS! Abusing their legislative power to enslave and rob the population!

Jesus Christ Himself had arms in his band! Even though the land was ruled by the Romans who were armed and did not hesitate to use their arms, the people had swords to defend themselves! Apostle Peter did not cut off the ear of the servant of the Highpriest with a fruit-knife!

25 June 2009 at 11:59  
Blogger dutchlionfrans1953 said...

WE MUST PREPARE to be ready to act against this STATE-TYRANNY when it shows up, in a way that terrifies those who are in power.

First of all, we must all fight for the GOD-given right to possess & bear arms, and to be allowed to use them in self-defense, without fear of being prosecuted by the State! This requires first a deliverance of the common mindset against owning a weapon, which mindset is the result of decennia long brainwashing of lies against weapons (with lying 'statistics')by the authorities and media.

Laws that forbid the possession and use of weapons in self-defense are against lawabiding citizens! They do nothing to prevent criminals having a weapon. So such laws are of the devil, who makes people defenseless against criminals, and most of all, against criminal, tyrannical authorities!

Such laws must be abolised as they are in violation of our God-given right to bear arms and use them in self-defense!

The police is NOT present to defend us! They only show up after the crime has been committed. They even wait for the crime to be committed before they move in, for they are generally cowards as they are no longer hired on basis of quality, but police are nowadays hired on the basis of them being one of a priviliged, so called positive-discriminated, bunch that the government wants more of (using FALSE statistiscs that 10% of the population is homosexual and such LIES! Just check PROFESSIONAL SOCCER: How few homosexuals are professional soccer-players? 10%? NO! Not even 1% Yet, the 10% figure serves to enforce evil, devilish laws and evil tyranny by our authorities!) so called to reflect the population... so the police-force and other government agencies are a reflection of what the evil government WANTS the population to reflect, nót what the population now consists of. This is all satan's hand that is visible in all of this.

So, since the government does NOT defend us against crime, we must be allowed to defend ourselves!

If the law does not allow us this God-given right, that only God Himself has the right to take away, it must be clear that the lawmakers are TYRANTS! Abusing their legislative power to enslave and rob the population!

Jesus Christ Himself had arms in his band! Even though the land was ruled by the Romans who were armed and did not hesitate to use their arms, the people had swords to defend themselves! Apostle Peter did not cut off the ear of the servant of the Highpriest with a fruit-knife!

25 June 2009 at 12:03  
Blogger dutchlionfrans1953 said...

Sorry for the double comment... I do not understand

25 June 2009 at 12:08  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Cranmer, you are dead right (again).

And didn't Brown do something similar about dormant bank accounts?

25 June 2009 at 12:41  
Blogger Dave said...

Whether you think this law is just or unjust, don't you find the irony delicious?
I think the property should be confiscated, sold and the proceeds used to pay back the cash they stole from us.

25 June 2009 at 12:53  
Blogger McKenzie said...

I read this in the doctors this morning. I couldn't believe it was true. I am going to go into denial on this one, i's too horrible to be true

25 June 2009 at 13:21  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

Home Information Packs (EU Directive) is another way for the State to get its hands on your (possessions) money.

They mean nothing to buyer and seller. I have heard of no one basing his decision to buy a property based on the HIP.

The HIP serves two purposes: easy revenue for the State and the State ensures that you know it can intercept anything it pleases.

25 June 2009 at 13:28  
Anonymous Morus said...

Yes it's a bit socialist, but it does acknowledge that there are responsibilities of ownership as well as rights of ownership.

I think it's silly to use 6 months vacant as the benchmark, but if someone owned the townhouse next to mine and was allowing it to fall into disrepair, I'd want something done about it - even without the serious shortage of housing that we have in this country.

Use it or lose it. And the irony is delicious as well!

(PS In the photo, is Ann Keen *sitting on her husband's lap?* If so, does anyone else find that a bit creepy?)

25 June 2009 at 14:59  
Anonymous Morus said...

PPS I am not a doctor, but I would heartily recommend a daily dose of bromide tea to your commenter 'dutchlionfrans1953'. He seems rather excitable.

25 June 2009 at 15:02  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Absolutely speechless...terrifying!

25 June 2009 at 17:10  
Anonymous not a machine said...

not my first emotions your grace on hearing the keens bad news but i respect your thoughts. How funny to find the liberal elite unable to avoid the cosh they have crafted . i feel that there is perhaps justice that the state cannot fulfill

25 June 2009 at 17:47  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Morus.....I find it very odd that
politicians would present themselves for a photo shoot in that position. Most inappropriate and an embarrassment to the nation. I can't recall photos of politicians sitting on each other in any other country. It's a first I think.

As for your other very restrained comment Morus, I agree entirely.
Maybe something even stronger than your recommended dosage.

25 June 2009 at 18:04  
Blogger haddock said...

There is a precedent.
My early years were spent in a house that had been requisitioned by the council in 1944 as it had been standing empty and unused at a time of housing shortage. The house was then rented to my parents as a council house. We were rehoused in 1952 and the house returned to its owner as local housing need had been met with council building.

25 June 2009 at 18:52  
Anonymous Katy said...

I've always voted Conservative and might one day sign the application form to join the party, but have to say I support the legislation for all its creepiness. I don't live in a nice area, I don't earn enough to do so. I live in a back-to-back terrace in a fairly run-down area of Bradford. There are much worse areas, I know, but this is on the edge of a slippy slope (and not just because wherever you are in Bradford you're on a hill!). There are many dilapidated, not just badly-decorated, properties in my village and most cause significant problems for their neighbours. They attract vandals, the burglar alarms go off and no-one knows how to contact the owner so we have to listen to them for days, broken sewer pipes go un-fixed (and when you're in the house at the back, that inevitably means walking through sewage on your way to your house), shared guttering rots and the rot spreads to yours, roof-tiles get blown into your garden - the list is endless.

Bradford Council are run ragged trying to get people to fix houses that actually are occupied, never mind the ones that aren't. As a last resort - and I'd hope this is what the legislation provides for and if it doesn't then that should be remedied - I'm totally in support of councils taking possession of that which some irresponsible and anti-social person won't make safe, and having the benefit for their troubles.

According to Mrs Keen, the property is under renovation and they haven't been served with an EDMO anyway, just warned that it might happen. If it is found to be being renovated, they can't be served with an EDMO.

25 June 2009 at 19:30  
Blogger Mr. Stalin said...

Good evening, your Grace.

Its a tad off topic, but Melvin Bragg´s Radio 4 program this evening was devoted to the split between Sunni & Shia Islam. I have not listened to the podcast yet and no doubt he asks one of the contributors about the significance of said schism re. literature and art - but I thought you and your readers may find it interesting.

25 June 2009 at 22:22  
Blogger Mr. Stalin said...

Damn. first ever blog posting and I buggered it up. The program is called "in our time"

25 June 2009 at 22:23  
Blogger dutchlionfrans1953 said...

@ Morus: I am not excitable, I am PASSIONATE! Passionate about truth and justice, and against lies, deception, government abuse, intimidation, control, domination, injustice!

Unlike most authorities and other people who are grey mice! Because they breed like hell, like weed, the good seed...always being in the minority... gets suffocated...as Jesus Christ already said.

Your advice is what Nazi-Germany did, and the USA is doing: They add clorine to their drinking-water! Ha...land of the free...nay...land of the zombie! It is sad that you want to silence my voice... if you do not have another choice...kill them...alive...! I take that as a hostile declaration against me!

We used to have men of steel on wooden ships. Now we have steel ships and men of wood...full of woodworm!

Can you imagine how the knights of King Arthur would survive this society?

Or Ivanhoe?

Or Robin Hood?

They never could!

No more character, no more virtue! No more noblemen reigning the nation. For in a 'democracy' they are a minority...and the nations suffers!

25 June 2009 at 22:25  
Blogger dmk said...

How 'private' is private property? Concrete over your drive, and you raise the risk of flooding for all your neighbours. Buy a 2nd home in a village and you drive up prices and take up a property which could have been taken by a local who wanted to stay near their family. Leave a house empty whilst folk in the queue for council housing have to sleep on floors or worse a few hundred yards away. 'Private' decisions have public consequences, there isn't a clear line between private and public..

The 'rights' of property owners are just ways of protecting those who had the money or the elbows to get to the front of the queue. It doesn't matter if an idea is 'associated with Marxism' if it happens to be morally right, or makes practical sense. A house paid for by one arm of government is reposessed by another in order to house the vulnerable. What's the problem?

And no, I'm not related.

26 June 2009 at 00:31  
Anonymous non mouse said...

dmk - sounds like that old marxist argument to me! Especially the public/private lens.

No point in suggesting that 'the Englishman's home is his castle' around you, I bet! What a nerve we have considering ourselves English, even.

And if we don't like the surveillance people use against us - that's our problem. So what if we want to blow our noses without anyone watching and criticizing!!!

26 June 2009 at 04:46  
Blogger Malthebof said...

Is that an 'Irish' on top of Mr Keen's head?

26 June 2009 at 10:10  
Blogger Dave said...

Your grace,

I don't understand your ire on this. The Conservative party, the party of laura norder stand and cheer when the tub thumpers rant about confiscating the proceeds of crime.
Criminals can be forced to repay the proceeds of crime. Their property can be seized.
Whenever a traveller gang is locked up and the crime rate goes down dramatically, their assets are seized amid great hoopla.

Now in my opinion these two are on a par with criminals and traveller thieves. The only difference is that they've been threatened with seizure before being charged. A matter of timing, that's all, as I'm sure their collective collars will be felt ere long.

26 June 2009 at 13:01  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

The Tyrannical state wants to stuff 100 Million Taxable slaves into this tiny Island, it must carry out seizures like this at every opportunity, look at the poor minorities in Lough sleeping in sheds and sharing 6 to a room.
Things are so desperate that Even Gordon Brown allows householders to charge £80 per week to rent out a room, TAX FREE.

If the patriotic anti EU British people are to be marginalised, these policies have to happen.

26 June 2009 at 15:15  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

How long before unviable commercial properties fall under the same confiscatory logic

26 June 2009 at 15:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Voyager-very succinctly put if I may say so.

26 June 2009 at 17:51  
Anonymous Sir Henry Morgan said...

" This is the lawful expropriation of private property; "

No sir, I must disagree with you. It is the LEGAL expropriation of private property.

'Lawful' and 'legal' are not necessarily the same thing: an action can be legal without being lawful.

27 June 2009 at 03:40  
Blogger Paul said...

What's all this "Your Grace" nonsense. There are a lot of contributors on here that really need to grow up, rather than acting like 1950's public schoolboys.

What do the contributors on here expect? That the Keens' house be left empty and to fall apart? That when they finally get round to it, the Keens can maximise a profit when property prices peak?

It's all very well for the smugly comfortable here to sneer at these laws, but there are too many people struggling for a decent place to live, and by that I'm not specifically referring to immigrants or asylum seekers. Thanks to accident of birth, not everyone has the fortune to have a comfortable life, being too busy just surviving, let alone being able to speculate on property prices.

30 June 2009 at 12:10  

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