The Destruction of Central Edinburgh Communities 493


Of the three flats on the corridor where I rent my current Edinburgh home, just off the Canongate, two were lived in and one a holiday let. As of this month, only we are resident and there are two holiday lets. Before this I lived in the Holyrood Park apartment block. Of the 14 flats on the stair we lived on, only 3 were inhabited. Eleven were holiday lets and holiday homes. Our rent was raised every six months until eventually we we were forced out by rent reaching over £1500 a month. A taxi driver taking me home once told me he had never taken an actual resident there before, only holidaymakers; he did not know there were residents.

One Edinburgh website alone boasts that over 2,000 Edinburgh apartment owners use its short term letting service – and presumably a significant percentage of those 2,000 own multiple apartments. The authorities simply cannot know how many Edinburgh flats are holiday lets. It is a huge black market, avoiding income tax, fire, safety and other regulations and very often involving illegal sub-letting. Certainly in the apartment block I now inhabit there are flats used for holiday lets which are supposed to be social housing. The extent of it may be gauged by the fact that, with parking in great demand in Central Edinburgh, we have an underground car park with just one narrow space per flat, but that outwith the festival I have never seen the car park more than 20% full.

It is partly, but not just, an airbnb phenomenon. There are many other websites. A search for “apartments only” in Edinburgh from booking.com for 6-8 November shows an astonishing 877 apartments available – in addition to those already let, or available from a plethora of other sites and agents. There must be a minimum of 3,000 housing units not designed as holiday accommodation, taken out of Edinburgh’s housing stock and put to that purpose. Of these, I know from direct observation most are simply empty for the vast majority of the year, but from just Hogmanay and the Festival an owner can make more money than a working family could pay for rent in the year. The result is, of course, to force rents up across the city for ordinary people.

The impact on the city centre community has been devastating, and the process is by no means ended, with estate agents I have spoken with saying that most city centre properties now sold are still going to investors for this purpose.

Cities like Edinburgh and Barcelona, which are quite rightly huge tourist attractions, need to take urgent planning decisions to prevent the organic life of the city becoming extinct, and their being reduced to Disneyland parks. I have sympathy with those who argue that greedy overcharging in the hotel sector is part of the problem. But having lived as a resident in hollowed-out empty buildings, surrounded by homeless people sleeping rough next to empty homes, it is plain something is very wrong. That is without mentioning the unpleasantness of the stag and hen party culture which forms a significant part of the Edinburgh trade, and amongst which even the most liberal person has trouble living with small children in the family.

State regulation is out of fashion, but I would advocate tackling this through planning consent and simply designating which properties are for residential purpose only, and which for holiday accommodation if a permit is obtained. The latter might then be easily taxed as commercial properties, overcrowding and fire regulation addressed, and the income tax more easily pursued. The alternative is for the community of Central Edinburgh to vanish. I live a short walk from my father’s birthplace in a tenement on Johnstone Terrace. It is now a holiday let.


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493 thoughts on “The Destruction of Central Edinburgh Communities

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  • Republicofscotland

    A harrowing account of what’s going on in Yemen.

    “United Nations officials say a more insidious form of warfare is also being waged in Yemen, an economic war that is exacting a far greater toll on civilians and now risks tipping the country into a famine of catastrophic proportions.”

    http://archive.is/bjcLn

  • N_

    Does this count as a coup?

    David Natzler, the clerk of the House of Commons (#), is the “chief adviser to the House on matters of parliamentary procedure” and its “principal constitutional adviser” (#). He was appointed as a result of the deliberations of a committee chaired by Jack Straw.

    Natzler says that any vote by MPs on what should happen in the event of “no deal” will have “no statutory significance”.

    He says WHAT?

    I’ve been telling everyone to expect a humdinger of a Speaker’s Ruling.

    Listen to the speciousness:

    The Commons library said: ‘The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 provides three possible staging posts at which point parliament will be able to “have a say” in a no-deal scenario, but none of them provide parliament with a legal veto over Brexit.’

    Really? But Parliament can amend any Act in a matter of hours. It can’t bind itself. It can even amend the above-mentioned Act in a section of a new Act in which, for example, it instruct a new referendum on Remain or No Deal.

    I couldn’t find much biographical information about David Natzler online.

    The organisation called the “Commons Library” describes itself as a body of “impartial experts”. Never trust anybody who describes themselves like that. The head of it appears (#) to be Penny Young, the Director General of Information Services at the Commons, who sits on the Commons Executive Board. That board is chaired by former banker Ian Ailles. Ailles is the first person in this newly created role.

    Which bank was he at?

    Biographical information for Natzler, Young and Ailles would be appreciated.

    NOTE
    I am using “#” after a link to indicate that the link is a properly researched and useful link that is NOT to a Wikipedia page.

    • N_

      I haven’t found out what bank Ailles was at, but he was at the Wyndham Hotel Group, which has been involved in large-scale timeshare scams. (That link is well worth clicking on.) The company is also widely reported to engage in credit card scams. None of this prevented its CEO of 2012, Eric Danziger, from being honoured by the J__ish National Fund.

    • Sharp Ears

      A nest of faceless bureaucrats in our so called democracy accountable only to the twerp Bercow. The nest is expanding exponentially. They all know each other. Jobs for the boys… and girls.

      You can bet that Ailles is being paid handsomely.
      ‘Ian is currently Director General, House of Commons. He reports to the Speaker of the House of Commons and is a Member of the House of Commons Commission. As part of that role he is the project sponsor of the Renewal and Restoration programme for the Houses of Parliament.
      Ian’s principal career has been within the travel and leisure industry. He has worked for Thomas Cook (twice) and Wyndham. In that time he has held CEO, MD, COO and CFO roles encompassing retailing, online, airline and tour operating. Most recently he was brought back to Thomas Cook to stabilise the UK division of Thomas Cook. His travel operational roles have covered all parts of the world except the Americas and, closer to home, he led Wyndham’s acquisition of Hoseasons and James Villas in the UK.
      Ian’s non-executive and consulting roles have included a period with the NHS on the establishment of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the Church of England Commissioners, Chairman of the UK FTO (Federation of Tour Operators) representing all the largest UK travel companies and Treasurer of the Travel Foundation. He has also chaired a Private Equity IT company and worked for a Dubai based global education company.
      Prior to joining the travel industry he was an investment banker in the UK/US and is a qualified chartered accountant. He is married with two daughters and lives in St Albans.
      https://www.mha.org.uk/about-mha/management-and-governance/ (Board member of MHA – Methodist care homes etc)

      Note the involvement in the destruction of OUR NHS by his part in the creation of the CCGs who are empowered to buy in services for Trusts in their area, ie privatisation.

      In my travels I noticed this new appointment to the HoC. What is going on? Who is funding it? Who is controlling it?
      https://www.cio.co.uk/cio-career/tracey-jessup-appointed-parliamentary-digital-service-cio-md-3683838/
      Tracey Jessup Named New Parliamentary Digital Service CIO and MD …
      17 Sep 2018 – The appointment was announced in a statement by Ian Ailles, Director General of the House of Commons, and Ed Ollard, House of Lords Clerk … ‘

      On that link – ‘Tracey Jessup has been named the new CIO and MD of the Parliamentary Digital Service, a government department that works with the House of Commons, House of Lords, and Parliament staff on their IT and digital needs.

      Jessup will lead +++ a department of around 500 staff and a total budget close to £50 million +++that supports both business as usual and change projects in each chamber of parliament, including delivering the current digital strategy for Parliament and preparing a new strategy to succeed it.’

      YCNMIU

      • Sharp Ears

        Dame Laura Cox’s report on bullying and sexual harassment within the institution.
        https://www.cloisters.com/images/Bullying-Harassment-HOC-Staff-Oct-2018.pdf

        See para 406 for her conclusions. There will be more expenditure on ‘training’. So Topsy grows even bigger.

        Chris Cook’s report. He is on the case and tells it like it is.

        Westminster bullying: A ‘conflicted’ commission
        Chris Cook
        Policy editor, Newsnight
        23 October 2018
        Will MPs finally get held to account if they mistreat staff? After the publication of the Dame Laura Cox review, what happens now?
        Last week, this report gave us a blueprint for how MPs should be judged and punished if they bully or harass people working for the House of Commons.
        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45940929

        • Paul Greenwood

          Simply transfer HoC staff and employees of MPs to a HoC Benefits Plan where compensation and social security are group managed and MPs have to cover the cost from their “allowance”. Simply giving the staff “Group Rights by Association” should solve the problem

      • N_

        Thanks for this!

        A “Dubai based global education company” sounds suspiciously like GEMS (Global Education Management Systems), run by Sunny Varkey and with which Prince Charles is also involved. Its Schools Group is or was chaired by Michael Peat, Prince Charles’s former PPS.

        The Wyndham Group sound like mafia – international resort hotel operators involved in timeshare scams and credit card fraud.

        We still don’t know what bank Ailles was at.

        So he’s been involved in NHS ~privatisation too.

        500 staff under Tracey Jessup at the Parliamentary Digital Service is an amazingly large number.

        John Bercow has been a key figure. In his manifesto (sic) for the Commons speakership he promised to allow voluntary organisations better access to the Speaker’s office. Much of the left failed to understand the significance of the Daily Telegraph’s running of the “MPs’ expenses story” that brought down Michael Martin as Speaker and replaced him with Bercow. Seriously, as if the interests that control the Torygraph want to clean out the muck…

        That was also the time of the London Declaration on Antisemitism which is a very curious kind of document indeed. It involves parliamentarians from several countries but it’s not a law or a draft treaty for setting up an intergovernmental body. It’s always practice that counts most, not detailed legal arguments, formal procedures, paper policies, or political theory. People parroted stories about MPs being venal twats (shocker) and claiming for mortgage payments, the employment of spouses who didn’t do a stroke, garden ponds, pornographic videos or whatever, while the business of parliament got even dirtier. For example there was Barry Sheerman, working closely for a lobby company at the same time as he chaired the education select committee, but as far as I’m aware there have been no articles suggesting that that might have been a teensy bit of a conflict of interest or that basically he was taking bribes from the education supply sector.

        Now we have reached the point where David Natzler tells the media it doesn’t matter what Parliament votes on, because it won’t have any statutory effect…

        • MaryPau!

          But the Tories almost universally didn’t want Bercow as Speaker and Labour MPs almost universally elected him to the role, to spite them.

    • pete

      The only Penny Young I could find is this one: https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Penny_Young
      It relates to 2012 information andt tells us really nothing about her, nor does it confirm that the HOC Penny Young and her are one and the same, it must be a fairly common name, so the matter is in doubt. Shouldn’t public office officials at least give us some indication of their credentials?

    • Col

      But he won an election, quite convincingly. I trust Brazilians to decide what’s best for Brazil better than I do.

      Last time I was there I had 4 attempted muggings in a week. Not rushing back.

      • Charles Bostock

        You are right of course but the problem is that certain people – often far from the country concerned – will only recognise the validity of any election process if the candidate they ‘supported’ won.

        • Ingwe

          Charles, Shame that you don’t consider that Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians, Afghanis, Yemenis, most South American states, etc etc, should be allowed to determine their own future but are considered fair game for USUK’s vision of development and ‘democracy’.

      • Dennis Revell

        :

        The Brazilians didn’t decide to imprison Lula, you dolt.

        Bolsonaro and the corrupt courts decided to do that because Lula was FAR AHEAD in the polls – which is PRECISELY why they imprisoned him on utterly false charges.

        The reward for the “Judge” in Lula’s case? He’s been made the Minister of Justice.

        It’s so transparent how the ‘usual suspects’ here will always support a fascist in office no matter what corruption gave them that office. Fascists themselves, methinks.

        .

    • MJ

      “Dilma Rousseff was impeached in a stitch-up”

      Her anti-corruption proposals got to the heart of the problem so those most in danger got rid of her using constitutional means. Same model is being played out in the US.

  • Sharp Ears

    How did Sajid Javid open proceedings in the HoC today at the start of Home Office Questions?

    With a tribute to those killed in Pittsburgh. His Twitter is similar
    ‘Heartbroken by news of #PittsburghSynagogueShooting. We stand with our Jcwish friends across the world.’
    The page is full of retweets on the news.

    What has Pittsburgh got to do with the UK, the Home Office and the House of Commons apart from the fact that Javid is a member of CFoI and that he has said he would like to live in Israel|? Bercow seconded his tribute to Pittsburgh incidentally. Bercow is also a CFoI member.

    Sajid Javid: Brother’s school Israel trip inspires my support for Jcwish state
    Home Secretary tells packed meeting of Conservative Friends of Israel at the party’s conference that he’ll always remain a steadfast supporter of the Jcwish state
    https://tiny.cc/ih3j0y

    Ms Villiers has just stood up to contribute to the session seeking a reassurance that Jcwish people in this country are kept safe. Followed by Luciana Berger chiming in. All the FoIs are on the job.

    • S

      Dude I’m not sure why you are talking about Israel. The attacker didn’t mention Israel.
      Corbyn tweeted a tribute, and indeed any decent politician would show respect.
      This was the worst antisemitic act in the West in recent history and well worth recognizing in parliament.

        • Loony

          When you start out with “favorite” victim groups then you are forced to rank victims of anything according to your own virtue signalling needs.

          Assuming today to be an average day then 49 people will be murdered in South Africa – who cares? Apparently not you as you have chosen Yemen as your point of reference and not South Africa.

          It is estimated that between March 2015 and December 2017 that up to 64,000 people have been killed in the war in Yemen. During the same period of time about 100,000 people have been murdered in Mexico. This despite the fact that Mexico is not at war. Why are Yemeni’s so much more interesting to you than Mexicans? – Care to explain.

          But it goes on. There have been a couple of minor earthquakes in Lancashire – . there has been no damage to property and no-one has been injured much less killed. These earthquakes are extremely interesting to all manner of people, not least because of the possible linkage to fracking. In 2008 there was an earthquake in China that killed over 69,000 people.

          The epicenter of this earthquake was about 50 miles north of Chengdu – most people would not even be able to find Chengdu on a map, so they manifestly have no interest at all in Chinese earthquakes or the number of Chinese people killed in such earthquakes.

          You are like a bunch of schoolgirls discussing their favorite color – except being all grown up (sic) you like to discuss your favorite victims.

          • Jude 93

            Loony: ***This despite the fact that Mexico is not at war.*** Oops, that’s the whole point. The western governments support Saudi Arabia militarily and are therefore complicit in that country’s slaughter in Yemen – all the while engaging in histrionic moralising over Assad, Iran, Putin etc. As for South Africa, the ANC and its cohorts are lapdogs for global capitalist interests – so attacking white farmers is for them a form of displacement activity: They’d prefer not to tackle the real exploiters of the black population – thanks all the same. If they did the western powers might give them a dose of the Neocon humanitarian intervention treatment – a la Saddam. Milosevic and Ghaddafi – so far safer to make poor marginal whites their whipping boy.

            As for your comments re China, I think the word “random” springs to mind. The idea that someone should not be interested in the question of whether or not fracking is causing earthquakes close to their homes, because they know little about much bigger earthquakes which occurred ten years ago and thousands of miles away, is bizarre to put it mildly.

          • Trowbridge H. Ford

            Chengdu is well known to the Chinese leadership since it was hit by a devastating quake a decade ago which decimated its scientific community, killing about 80.000 people. It was made by NRO laser satellites, making it a most deliberate act.

            Must you engage in making your own fiction!

          • Loony

            I agree with you – random does spring to mind. The random selection of favorite victim groups. Upwards of 5 million people have been slaughtered in the Congo , making it the deadliest of all wars since 1945. And yet no-one gives a fuck about dead Congolese. And what did they die for? Why to provide the moral and the virtuous and the pure with affordable cell phones. Such a worthwhile cause.

            Why it so hard for the egalitarians to accept that all life is precious and that a person killed in the Yemen or in Pittsburgh is neither more nor less tragic than a person being killed anywhere else.

          • Jude 93

            Loony: Yet more randomness. If you’d care to elaborate on your statement that five million congolese have died since 1945 for the cause of cheap cell-phones, feel free to do so. Mobile phones have only been around since the 1980s – cheap ones since the late 1990s.

            Having said that I agree with you that many self-styled egalitarians only regard some lives as precious. I’m thinking here specifically of those liberal leftists who bang on endlessly about the evils of gun ownership in the US or about trigger happy racist police officers, but who happily supported Obama/Clinton drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere – not to mention ignoring hundreds of Israeli sniper killings along that state’s border wall. Somehow however, I’m guessing that’s not what you had in mind…

        • S

          Hi nevermind, People think (rightly or wrongly) that life in the US is closer to life in the UK than is life in Yemen. It’s not so much that one life is more precious than another, but it raises the feeling “it could have been me”, and asks “is this a turning point”.

          • Herbie

            “A turning point”

            How can it be a turning point. We’ve had loads and loads of these shootings in the US, going back top at least Columbine in 1999.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        The attacker did mention HIAS, saying that its immigration policies of unwanted people, Jews and Muslims, were ruining his world.

        The worst antisemitic acts of the last half-century have been Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, and the lack of any beneficial response by Western governments, Dude.

      • Sharp Ears

        S I am telling you that the Home Secretary started off the day’s proceedings with the tribute. The session was supposed to be questions to him and his answers. I have told you that he is a supporter of Israel. He sees what happened in Pittsburgh. an attack on American Jcws, as an attack against Israel. He conflates the two.

        • Herbie

          “He conflates the two.”

          I’m not sure that he did.

          “We stand with our Jewish friends across the world” is an entirely appropriate salute to the Diaspora, of which American Jews are a part.

          Probably go against British policy to conflate the Diaspora with Israel.

    • Charles Bostock

      “What has Pittsburgh got to do with the UK, the Home Office and the House of Commons”

      No more than the shooting of violent protesters at the Israel-Gaza border has to do with the UK, the Home Office and the House of Commons.

    • GlassHopper

      This is a rather mean-spirited comment that does the Palestinian cause no good at all.

      Among the dead was a 97 year old, slaughtered by a maniac who in all likelihood hated Palestinians as much as Jews.

      As a long time supporter of the Palestinian cause, iv’e learned there are times to speak out, and times to shut up. This is one of the latter.

  • Dungroanin

    Just like to point out that Luke ‘daFORCE’ Harding has got an EXCLUSIVE from 1989!
    on Trump and the Czech secret services interest in him after he pulled his first Euro slut.

    I didn’t bother reading it through.

    It is almost as he is trying to completely forget Skripal and Putin and Syria … look a SQUIZZLE.

    LOLS.

  • Republicofscotland

    Hooray!!!!!! Austerity is over, well, it is if you believe the media that is. Phil Hammond has saved the day, dishing out wads of cash from the secret money tree stored beneath the Treasury floor. Infact the media claimed that the PM penned most of the budget, and that’s why its all sweetness and light.

    Lets not mention the flagging economy, the exodus of firms overseas, nor shall we mention the elephant in the room Brexit. Indeed, Phil Hammond can offer the world on a silver salver with regards to his budget, knowing fine well that it will probably be negated next year with an emergency budget as we fall off the no deal Brexit cliff.

    No, instead lets all wallow in the neverending sea of WWI remembrance that swamps everything in the UK at this time of year.

    It must be the only war that Westminster commemerated the beginning of its centenary (2014, there’s a clue in there why they did it), and the end of centenary (2018) though fighting carried on, some memorials are engraved1914-1919. Vickers and Krupp, especially wanted to keep it going.

    Austerity’s over Hip Hip Hooray.

    • Sharp Ears

      Hammond is as rich as Croesus yet he receives many donations including one of £5,000 from Hintze (of Fox and Werrity infamy). He has been the MP for Runnymede and Weybridge since 2000.

      One of the earliest entries on his Register of Interests in 2001 is a shareholding in:
      a) Castlemead Ltd.; a company whose principal activity is property development, including the development of Primary Care premises for NHS bodies and General Medical Practitioners’

      Later when he had taken office, his interest in that company had morphed into:
      ‘I am a beneficiary of a trust which owns a controlling interest in Castlemead Ltd, a company engaged in construction, housebuilding and property development.’

      Free ‘advice’ from KPMG – ‘Total value £62,250 worth of advice to Shadow Cabinet Treasury Team, of which as a member of the team I receive a proportionate share. Covers period 1 April to 30 June 2009.’ Of course that ‘advice’ was completely impartial and had no bearing on the interests of KPMG’s clients. 🙂

      Advice also from Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC). They have been heavily involved in the Tory plans to privatize the NHS.

      Many freebies throughout the list and some nice free days out with Mrs Hammond – Chelsea Flower Show, Polo at Queens Lawn, etc https://www.theyworkforyou.com/regmem/?p=10257

      I had forgotten he became Defence Secretary when Fox got the boot, Foreign Secretary and Secretary of State for Transport too. He has had these connections to Saudi Arabia:

      ‘n October 2015, Justice Secretary Michael Gove cancelled a £5.9 million contract to provide services for prisons in the Saudi Arabia, saying “the British government should not be assisting a regime that uses beheadings, stoning, crucifixions and lashings as forms of punishment.” Foreign Secretary Hammond accused Gove of “naivety”.

      In November 2015, Hammond was criticised for accepting a watch worth £1,950 from a Saudi businessman called Sheikh Marei Mubarak Mahfouz bin Mahfouz. The watch was given as a gift after the unveiling of a statue of the Queen to mark the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta. Ministers are not allowed to accept gifts worth more than £140 but Hammond claims he was advised that the event was a constituency one, not a ministerial one, and therefore the rules for ministers did not apply to him on that day. Labour MP John Mann was among those who criticised Hammond. “What on earth was he doing?” Mann asked, “No MP should be accepting watches worth nearly £2,000 as a gift. He should now give it to charity.’
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Hammond

      When he was Foreign Secretary, he spoke to over 500 members of CFoI at the Tory Conference.
      https://cfoi.co.uk/foreign-secretary-philip-hammond-addresses-500-delegates-at-cfi-party-conference-reception/

    • giyane

      Hammond gave out the same aura of confidence of a domestic cat taking refuge for safety from the noise of fiureworks in a large pile of timber on bonfire night. Austerity has not touched the Tories except to bring down the price of house-slaves and work-slaves to record levels of affordability.

      Thank you Oh Allah for giving us a man of such integrity in Jeremy Corbyn who can honestly inform the Tories of the wreckage they have inflicted. Even as they sneer at labour when Tory Banking policies brought down the entire West.

        • giyane

          RoS

          I am not remotely qualified to comment on this topic. My own journey to Islam involved leaving home for boarding school at the age of seven and by doing so I avoided nearly all of my parents lack of interest in religion and I rapidly discovered in the school I went to and in my grandmother who I was nearby to an enthusiasm and daily practise of religion.

          IMHO people are people whether they are 1 years old or 101. The personality, faith, inner vision , is inseparably the same at all ages. Sexuality appears to be inextricably entwined with other parts of the personality and does not respond to much in the way of deliberate control except for fasting which appears to reduce sexual desire, and being unloved, misunderstood or bullied which seems to increase the likelihood of sex becoming an addition.

          My Muslim wife’s mother was married as a child of 13 to an older man and they have produced a beautifully happy family of ten children. That is a road that is possible in Islam because of the example of our prophet SAW. So you could say that our prophet’s work was to show us believers in Allah the limits of our religion. The limits are maybe not the norm, but the limits set by Islam of puberty for girls to marry do seem to me to respect the personality . I would have been perfectly happy to marry at puberty if … but it’s no good saying what if? Is it?

          I’m allowed 4 wives as a Muslim, but I’m not allowed even a sniff of a girlfriend. This is vastly more humane that british post-Christian values through which men are tied hand and foot to a mortgage and marriage and their women folk can trample all over them in the name of protecting the children. Most children nowadays are not brought up by their fathers but by stray, predatory male partners of self-abandoned women.

          The feminists in parliament have been telling us recently that men should stop being men.” What are we supposed to be asked my brother-in-law?” ” Women ” I replied. And believe me the feminists would condemn us for blasphemy for not being women , if we allowed them the rope to do it. So get chopping down below and start popping hormones. You only come on here to chit-chat and turn the electric fire on to Gas mark 10. Tasleem/ submit to the law of WOMAN, if you don’t like the law of Islam.

          • Hatuey

            “I’m allowed 4 wives as a Muslim, but I’m not allowed even a sniff of a girlfriend. This is vastly more humane that british post-Christian values through which men are tied hand and foot to a mortgage and marriage and their women folk can trample all over them in the name of protecting the children.”

            Not one word from the perspective of the wives, except to say that they trample over men. Is it beyond the scope of mind and empathetic feelings to try and imagine what it would be like to share a husband with 3 other women? How would you like to share a wife with 3 other men, her husbands? And you talk of their trampling…

        • Loony

          Looking at this judgement in isolation will tell you very little. It needs to be viewed in the wider context of a raft of hate speech laws and death threats received by people like Salman Rushdie and the actual deaths of people like Charlie Hebdo employees.

          All of these relevant facts leads to the conclusion that Europe is determined to re-introduce blasphemy laws. But as is common there is no intention to apply these laws equally and there is no intention to make the public aware of the real legal situation. Thus no-one passes actual blasphemy laws merely a raft of different policies, regulations and coordinated political responses to certain events that serve to criminalize blasphemy by stealth. Just so to help the public form the opposite impression of the actual situation a few celebratory articles will appear applauding places like Ireland for repealing its blasphemy laws.

          Naturally this will lead to a surfeit of prosecutions as people will be engaging in illegal acts without their realizing that the acts are in fact illegal. In a few years someone will look up statistics for blasphemy (handily branded as hate speech or similar) and conclude that the entire continent of Europe is infested by Nazi’s, Naturally the policy response to this will be to pass yet more restrictive laws and criminalize a further swathe of the population.

          If you were tasked with creating all of the necessary conditions for civil war then this policy would certainly for a core part of your strategy. The only interesting question to drop out of all of this is why? Why are those who claim to be in positions of political power so determined to burn the whole place down?

          • Herbie

            “Just so to help the public form the opposite impression of the actual situation a few celebratory articles will appear applauding places like Ireland for repealing its blasphemy laws.”

            Funnily enough, the Catholic Church didn’t come out against this in any meaningful way but Islamic leaders in Ireland did come out against it.

            Ireland is being aligned with the Globalist model, and perhaps in preparation for a United Ireland. This will squeeze that part of the DUP who have more traditional views.

            And my expectation is that Ireland will become some sort of poster boy for mass immigration. The late Peter Sutherland was a big fan of this, and he mentored Coveney, the real PM, and former Irish president, Mary Robinson, who’s another prominent proponent.

            Come to think of it. Ireland has already become the biggest pain in the ass virtue signaller, with Canada a close second.

            “Why are those who claim to be in positions of political power so determined to burn the whole place down?”

            They call it Creative Destruction, a term coined by Schumpeter to apply to free economic competition, but their use of it seems much more like some form of command and control alchemical transformation of the social, economic and political sphere.

            You destroy the old, and rebuild something new.

          • Hieroglyph

            “Why are those who claim to be in positions of political power so determined to burn the whole place down?”

            I suspect it’s because many of them are utter lunatics. I mean, like Hitler, they meet the routine criterion that would put ordinary people in a psyche ward. Quite serious. So, perhaps they ‘hear’ voices from aliens promising them transcendence if they comply. Or perhaps it’s an angel. Hell, maybe it really is an alien lizard species bound to an AI. Who knows with these whack jobs? They are not stable, empathetic people, not by a merry long shot.

            On the upside, he majority of people are not lunatics. Not so sure about the US just now though!

          • Piotr Berman

            In Poland one can get two years in prison for offending religious feeling by deprecating (I may translate a word wrongly here) the subject of religious cult or the place of worship. I guess it is enforced in Poland more then in most European countries (about 50 sentences per year), but it is not really exceptional in Europe.

  • ChristopherJ

    my sympathies, Craig. It is the same all over the world. Has been a big disruptor to the hotel and private rental sectors.

    A couple of my mates are looking for an apartment/house. There’s hundreds on airbnb, but little for leasing. So, they are couch surfing (both work) and are forced into the queues that have developed for the small number of properties available for lease.
    ST rentals, esp those offering food, need regulating. To properly get licensed as a business operating a bed a breakfast, there are several ‘licenses’ to obtain, including a food service license and a proper (stainless steel) kitchen where meals are prepared. You need off street parking, smoking policies…

    Airbnbers don’t do any of this. They need regulating and, potentially, capped as they are taking properties out of the long term leasing and driving up rents.

    TY, bro. Nasty times, eh?

    • Hatuey

      Maybe if they were motivated less by money they could live and work happily in an area where there was less demand.

      People moan about places like London sucking in all the talent and hogging the economy and then they move to those places and sleep on sofas.

      Just a thought…

      • Piotr Berman

        This is not always an option if you want to work in your profession and you do not feel like having a hellish commute that can impair creativity needed in that profession.

    • Max_B

      Land and property tax reforms, along with massive changes to planning regulations are well overdue. Land is a finite resource for a state, it needs better management for the benefit of everyone.

  • james

    thanks craig… it is a huge problem for a number of communites and for a number of reasons..vancouver, canada it is a similar story, while a greater number are forced out into the street and etcetc..thanks for raising this pressing issue..

    • Loony

      It us tempting to describe Owen Jones as a useful idiot – although to do so would require a radical redefinition of the word “useful” He is undoubtedly a match carrier for the arsonists determined to burn the whole place down.

      Outrage is just one more commodity here – to be packaged and sold to the highest bidder. You want something to be outraged about try this

      https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6329297/Rotherham-grooming-gang-convicted-sexually-assaulting-vulnerable-teenage-girls.html

      Yep: One more story of “Asian Grooming Gangs” preying on the weak and vulnerable and committing hideous crimes in Rotherham. Obviously this kind of thing is not so interesting and has lost much of its shock value – so no need to be outraged about this. No: Much better to save your outrage for the Alan Billings the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner. Here he is explaining why South Yorkshire Police consider non crime hate incidents to be a top priority and urging people to report non criminal activity to the police for investigation.

      https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/nick-ferrari/nick-ferrari-tears-into-crime-commissioner/

      As the report on the latest rape gang makes clear – attempts were made to report these offences to the police but they were ignored. Presumably too busy dealing with much more important non criminal activities.

      The fact that Billings is allowed to take an £85,000 per year salary paid for by taxpayers solely in order to rub the noses of the poor and the vulnerable into the excrement of his political ideology is the real outrage. So naturally there will be no outrage as it is so much easier to concentrate on manufactured outrage.

      “And as I was standing by the edge
      I could see the faces of those that led, pissing themselves laughing
      (and the flames grew higher).
      Their mad eyes bulged, their flushed faces said.
      The weak get crushed as the strong grow stronger.
      We feast on flesh and drink on blood
      Live by fear and despise love…”

      • Hatuey

        Loony, sorry to interrupt your little indulgences, I usually try to ignore them, but the grooming stuff has been widely and unanimously condemned on a number of levels. There are huge questions to be answered about how allegations were handled by the police and others. Tell us something we don’t know.

        But other more serious questions are raised too, in my opinion, and nobody including you seems to be even aware of their existence.

        Of course, it would be easier to identify real and serious allegations of wrongdoing along the lines suggested if our country wasn’t embroiled in perpetual holy (oil) war against Muslims in places like Iraq and elsewhere.

        Anti-Islamic propaganda has been a staple diet in the West since 2001, in the gutter press and elsewhere, especially in the US & UK, serving a very specific purpose in terms of public opinion on foreign policy, to the extent that most of us just switch off when we see and hear it.

        That’s the context the grooming took place in. Amidst a constant chorus of hysterical lies and black propaganda directed at Islamism generally, ranging from casually vicious slandering about the way they live and dress to much more more serious attacks by people like Dawkins who should have known better, all encouraged by government, the voices of the abused were simply drowned out.

        The anti-Islamic dog whistling from the higher echelons of British society over the past 20 years has been utterly scandalous. Books should be written on this subject.

        But your rhetorical approach to debate itself is also suspect. Generally it goes something like this;

        1) someone expresses concern about a particular issue.
        2) you point to a far more serious issue and suggest they must be hypocrites for ignoring it.

        Anybody could do that. It’s childish and it’s crap.

        • Loony

          My post had substantially nothing to do with Muslims. What we have is an example of criminals who I presume to be Muslim – but criminals can be of any faith or no faith. What matters is that they are criminals. By logical deduction criminals can be expected to commit crimes.

          I am much more interested in un-prosecuted criminals occupying public positions and paid for from public funds, Can you imagine anything more disgusting than deliberately ignoring crime over an extended period and then entering the public domain to confirm that the priorities of the police are centered around acts that are not illegal and not criminal.

          You don’t like the latest example of actual crime emanating from South Yorkshire – try Hillsborough. 96 people killed by police incompetence and malfeasance and almost 30 years of dissembling and diversion in order to seek to evade justice. There are no shortage of crimes committed by “public servants” in South Yorkshire. Tell me tell c’monj tell me the answer what the fuck has “perpetual holy war against Muslims in places like Iraq” got to do with the police lying about 96 dead Liverpool supporters?

          Is Alan Billings betraying the people he is paid to represent as a consequence of a geo strategic policy in Iraq. If so what exactly is it that has been done in Iraq than means that people of South Yorkshire should be perpetually punished and perpetually betrayed – why not punish and betray the people of Mayfair or Billings Montana? What is it that is unique about the people of South Yorkshire that they should be held accountable for the crimes of out of control state policy?

          All you do with your bleating about anti Islamic propaganda is buy the lie sold to you by your masters. The most egregious criminals are those who claim to be part of the legal and justice system – in this case the criminal is Alan Billings. Luckily for him he can can rely on people like you to muddy the waters and so enable him move on unmolested to his next crime scene.

          But keep it up no doubt the powerful are eternally grateful that you wish to act as their unpaid lackey by providing constant misdirection. Not that any of it really matters because the die has been cast and those so determined to burn the whole place down will surely succeed.

          • Loony

            OK – just for you. The Muslim grooming gang trial was the latest evidence of serious crime in South Yorkshire – and so I chose that example as a backdrop against which to analyze the thoughts, behavior and actions of Alan Billings.

            I believe phrases like “so no need to be outraged about this (Grooming gang trial). No: Much better to save your outrage for the Alan Billings the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner.” are clear and not open to the form of misinterpretation that you elect to pursue.

            Why do you do this? Are you some of paid or unpaid agent for Alan Billings? Or do you simply prefer to seek to discredit me (someone you do not know and has never done you any harm) that to seek to understand whether Alan Billings is providing the kind of public service that he is paid handsomely from public funds to provide? Or maybe you just hate people from South Yorkshire – and want them arrested and harassed for engaging in non criminal behavior whilst simultaneously being brutalized and barbarized by actual criminals that no-one can be bothered to arrest.

            You are free to hold any view you want – but equally I am free to point out that your interpretation of my remarks are crass, stupid and demonstrably inaccurate.

      • Jack

        Loony

        So if some jews do bad things, people in general are in their right be racists against them? Thats what you just said about muslims (grooming case).
        Fact is that Owen WIlson is correct, Tories let the prejudice against muslims under the radar, while making a big phoney case over vibrant antisemitism in the Labour party.

        • Loony

          You are going to have to help me out here Jack. Maybe you could point out exactly where it is I have said that “people in general are in their rights to be racists” because try as I might I can find no record of my ever having said the things you claim that I have said.

          Could it be that you are acting with nefarious intent? Oh how I wonder.

          • Jack

            Loony

            What I meant was that you imply there is no islamophobia, and for those that use that term, well they are useful idiots “just look at the grooming case”-argument.

            Could you clear up and admit that there is a such thing as islamophobia? Or do you in fact deny it as I earlier stated in my first response to your post?

      • lunatic

        Strange tangent you’ve gone off on there Loony considering your ”please think of the Congolese” post previous. As if you have an unhinged, baseless hatred of the whole Islamic faith. Focus on the Islamophobia in Britain Jack is highlighting rather than attempting to justify it, no?

        • Loony

          …and another one steps up.

          The DRC has a population of about 78 million and about 93% of them are Christian. Only about 1.2% are adherents to the Islamic faith. So please let us all know how a reference to the DRC can be construed as constituting “an unhinged, baseless hatred of the whole Islamic faith”

          As you are a self professed lunatic I am not expecting a cogent response, but I will let you into a secret. “Islamophobia” is a made up word and is devoid of meaning. It is however a handy little word guaranteed to generate emotional knee jerk reactions, This is of course is its real purpose as while people are bickering about made up words people like Alan Billings are left unmolested to continue their looting of the public purse and to continue with their real agenda of setting fire to the entire country.

          When the flames become too hot to ignore their bet is that the people will blame “racists” or “Islamophobes” or “Islamists” (it doesn’t matter which side you pick) for the conflagration.

        • Sharp Ears

          I do agree with you on the nonsensical Police and Crime Commissioners. 40 odd of them from memory. Their introduction to replace local police authorities was one of Theresa May’s ‘initiatives’.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_and_crime_commissioner

          Her van with the message to immigrants to go home or face arrest was another.

          May was not opposed to ‘go home’ vans, official accounts suggest
          Statements contradict Nick Timothy’s claim that May tried to block rollout during crackdown against illegal immigration
          19 Apr 2018 17.37 BST
          The vans, which were driven around six London boroughs with areas of high migration, became notorious as part of May’s ‘hostile environment’ strategy.
          https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/apr/19/theresa-may-was-not-opposed-to-go-home-vans-official-accounts-suggest

          ___

          I hear May is in Oslo today. She cannot stay in the same place for long. Cameron was the same. Keep moving……

        • Loony

          Why not? The MO is the same. Years of ignoring the abuse followed by years of covering it all up. When that trick was payed out they went for misdirection.

          Contemporaneously with the net closing on Janner along came a vast raft of allegations against the dead personage of Ted Heath. Even David Icke was wheeled out to confirm that he once met Ted Heath and that Heath turned into a lizard before his very eyes. This all served to divert more reliable eyes away from Janner and toward yachts and lizards.

          It is a trick that seems to work. Look at this blog. Knee jerk reactions and shouts of racism – and no analysis at all of the role of Police Commissioners in general and Alan Billings in particular. The vast plague of rapists cannot possibly be acting without some form of connivance/protection from agencies of the state. But that is all too hard to deal with so much easier to go for a spot of Islamophobia. – all obviously encouraged by the state itself.

    • Dungroanin

      Difficult to be outraged at the Saudi head chopping wahhabist supporting politicians – their victims being almost all other islamic sects as well as their own women – when they also pay the media, and entertainers – for instance Nadal/Djokovic planned match.

      Jones (the mini-me at Guardian towers) blew his radical credentials by turning against Corbyn early.
      Then has flip-flopped ever since – including playing along with Harding’s anti Putin walk about pointing at Russian owned mansions!

      If he was genuine he would turn his gaze at his own news room and the dinosaur propagandists in that stinky stable and look th in the eye and call them out! For real not pretence.

      But he hasn’t. So ignore his croc tears.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Julian Assange’s suit against the Ecuadorian government over his treatment in its London Embassy is proving most ill-advised. as I feared.

    • Dungroanin

      Whistleblowers need protection – Assange is being made an example of with his house arrest. The UK government needs to guarantee that he will never be arrested and extradited to another country for his wikileaks activities.

      If he wants to leave – i’m sure a few hundred thousand people surrounding the Ecuadorean embassy would happily provide him with sanctuary with their bodies and accompany him to his next abode!

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        Ecuador, a poor country, has spent $6,000,000 on protecting Assange, and he should be as cooperative as possible in keeping up with its requirements. Whistleblowers can also behave like spoiled brats.

        I think you wildly overstate what Brits would do to protect him from their own government and the Yanks.

        • Charles Bostock

          Absolutely correct, Trowbridge – I was saying things along the same lines as your couple of comments several days ago.

          Julian is the walking definition of self-importance, hubris and the feeling of self-entitlement.

    • Sharp Ears

      Cynthia McKinney, the President the Americans should have had if it were not for the Zionist lobby that brought her attempt to stand to naught, has written ‘How the US Creates S’ithole Countries’

      She writes: “The US has basically destroyed opportunities for people in other parts of the world, in every other part of the world including in the Americas. United States foreign policy is a pernicious influence. We can see just how the United States has influence in Ecuador. Ecuador used to be free, and now all of a sudden Ecuador is no longer free, and that has a direct bearing on the life of an activist whom we all cherish and adore.”

      McKinney added that the conclusion of the book discussed the way in which Americans have likewise suffered during the US’s involvement in war: “As Americans of my age learned, you can’t have guns and butter. That was the analogy that was made during the Vietnam War. The United States has supported this war machine and has conducted these wars abroad that have enriched certain individuals in the United States, but has impoverished the people.”

      “So the final chapter of the book is the United Nations report on poverty [in the US]. You really can’t have guns and butter. The United States has put up with a lot from its leaders. Its leaders have been mis-leaders, and it’s time for us to come together in a political way, to say enough is enough.”

      https://disobedientmedia.com/2018/10/cynthia-mckinney-on-how-the-united-states-creates-shthole-countries/

      • Charles Bostock

        “Cynthia McKinney, the President the Americans should have had if it were not for the Zionist lobby that brought her attempt to stand to naught,…”

        Utter garbage (as often)! The “Zionist lobby” were not responsible for her not standing and had she stood, she wouldn’t have had a snowball in hell’s chance of getting elected.

      • Sharp Ears

        ‘Going along with what’s wrong is safe. Doing the right thing is costly. Cynthia McKinney lost her congressional seat twice. She did so for supporting Palestinian rights.

        Israeli Lobby power went all out to remove her. Ruining her political career became policy. Ariel Sharon even bragged about it once. He did so on an earlier visit to Georgia. It’s McKinney’s home state.

        On April 29, she addressed the UN Meeting on Palestine. She did so on the same day Press TV headlined “Pro-Israeli US lawmakers urge bombing Syria air bases, arming militants, invasion.”

        Throughout her 12 years in Congress, she “strove to make respect for human rights a central feature in the formulation of US foreign policy.”

        Despite “minor successes,” her advocacy fell on deaf ears. Political Washington has other priorities. They’re “diametrically opposed to the values of the people of the US.”

        Special interests “buy public policy by way of campaign contributions and misleading media campaigns.” Managed news misinformation substitutes for truth and full disclosure.

        Media scoundrels “knowingly lie.” After Congress, McKinney “became involved in international human rights activism.” During Israel’s December 2008 – January 2009 war on Gaza, she and other human rights activists tried delivering medical supplies to Gaza.

        Israel’s military stopped them. It was done violently. An IDF warship rammed their small boat. Doing so destroyed it. “Neither the medical supplies nor we volunteers reached Gaza.”

        About six months later, McKinney and others tried again. Cast Lead was over. Obama replaced Bush. He “appealed publicly for an easing of the Israeli blockade of Gaza.”‘
        http://mwcnews.net/focus/politics/26893-israeli-lobby.html

        The boat on which she and 15 others were heading for Gaza during Cast Lead was the MV Dignity. In international waters. it was rammed three times by an Israeli gunship who played searchlights on it. It happened in the dark and the sea state was rough. The boat, being clinker built, managed to make it to Tyre although it was damaged.

        There was a CNN reporter on board.
        http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/12/30/gaza.aid.boat/index.

        • Charles Bostock

          “Cynthia McKinney lost her congressional seat twice. She did so for supporting Palestinian rights.”

          Nothing in those links of yours specifically supports that . Hence your remains speculative and/or pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel propaganda.

          Incidentally : if the Israel lobby is so powerful, how come McKinney lost her seat TWICE?

          Losing it twice indicates that she won it back once. How was that possible of the Israel lobby is as all-powerful as you say?

          The reason McKinney was kicked out twice by her electorate is because she spent too much time grandstanding on matters like “human rights” and not enough time representing her constituents. Rightly so!

          • Sharp Ears

            Whatever. As if you are interested in her or the Palestinians who she supports and tried to help but was left for dead with 15 others in a damaged boat miles out from shore in the dark and in a rough sea.

  • remember kronstadt

    Now that ”remebrancetide” is back in it’s wooden box for another year I was suddenly overtaken by nostalgia and an appreciation of how relatively good, albeit amateur the two world wars were. Amateur in the sense that the business of war was juvenile and that we survived them and had an opportunity to reflect on them. Prompted by this piece..

    https://therealnews.com/stories/the-doomsday-machine-the-big-lie-of-the-cold-war-daniel-ellsberg-on-rai-1-8

  • Sharp Ears

    Pence has put his foot in it when setting up a memorial rally for the Pittsburgh victims.

    ‘Vice President Mike Pence held the rally in the Waterford Township of Detroit. It took place less than 48 hours after the Pittsburgh Synagogue tragedy and was opened by a rabbi who held a prayer to honor the victims.

    Rabbi Loren Jacobs represents the Messianic synagogue Shema Yisrael based in Michigan. Though the followers call themselves members of Messianic Judaism, a combination of Christianity and Judaism, many of the main Jewish movements refuse to accept them as ‘true’ Jcws.

    Pence couldn’t possibly “have done something more offensive to Jcws” than choose Jacobs to open the rally, people on Twitter were quick to point out.’

    ‘Christian Rabbi’ fails to name Pittsburgh victims, asks people to pray for GOP at Pence rally
    30 Oct, 2018
    https://www.rt.com/usa/442613-christian-rabbi-pittsburgh-twitter/

  • Sharp Ears

    The UK and Israel are getting closer and closer.

    Mark Regev
    @MarkRegev
    Oct 29
    Great welcoming the Chair of the Israel Securities Authority, Anat Guetta, to London as she works to promote further cooperation between the capital markets in the UK and Israel.’
    https://twitter.com/MarkRegev/status/1056862402040467456

    The Friends of Israel from both parties are coming out in the Foreign Office questions session in the HoC. They drop their slurs against the Palestinians each time one of them speaks. Lots of ums and ahs from Messrs Hunt and Burt.

  • Sam

    Add to this Edinburgh City Council’s complete disregard for Edinburgh as an actual place to live, selling out to developers building thousands of identical student accomodation blocks to cash in on overseas students.

    Edinburgh is becoming a Disneyland, with most decent clubs and music venues shut, and the “arts” scene (apart from expensive plays and concerts) almost completely lacking outside of the August shit show. A rich vein for you to mine would be how much money the University and the student union make from the festival, and whose pockets it finds its way into. Certainly not independent artists, and it certainly does not support the arts scene in Edinburgh or Scotland more generally

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Of course, she is obviously right, but the stupid Yanks won’t admit it.

    And she couldn’t get elected dog catcher now.

  • Sharp Ears

    Afshin Rattansi’s Twitter

    ‏@afshinrattansi
    3 hours ago
    Did @comcast @ComcastNBCUCI @comcastcares @SkyNews @SkyNewsBreak @SkyNewsPolitics man @OzKaterji of @HelpRefugees just libel a former UK Ambassador and one of the world’s greatest journalists in one tweet?
    https://twitter.com/afshinrattansi/status/1057267066162634752

    Craig Murray
    @CraigMurrayOrg
    Craig Murray Retweeted
    I am giving one chance to withdraw this comment. Otherwise, contrary to the principles of a lifetime, I am going to sue for libel. I have really had enough of this nonsense. https://twitter.com/OzKaterji/status/1057260031597527045
    https://twitter.com/CraigMurrayOrg/status/1057264764748001281

  • Paul Barbara

    @ ColOctober 29, 2018 at 13:27
    ‘But he won an election, quite convincingly. I trust Brazilians to decide what’s best for Brazil better than I do.
    Last time I was there I had 4 attempted muggings in a week. Not rushing back.’
    But in a country where voting is obligatory 29% of voters ‘spoiled there vote’. I do not believe that the vote was fair.
    Given the extreme measures (jailing Lula and impeaching Dilma), it would be extremely unlikely that the government wouldn’t have ‘fixed’ the vote.
    And this is who got ‘elected’:
    ‘JAIR BOLSONARO IS ELECTED PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL. READ HIS EXTREMIST, FAR-RIGHT POSITIONS IN HIS OWN WORDS.’:
    https://theintercept.com/2018/10/28/jair-bolsonaro-elected-president-brazil/

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    For more on the good side of Wikileaks, see the treatment of Joshua Schute, a former CIA employee, for allegedly leaking Vault 7 documents about unknown spying abilities on innocent citizens. He has ben incarcerated without charge since 2017, and recently put into solitary where he was allegedly tortured. Then he was somehow able to send a letter to federal district judge Paul Crotty about his treatment which was posted on the internet, but has now been deteled from the court record.

    For more on Anerica’s [police state treatment of him. see the latest entry on John Young’s web site Cryptome.

  • DA

    I am a huge admirer of your principled stand against corruption which resulted in your dismissal. And I often find myself in agreement with you. But I do sometimes find it amazing that you continue to believe that the power of government coercion can be used for good. I stand with Tolkien on this one – the weapon of the enemy and all that.

    The problem with using coercion to solve societies’ ills is that coercive institutions are wellsprings of corruption; they both corrupt honest men and attract thieves. And inevitably the power to coerce is siezed by the wealthy and the benefit always primarily accrues to them.

    Every so often a “socialist” government comes along and layers a few laws on top of the putrid mess of corrupt law that already exists, laws which coercively redistribute a small amount of the stolen wealth back to the people from whom it has been stolen. This process is usually associated with the government claiming new “necessary” powers in order to ensure that the poorer amongst us “get their fair share”. Inevitably these powers are quickly turned to other uses and the honest do not benefit from them.

    But the solution to the rich stealing from the poor cannot be for the poor to steal back. That is not, and can never be, the path to wealth for many reasons including the one I’m raising here. Surely the solution, with another nod to Tolkien, is to unmake the institutional mechanisms whereby the establishment siphon wealth from the rest of us.

    End government control of our money. End the concept of limited liability. End the mass of regulation and licensing laws that serve only to inhibit competition from small business. End the intellectual property laws that have become nothing more than enablers of monopolies. And end the right of any man to own vast swathes of private property (I am not a Marxist by any means, but I do agree with Henry George on the specific issue of land ownership, and would extend the same principal to other natural resources)

    Limit government, for the ability to coerce your fellow man *is* the problem. It is by ruthlesly seizing these powers for themselves that the least scrupulous amongst us become enormously wealthy. And centralizing and adding to that power will only further enable and enrich those who are willing to abuse it at the expense of decent men.

    Without the absurd wealth flowing to the Ali Babas of the city of London, and various other bureaucratic and corporate heads, you would not see the dispossession of ordinary Edinburghians. The rising price of property is simply a reflection of the fact that it is being stolen. Catch the criminals and put an end to their crimes. You cannot stop the theft without curtailing their power. Sticking plasters on our wounds can have no effect while they continue to wield the knife!

    Phew – got that one off my chest 🙂

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