Some people really do have problems with this concept of private property, don\’t they? The Times leader starts with:
The British coastline would be a magnificent gift to the public.
Eh? Rather missing the point that in order to make this gift the authorities will have to steal private property:
News that private gardens may form part of a proposed 2,500-mile coastal path around England was disclosed to MPs last week by Natural England, the Government’s landscape advisers.
Paul Johnson, the organisation’s coastal access adviser, made clear that the existing policy that exempts parks and gardens from new walking rights should be lifted. He fears that unless the coastal path goes through some private gardens or parkland then many parts of the coast will remain out of bounds to the public.
His remarks have shocked landowners and farmers, who had believed that private land was sacrosanct. The adage that an Englishman’s home is his castle was given legal force in the Countryside Rights of Way Act, which opened up the right to roam on mountain, moor, heathland and down. Natural England, however, is now suggesting that the safeguard be scrapped.
MPs are scrutinising the draft Marine Bill, which aims to open beaches, inlets and cliff tops so that walkers can enjoy spectacular views of the shore. The Government has allocated £50 million over the next ten years to create a coastal trail, but no cash has been earmarked to compensate landowners affected by the plan.
He disclosed that Natural England had identified 4,300 private houses next to the sea and 700 estates and parks where access may be necessary.
The sanctity of private property is the most basic fundamental of a well functioning economy. If people (yes, even the government) can simply come along and take your property as they wish then the entire system crumbles.
There\’s no difference in either logic or morals between this and Mugabe\’s land grabs in Zimbabwe: and look how well that has worked.
As so often, the other side of the English Civil War does this rather better:
…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
As a result of their starting again after that Civil War they worked out and put onto paper the exact things that the State may not do to us. Stealing our property without compensation being one of them.
Whether or not the public desires access to the coastline is one thing: perhaps they do but in order to achieve that "gift" that same public had better be prepared to pay for it. Simply declaring that random strangers may walk through people\’s gardens is theft.