Simon Hughes advocates theft

Local authorities should be able to introduce optional-use clauses to prevent housing from being bought unless it is going to be lived in.

For that\’s what this is, theft.

You may not sell your property to the person who is offering the most money for it.

That extra money, the difference between the \”I\’ll live in it\” buyer and the second home or foreign buyer is a straight and simple theft from you the property owner.

If there isn\’t a difference then there\’s no theft of course: but if there isn\’t a difference then there\’s no point to the law either.

In law, I think I\’m right, in saying that incitement to or conspiracy to carries the same punishments as actually doing.  Does this mean that we now get to jail Simon Hughes for incitement to theft?

I do rather hope so…..

19 thoughts on “Simon Hughes advocates theft”

  1. I suspect advocating to change the law to permit theft would fall under some form of protected speech.

    There’s a difference between saying we should all go out and murder someone and saying the law should be changed to let us all go out and murder someone.

  2. How the hell would that work?
    How do you determine if a house is going to be lived in?
    Does this mean that the local authority have to vet the purchaser?
    Do they claim back money from the seller when the house has been unoccupied for more than six months after completion?

    Are there actually a lot of properties bought each year where the purchasers keep them empty?

    If this is the best Hughes can come up with, perhaps it would be better if he kept his mouth shut.

  3. “Local authorities should be able to introduce optional-use clauses…”

    So when won’t they exercise the option? Because it’s going to be a whole lot cheaper & easier to stick the ‘use’ requirement on every single property. That’s the essence of regulation isn’t it? The requirements for disabled accessibility are uniform, regardless of whether there’s any likelihood of the disabled requiring access. A special case has to be made for non-compliance.
    On the other hand, it’ll be hilarious if the public housing sector has to comply with the same law. 6 months? I can think of housing association properties been vacant for 6 years whilst they get their act together. Councils are notorious for extended voids. There’s a stretch of housing by the North Circ, CP’d for road widening in the ’90’s, was still standing empty last time I drove past.

  4. @ bloke in spain
    I was delighted to see signs that it was either being lived or prepared for living last time I drove past. My wife and I had been moaning gently to each other about each time we drove past for a dozen years.

  5. Under the Worstall interpretation it would seem to be a criminal offence to propose almost any change in the law. However, we can be confident that this interpretation won’t be adopted by the courts, because the common law offence of Incitement has been abolished.

  6. “How the hell would that work?
    How do you determine if a house is going to be lived in?”

    Oh, don’t bother Simon with the boring details! That’d be for an army of local government employees to work out. Just as we’d need another army for his even-more-chilling idea that we need central planning of communities to ensure the appropriate ‘social mix’.

    Remind me again – why are they called Liberal Democrats, when they are neither?

  7. @JuliaM,

    They are neither liberal nor democratic because some 20 years ago they underwent a reverse-takeover by what was then the right-wing of the labour party.

    Liberalism, regrettably, has not been a viable political philosophy for a long time. The combined forces of those on the left who benefit from the largesse of the state and its redistributional measures and who think they know best and just like bossing people about with those on the right who think they know best and just like bossing people about is simply too huge to counter in a democracy.

    Maybe the left and right parties will merge into a single corporate statist unit and we’ll get our own tea party in a decade or two, but I wouldn’t count on it, and the risk that said tea party would be as insane as the one in the USA would be rather high.

  8. What PaulB says. The existing planning system could equally be constituted as theft. I’d like to sell my green field to a developer for £100,000, but because of planning restrictions the only buyers are farmers who will only pay £100.

    Equally, my cannabis farming operation was wonderfully profitable until the government (in the form of the police) stepped in and confiscated all my plants. Thieving pigs.

  9. Calling this “theft” is like calling the abolition of slavery “theft”. As Henry George said:

    “Place one hundred men on an island from which there is no escape, and whether you make one of these men the absolute owner of the other ninety-nine, or the absolute owner of the soil of the island, will make no difference either to him or to them. In the one case, as the other, the one will be the absolute master of the ninety-nine — his power extending even to life and death, for simply to refuse them permission to live upon the island would be to force them into the sea.

    Upon a larger scale, and through more complex relations, the same cause must operate in the same way and to the same end — the ultimate result, the enslavement of laborers, becoming apparent just as the pressure increases which compels them to live on and from land which is treated as the exclusive property of others.”

  10. [email protected]
    Those the ones on the Palmer’s Green-Colney Hatch stretch? Story on those is great fun. They copped extensive grants for noise reduction back end of the 80s. CPO’s went in early first half of the 90s if I remember rightly, so they were CPing with the mastic on the double-glazing still fresh. If they’re refurbing now, I’d say 18 rather than 12 years. Presumably the Bowes Road underpass with those pending CPO’s is now dead? One of my customers with a decade+ of an unsaleable house will be cheered.
    And thus our planners fuck our lives

  11. @Richard Allan,

    The Henry George quote appears to be irrelevant to the topic at hand; ownership of individual properties does not prevent anyone from moving elsewhere.

    If anything, the action of the state is closer to that of the hypothetical island/slave owner, since it imposes conditions upon ownership that cannot be avoided.

  12. Simon Jester

    ” ownership of individual properties does not prevent anyone from moving elsewhere.”

    Yes, it does. I cannot move onto another bit of property owned by another – that’s kind of the point of private property.

    “If anything, the action of the state is closer to that of the hypothetical island/slave owner, since it imposes conditions upon ownership that cannot be avoided.”

    The state routinely does that – eg payment of rates. In Holland, you are obliged to sweep the pavement of snow outside your house. In several countries, you are compelled to leave property to your children and/or primogeniture is banned. I stand to be corrected, but in some ancient Greek states you couldn’t sell property.

    “Property rights” are not some universal law of nature, immaculately conceived and unchanging. They’re what the state says they are at any particular time. So all you “abolish the state” fundamentalists forget that you need the state to say what property rights are.

    After that rant, can I just say that I think Simon Hughes is probably not committing a crime, but that it’s a bad idea.

  13. @ bloke
    Yes, but I’ve only had reason to drive it since my wife’s friend moved to East Finchley. I was in no way doubting your number, just that I could only quote my own, shorter, experience. No sign of any Bowes Road underpass although they have at last marginally widened the bit of the North Circular going south after the turn-off for Arnos Grove.
    NB We are no longer allowed to mention Colney Hatch: the PC community insist that we call it “the Friern Barnet Hospital”. My grandmother, and her family, used to visit a cousin with shellshock who stayed there for the rest of his (relatively short) life. Ministry of Truth?

  14. @ Luke
    Don’t have time to read all of the Pentateuch before this gets stale but it’s probably in Deuteronomy. The Israelites could not sell freehold of their land, just a tenancy until the next year of Jubilee.
    Conversely you can move onto someone else’s property *with their consent*. Owner-occupiership has only become a majority of house tenure since Margaret Thatcher. Private tenancy was the norm until the extension into peacetime of Lloyd George’s rent freeze made being a decent private landlord uneconomic (lousy private landlords could still make money but ethical ones were screwed) and post-WWII council housing replaced the private rented sector which was by then run-down.

  15. “If this is the best Hughes can come up with, perhaps it would be better if he kept his mouth shut.” (Steve Crook, #2)

    Why the predicate?

  16. So all you “abolish the state” fundamentalists forget that you need the state to say what property rights are.

    I think you may find a mixture of libertarians and minarchists here but very few anarchists.

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