"The last sigh of liberty will be heaved by an Englishman"
Montesquieu, in 1749
Janice Mason owns a house in Walthamstow, East London, which had been her childhood home and she was about to sell. She suddenly discovers that it is occupied by a family of Moldovan squatters — four adults and four children — who have changed the locks.
The police say they are powerless to intervene, because squatting is a civil, not a criminal matter.
Mrs Mason therefore faces a huge bill for securing these people’s eviction.
Yet any of us can see the injustice of her being obliged to pay a penny to get back her own property.
Mr Mason took this picture as police quizzed the squatters in the £250,000 three-bedroom house, but they say there is nothing they can do to force them out
In a properly ordered society, the Moldovans would be summarily removed by the police as soon as it is plain they have no legal title.
Beyond that, since the squatters have breached the code of behaviour we should expect to be observed by all newcomers here, they should be marched smartly aboard a plane back to Moldova. However, nothing of the kind will happen, of course.
Mrs Mason will pay one set of lawyers to get her unwelcome interlopers removed, if she is lucky. Another set, who parade themselves as crusaders, will leap to the Moldovans’ defence, their fees paid by us. (Max Hastings, Mail Online)
For a moment, Idle imagines himself as Prime Minister:
PM Idle (for it is HE): This should be against the law.
SPAD: It is, Sir (!), but it's civil, not criminal.
PM Idle (to staffer): Hargreaves, find out what the usual lefty liberal objections are to making squatting a criminal offence.
Hargreaves: Yes Sir.
PM Idle (to SPAD): You have a month - then I want to see draft legislation to deal with this.
SPAD: The BBC will hate this.
PM Idle: Hmmm. Patten, Thompson, Humphrys, those 'comedians' from Radio 4...... round them up. Then kill them.