A few days ago, I posted about the fact that, in England, it is illegal to defend yourself against an attack within your own home. I shouldn’t have gotten so upset about the whole thing. You see, it seems that I was operating from a ridiculous premise, which is that one actually has legal rights to a house in England, entirely separate from the right to defend oneself against predators. It now turns out that the British have no rights in property, especially when there’s even a suspicion that the home invaders might be a politically protected class of illegal aliens.
I sound as if I’m on hallucinogenic drugs as I write that, don’t I? Sadly, I’m just reporting the plain facts:
Family shut out of their ‘dream home’ by gang of gipsies who moved in over Christmas
With the building works nearly over, Julian and Samantha Mosedale and their three children were looking forward to moving back into the home of their dreams.
But their hopes have turned into a nightmare because a group of Romanians occupied the property over Christmas.
To add insult to injury, police told them that they were being ‘racist’ for questioning the squatters’ right to live in Britain on benefits.
The unwanted guests have changed the locks at the three-bedroom terrace house and moved in their own furniture.Mr Mosedale, an illustrator, and his wife, a catalogue manager, both 45, had moved out of the house in Tottenham, North London, in July 2007 for extensive structural and renovation work.
They rented another property and regularly visited the £285,000 house to oversee progress.
But, after spending Christmas visiting relatives in Essex, they returned to the house on January 3 to find the squatters installed.
They now fear they could soon be homeless because they can only afford to foot the cost of rent and mortgage payments until March.
Mrs Mosedale, whose three sons are ten, eight, and five, said: ‘We called the police as soon as we found out they were in there. An officer suggested I was racist when I asked if they were Romanians, and did they have a legal right to be in this country.
Yesterday, the couple obtained a county court order giving the squatters 24 hours – until 2.15pm today – to leave.
But Mr Mosedale fears they will not give in easily.
He said: ‘When the papers were served on them they tore them up and threw them back at the guy who’d taken them round.’
He and his wife are also worried that a drawn-out battle would exhaust their savings. They had planned to move back into the house in March.
In the old days, the British were a little over the top when it came to respecting property. You couldn’t vote unless you owned any, and you could be hanged or transported for messing about with someone else’s (with those punishments extending even to small children). I highly approve of the fact that, in the last 150 years, the British have accepted universal suffrage and done away with hanging ten year olds for stealing bread loaves. That shows a high degree of sophistication.
However, having said that, England is utterly insane to rely on the doctrine that “possession is nine tenths of the law” when it comes to real property. This doctrine might make sense in the absence of recorded documents demonstrating ownership. However, once you have recorded legal papers, as we do in modern society, that doctrine should be relegated to the backwaters of illiterate, warlord societies — and, has far as I know, England hasn’t yet sunk to that level.
Ye Olde English weren’t actually so far off when they insisted that only property owners could have a voice in the body politic. Putting aside all the feudal, classist implications of that law, it’s true that people who own real property have a vested interest in the society in which they live. They’ve set down roots and are committed to the country — sometimes suicidally so, as was the case with middle class German Jews who, weighed down by their possessions, didn’t escape in time. The same is true, of course, for nuclear families, since intact families with children have a great deal invested in their country’s future. If you remove all stability from people’s lives, if you promise them that they can never count on the promise of a stable home or an intact family, you’ve effectively gutted the great middle that holds a country together.