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The State is Still Not Your Friend

A Glasgow City Council employee Delivering Essential Services to the people who pay his wages.

A Glasgow City Council employee Delivering Essential Services to the people who pay his wages.

I’m a few days late with this, but having finally caught up with the endgame of the Jaconellis’ house being siezed by the state, I’m literally shaking with anger. Nothing has made me quite so mad as this in all the years I’ve been following British politics, and compulsory purchase isn’t even new.

The family seems to have signed an exlusive deal with the Currant Bun – fair play to them, they’ll need the cash – so read this, this, and this, and remind yourself that this is Britain in 2011, not some mitteleuropean principality in the 19th century, the Soviet Empire, or a tinpot African banana republic. The land of hope and glory, mother of the free…

A pal said: “It’s shocking it’s come to this. This couple lived in the home-owning democracy.

They thought they did.

“As they battled for a decent compensation figure their neighbours moved into new four-bedroom homes nearby as they were housing association tenants.

“But because Margaret and Jack owned their property they missed out.

“It is a disgrace in this day and age people can be treated like that.”

Indeed it is. Indeed it is.

Immediate Update: Look at those houses they’re going to demolish, by the way. Good, solid, red sandstone tenement blocks, finished in the signature “polished ashlar”; the sort you see all over this city. I live in a rather more upmarket version in the West End (some in my street have servants’ quarters), but a mate has a flat that’s probably identical to the Jaconellis’. They’ll be well over a hundred years old, and still in good repair. How long will the athletes’ village stand? Talk about destruction of wealth…


  1. RAB says:

    I don’t know what to say Sam. I really don’t. A howl of incohate rage is the best I can muster. And all for the glory of a Commonwealth Athletes Village too. Soon thereafter to be bedsits…

    Right next to my old Grammar School, was this place…

    It was also built for the Commonweath Games (then called the Empire Games, wonder why?) in 1953. By the time we got to use it for our Sports day in 1963, it was already a piece of crap. God knows how many so called slum dwellings were demolished for it’s construction.

    We also used to have swimming and diving lessons at the Empire Pool (same time same reason) which was a proper Hi De Hi Olympic sized swimming pool. It aint there now. In fact there is not one first class Olympic level facility left in Cardiff.

    I tend to think we are going backwards toward the darkness not forwards towards the light, folks.

    But there is this, the one thing they haven’t managed to take away from us yet, true British backs to the wall humour…

    “During the tense stand-off Jack raged at workmen who were hammering their way into his home.

    He shouted: “You lot are rubbish! You’ve been at this for two hours – I’m a proper builder, and I would have had this lot down in half that time.”

  2. Laird says:

    I noticed that the second article called this “a proper old-fashioned clearance.” That’s a word which should resonate with Scots. I hope it gets picked up and broadly used.

  3. Lynne says:

    They were offered £90k in compensation for a flat they owned outright. That’s not even pocket change when it comes to the housing market.

  4. PGauge says:

    You start picking these people off with guns this shit stops quick. What, no guns? How did you let that happen?

  5. Peter MacFarlane says:

    Glasgow is also full of beautiful old red sandstone school buildings, all now either disused or converted to offices for the immumerable parasites employed by the city council.

    Most of these are over 100 years old and still look fine.

    The replacement school buildings, largely built in the 60’s, are already falling to pieces.

  6. Paul Marks says:

    The whole thing stinks.

  7. stedmancinques says:

    In 2007 Peter Tatchell wrote, (in the Guardian!);
    ‘Human rights abuses, corruption and election fraud should disqualify Abuja from hosting the Commonwealth Games’ when Glasgow and Abuja were competing. He should, of course, have commented that the same reasons apply to Glasgow. Just read up on the Stephen Purcell affair for a little more elucidation.

    Let’s do some number crunching; between 2002 and 2005 a character called Charles Price bought a piece of land from Glasgow City Council for £8m. The council then bought it back, as a site for the Games for 17m plus 3m VAT. The Jaconellis were originally offerred £30,000 for their flat, later increased to £90,000.
    The Games are now £81m over budget, and there’s still 3 years to go. Now of all the places I’d like to visit before I die, there are about 10,000 ahead of Glasgow in the queue, and as for the games themselves, as far as I am concerned once you’ve seen one lot of people running round a track you’ve seen the lot, but as far as rank injustices go, this puts Glasgow right up in the front rank.
    And did you see the line of police! An Islamic terrorist with his backpack on wouldn’t have got more of them out of the canteen at that time of the morning; all that for a middle aged couple who only wanted to keep what they had worked for and owned.

  8. Sam Duncan says:

    Actually, Lynne, £90k is – depending on location, size, and whatnot – probably pretty good for that area (all else being equal, and it not being under threat of demolition, that is). Certainly the £30,000 they were originally offered was taking the piss. But it’s clear from what the Council did on Friday – not to mention the money they must have spent on legal fees over the last eight years – that it’s worth a damn sight more than that to them. And it’s just as clear from the Jaconellis’ defiance that it’s worth more to them, too.

    If everyone thought the average property prices in their area were worth having in the bank, nobody would stay in one place for more than five minutes. We on the “right” are often accused of thinking only of money and prices, but price is only a measurement of value: if someone else’s price doesn’t match yours, then you value the item differently, for whatever reasons; some of them probably totally irrational to anyone else. “Sentimental value” is still value, and that’s apparent in the fact that the going rate seems to low for things that mean a lot to you. It’s the Left who are more guilty of assuming things have inherent, fixed, value, one “fair” price, and that anyone asking more is stupid, dangerous and evil.

    I haven’t read Nick’s post above yet, but its subject is of a piece with this: the subjective nature of value is widely misunderstood and that misunderstanding fosters stupidity and misery. Forcing people to take a “fair” price for their property is, inherently, unfair. The only fair price is one agreed by both parties without threat. And if they can’t agree, there’s no sale.

    They’re taking it to the ECHR. If it’s upheld – and the political class has too much at stake for anyone to be confident that it won’t be – then it’s Game Over for Europe: property rights – the fundamental rights – are meaningless on this continent.

  9. CX says:

    Did they really own it outright or did they just own the right to occupy it until the council wanted to move them? Why did everyone else on that street leave quietly?

  10. Bods says:

    Did they really own it outright or did they just own the right to occupy it until the council wanted to move them? Why did everyone else on that street leave quietly?

  11. Sam Duncan says:

    Yes, they owned it. Paid off their mortgage, too. They must have bought it under Right to Buy (which the two main parties up here oppose – I wonder why…), since most of the other occupants seem to have been Housing Association* tenants, who have been given new accomodation. There may have been a few other owners who took the view that you can’t fight City Hall.

    *RTB doesn’t apply to HAs, as far as I’m aware, but all of Glasgow’s former council houses have been put in the hands of a giant association created especially to take them on. I wonder, again, why. (Not only that, but it makes a mockery of the very idea of housing associations, but that’s another post…)

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