Britain's New Anti-Squatting Law Results in Homeless Man's Death
THROWING DOWN THE GAUNTLETT
HOVE M.P MIKE WEATHERLY DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR HOMELESS MAN'S DEATH
7th March 2013 - SchNEWS Issue 839
Last week, a vulnerable bungalow was at risk of occupation in Kent. Thankfully, the squatting law was in effect. The absent owner of the bungalow could rest safe in the knowledge that the police were preventing a homeless man from seeking shelter in the forgotten property in -2 degree conditions.
The otherwise healthy 35-year-old man Daniel Gauntlett died of hypothermia. But at least private property was protected from a squatter.
A website 'Is Mike Weatherley Dead Yet?' has made the point that the man died unnecessarily as a direct result of the criminalization of squatting empty buildings, a law brought to the table, spearheaded and pushed through parliament by the morally vacant turd that is Mike Weatherley MP.
Daniel had been warned by the police not to enter the empty bungalow, who threatened him with the new legislation, and was later found dead from cold on the doorstep of the building which would quite probably have saved his life. This is unlikely to be the last death [by] exposure in the coming years, a consequence that many had warned would be the inevitable result of a law which put the business interests of the likes of Weatherley's mates over basic human rights to shelter.
Weatherley has responded to the accusations in Brighton's local rag the Argus, in the confused style which has become his forte as he desperately tries and fails to sound relevant and qualified to hold public office. He said: “It is true that some of those who are homeless have squatted but this does not make them squatters.” Mike, the definition of a squatter is someone who squats, you fucking dim-shit waste of space.
And as the SQUASH campaign has pointed out in their recent report on the effects of criminalization, concurring with research conducted by homeless charities, a huge majority of homeless people have resorted to it through their homelessness career. Before the legislation charity Homeless Link expressed many reservations and concerns about any legislation and stated, "We are concerned that the proposals for addressing squatting are predicated on a misconception about the characteristics of a large number of the people who squat".
SEE NO MEDIEVAL
Weatherley added, “"A typical squatter is middle-class, web-savvy, legally minded, university-educated and, most importantly, society-hating. They are political extremists whose vision for society is a dysfunctional medieval wasteland without property rights, where an Englishman’s castle is no longer his home.”
Over and above the fact that he obviously pulled this garbled quote right out of the dysfunctional wasteland that is his Tory arse, it's also factually incorrect. Of the cases brought to court under the new law, many have involved people who are poor, unemployed, have substance abuse problems and are squatting as a last resort in long-term empty properties.
What makes the story a touch farcical is Weatherley's spineless attempt to shift blame on to those very people he has so keenly criminalized. He claimed, "If squatters really cared about the homeless then they would help them access council services, not scare them into believing that they would be arrested." So it's not the law that's the problem, but the fault of anyone who points it out to homeless people? Mmmhmm. And the government ain't exactly known for helping people access council services.
The SQUASH campaign report is part of a new drive to campaign for the repeal of the law, and to prevent the expansion of the criminalization to include commercial properties that are currently exempt.