As David Cameron may have learned when he read PPE at Oxford, property rights are a cornerstone of our liberty, our security, our civilisation. Wiser political thinkers than Dave have long understood this.
Here’s the Virginia Bill of Rights, precursor to the US Declaration of Independence:
That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.
Here’s Samuel Adams:
The Natural Rights of the colonists are these: first, a right to life; second, to liberty; third to property; together with the right to support and defend them in the best manner they can.
And here, most trenchantly, is the philosopher who inspired them, John Locke:
Whenever the legislators endeavour to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience,…
Time for a revolution, then, for the theft of our property rights is exactly what is happening to us now under our notionally “Conservative” prime minister and his increasingly desperate and damaging attempts to position his collapsing administration as the “greenest ever.” I’m thinking especially of the ongoing renewables scam.
The wind farm industry is surely the worst offender. Some vexatious twerp complained the other day about my claim that wind farms reduce property values by between 25 per cent and 50 per cent. Actually, if anything, I’m understating the problem here. I know of cases where properties have been rendered unsaleable by wind farms. But whatever the exact figures, I think those of us not in the pay of Big Wind or trotting out propaganda for the preposterous and devious Renewable UK would all agree that the very last thing we’d want on our doorstep would be a wind farm and that we certainly would never dream of buying a property near one. QED.
Since not a single one of the wind farms blighting Britain would have been built without state incentives (in the form of Renewable Obligations Certificates, Feed In Tariffs, and legislation which makes it very hard for communities to prevent wind farms being built in the area) we can reasonably say therefore that wind farms represent a wanton assault by the state on property rights. We expect such confiscatory measures “for the common good” from socialist regimes. But from a Conservative-dominated Coalition it’s a disgrace.
But it’s not just the wind farm industry which is complicitous in this scam. There’s a fascinating cover story in this week’s Spectator about the UK hydro power industry which turns out to be very nearly as damaging, unpleasant, slimy and untrustworthy as its nasty elder brother Big Wind.
This came as a surprise to me. Like many of you, probably, I’d thought till I read it that hydro-electric power represented the acceptable face of “renewable” energy. Not according to Pippa Cuckson, though, who reveals it to be yet another taxpayer-subsidised boondoggle for rent-seeking scuzzballs, which produces next to no electricity and which – just like wind farms – causes immense damage to wildlife (in this case fish rather than birds or bats).
But the bit of Cuckson’s expose that particularly interested me was her anecdote about Nottingham Angling Club – which in 1982 forked out £150,000 for the fishing rights to a one and half mile stretch of the river Trent above a weir which is now about to be converted to hydropower. The quality of their fishing will almost certainly diminish. And there are stories like this from all over the country. Whether its wealthy fly fishing enthusiasts who’ve paid a fortune for a prime stretch of river in Hampshire or Dorset, or an ordinary working man’s club like the one in Nottingham, people are going to suffer as a result of this state-sponsored drive for renewables. Again, as with wind power, the only reason these hydropower schemes are going ahead is because of the government subsidies and incentives for those canny or cynical enough to get in on the scam. So again, what we have here is a clear case of the state arbitrarily confiscating people’s property rights because of its desire to be seen paying lip service to the green religion.
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