You Will Not Believe What David Cameron is Selling Off Now

Imagine you awoke one morning to find David Cameron stood in your garden banging a For Sale sign into your flowerbed…Well, that morning has arrived.

The government’s new Infrastructure Bill removes control for decisions to sell or develop publicly owned land from the public sector. In short, before long, a private company will have the power to sell publicly owned land for Fracking, new nuclear, or whatever else it likes – and the public say in the development of its own land will be a thing of the past.

What’s this about an Infrastructure Bill?

A005 - CopyThe Infrastructure Bill has somehow managed to slip through to its Second Reading in the House of Lords from 1830 Wednesday 18th June 2014, with almost zero news coverage – and I mean anywhere. I picked it up from Schnews and the keen politicos. So don’t feel bad for not having heard about it, feel bad for democracy.

The Bill contains a clause that will end local decision making over use of publicly owned land. As Schnews puts it, this ends the rights of Council’s:

in granting or denying planning consent, cancels any rights of way or any need to ask the people of England and Wales if they mind losing their parks, playing fields, allotments, woodlands, public facilities or village greens to housing developers, fracking companies, road- or railway-builders. It’s the land grab to end all land grabs.

With much of the say over land development moving to the Land Registry, we come to the next issue.  The government is selling off the Land Registry to private, profit making interests.

The government has also ordered local authorities to transfer up to 90% of brown field sites (previously developed sites that have become vacant, contaminated but could be reused) into the hands of the Homes and Communities Agency (the latest quango) where Eric Pickles (and his successors) and just two inspectors will control the planning decisions.

The Infrastructure Bill contains a clause which will allow ALL public land to be privatised. There’s no need to reference the Forestry Act 1967, the Countryside Rights of Way Act or any other protective law, because Schedule 3 of the Bill– states that “the property, rights and liabilities that may be transferred by a scheme include… property, rights and liabilities that would not otherwise be capable of being transferred or assigned.”

In plain English, this means all preceding regulations, legislation and other protections for this site are null and void – fill your boots.

If this Bill passes, we will have the private sector deciding the sale price, planning requirements and development plans for publicly owned land.  The government is taking our land – our communally owned parks, rivers, beaches, moors, mountains and fields – handing the lot over to the control of one private company, and removing any democratic mandate for decision making whatsoever.

And they’re doing the same to the roads.

Those long sounded warnings about toll roads being re-established across the UK (such as the M6 – which has been a complete disaster) are also gaining relevance with the next element of this Bill.  The Highways Agency is also becoming a government owned company, rather than an executive agency of the Department of Transport. This means strategy for road-building, funding and yes, tariffs will be handed to the private sector aswell.

The bottom line, is whether its schools, hospitals or choosing what to do with our own land – this government promised a ‘localism agenda’ and delivered the greatest shift of power from local to central government since the days Thatcher.

Why are they Doing This?

A005From the government’s perspective, it’s all about speeding up planning decisions and avoiding the delay caused by local ownership of the decision making process.  The Tories never recovered from the bloody nose they received at the Hinkley Inquiry in the 80’s, where a group of committed, articulate and effective locals effectively blocked new nuclear development in the UK – by utilising their democratic voice.

Ever since, such powers have been perpetually watered down.  This however, not only removed them from local government, but government altogether.

The reason for such pressure is simple: the landed classes would rather new things be built on our land than theirs.

If  you want confirmation of this: guess who is exempt from the Bill? The Queen. Despite being the largest landowner in the world, let alone the country, the Crown is exempt from the land grab. As will be the aristoracy who still own a third of Britain’s land.

Where will they put the drought-inducing, toxic fracking wells? The potentially catastrophic new nuclear power stations? Just as they put a £600m detour into the HS2 planned route to avoid the wealthy estates of Cheshire – all the pressure to build for industry, transport or housing will fall on the small amounts of public land left.

So What Can I Do About it?

A006 - CopyThese are lands, assets and roads that have been developed, protected and maintained by public employees with public money for hundreds of years – and our government is flogging them off like the family silver.  They’ll likely be sold for below cost (like the Royal Mail) for investment companies sell on at a much higher price – and then we will become rental tenants of private landlords on our own land. A quick look at the housing sector attests to the dangers of such a foolish venture.

The changes in this Bill once made, will be enormously difficult to unmake.

This is not one of those moments to get all upset and resigned to the situation – concerted, swift and effective opposition is required. Now.

You can start by joining the almost 100,000 who’ve signed the 38 degrees petition opposing the sale of the Land Registry.

Then sign the other 38 degrees campaign the focuses on opposing the Infrastructure Bill itself.

There, that took all of 30 seconds.

The Public Consultation is closed, but here is the document – provide feedback to your local MP.  Be the biggest pain the ass you are capable of being.

More widely, get involved with Occupy London, UK Uncut, the People’s Assembly, The Green Party and other political and community organisations who challenge the whole system that permits such enormous transfers of power from the public to the private – without any democratic mandate whatsoever.

Do anything, but for all our sakes, do something.

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63 thoughts on “You Will Not Believe What David Cameron is Selling Off Now

  1. What that picture of Cameron in your front garden fails to point out is that Cameron is also the buyer, and he is going to get you to buy your house for him.

  2. Why celebrate Magna Carta –we have come back to Feudal Times. Substitute the PM for a Prince John and any number of bankers, speculators and greedy developers for the robber barons.

  3. Probably nobody reading this actually voted Tory, but if you did just because of fear about the imaginary “Scottish scare” can you now see how you were fooled into voting your rights away by a much bigger threat? Transferring powers to and then selling these agencies off is not about paying down the deficit (which like your mortgage will shrink automatically over time if the UK stimulates growth); it’s purely and simply about corporatising British democracy.

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  6. Laws are only words, they just string new words together to create New laws and interpretations of Laws. Ultimately, we may have to defend our Land with force.

    • I’ve been saying this for months now. The people of UK need to go French on the government before they kill us all.

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  8. Quote from Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, in a recent panel discussion on the Scottish independence referendum …

    “It is impossible to be proud of the United Kingdom. I think when we invaded Iraq, we did to the United Nations what Hitler and Mussolini did to the League of Nations … I’ve seen it on the inside. It’s almost always about control of resources … It’s not an academic construct. I can tell you, the system stinks. Westminster stinks. The British government is deeply, deeply immoral. They don’t care how many people they kill abroad if it advances them, and anybody who votes ‘No’ [to independence] is voting to support a psychologically flawed, a pathological state which is a danger in the world. A rogue state. A state prepared to go to war to make a few people wealthy. That’s why I say it’s not possible to be a decent person and vote ‘No’ and we shouldn’t be ashamed to say that.”

    Remember – this guy has seen it from the inside.

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  12. I tried to sign the petition against the Infrastrucure Bill but got “We’re sorry, this petition is not available.” :(

  13. What a load of nonsense. All land in the UK is subject to planning law, no matter who owns it, and furthermore specific laws and licences apply to the extraction of any resources found on that land
    In fact, the way the planning system currently works, councils grant themselves planning permission on land they own with virtually no form of redress available to members of the public who disagree with their proposals.

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  15. Surely the aim is for Corporations, and their bankster backers to overrule any laws of a sovereign nation. Of course we lost our sovereignty with the signing of the Lisbon Treaty, to the European behemoth anyway, so that makes their dark agenda much easier to attain. So imagine that for example, Parliament voted against GM crops, then the Monsanto legal process would move into top gear and sue our country under a future TPP like trading partnership. The Infrastructure Bill is a natural step towards this. Incidentally when the fracking nightmare gets going, there will be an eruption of protest against the contaminated water supply. With seepage there will be crop failures and barren fields. Maybe then the tide will turn in our favour. But at an enormous environmental cost.

    • Of course, if/when there are incidents of contamination, the government will walk away scot free! They will reap all the benefits and take no responsibility to any adverse conditions that may occur, short or long term. It makes me so mad that political parties can abuse your trust when you vote for them. They make all those golden promises but not caring to mention how they will achieve them, knowing it will be unpopular.

  16. two thinks i fine juxtapossitioned : one that thier is only one ‘internetz two ther is all thhis stuff for sale

    i din’t quite get it when me son-in-law in turkey said it

    the g.ment sell every thing

    and i got no choice of internet

    is there anybody know woot the hell i am on about

    anecdote; teen on his motor byke and he hit a deer and gilly come and say

    walk away

  17. it is 05:22 sunday morning comming down.. i’d kill for a sausage… well i’d knot i got won cooked.. but really folks.. what is the point of all this.. i am not going to strike tomorrow… am not even going to church today…

    one day.. one day… i said to the man.. ‘what happens with me… that was when i know i am meat

  18. The petition link about the bill you posted begins with “Attend the second reading of this dangerous bill on Wednesday June 18th and reject it” That date has already been and gone :/


  20. Why am I not surprised?
    Same thing is happening in South Australia with the Labor government selling off land to big gas businesses without tender. Of course the pollies get a bigger kick-back that way. How much do people think Cameron is making out of this deal? Plenty you can bet.

  21. That government needs to stop going against the wishes of the public,the people who put them where they are today……..leave our countryside alone!!!

  22. Whatever happened to democracy, the few elected by the many to represent our wishes, seems a pattern throughout whereby keep it secret and they won,t know till it,s to late.Local government exactly the same seems the rights of millions who died in 2 great wars mean,t nothing and then they don,t understand social unrest ,never let them silence the peoples voice it,s your right to voice your opinion and don,t hide behind anonymous either..

    • The electroral system; the lack of plurality in media ownership; the ‘professional’ politician class of part-line towers; the supression, ignoring, and even out-right contempt for public dissent and protest. The UK population is it’s own worst enemy – they could have voted for an alternative voting system, then they protest by voting for UKIP. They don’t need to buy The Sun or the Mail, but they reamin the two biggest titles. Murdoch can set then news agenda so easily, and not a single politician has the guts to take him on. We have, as a nation put in govenment after government who sell off our assets and services, and behave as though they are above the law and unaccountable. Just look at the coverage of public protest or strikes – if there is violence there is coverage, else it is ignored or condemed. There is so little way to have a voice. The only way is to get out and vote, but until the two-party stranglehold is broken (or Labour get back to their roots) there is no real choice.

  23. if you don’t want a government, stop supporting them by paying taxes. if they don,t get paid they will all go home.hit them where they live – in their wallet – by voting with your financial feet. and vote them out of the gene pool by refusing to f**ck them. be extremely prepared to thereafter take responsability for yourself. start by fixing a pothole in your local road, and watch your attitude shift…

    • Sounds good in theory (not paying taxes) but how can you, really? It’s automatically deducted from your pay and if you don’t pay they simply take whatever you own or worse, lock you up.

  24. Presumable what ever sins are of Cameron, he must reflect the British sensibility of what the public desired, it seems he is a type of person who is a agent of repression and not what I would think is a good leader for Britain, but you get what you voted for, unless the voting is rigged or the candidates for leadership gives you no choice as they are all fundamentally cut from the same cloth.

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  26. we are getting nearer and nearer civil unrest and the powers that be have no idea THEY live in a bubble they don’t live on the same street as me They forget who put them them there and y they all have had there noses in the trough for far to long they treat the public purse like there own wolit they sell off what is not theirs to sell And like the post by it vier there kronys at a knockdown price and make a fortune like many of the general public i am thoroughly pist of with the lot of them AND I THINK CHANGE IS IN THE WIND

  27. everyone don’t be scared by JM that what he wants! please sign that petition you wont be put on any “list” don’t let the tory trolls win over you with there scare storys!

  28. what’s the bloody point? only one thing will stop these lunatics and that is, quite obviously, force….willingly putting yourself on the ‘red’ list will not actually achieve anything accept various levels of violence and abuse against yourself, your family, your pets and or anybody you know….take it from one that knows.

    • so signing a petition are ‘red’ lists now? if you have noting to say but fearmongering then GET OUT! NOW! YOU ARE THE PROBLEM WITH THIS COUNTRY! PEOPLE LIKE YOU PISS ME OFF! I MEAN OMG VIOLENCE AND ABUSE IF YOU SIGN ONE PETITION! YOUR NOTING MORE THEN A TORY TROLL!

    • JM; Maybe you should change your user ID to “What’s The Point” as it’s all you ever say. Not exactly inspiring, is it? What’s the point in Scriptonite running this blog? What’s the point in anyone (including you) leaving a comment? What’s the point in getting up in the morning?

      It’s people like you who keep merciless Tory Scum in power. Try chanting ‘backbone’ three times a day…………on the other hand, what’s the ………..?

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