“The Land Registry, despite being a public body funded by taxpayers’ money, continues to protect the interests of private landowners by concealing what they possess. A social taboo continues to stymie questions about land and private property ownership, and makes talk of land reform politically sensitive.”
Here is a staggering & storming book on the opaque, secretive & scandalous rig-up of Britain’s land ownership debacle & the appalling hoarding, malfeasance, misuse, misrepresentation & egregious exploitation of both public subsidy & a legal system rigged towards wrongdoing.
It is fantastically informative & vehemently researched by the activist author, Guy Shrubsole, giving incisive & penetratingly in-depth analysis of the land racket & its subsequent crisis (food security, housing, homelessness, mental health, environmental contamination et al).
“ – although some allotments are protected against sale without ministerial orders, other land designated as temporary allotment space has been sold off by cash-strapped councils over the years, especially as austerity bites. Over 100,000 acres of plots existed in 1948; seventy years later, the area of England devoted to allotments has dwindled to just 31,000 acres. Today we lavish ten times as more land on golf courses than we do on allotments.”
It also reveals a great deal about the insidious choke-hold & retention of Britain’s landed gentry, enabled elite, or aristocrats if you will, who continue to milk & mooch the land (& most of it’s citizenry) under an extraordinarily advantageous & archaic system that shrouds the professional pillager in surfeit secrecy.
Who Owns England? will sit comfortably along great titles on the subject such as Chris Byrant’s Entitled-A Critical History of the British Aristocrat & the marvellous Kill All the Gentlemen-Class Struggle and Change in the English Countryside by Martin Empnson.
It’s another vehicle of ransacking & extortion that toffs & trillionaires can exploit to quietly cling on to feudal spoils, all wreathed in both privilege & plunder.
The House of Windsor, is an inseparable co-offender, who’s looting, larceny & merciless parasitic extractive & exploitative freebooting, plunder, theft & greed, are without peer.
Straying from the gelded gentry, grouse moor prancers & spires of Eton, we crash into the property pirates, land bankers, estate agents & corporate developers, & the kind of ever spiralling strangulation, crisis & deprivation that the vicious misery they proliferate wrecks on so many lives.
It is shocking & enraging how far such grotesque corporate metrics have been allowed to penetrate & wrest control of public assets, funds & government & local authority assets, policy, conduct & responsibility.
“But in the end, it’s old money that still lords it over the rest of us, at least when it comes to land ownership. I estimate that the aristocracy and gentry still own around 30 percent of England.”
The third flock of vultures consists of foreign oligarchs, plutocrats & business personnel. We might as well add “kleptocrat” to the bill as so many of them come from – & possess – illicit wealth, wrenched from the hands of “their own” brutalised, robbed or defrauded citizens.
Laundering ill-gotten-gains & “black cash” through property, land or real estate, is a cinch in Britain, where the roll-over, secretive & highly obfuscating legal system provides the ideal protective pall for the globalised bandit & asset stripper to stash, invest, or launder their swag.
Given the meltdown & serial blow-torching of standards, ethics, laws, accountability, political will, prevention measures & regulating departments & bodies by the Cancervatives governments surging corruptocracy, Great Pittance remains a “safe house” for international brigands. Not just permissive but promiscuous.
The aristocracy has had to adapt, & initiate some foreign elements, but at the end of the day, a shared inhumanity & mutual commitment to criminality assured that it all just came down to money & cooperative nefarious interests.
“An elite of aristocrats, gentry and City boys own far more land than all of Middle England put together.”
Last in line comes specific government bodies that have metamorphised into their own semi-independent subsect, the Ministry Of Defence (MOD) being a perfect example.
Rarely discussed laws, exemptions & legal clauses provide “additional tools” & irregular conditions for various skulduggery to persist under the cloak of state activities.
“Right to Buy was a fire sale of public assets – with council homes sold off at heavily discounted prices – that delivered a one-off windfall for state coffers without adding to the national housing stock.”
The book is an utter howler.
There is so much information, investigative disclosure, odd or antiquated laws & legal practice dissected, & extremely important reporting & scrutiny on issues of land & proprietorship & the maddening misuse & malversation that is simply de rigueur.
Environmental crimes, major pollution, freedom of access & the right to roam, are all given formidable coverage.
The key to this success – is its secrecy. Keeping it hidden, is essential for its survival.
Nobody – besides the offenders with snouts in troughs – will fail to be infuriated & appalled by this blatant & massive racketeering & rake-off. The real-time ramifications, crisis & ultra-adverse effects of this are now ripping the country apart in a blizzard of hazard & hardship, from housing, to environment, to transport, to food security & more.
“ – the most effective mapping … has been, and often still is, the exclusive preserve of the military, and the strategic advantages this brings have been jealously guarded by those in power”.
“Maps work, by serving interests” – Dr. Chris Perkins & Denis Wood
My only complaint with the book is it’s publisher.
William Collins, a division of Harper Collins, which is owned by none other than Rupert Murdoch, the Faecal Menace.
So I wonder what was left out of the script?
As disturbing as the publisher is (& their incentive?), there is no getting away from the fact that Who Owns Britain? is an incredible body of work, history & information.
Guy Shrubsole,2019, William Collins, 308 pages.