All posts by Tony Gosling

Beginning his working life in the aviation industry and trained by the BBC, Tony Gosling is a British land rights activist, historian & investigative radio journalist. Over the last 20 years he has been exposing the secret power of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and élite Bilderberg Conferences where the dark forces of corporations, media, banks and royalty conspire to accumulate wealth and power through extortion and war. Tony has spent much of his life too advocating solutions which heal the wealth divide, such as free housing for all and a press which reflects the concerns of ordinary people rather than attempting to lead opinion, sensationalise or dumb-down. Tony tweets at @TonyGosling. Tune in to his Friday politics show at BCfm.

Chronic UK Housing Destitution: ITV News Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt Reports

Investigation launched into ‘disgusting’ damp and mouldy council housing after ITV News report

https://www.itv.com/news/2021-04-13/investigation-launched-into-disgusting-damp-and-mouldy-council-housing-after-itv-news-report

he Housing Ombudsman has launched an investigation into “disgusting” social housing conditions after ITV News reports revealed damp and mould was widespread throughout the UK.

Following an initial report on “unliveable” conditions in a number of homes in the London borough of Croydon, ITV News Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt was “inundated” with “hundreds and hundreds” of examples.

ITV News investigations have found there is a “growing problem with severe mould and damp” throughout the UK, with councils often not dealing with residents’ complaints.

Richard Blakeway, Housing Ombudsman, said mould and damp in someone’s home can have a “significant” impact on their health and their life chances.

He said he’s also “concerned that we are not seeing cases where we could help, and want to investigate further into this issue”.

He said he wants to use new powers to look “in-depth at the response of social landlords to damp and mould issues”.

“I want us to make far-reaching recommendations to promote greater understanding and learning, helping landlords develop their approach to the benefit of residents.”

An initial review of case data found there had been a “high rate” of “maladministration” on cases that feature damp and mould over the last two years.

It said the fact that £68,000 in compensation had been ordered in same period showed “significant impact on residents in some cases”.

We’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of examples’: Daniel Hewitt on the widening housing crisis:

Following the ITV News report in Croydon, the local council issued an apology and took strides toward addressing the issue, with one resident being rehomed.

Public reaction to the report was huge, with social media users labelling the conditions uncovered as “disgusting”, “horrible”, “heartbreaking”, and more.

The Ombudsman wants to publish the findings of its investigation by autumn, and aims to “make far-reaching recommendations that promote greater understanding of the complexity of tackling damp and mould and share best practice across the sector”.

But those with private landlords will not have their concerns addressed as the Ombudsman investigation will only look at council housing and housing associations.

Citizens Advice, which has received 49% more complaints this year about unacceptable living conditions, says the Ombudsman investigation should look at all housing.


Katie Martin, director of external affairs at Citizens Advice said the problem is a “real imbalance of power” between tenants and landlords.

Speaking to ITV News she said: “Landlord are still able to evict a tenant for no reason whatsoever.

“So many people live in fear, that if they make complaints, if they cause problems for their landlords by insisting that they get repairs done, they’re going to get evicted and all too often that happens.”

The Housing Ombudsman has issued a call for evidence to tenants and landlords, asking them to provide information to the information.

People wishing to submit evidence can do so here.

Submit evidence here https://www.housing-ombudsman.org.uk/about-us/corporate-information/publications/spotlight-on-reports/housing-ombudsman-call-for-evidence-investigation-into-damp-and-mould/


United Front Demands: The Yellow Vest Manifesto, Opposing Globalist WWIII Disaster Capitalists

United Front could bring together Black Lives Matter, Anarchists and Extinction Rebellion. Check out the ‘official’ Yellow Vest manifesto

The following list of demands (which lacks only the crucial criminalising of satanism) seems to have first appeared here on December 5th. You’ll have to click on the image to enlarge it if you want to read it in French. We’ve translated it into English (in summary, not word-for-word) below…

Gilets Jaunes’ List of Demands:

Economy/Work
  • A constitutional cap on taxes – at 25%
  • Increase of 40% in the basic pension and social welfare
  • Increase hiring in public sector to re-establish public services
  • Massive construction projects to house 5 million homeless, and severe penalties for mayors/prefectures that leave people on the streets
  • Break up the ‘too-big-to-fail’ banks, re-separate regular banking from investment banking
  • Cancel debts accrued through usurious rates of interest

Politics

  • Constitutional amendments to protect the people’s interests, including binding referenda
  • The barring of lobby groups and vested interests from political decision-making
  • Frexit: Leave the EU to regain our economic, monetary and political sovereignty (In other words, respect the 2005 referendum result, when France voted against the EU Constitution Treaty, which was then renamed the Lisbon Treaty, and the French people ignored)
  • Clampdown on tax evasion by the ultra-rich
  • The immediate cessation of privatisation, and the re-nationalisation of public goods like motorways, airports, rail, etc
  • Remove all ideology from the ministry of education, ending all destructive education techniques
  • Quadruple the budget for law and order and put time-limits on judicial procedures. Make access to the justice system available for all
  • Break up media monopolies and end their interference in politics. Make media accessible to citizens and guarantee a plurality of opinions. End editorial propaganda
  • Guarantee citizens’ liberty by including in the constitution a complete prohibition on state interference in their decisions concerning education, health and family matters

Health/Environment

  • No more ‘planned obsolescence’ – Mandate guarantee from producers that their products will last 10 years, and that spare parts will be available during that period
  • Ban plastic bottles and other polluting packaging
  • Weaken the influence of big pharma on health in general and hospitals in particular
  • Ban on GMO crops, carcinogenic pesticides, endocrine disruptors and monocrops
  • Reindustrialise France (thereby reducing imports and thus pollution)

Foreign Affairs

  • End France’s participation in foreign wars of aggression, and exit from NATO
  • Cease pillaging and interfering – politically and militarily – in ‘Francafrique’, which keeps Africa poor. Immediately repatriate all French soldiers. Establish relations with African states on an equal peer-to-peer basis
  • Prevent migratory flows that cannot be accommodated or integrated, given the profound civilizational crisis we are experiencing
  • Scrupulously respect international law and the treaties we have signed

Tue23Mar21: Right To Reside and Resist Anti-Trespass call to action against Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

Criminalising Trespass, Part Three: Suffocating Spaces Of Resistance

https://thenorwichradical.com/2021/01/11/criminalising-trespass-part-three-suffocating-spaces-of-resistance
The Dangerous Authoritarian Threat Posed by Priti Patel to Our Right to Protest and Dissent | Andy Worthington

http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2021/03/14/the-dangerous-authoritarian-threat-posed-by-priti-patel-to-our-right-to-protest-and-dissent/

RA-T

Resist Anti-Trespass!

RA-T RESOURCES

RA-T CALLS FOR DAY OF ACTION 23RD MARCH!

RA-T’s Facearse page https://www.facebook.com/ResistingAntiTrespass

We are calling for action on the 23rd March.
(To tie in with the closure of the Legislative Scrutiny consultation led by the Joint Committee of Human Rights of the UK Parliament on the Police Powers and Protections Bill.)

We want to show solidarity with Travellers who are targeted by this bill that will criminalise trespass with intention to reside. We also stand in defiance with other groups under threat including; squatters, rough sleepers, protesters, hunt saboteurs, van dwellers, ravers, boaters

We demand the right to roam and reside. Our land rights have for too long been eroded by a handful of elites who concentrate land ownership. This bill is a direct threat to our ways of life by criminalising our already limited access to the countryside. The government must drop this bill immediately.

LETS TAKE BACK WHAT IS OURS,
RECLAIM THE LAND & RESIST ANTI-TRESPASS LAWS!
Join us for a day of decentralised action against anti-trespass measures to raise awareness and fight this pivotal issue.

Send us the pictures and videos of your actions at:
Resisting_Anti-Trespass@protonmail.com
You can also use #rataction on social media.
Call-to-action-23 download link Download

What are the most controversial parts of the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill?

What are the most controversial parts of the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Bill?

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/police-bill-anti-protest-law-23725500

TEARING UP THE POST WAR SETTLEMENT – THE 1948 UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS – Police State UK Criminalising Protest & Homelessness: MPs Are Bringing In Priti Patel’s Police Crime Sentencing & Courts Bill

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=su20v4pop2o

Police can impose more conditions on protests

Clause 55 will let police impose start and finish times and maximum noise levels on a wider range of protests in England and Wales.

Officers will be able to do this if they believe the noise may result in serious disruption to the activities of an organisation nearby.

The power is not limited in the law to noise levels or start times – a police officer can take such conditions as appear necessary to that officer to prevent disorder, damage, disruption, impact or intimidation.

The Home Office argue this is simply widening powers that already exist for moving marches to cover static protests as well. But civil liberties groups say noise and disruption are a key part of making your voice heard.

It will be up to the Home Secretary – currently Priti Patel – to decide the definition of serious disruption.

Serious annoyance will carry up to 10 years jail

Clause 59 will axe the common law definition of public nuisance and replace it with a clear set of words agreed by Parliament.

It will make it a crime to intentionally or recklessly cause public nuisance without a reasonable excuse.

Offenders will get up to a years jail from magistrates or 10 years from a crown court judge if found guilty, in the worst cases.

The government insists this is simply taking the current definition of public nuisance and putting it on a proper footing. This will provide clarity to the police and potential offenders, giving clear notice of what conduct is forbidden, the Home Office said.

But there is not a clear list of reasonable excuses – the government just say defendants will have to prove that excuse existed in court, on the balance of probabilities.

And two words in this clause have attracted a lot of interest.

Someone will fall foul of the law if they have caused a person serious distress, serious annoyance, serious inconvenience or serious loss of amenity. How will serious annoyance be interpreted by police?

Most loudhailers will be banned outside Parliament

Clause 57 will hugely expand the controlled area outside Parliament, where tents and unauthorised loudspeakers or megaphones are banned.

Currently the area only covers the garden and footpaths in the middle of Parliament Square, with other roads around it not under any special anti-protest law.

But the Bill will expand this controlled area to several roads around Parliament after a number of demos stopped traffic. These roads are Canon Row, Parliament Street, Derby Gate, Parliament Square and part of Victoria Embankment.

Those who disobey can be fined up to 5,000.

A similar move was recommended by Parliaments Joint Committee on Human Rights, which warned access to parliament must not be obstructed after a wave of threats against MPs.

However, opposition has united critics from Richard Tice, leader of Nigel Farages anti-lockdown Reform UK party, to Tom Brufatto, former lead organiser of the Peoples Vote marches against Brexit.

In an open letter today they say: As long as laws are made in Parliament, then British people must have a legal right to protest them in Parliament Square. Democracy is not an ‘inconvenience’. Public opposition and dissent are among the hard-won rights that make our democratic and like-minded groups.

One-person protests face a crackdown

One-man anti-Brexit protester Steve Bray (Image: Jeff Mitchell)

Clause 60 has already been dubbed the Steve Bray law, after the man who spent years shouting Stop Brexit! at Parliament.

It will give senior police the power to impose any conditions they see fit on a one-person protest to avoid disruption or impact.

This can only be done if they believe the noise that person is making may result in serious disruption to the activities of an organisation which are carried on in the vicinity of the protest.

But once again, Home Secretary Priti Patel will be able to define this serious disruption.

One-man-bands who knowingly refuse to comply with police orders can be fined up to 2,500. Someone who incites the one-person protest not to comply could be jailed for up to 51 weeks.

Ardent Remainer AC Grayling tweeted: It’s a great honour to Steve Bray, and an unmistakable sign of the weakness, pettiness, illiberality and unintelligence of this Brexiter ‘government’, that it seeks to pass a Bill that singles him out.

He has humiliated and stung them and they want to shut him up; he should be knighted.

Is the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill fit for purpose?

YesNo

Defacing a statue will carry up to 10 years jail

Clause 46 will raise the maximum penalty for criminal damage to a memorial or statue from three months to 10 years.

Currently judges and magistrates have to base their sentence on the monetary value of the damage. In future they will be able to look at the emotional and symbolic value of the damaged statue too, said minister Kit Malthouse.

The Tories are doing this in a culture war after statues including Winston Churchills were attacked or damaged with graffiti.

No10 insisted the focus would be on vile things like anti-Semitic graffiti or attacks on gravestones, war memorials, memorials to people whove been murdered.

But thats not quite how it was trailed in right-wing newspapers. The issue has prompted anger from Labour, who say the move is a distraction and will in theory mean longer sentences for attacking statues than some attacks on women.

People in protest camps can be jailed for three months

Clause 60 will create a new offence of residing on land without consent in or with a vehicle.

This could affect protest camps like Extinction Rebellion, as the law will apply even if their residing is only temporary, and will apply equally to common land and private land.

Protesters can be ordered to leave by police if they are deemed to be causing significant disruption, or even if they havent caused disruption yet but it is deemed likely in future.

If they refuse, they can be fined up to 2,500 or jailed for up to three months.

Police will also be given more powers to remove unauthorised encampments on roads.

A petition signed by more than 130,000 people warned criminalising trespass would be an extreme, illiberal and unnecessary attack on ancient freedoms, adding: For a thousand years, trespass has been a civil offence.

Critics say the law threatens not only protests, but also wild camping, ramblers, new rights of way and Traveller communities.

What else is in the Bill?

The plans include new laws to reform sentencing, the courts and the management of offenders, as well as more powers and protections for the police, some of which will be UK-wide while others may only apply in England and Wales.

All these could in theory still be approved by MPs later, while removing the bits on protest, if the Bill passes second reading.

  • Whole Life Orders for premeditated murder of a child
  • Maximum sentence to 18 to 20-year-olds in exceptional cases, like for acts of terrorism leading to mass loss of life.
  • Powers to halt the automatic early release of offenders who pose a danger to the public
  • Ending the automatic release halfway through a sentence of serious violent and sexual offenders.
  • Life sentences for killer drivers.
  • Expanding position of trust laws to make it illegal for sports coaches and religious leaders to engage in sexual activity with 16 and 17-year-olds in their care.
  • Officers could also be allowed to stop and search people more if plans for serious violence reduction orders go ahead.
  • Legal duty on councils, police, criminal justice bodies, health and fire services to tackle serious violence and share intelligence.
  • Deaf people could sit on juries for the first time.

 

What does it do for women whove suffered violence?

There are some limited clauses, such as ending early release for serious sexual offenders. But Labour have complained the Bill does not do enough to help women.

Shadow domestic violence minister Jess Phillips said: The Bill is full of divisive nonsense like locking up those who damage statues for longer than those who attack women. Now is a moment to change the criminal justice system so it works for women, not to try and divide the country.

Shadow Justice Secretary David Lammy said: In the 20 schedules, 176 clauses and 296 pages of the Conservatives’ Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, “women” are not mentioned even once.

Police minister Kit Malthouse insisted the government had taken steps to protect women.

He said: The domestic abuse bill, which is an extensive bill that will significantly enhance our ability to confront domestic violence and abuse is just finishing its passage through the House and contains enormous provisions to help us with that fight.

The Domestic Abuse Bill is currently in its report stage in the House of Lords – one of the later steps towards it becoming law.

But it has taken three years to get this far – having been delayed in coming to a vote by two successive General Elections.

What is Labours position?

Labour will vote against the entire Bill at second reading. If that succeeded (it wont) it would kill off the entire Bill at the first hurdle.

Realistically, its likely Labour will then try to amend the most controversial bits of the Bill while supporting other bits of it.

The party says it supports several measures contained within the bill, including proposals on dangerous driving, increased sentences for terrorists and other dangerous offenders, a police covenant, reform to criminal records and closing the loophole to criminalise sexual abuse by people in positions of trust.

The Tories claimed Labour was voting against tougher sentences for child murderers, sex offenders, killer drivers. While Labour is voting against the Bill at its first hurdle, this characterisation is misleading to the point of being untrue.

Shadow Domestic Violence Minister Jess Phillips responded: This is a disgusting and untrue statement. The Conservative Governments Bill does absolutely nothing currently to increase sentences for rapists, stalkers, or those who batter, control and abuse women. It does nothing about street harassment and assaults.

How the present day land-grabbing in Africa is forcing thousands to migrate to Europe

https://yasinkakande.com/2020/06/06/how-the-present-day-land-grabbing-in-africa-is-forcing-thousands-to-migrate-to-europe/

ON 2020-06-06 BY YASINKAKANDE IN AFRICA

IN THIS exclusive excerpt from his new book Why We Are Coming, author Yasin Kakandean international journalist, migrant activist and TED Fellowlays bare the shocking truth about the Western exploitation of Africa that is the root cause of Africans choosing to leave their homelands for the UK, US and other developed nations.

Across Africa many Western investors, including Wall Street bankers and wealthy individuals, are rushing in to acquire agricultural land and are displacing hundreds of thousands of Africans.  This shift places the food system in Africa in the hands of a few Western corporations whose interests are, first and foremost, economic gain.

The list of these recent acquisitions is long and still many of these shady deals are going unreported. Here are a few reported cases which are as graphic; The American investor Philippe Heilberg signed a farmland deal with Paulino Matip, a Sudanese warlord, to lease 400,000 hectares of land (an area the size of Dubai ) in South Sudan in July 2008. South Korean conglomorate Daewoo announced it was leasing 1.3 million hectares (3.2 million acres) of Madagascar for 99 years for about $12 an acre in 2008. In Southern Uganda about the 14,000 villagers who were evicted from their land when the Ugandan government leased 8,000 hectares of land to a Norwegian timber company (Green Resources) in the forest area of Bukaleba. Britishs Tullow acquired 102,500 hectares in Lake Albert Rift basin to explore oil.

The west’s acquisition of continental land is a threat to African economies and livelihoods

In 2017, the Ugandan government tabled a land bill amendment proposal on compulsory acquisition of land for public use, and that it may deposit in court a befitting sum for the land it wants to acquire from the owner. President Yoweri Museveni, a western corporate puppet went on broadcast outlets to explain to the citizens that the amendments are framed for the countrys better interests, and that the government taking over land from owners they deem not suitable for agriculture and giving it to investors ultimately will bring in more revenue to Uganda. Designating some parcels as public land has been the easiest way African leaders have facilitated the land grab in their countries and then they would hand over that land to foreign investors with not so much of a fair compensation to the previous African land owners.

The African leaders who are handing over fertile African land with easy access to water to Western corporations are doing the same thing that colonialists did in earlier times when they designated millions of acres as public land. In Kenya after the highlands were declared crown land the British colonialists handed over to Lord Delamere 100,000 acres at a cost of a penny per acre. Lord Francis Scott purchased 350,000 acres and the East African Syndicate Ltd. took 100,000 acres, all at give-away prices. In Liberia in 1926, the Firestone Rubber Company acquired a million acres of forest land at a cost of six cents per acre. And in The Congo King Leopold II issued decrees that designated all free parcels as government land in effect as his own property, sole proprietorship. He amassed all parcels that natives had not cultivated but instead set aside as hunting grounds or as a plentiful source of wood for building, or for mining iron ore to be used in tools and weapons. The 21st century has seen that practice continue, albeit in a different form.

The future is much darker than what even analysts have predicted

Even though it is important to invest in the African agricultural sector, the Wests acquisition of continental land is a threat to African economies and livelihoods. Evidence shows that these land deals often lack transparency and are frequently mismanaged by governments. Smallholder farmers who are the majority in Africa are being displaced in the process. These farmers are starting to realize what the foreign investors are doing to their livelihoods, and with nothing much to do many are resorting to migration to these countries.

In Africa the European and American foreigners own the land, mines, banks, factories, fuel stations, airlines, and all the wealth coming from these sources are shipped or transferred to the West and what is left in Africa for Africans? What do the citizens of African countries have in their countries to keep them home not to emigrate nothing or too little to sustain their families even on the most modest expectations. This is worsened by the fact that even prospective means like employment that would give them the opportunity to own their titles and deeds to land are nonexistent. At least they can see prospects of employment even in menial jobs in the West or in Middle East countries, much less than the potential to collaborate and start their own enterprises.

African resources are fast becoming depleted and its population is growing at a faster corresponding pace. By 2050, it is predicted the population in most African countries will have doubled and the continent will have almost depleted all of its resources. The future is much darker than what even analysts have predicted and, for sure, more African migrants will continue trying to get to Europe or the U.S. where their resources have built stable economies. Europe and America are already definitely concerned about these demographics and more worried because even family planning strategies that have been promoted in the continent for a long time have not had any yields. Europe and the U.S. stand alone to address honestly the exploitation of Africa and demand from their corporations honest and decent trade practices with the continent.

Why We Are Coming by Yasin Kakande is out now, priced 15.43 in paperback and 4.64 as an eBook (4.64). Visit Amazon. For more information, visit www.yasinkakande.com

Stop The National Trust ‘Rot’ Derek Thomas MP Demands, Profit Driven Charity Must ‘Return To Core Values’

MP says there is rot in the National Trust

https://cornishstuff.com/2020/12/16/mp-says-there-is-rot-in-the-national-trust/

December 16, 2020 Charities, Derek Thomas

Whilst marking its 125th anniversary and praising the National Trust as a fantastic institution and part of Britain’s global offer

Derek Thomas, MP for St Ives (West Cornwall & Scilly) used a debate he led in the House of Commons last night to say there is rot in the National Trust and is calling for a review into whether the charity is behaving in accordance with its core guiding principles.

Mr Thomas provided increasing evidence that the National Trust was reaching far beyond what people believe is their purpose and function.

It is acting as a completely unaccountable body that can imposition lives and livelihoods without any right to reply or recourse, taking no concern for how long it takes to engage even when individuals and businesses are seeking to proactively engage and appease NT staff, he said.

The MP said complaints received from his constituents include:

  • The NT proposing landowners carry out activity (including erecting buildings) on land neither the trust nor the owner owns
  • House sales either falling though or prices dramatically reduced due to obstructive interventions and/or delays by the NT
  • Constituents waiting two and a half years for the NT to finalise a covenant
  • Businesses being charged a levy in return for NT consent to developments on privately-owned land
  • Appearing to favour the promotion of holiday accommodation over the maintenance of small but important farms along the Cornish coast.
  • Blocking efforts to install renewable energy solar panels on privately-owned agriculture buildings.
  • Having a disregard for local sensitivities, listed building regulations and basic planning processes.
  • Refusing to take responsibility for assets which are unsafe for the general public.

Having already written to the Charity Commission requesting they look into NT practices, Mr Thomas said consideration should be given to creating an Ombudsman for people who believe they are being treated wrongfully or poorly by the NT so that they have a method to be heard and for the NT to be held to account, in particular on the way they interpret their covenants, in some cases preventing farmers from carrying with normal farming practices such as removing stones from fields.

Mr Thomas told the House Only this weekend, I was asked, Please could you ask the National Trust if it is still their policy to support small family farms? Or given their current financial crisis will they opt for the short term financial gain of holiday accommodation over the long term benefit of local employment and better husbandry of the land?

Farmers, business owners and home-owners tell me they need an Ombudsman because the cost of litigating to defend themselves is far too high so they buckle under the pressure, he added.

I have a positive history with the National Trust I have tremendous respect for their volunteers who do good work in West Cornwall, I enjoy a good relationship with many of the staff.

I dont believe the Trust is rotten to the core but there is certainly rot within the organisation. 125 years on there is a need to review how it operates to ensure that it delivers on its primary purpose and charitable aims.

Mr Thomas used further examples from Cape Cornwall Golf Club, Levant Mine and Porthleven slipway as difficulties he had encountered with the trust. He said During my brief time as a MP, I have found that the case load of National Trust-related issues is disproportionate to the many other issues that an MPs office encounters.

Defending the timing of his debate, Mr Thomas went on to say This is about identifying some of the concerns that constituents have, in order to address them, so that we can return to the core values and be reminded of the fantastic work that the National Trust can deliver through a huge army of fantastic volunteers across the United Kingdom. However, it is of great concern if the National Trusts approach to increasing yield is to make as much money as it can, rather than protect and enhance small farms and support the fresh blood introduced into the sector.

The full debate can be found here in Hansard

Social Cleansing: Tories new anti-Traveller laws set to criminalise nomadic way of life

9 March 2021

New anti-Traveller laws set to criminalise nomadic way of life

The Government has announced new laws that will make trespass with vehicles a criminal offence – in a move that has caused fury among Gypsy and Traveller campaigners.

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said yesterday, that the new laws will target trespassers “who intend to reside on any private or public land in vehicles without permission, and where they are causing significant disruption, distress or harm to local communities.”

“This new offence will enable the police to fine or arrest those residing without permission on private or public land in vehicles in order to stop significant disruption, distress or harm being caused to the law-abiding majority,” she added.

The new law also gives the police the powers to seize and impound vehicles whose owners fail to comply with the new law and who refuse – or can’t – leave.

Gypsy and Traveller campaigners reacted with fury saying that the new laws were racist.

“You are criminalising a problem that has been created by the failings of a political will to deliver appropriate accommodation,” said Joseph P Jones from the Gypsy Council, in a Facebook comment left on Priti Patel’s Facebook page.

Joseph P Jones also pointed out that to get planning permission to develop their own permanent legal Traveller site, Gypsies and Travellers have to obtain ‘gypsy status’, the only requirement of which is to prove that they are – and will – continue to travel.

“Travellers are told they have to prove they travel to gain planning permission for their own private sites,” he added.

“But locally, Councils refuse to provide public sites. Well, racism is alive and well in the Home Office. Through political failure. Be proud of your right-wing achievement.”

Police Powers and Protections Bill (2021)

The Government say that the new offence of criminal trespass will target:

  • A person aged 18 or over resides or intends to reside on land without consent of the occupier of the land;
  • They have, or intend to have, at least one vehicle with them on the land;
  • They have caused or are likely to cause significant damage, disruption or distress;

They, without reasonable excuse:

  • Fail to leave the land and remove their property following a request to do so by an occupier of the land, their representative or a constable; or
  • Enter or, having left, re-enter the land with an intention of residing there without the consent of the occupier of the land, and with an intention to have at least one vehicle with them, within 12 months of a request to leave and remove their property from an occupier of the land, their representative or a constable.
  • Reasonable suspicion that a person has committed this offence confers power on a constable to seize their vehicle/other property [home] for up to three months from the date of seizure or, if criminal proceedings are commenced, until the conclusion of those proceedings.

The new law will affect England and Wales – but not Scotland.

A horse drawn wagon will count as a vehicle. Horse drawn ‘new’ Travellers are worried that their way of life will be destroyed as well. Picture from No Fixed Abode Traveller group

Responding to the news, Abbie Kirkby, Public Affairs and Policy Manager at Friends, Families and Travellers said:

“The Government seems hell bent on introducing tougher police powers for people living on roadside camps, even though all the evidence is stacking up against them – in their own consultation it is clear that most respondents don’t want tougher powers. The views of the majority of consultation respondents have been ignored, opening the door to a harsh and unfair set of proposals which punish some of the UK’s minority ethnic groups, who already face some of the starkest inequalities.

Our research shows that the majority of police respondents are against the proposals and also that there is a chronic national shortage of places to stop. The Government should not imprison people, fine them and remove their homes for the ‘crime’ of having nowhere to go. Another way is possible. Through negotiated stopping and by identifying land where Traveller sites can be built, councils can ensure nomadic families have a safe place to stop, save money on evictions and improve relations between travelling and settled communities. Everybody needs a place to live.”

Responding to the proposals, Jenny, a Romany Gypsy, said:

“My daughter is trying to get a pitch, but loads of families trying, she’s feeling depressed. Her and her partner don’t know where they’re going to go. It’s not right to criminalise us all. We don’t leave any rubbish, we respect the other residents, we clean up after ourselves, but we’re going to be stopped from travelling. There aren’t enough sites for Travellers. We’re being treated like animals. They’re always building more houses but no more sites. She can’t get a site, she can’t stop on the road. She’s tearful, she’s crying a lot. She just wants to settle down and make a life for herself like anyone else.”

The Government promised to bring in the new law in their manifesto for the last election. An image put up on her Facebook page yesterday by Home Secretary Priti Patel

The laws are pretty much what campaigners were fearing and what was promised in the Conservative manifesto at the last election – the criminalisation of trespass with vehicles.

By focusing on vehicles the Government has side-stepped opposition from ramblers and homeless charities. However that makes the new laws easier to challenge under equalities laws as Romany Gypsies and Irish and Scottish Travellers are protected ethnic groups. We understand that lawyers are already geared up to challenge the new laws.

The surprise is that the number of vehicles needed to trigger the new laws has dropped from the promised two to one. This then brings lots of the new single vehicle ‘van-lifers’ parking up on private or public land within the scope of the new law.

On the face of it, the new laws are only triggered if the senior police officer attending the camp believes that the camp “has caused or are likely to cause significant damage, disruption or distress.”

However, “likely to cause” is open to wide interpretations and the powers, and the resulting seizure of vehicles if the camp refuses to disband, will be reliant on the whims and prejudices of the police officers present – and some police officers are more racist than others…

Forgive us our trespasses: forbidden rambles with a right-to-roam campaigner

The law excludes ordinary people from 92% of English land, but that doesn’t stop activist, artist and writer Nick Hayes

Rachel Cooke @msrachelcooke Sun 9 Aug 2020

As Simon Jenkins notes in his book England’s Thousand Best Houses, were it not for the fact that it sits in 400 acres of historic parkland, Basildon Park house in west Berkshire might almost be a Piccadilly terrace: big, but not gargantuan; elegant and harmonious, but too straightforward to be entirely flashy. Glimpsed through trees on a warm summer evening, its magnificent portico crested by golden sunlight, it rises like a beacon, a sight from which it’s hard to tear the eyes. Even when I’m walking away from it, I keep turning my head to check that I didn’t only imagine it; that it hasn’t suddenly vanished into thin air.

But bewitchment is in the air tonight. This place is ours. Though the National Trust reopened these grounds to visitors in June, those who booked tickets for today are long gone now, it being past five o’clock. Circumnavigating the estate’s flinty, tumbledown perimeter wall, we barely saw a soul – only one mountain biker, doggedly following the same bridleway as us – and since we slipped inside the park itself, having finally found a gap just wide enough to allow us to do so, we’ve encountered no one at all. We stride, willy nilly, utterly free, grasshoppers leaping at our feet, the soft wind in the branches above us. What leafy seclusion. It’s so enveloping, and so soothing, I jump halfway out of my skin when a pheasant shrieks in the undergrowth.

There are bylaws around respecting National Trust land but I do not feel deep down that I’m doing much wrong by being here. What harm is there in enjoying such loveliness? I’m a paid up member of the Trust, so this is no embezzlement. Nevertheless, I don’t suppose I would have wriggled through that tempting space had I been alone. I see walls, literal and metaphorical, and often wonder what’s to be found behind them, but I’m too timid, often, to climb them. On this occasion, however, I have courage in the form of company. I’ve been led astray by Nick Hayes, the author of The Book of Trespass, a powerful new narrative about the vexed issue of land rights and a volume that he hopes will both refocus the ongoing campaign to reform the 2000 Countryside and Rights of Way Act by encouraging more people to do as we are doing right now, to walk on privately owned land, and to help build protest against the Conservative party’s plan – a manifesto commitment – to make trespass a criminal offence. Not only is Hayes practically a professional trespasser these days, no sign too forbidding to be ignored, no fence too high to be climbed. In my case, he’s like a naughty younger brother, egging me on, urging me blithely to step over whatever impediment happens to be in my way. “They can’t do anything to us,” he says, cheerfully. “They can ask us to leave, but we can’t be prosecuted. Trespass is a mechanism for seeking redress for damage, and it would be absurd to suggest we are damaging anything.” (Trespass can be actionable through the courts, whether or not the claimant has suffered damage – but such cases are rare, and usually only brought to deter persistent trespassing, or where there are boundary disputes.)

This is the part of Berkshire, not far from the River Thames in Pangbourne, that inspired Kenneth Grahame to write The Wind in the Willows, and Hayes, who likes to kayak, knows it intimately. He grew up a few minutes away, in the village of Upper Basildon, and it was there, 10 years ago, that the seeds of his book were sown, when he came home from London to live with his parents while he worked on his first graphic novel (he makes his living mainly as an illustrator). One day, he and his mother were walking together after lunch. They were, he says, having the kind of heart-to-heart that could only really happen in “the easy chaos of the countryside”, wandering towards a spot that, at the time, was the sole place he’d ever seen a kingfisher. But they never made it. Suddenly, a quad bike came chugging over the paddock, and parked itself, just a little too close for comfort, in their way.

The gambit of the landowner or his agent to the trespasser is often a facetious “are you lost?” But this guy was more direct. “You’ve no right to be here,” he said. “You are trespassing.” Hayes and his mother reflexively apologised and promptly left. Only later did he consider the astonishing effect just a few words had had on them; it was as if they were two puppets, and this stranger had simply yanked their strings. “We were doing such a lovely thing,” he says. “So to be interrupted in such a gruff manner… This invisible force came over us. Outwardly, it was just decency [on our part]. It would have been indecent for us to argue; that would have spoilt our day. But his ability to turn us on our heels through 180 degrees felt like power to me, and it’s quite rare for a white, straight, middle-class man [like me] to feel the operation of power like that. There was this feeling of shame – as though I’d done something wrong. And that didn’t square at all with my inner morality.”

After this, Hayes began strolling on private land more and more often. This wasn’t, he insists, a political act, or even just a two-fingers to those types who like to border the land they own with signs that read “Keep out”. “It was more a case of wanting to support my feeling intellectually that it’s the wall that is the crime, not the climbing of it,” he says. “I wasn’t going to stop trespassing, but I also came to realise that it’s all right for me. This is something I can do. I’ve got quite a posh voice, I’m white, I’m a big enough dude not to be physically submissive; I don’t flinch when someone comes at me. The book grew not only out of my own trespassing, but out of a desire to try and make the countryside more available to people without my privileges.” England, he would go on to discover, is still owned by a relatively small number of wealthy individuals and institutions: by the law of trespass, we are excluded from 92% of the land and 97% of its waterways. How can this be? The feeling grew in him that change must and can come. When The Book of Trespass is published later this month, he and Guy Shrubsole, the activist author of Who Owns England? (which came out last year), will together launch a new campaign, the primary focus of which will be the fact that the nation’s mental and physical health would be improved immeasurably by increased access to it. “I don’t believe property is theft,” Hayes says. “That’s a ridiculous proposition, one that ignores human nature. This isn’t the politics of envy. All we’re asking is that the lines between us and the land are made more permeable.”

This doesn’t mean, however, that political history is of no interest to him. Quite the contrary. For Hayes, Basildon Park house serves as one symbol among many of the way, down the centuries, land was effectively stolen from the people, its grand estates constructed on the back of their exploitation. Built in 1776 by John Carr of York, it was designed for Francis Sykes, a wealthy member of the East India Company, who returned home with fingers that were, as Hayes puts it, “sticky from the colonial cookie jar” (Sykes himself explained the bleeding dry of India as a basic choice of “whether it [the wealth extracted under British rule] should go into a black man’s pocket or my own”). Hayes doesn’t disapprove of the National Trust; he’s largely supportive of both it and English Heritage. But he wonders why, given the history of Basildon Park, some of its 400 acres could not be given over to, say, local allotment holders. And what about those who cannot afford its ticket prices? “I think the vision of Octavia Hill [the social reformer, and one of the three founders of the National Trust] for the working classes has gone a bit wayward. It does seem very white and middle class. It holds some of our cultural soul, and it could change the narrative if it tried.”

We walk on. The preternatural quietness holds. The atmosphere is almost muffled. The cows, it seems, can’t be bothered to low at this hour, in this heat. But just as we’re on our way back to our entry point, we meet a woman on the path. She has long, silver hair and a black spaniel, and a manner that, though polite, expresses a certain dismay at our presence. Do we work for the National Trust? No. Then why are we here? We tell her that we’re merely enjoying the park, and then we turn the tables, asking her a few questions of our own – which is how we find out that she is the wife of a National Trust warden, and that she lives in a house in the woods. Also, that she is Dutch. Do people have the right to roam in Holland? No, she says. It’s worse there than here.

But she won’t be put off so easily. We should go. Soon, this spot will be dangerous for us. In half an hour, hunters are coming to shoot deer, which must be controlled. “Well, they’re not going to shoot us, are they?” says Hayes, breaking into laughter. She doesn’t fully smile at this – though whether this is because we outnumber her and she feels vaguely intimidated, or whether because she simply believes we’re being foolhardy, I can’t quite tell. Either way, though, I’m momentarily chastened: I experience what Hayes calls, in his book, a “mind wall” – an invisible barrier rises, over which I feel I must now hop as quickly as possible to the side where I rightfully belong.

Nick Hayes

My fellow trespasser and I do most of our talking in a hay field belonging to someone known to him as Farmer Ambler, a man who eventually appears, carrying long stems of ragwort (ragwort is toxic if eaten by cows), but who speaks to us gently, and doesn’t tell us to scram.

Hayes wasn’t what you might call a child of nature. “We came up to the rec to smoke hash as teenagers,” he says. “Sometimes, a couple of woods on from where we’re sitting now, we made fires and messed around. But we weren’t there for nature; it was just free space.” After public school and Cambridge University, he did an art foundation course and eventually, after a series of jobs working in communications for charities, he began working full time on his first graphic novel, The Rime of the Modern Mariner, a take on Coleridge’s famous poem. He has since published three more.

 

The Book of Trespass is his first non-graphic book – though the text is punctuated by his marvellous illustrations, linocuts that bring to mind the Erics, Gill and Ravilious – and in it, he weaves several centuries of English history together with the stories of gypsies, witches, ramblers, migrants and campaigners, as well as his own adventures. Its sweep is vast. Among the places he trespasses, sometimes camping out overnight, are Highclere Castle in Hampshire, home of the Earl of Carnarvon and now best known as the real Downton Abbey; Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, the seat of the dukes of Rutland; on the Sussex estate of Paul Dacre, the former editor of the Daily Mail; and on land, also in Sussex, owned by the property tycoon Nicholas van Hoogstraten. He also kayaks on the River Kennet from Aldermaston, in west Berkshire, to the point near Reading where it meets the Thames – a journey that takes him through the estate owned by Richard Benyon who, until 2019, was the richest MP in Parliament (Benyon lives in Englefield House, which dates from 1558, and which passed to his family by marriage in the 18th century; some of their money was made via the East India Company, too).

His book begins with the mass trespass of Kinder Scout in 1932, an act of civil disobedience that may be one of the most successful in British history (it led to the creation of our national parks). But then he tracks back: here is William the Conqueror, seizing England with “both his hands”; here are the Tudor barons, frantically enclosing common land in what amounted to a kind of rural gold rush; and here, much later, is the Public Order Act of 1994, a piece of legislation, triggered by a rave at Castlemorton Common in Worcestershire, that Hayes regards as “the final nail in the coffin” for freedom in the countryside, and that has a great deal in common with vagrancy acts of earlier centuries in the way that it targets particular groups of people, notably Travellers. Along the way, he also explores more nebulous territory. Why, he wonders, do we quietly accept the limits to our freedom – the signs and the barbed wire, the CCTV cameras and the walls – when we’re out and about? Where does such obedience come from? Nationalism, he believes, suits the landowning classes – Paul Dacre, who also owns a 17,000 acre grouse farm near Ullapool in Scotland, now among them – because it gives people a sense of ownership without their actually owning anything at all.

Our green and pleasant land. Except it isn’t – ours, I mean. A third of Britain is still owned by the aristocracy; 24 non-royal dukes alone own almost 4m acres of it (in 2016, 17 of these men together received farm subsidies worth £8.4m). Then there is the new aristocracy, the self-made millionaires who can afford to buy up the land: men like Richard Bannister, the retail tycoon who bought Walshaw Moor in Calderdale in 2002, and whose “management” of this rare habitat brought him into conflict with Natural England – until, that is, the agency dropped its claim, settling out of court (Bannister now owns some 16,000 acres of the valley). Finally, there are the offshore companies, which in 2015 owned 490,000 acres of England and Wales, meaning that an area larger than Greater London can legally avoid stamp duty and inheritance tax (the largest swathe of English land registered to offshore companies is the Gunnerside estate, whose 27,258 acres of North Yorkshire moorland are registered in the British Virgin Islands and which, over the last decade or so, received some €430,000 of taxpayer handouts in the form of agricultural subsidies). According to Hayes, there are “good landowners”: he would single out the Crown Estate and Sir Julian Rose, the owner of Hardwick House, also in Berkshire, whose farm is run on ecological principles and who allows a nonprofit group to run outdoor activities for children with disabilities on his land. But these people are, in his view, in the minority.

Was he, as he researched The Book of Trespass, surprised by the numbers? “No. In a way, I was almost encouraged by them. They’re so stark, they do the arguing for you. The orthodoxy is that land campaigners are very unreasonable – that they’re people who want to overturn civil society, who have this mad communist desire to overrule people’s private sanctity. But if you look at the figures, it’s clear that it’s not at all unreasonable for us to require greater access to the land.” He’s surely right about this – and in Scotland, people already have the right to roam; none of the walks in his book would count as trespass north of the border. But it also raises the question: why does it still matter so much to landowners if people cross their land? Why does it make some of them so furious?

“Because, under a certain philosophy of property, one we’ve had since the time of William the Conqueror, something is only yours if you own it exclusively; a park doesn’t really belong to you if you can’t throw someone out of it. Counter to this, of course, there is another philosophy, one that says that you don’t leave this world with anything in your pockets, and you don’t come into it with anything in them, either. At best, you borrow the land from your children; you’re a custodian. Unfortunately, these are entirely opposing definitions of property.” Chewing idly on some grass, I wonder aloud why some people need so much. Hayes looks at me as though I’m slightly stupid. “It’s not about use,” he says. “The rich man wants more. You know that.”

There are, he tells me, groups out there who are interested in the idea of reparation; who believe that if more people knew the stories behind places like Basildon Park, they would be more exercised over the issue of land rights. But he would rather concentrate, in campaigning terms, on the future rather than the past. “If I had two minutes on the Today programme, I would talk about the science involved in the relationship between nature and mental and physical wellbeing, and about a future where landowners aren’t robbed of anything at all, except the right to exclude the mass public. Douglas Caffyn [a canoe campaigner] speaks about the Magna Carta when he makes the case for access to our rivers. But we can either argue about historical precedent, or we can clear the table of that, and discuss why, say, rivers are so essential to people.”

He is not – again, he tells me – looking for a revolution. “The one thing I think is a genuine and valid concern [on the part of landowners] is vandalism and litter. But this is why we need an early and visceral relationship with nature. Children need to learn about dragonflies by having them land on their noses so that as adults they will find it abhorrent to see a Wispa Gold wrapper next to an orchid.” He and his fellow campaigners are looking to “rewrite” the Countryside Code. “It asks too little,” he says. “It shouldn’t only tell you to take your litter home; it should tell you to pick up any litter that you find. We would like it to be more moral, to incorporate how we should be together – because the way we treat nature is the way that we treat each other.”

So what happens next? “We want to engage all the people who are already sold on access – the fathers and mothers, the ramblers, climbers and kayakers – and tell them that something is happening, and get them to join us. Then we need to persuade all the people who don’t have much access to land why their lives would be improved if they did. And then, we need to lobby MPs.” His book, he believes, is the beginning of something, not the end. “We will say to people: come trespassing with us!” He grins. “Our hashtag will be #extremelynonviolentdirectaction. There’ll be animal masks and botany, picnics and poetry. But if someone asks us to leave, that’s exactly what we’ll do.”

See righttoroam.org.uk

The National Trust bylaws can be seen here

  • The Book of Trespass by Nick Hayes is published by Bloomsbury (£20). To order a copy for £17.40 go to guardianbookshop.com. Postage charges may apply.

Queen Elizabeth II Got 1973 Companies Act Exclusion Clause To Hide Her ‘Embarrassing’ Private Wealth

Revealed: Queen lobbied for change in law to hide her private wealth

When the Queen’s territories are added together, the Russian Federation ceases to be the largest single political entity on earth.

Elizabeth’s private lawyer put pressure on Edward Heaths ministers to alter a law that would have revealed her shareholdings to the public, government memos show. Composite: Guardian Design Team

Monarch dispatched private solicitor to secure exemption from transparency law

by David Pegg and Rob Evans  Sun 7 Feb 2021 Queen’s consent

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/feb/07/revealed-queen-lobbied-for-change-in-law-to-hide-her-private-wealth

The Queen successfully lobbied the government to change a draft law in order to conceal her embarrassing private wealth from the public, according to documents discovered by the Guardian.

A series of government memos unearthed in the National Archives reveal that Elizabeth Windsors private lawyer put pressure on ministers to alter proposed legislation to prevent her shareholdings from being disclosed to the public.

Following the Queens intervention, the government inserted a clause into the law granting itself the power to exempt companies used by heads of state from new transparency measures.

The arrangement, which was concocted in the 1970s, was used in effect to create a state-backed shell corporation which is understood to have placed a veil of secrecy over the Queens private shareholdings and investments until at least 2011.

The true scale of her wealth has never been disclosed, though it has been estimated to run into the hundreds of millions of pounds.

Evidence of the monarchs lobbying of ministers was uncovered by a Guardian investigation into the royal family’s use of an arcane parliamentary procedure, known as Queens consent, to secretly influence the formation of British laws.

Unlike the better-known procedure of royal assent, a formality that marks the moment when a bill becomes law, Queens consent must be sought before legislation can be approved by parliament.

It requires ministers to alert the Queen when legislation might affect either the royal prerogative or the private interests of the crown.

The website of the royal family describes it as a long established convention and constitutional scholars have tended to regard consent as an opaque but harmless example of the pageantry that surrounds the monarchy.

But documents unearthed in the National Archives, which the Guardian is publishing this week, suggest that the consent process, which gives the Queen and her lawyers advance sight of bills coming into parliament, has enabled her to secretly lobby for legislative changes.

Thomas Adams, a specialist in constitutional law at Oxford University who reviewed the new documents, said they revealed the kind of influence over legislation that lobbyists would only dream of. The mere existence of the consent procedure, he said, appeared to have given the monarch substantial influence over draft laws that could affect her.

Disclosure would be embarrassing

The papers reveal that in November 1973 the Queen feared that a proposed bill to bring transparency to company shareholdings could enable the public to scrutinise her finances. As a result she dispatched her private lawyer to press the government to make changes.

Matthew Farrer, then a partner at the prestigious law firm Farrer & Co, visited civil servants at the then Department of Trade and Industry to discuss the proposed transparency measures in the companies bill, which had been drafted by Edward Heaths government.

The bill sought to prevent investors from secretly building up significant stakes in listed companies by acquiring their shares through front companies or nominees. It would therefore include a clause granting directors the right to demand that any nominees owning their companys shares reveal, when asked, the identities of their clients.

Three crucial pages of correspondence between civil servants at the trade department reveal how, at that meeting, Farrer relayed the Queens objection that the law would reveal her private investments in listed companies, as well as their value. He proposed that the monarch be exempted.

I have spoken to Mr Farrer, a civil servant called CM Drukker wrote on 9 November. As I had recalled he or rather, I think, his clients are quite as concerned over the risk of disclosure to directors of a company as to shareholders and the general public.

He justifies this not only because of the risk of inadvertent or indiscreet leaking to other people, Drukker continued, but more basically because disclosure to any person would be embarrassing.

After being informed that exempting only the crown from the legislation would mean it was obvious any shareholdings so anonymised were the Queens property, Farrer, the correspondence states, took fright somewhat, emphasised that the problem was taken very seriously and suggested somewhat tentatively that we had put them into this quandary and must therefore find a way out.

Drukker continued: He did not like any suggestions that holdings were not these days so embarrassing, given the wide knowledge of, for example, landed property held. Nor did he see that the problem might be resolved by any avoidance of holdings in particular companies. It was the knowledge per se that was objectionable.

After being informed by Farrer that he must now seek instruction from his client, Drukker advised a colleague: I think we must now do what you suggested we should eventually do warn ministers.

Three days later, another civil servant, CW Roberts, summarised the problem in a second memo.

Mr Farrer was not only concerned that information about shares held for the Queen, and transactions in them, could become public knowledge (since it would appear on the companys register) and thus the subject of possible controversy, Roberts wrote.

He regards any disclosure of beneficial ownership of shares by the crown, even if restricted to the directors of the company, as potentially embarrassing, because of the risk of leaks.

He continued: Mr Farrer has accepted an invitation to go into the matter with us, but has said that he will not be able to do so for a few days, until he has taken instructions from his principals.

Secrecy clause

By the following month the Heath government had developed an ingenious proposal through which the Queens dilemma might be resolved.

With the help of the Bank of England, my department have evolved the following solutions, which will appear in the bill, wrote the Conservative trade minister Geoffrey Howe to a fellow minister.

Howe proposed that the government would insert a new clause into the bill granting the government the power to exempt certain companies from the requirement to declare the identities of their shareholders.

Officially, the change would be for the benefit of a variety of wealthy investors. Such a class could be generally defined to cover, say, heads of state, governments, central monetary authorities, investment boards and international bodies formed by governments, Howe continued.

In practice, however, the Queen was plainly the intended beneficiary of the arrangement. The government intended to create a shell company through which a range of these investors could hold shares. It meant that any curious member of the public would be unable to pinpoint which of the shares owned by the company were held on behalf of the monarch.

My department have discussed this solution with the legal advisers to the Queen, Howe noted. While they cannot of course commit themselves to using the suggested new facility, they accept that it is a perfectly reasonable solution to the problem which they face, and that they could not ask us to do more. I am therefore arranging that the necessary provisions should appear in the bill.

It would be three years before the bill and its secrecy clause would come into law. In February 1974 Heath called a general election, resulting in all legislation that was going through parliament being thrown out.

However, the proposal was resuscitated by the subsequent Labour government under Harold Wilson and became law in 1976, with much of the original bill simply copied into the second edition.

The exemption was almost immediately granted to a newly formed company called Bank of England Nominees Limited, operated by senior individuals at the Bank of England, which has previously been identified as a possible vehicle through which the Queen held shares.

Shares believed to be owned by the Queen were transferred to the company in April 1977, according to a 1989 book by the journalist Andrew Morton.

The exemption is believed to have helped conceal the Queens private fortune until at least 2011, when the government disclosed that Bank of England Nominees was no longer covered by it.

Four years ago, the company was closed down. Precisely what happened to the shares it held on behalf of others is not clear. As a dormant company, it never filed public accounts itemising its activities.

A possible landmine

The use of Queens consent is normally recorded in Hansard, the official record of parliamentary debates, before a bills third reading. However, no notification of consent for the 1976 bill appears in the record, possibly because it was only sought for the 1973 version that never made it to third reading.

Howe, who died in 2015, appears to have disclosed the role of Queens consent which is invoked when ministers believe a draft law might affect the royal prerogative or the private interests of the crown during a parliamentary debate in 1975 in a previously unnoticed speech.

In relation to that draft legislation, as to any other, the advisers of the Queen, as they do as a matter of routine, examined the bill to see whether it contained, inadvertently or otherwise, any curtailment of the royal prerogative, Howe said.

Howe had been prompted to speak in the parliamentary debate during a row caused by the leak of high-level Whitehall papers to the Morning Star newspaper. The leak revealed the governments intention to exempt the Windsor wealth from the companies bill.

It was a major scoop for the communist newspaper, but the leaked papers did not establish whether the Queen had lobbied the government to help conceal her wealth.

At the time, the Financial Times remarked that a possible landmine for the Conservatives would be if Buckingham Palace in 1973 had taken the initiative in suggesting that disclosure of the Queens shareholdings should be excluded from the bill.

The newly discovered papers reveal exactly that. At the very least, it seems clear that representations on the part of the crown were material in altering the shape of the legislation, Adams said.

When contacted by the Guardian, Buckingham Palace did not answer any questions about the Queens lobbying to alter the companies bill, or whether she had used the consent procedure to put pressure on the government.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Queen said: Queens consent is a parliamentary process, with the role of sovereign purely formal. Consent is always granted by the monarch where requested by government.

Whether Queen’s consent is required is decided by parliament, independently from the royal household, in matters that would affect crown interests, including personal property and personal interests of the monarch, she said.

If consent is required, draft legislation is, by convention, put to the sovereign to grant solely on advice of ministers and as a matter of public record.

So. What Might Be The Extent Of Queen Elizabeth II’s Hidden Wealth….?

Who owns the world? The Queen, the family of the actress Nicole Kidman, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and the media tycoon…

https://www.newstatesman.com/global-issues/2011/03/land-queen-world-australia

When the Queen’s territories are added together, the Russian Federation ceases to be the largest single political entity on earth. Like the Queen’s realms, the Russian Federation is dramatically underpopulated and immensely rich in mineral wealth of all kinds.

Together, the Queen’s realms have a depth of international political defence unlike any other alliance. They are combined together in the Commonwealth, the largest single bloc in the United Nations, the largest single combination of nations outside the UN, and they are all headed by the same diminutive octogenarian. If the Queen could convert her landholdings into cash, she would not only be the richest individual on earth, but also the richest person who has ever lived. Another way she could achieve that, however, is by turning upside down the 13 tax havens of which she is both ruler and owner and shaking the cash out of them.

#1 Queen Elizabeth II – Queen Elizabeth UK

https://www.businessinsider.com/worlds-biggest-landowners-2011-3

Land: 6.6 billion acres of land worldwide including Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia and a few other spots here and there. Also, the all-important Falkland Islands.

Background: England’s third (and most likely soon to be second) longest serving monarch, Elizabeth II retains royal title over The British Commonwealth and as such manages to keep her face on money throughout the globe.

With her 6.6 billion acres, Elizabeth II is far and away the world’s largest landowner, with the closest runner-up (King Abdullah) holding control over a mere 547 million, or about 12% of the lands owned by Her Majesty, The Queen.

Acreage estimates provided by The New Statesman.

Queen Elizabeth II owns 10,312,500 square miles of the Earths surface surpassing the states of Russia, China, and the U.S.A.

http://www.whoownstheworld.com/about-the-book/largest-landowner/

Aren’t they just so deserving?

In fact, the Queen of England is the largest landowner on Earth.

Turns out, the Queen of England (of royal German lineage: Saxe-Coburg-Gotha of the House of Wettin See: German Monarchy planned to imprison Jews into Concentration Camps, confiscate Jewish property in 1926 years before Nazis ) owns what amounts to one sixth of the earths non ocean surface.  Which makes her, among other things, the richest person in the world.

In fact, She is the only person on earth who owns whole countries, and who owns countries that are not her own domestic territory.

Interestingly, Queen Elizabeths personal land holdings are presented in somewhat of a diminished fashion in the article where this information is found (see below).

Using the figures provided, if one divides $33,000,000,000,000 (Thirty three TRILLION dollars) the estimated value of her private land holdings according to the article by $5,000 (the estimated value given per acre in the article), one finds the number of acres personally owned by the Queen is not in the millions. Its in the BILLIONS.

Queen Elizabeth II  has title to, and is therefore the legal owner of 6,600,000,000 ( SIX BILLION, six hundred million) acres of the Earths surface. Thats 10,312,500 square miles.  Quite the little homestead.

Queen Elizabeth II the largest landowner on Earth.

Queen Elizabeth II, head of state of the United Kingdom and of 31 other states and territories, is the legal owner of about 6,600 million acres of land, one sixth of the earths non ocean surface.

She is the only person on earth who owns whole countries, and who owns countries that are not her own domestic territory. This land ownership is separate from her role as head of state and is different from other monarchies where no such claim is made Norway, Belgium, Denmark etc.

The value of her land holding. £17,600,000,000,000 (approx).

This makes her the richest individual on earth. However, there is no way easily to value her real estate. There is no current market in the land of entire countries. At a rough estimate of $5,000 an acre, and based on the sale of Alaska to the USA by the Tsar, and of Louisiana to the USA by France, the Queens land holding is worth a notional $33,000,000,000,000 (Thirty three trillion dollars or about £17,600,000,000,000).

Her holding is based on the laws of the countries she owns and, land title is valid in all the countries she owns. Her main holdings are Canada, the 2nd largest country on earth, with 2,467 million acres, Australia, the 7th largest country on earth with 1,900 million acres, the Papua New Guinea with 114 million acres, New Zealand with 66 million acres and the UK with 60 million acres.

She is the worlds largest landowner by a significant margin. The next largest landowner is the Russian state, with an overall ownership of 4,219 million acres, and a direct ownership comparable with the Queens land holding of 2,447 million acres. The 3rd largest landowner is the Chinese state, which claims all of Chinese land, about 2,365 million acres. The 4th largest landowner on earth is the Federal Government of the United States, which owns about one third of the land of the USA, 760 million acres. The fifth largest landowner on earth is the King of Saudi Arabia with 553 million acres

Largest five personal landowners on Earth

Queen Elizabeth II
6,600 million acres

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
553 million acres

King Bhumibol of Thailand
126 million acres

King Mohammed IV of Morocco
113 million acres

Sultan Quaboos of Oman
76 million acres

 

Young Palestinians and Arab Israelis Unite in Boxing Day Anti- Lockdown Rave at Muslim Holy Site

Techno party at Muslim holy site draws censure from Palestinian leadership

https://www.timesofisrael.com/techno-party-at-muslim-holy-site-draws-censure-from-palestinian-leadership/

Amid blame game, Palestinian Authority forms committee to probe who was behind party at Nabi Musa mosque, arrests prominent DJ; Hamas condemns rave as ‘despicable’

Palestinian and Arab Israeli rave attendees make merry at the Nabi Musa mosque in the West Bank on December 26, 2020 (Screenshot/Twitter)

Palestinian and Arab Israeli rave attendees make merry at the Nabi Musa mosque in the West Bank on December 26, 2020 (Screenshot/Twitter)

A Saturday night dance party by Palestinians at a West Bank Muslim holy site featuring alcohol and techno music has elicited condemnation from across the Palestinian political spectrum.

Videos from the Nabi Musa mosque between Jerusalem and Jericho showed a rave held at the scene, featuring young Palestinians and Arab Israelis dancing and drinking.

Prominent Palestinian disc jockey (DJ) Sama Abd al-Hadi led the festivities. Abd al-Hadi, originally from Ramallah, is considered a pioneering artist in the budding Palestinian electronic music scene, as well as one of the first female DJs in an overwhelmingly male-dominated field.

Abd al-Hadi was arrested Sunday night by Palestinian Authority police, the Kan public broadcaster reported, citing Palestinian sources.

The festivities appeared to have alcohol and men and women dancing together at the Muslim holy site. Most forms of Islam forbid drinking alcohol, and mixed dancing is also controversial in many parts of conservative Palestinian society.

A number of other Palestinians, apparently angered by what they considered to be the desecration of the site, arrived and confronted them. The partygoers told the newcomers that they had received permission from the Palestinian Authority Tourism Ministry in Ramallah to hold the event.

“Whisky! Alcohol! Women! Tourism Ministry, this isn’t religious morals. In fact, these aren’t morals,” one of the angry demonstrators said as he videotaped the site with his phone.

The Nabi Musa mosque — named after Moses, who many Jews, Christians and Muslims all revere as a prophet of God — is a prominent West Bank pilgrimage site. Each year in spring, Palestinian Muslims travel by foot to the mosque, which is situated between Jerusalem and Jericho.

Most of the revelers on Saturday night were either Arab Israelis or Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, and the matter is currently being processed by the Israel Police. A spokesperson for the police’s West Bank Division could not be reached for comment.

PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has assembled an investigative committee to look into the incident, PA government spokesperson Ibrahim Milhem said.

“I feel disgust and rage about what happened at the Nabi Musa mosque… I do not know yet who is responsible for this sin, but whoever is will receive a punishment to fit the atrocity of what was committed. A mosque is a house of God; its sanctity is the sanctity of religion itself,” said Mahmoud al-Habbash, PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s advisor on religious affairs.

Nabi Musa lies largely in Area C, meaning that the Oslo Accords designates the area as under full Israeli security and civil control. Israeli security forces arrived at the scene during the night when the confrontation occurred.

“There were Israeli soldiers there, but the incident is being dealt with by the Israel Police and Palestinian institutions,” a spokesperson for the Israeli army said, without elaborating.

In the aftermath of the incident, Palestinian Authority ministries have engaged in a blame game in an attempt to avoid the wrath of the public from the perceived desecration of the holy site. The Tourism Ministry has sought to blame the Religious Affairs Ministry, which has denied any knowledge of plans to hold a rave at the site.

“I was surprised to hear the news that people had entered the mosque… the Religious Affairs Ministry was never asked for permission or consultation, nor did it ever issue a permit to hold a party in the mosque,” Religious Affairs Deputy Minister Hussam Abu al-Rabb told Ajyal Radio on Sunday.

The Nabi Musa mosque, in the Judean Desert, south of Jerusalem, on January 29, 2017.

On Sunday afternoon, several dozen Palestinians went to the site to pray. Videos posted on social gathered showed the worshippers hurling the remnants of last night’s party from the walls of the sanctuary before setting them ablaze.

Officials from Hamas, an Iran-backed terror group that rules the Gaza Strip and opposes the PA, quickly took advantage of the anger over the rave in the West Bank holy site to criticize their political rivals for allegedly allowing the event to take place. Palestinian Authority police, however, are rarely permitted by Israel to enforce their laws in Area C.

“We condemn the fact that this was done with the formal approval and under the protection of Mohammad Shtayyeh’s government,” said Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum, who called the rave “a despicable violation of the house of God.”

“This is a crime committed by riff-raff, at a time when the mosques are closed, and worshippers are pursued and arrested on the crime of prayer and violating the law and government orders… how can such a violation of the sanctity of mosques and of the law be permitted?” said Hamas West Bank legislator Nayef Rajoub.

a Landrights campaign for Britain

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