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The ultimate watermelon

Guido Fawkes, along with several others, is giving the deep Green, and also deeply red, Mr George Monbiot, a thoroughly deserved going over for this idea that “wealthy householders” – however defined – should be forced to give over some of their rooms to let to those deemed to be deserving. As several of Guido’s splendidly rude commenters point out, this brings up images of how the Russian Bolsheviks forced the “rich” to accomodate the proletariat in the homes of the former. I remember reading about such a scene in Ayn Rand’s “We The Living”, one of her first pieces of fiction (and a book that I thoroughly enjoyed, BTW).

At root of the issue here is that Monbiot, while he himself is happy to avail himself of the benefits of a society that allows private property – he has a nice home himself – he has no real, rooted respect for private property as such. He believes that all the property that currently exists is a “common resource” to which “we” – whoever happens to be living in a defined geographical space – are entitled to use. His view of property rights is not a bundle of rights that contain the important right to exclude, which is all of a piece of the idea, as traditionally expressed, that an “Englishman’s home is his castle”. No: for him, he regards a home as what PJ O’Rourke has called a “gimme right”. As far as Mr Monbiot is concerned, if the “needs” of X are what they are, then so much the worse for whoever happens to be owning a particular piece of property deemed to be “too big”. And why stop at seizing property in stuff like buildings? After all, the skills and abilities we bring are, according to his view, also a “common resource” that everyone has a claim on.

Another problem here, which leads to my point about Monbiot’s fanatical Greenery, is his zero-sum approach to life generally that this sort of comment exhibits. Rather than think of say, freeing up planning laws and the like to encourage more home-building – a perfectly sensible idea in my view – he argues for more control. And like a lot of Greens, he presumably does not favour laissez faire solutions to shortages of things like housing because he fears there are just too many damn people in the world, and in this small island of the UK, anyway.

One a point of detail, forcing owners of homes to let out one or more rooms to whoever demands them would require a monstrous government bureaucracy of some kind. I can only shudder at the sort of issues that would get thrown up by administering such a scheme.

Mr Monbiot is an enemy of liberty, that’s for damn sure. He may be a clown in the eyes of many here, but remember that this guy is taken seriously in certain quarters. Such nonsense can never be attacked often enough.

As an aside, this book by Richard Pipes, looking at the very different traditions of Russia and the UK concerning property, is well worth reading.

23 comments to The ultimate watermelon

  • Does Monbiot let out any of his rooms to needy people? What’s stopping him?

  • Monbiot performs a useful function in political discourse, not unlike the abominable “Reverend” Phelps of (Link) . They give us somebody to point at when we’re told we’re being unreasonable.

  • He probably knows that he does not believe everything that he says. This of course makes him even more wicked and deliberately evil and murderous than he publicly makes himself out to be.

    He’s probably absorbed the full dose of moral relativism that an individual human of average weight is capable of doing, without actually grabbing a machine-gun, and then doing a Pol Pot. Perhaps he thinks that people who live houses with more bedrooms than occupants ought really to be shot as “unfit occupants” (see “Cambodia” and “teacher” and “hanging” and “Paul Johnson”) and that he is right to organise the shootings himself because “the end justifies the means”.

    If I type any more about this wallah, I will start to get angry.

  • David, Monbiot (like Proggies in general) isn’t a moral relativist. He’s a moral absolutist. That is why he makes declarations like this.

  • Relative to this topic, there was a report in the Telegraph t’other day that the “construction sector is slumping”. Well, of course it is; the Keynesian public works programme is running out of puff, inevitably. The blame was put on the weather, haha.

    So, we have, on the one hand, many idle builders. On the other, we have a continual shortage of affordable housing. Now if you just let builders build houses…

    I know, crazy idea. Better to give them public money for folly construction. Can’t have nasty cheap houses springing up all over Mr Monbiot’s green and pleasant, can we?

  • RAB

    But Ian, he doesn’t want us to build more houses, they “despoil” our beautiful environment. He wants us to all live in Teepees.

    Not him personally of course. The Devil has a pic of Monbiot’s four bedroomed house, and very nice it is too, but as he is recently divorced (well done that woman, but what the hell were you thinking about in the first place?) he is rattling about in it all on his unlodgered ownsome, hypocritical twat!

    I happen to know Machynlleth quite well. a tiny little North Wales town of just two streets and George is it’s most hated resident.

    Two reasons. He keeps lecturing the local farmers on sustainability and he is heading the “no” campaign to a Tesco store in the town that practically everybody else wants.

    The only mates he’s got round there are these windy Millers…


    An evil and dangerous man!

  • Jim

    According to the man himself in the comment thread under the article, he does in fact rent out 2 spare rooms in his house. So accusations of rank hypocrisy are a little off the mark. I suspect even he would have had the brass neck to suggest people take in lodgers if they lived alone in large houses, if he wasn’t prepared to do likewise.

    But the article is very indicative of the socialist mind set. Everything you have is only granted by the State and can be removed at whim.

  • Duncan S

    Off the main topic, but mentioned in the post, I’d argue that “We the Living” is actually Rands best book and I think that many of the people who rabidly despise her would have a much different take if that was the first/only book of hers they read. It really goes along way to pointing out that she actually knows of what she speaks, as opposed to those who hate her that actually have no idea what they are talking about.

  • pete

    If we make it an EU wide scheme could I go and live at Polly Toynbee’s Tuscan villa?

  • Ian C

    I’m selling my 100 houses and investing in Ferraris, wild women and penny shares. Damn you, Moonbat!

  • Should not a relatively wealthy leftist media commentator, like George Monbiot, be forced to rent his arse out to the sexually-deviant but deserving poor? Quelle difference, ‘O Gergio?

  • RAB

    Hmm, thanks Jim, I didn’t read that far into the Comments thread, but as I have never believed a word Monbiot has ever said, I will need sight of the rent books before I believe him frankly.

    He’s missed a trick already though hasn’t he? Why didn’t he open with confiscation of Holiday and second/third- seventh homes (are you listening Blair?). He would get much more support out there from our envious and spiteful minded leftie citizens than the forced billeting of strangers on them.

    I have a big four bedroomed house that contains, nominally, just me, the wife and our bonkers dog. But friends are always dropping in and stay for as long as they wish and never have to put their hands in their pockets for anything. Obviously much wealthier than George eh?

    Well we worked hard for that house George, and we’ll decide on the billeting arrangements, if it’s all the same to you.

    I wonder if Monbiot owns any other property? It is four and a half hours on the train from Machynlleth to London (he’s bound to use the “Green” railways even if he is the only passenger, isn’t he? Surely he… gulp… wouldn’t drive??). Too far for a round trip in a day. So where does he stay when he pops into the Grauniad offices for editorial meetings? Does he sleep on friends couches? a hotel on exes? or does he have a little bolthole in the Smoke perhaps?

    He grew up in a whacking great house in Henley on Thames, to red hot Tory parents by the way. Kids can be a great dissapointment, cant they?

  • Ian F4

    he does in fact rent out 2 spare rooms in his house. So accusations of rank hypocrisy are a little off the mark.

    I assume he did this of his own free will, and not have someone force lodgers on him, so it’s “on the mark” there.

  • Paul Marks

    Richard Pipes is a bit unfair to Russian history.

    As A.S. would say (if he was still alive – “Mirs were only common on the Imperial lands – not all of Russia. And what of the Cossacks and the free peasants of the north and…….”

    Russia (at least in part) regarded itself as the “third Rome” not an oriental despotism – and at least in part that included de facto private ownership of land. Yes there were Emperors (most notably Ivan the Terrible) who were oriental despots (with no respect for private property at all), but this is not the only strand in Russian history.

    Part of this “Russian was always without proper respect for private property” line is a false comfort – it is a “do not worry my friends, it could not happen here” with “it” being the comming to power of demented collectivists.

    But it could happen here – as Monbiot shows, remember he is not some man on a soap box making a passionate speeches to no one in particular. The watermellon is a respected “intellectual” and the universities (and the schools) are filled with people like him, trying to brainwash the young as much as they can.

    As for Monbiot ravings.

    As I have said before – in the United States the city with the worst homelessness problem (the highest percentage of homeless in the population) is the leftist dominated San Francisco.

    Once a wonderful city by the bay – San Francisco fell to the forces of the left, mostly very rich leftists.

    Does Monbiot campaign for these millionaire (and billionaire) leftists to share their bedrooms with the homeless?

    Of course not – Nancy Pelosi and so on have important work to do for “social justice” they can not have smelly homeless people sharing their home. Just as they must have a personal jet (an innovation that Nancy introduced for Speaker of the House – but did not pay for herself, inspite of being a millionaire for a very powerful family) – because they have imporant work to do in relation to “globel warming” (the sense of irony is not strong among people who jet off to conferences on the horrors of C02).

    But remember how Monbiot and his kind define “the rich” – deep down they do not define “rich” as meaning “has lots of money”, they define “rich” as meaning “supports the system of exploitation” – “capitalism”.

    So one may be very poor (possibly even homeless) and still be part of “the rich”, but one can be very rich (perhaps even a billionaire such as George Soros) and still not be part of “the rich”.

  • But remember how Monbiot and his kind define “the rich” – deep down they do not define “rich” as meaning “has lots of money”, they define “rich” as meaning “supports the system of exploitation” – “capitalism”.

    Indeed Paul. Understanding the secret language of the Enemy is very important. Another way to express it would be that they see themselves as the “deserving rich” because they have acquired what they have by “virtuous” (i.e. socialist) means, or, at least, that they spend money acquired through evil capitalism on virtuous works (e.g. Soros).

    FWIW, I personally consider Soros to be one of the most evil persons alive today. To indulge myself in a little conspiracy theory, I’ve often wondered whether he “helped” the market crash to occur at the critical point in the American Presidential election campaign. I’ve no proof, it’s just a thing I wonder about.

  • Kim du Toit

    The only debate in which Monbiot should feature is whether to flog him with a heavy whip, or a light one.

    As for the arrant crap he speaks: I am reminded of the immortal Dorothy Parker quote: “This is not a book to be put down lightly. This is a book to be thrown across the room with great force.”

    In Monbiot’s case, the only debate should be concerning the extent of “great”.

  • There is a huge giant throbbing difference between renting out to lodgers one selects (and can eject at will), and being forced to take in and keep random failures.

    If he was keeping them free, and they were the first two people from the street, he’d not be a great big fraud.

    You first.

  • Wolfie

    I happen to rent a room in my house to a person of my choosing and so I know, as Mr Monbiot certainly must that the UK government provides a simple tax break to encourage this:


    I guess you could call it a “nudge”. There is a difference between this, which removes the need to keep complex accounts when you are not actually running a letting business, and forcing people to take in strangers which Monbiot wants. The latter is morally repugnant.

  • In other news, here is Ecuador the govt of Correa, who would undoubtedly be one of Monblot’s pin-ups if he’d heard of him, is busy using the police to evict people who have moved in en masse to occupy unused private land as squatters. This has surprised me and several other observers, given that the same govt has passed a slew of laws explicitly allowing the state to expropriate land which is not being “productively used”. Evidently, what is sauce for the state is not sauce for yer average pleb. One suspects that there is a certain liminal awareness that if you let people get away with stealing land, you can’t really take a convincing stand in the fight against the spiralling crime wave which is engulfing Ecuador (like Venezuela) at present. Evidently Monblot hasn’t got that far in his thinking yet. Here, the de facto abolition of private property, taking the form of an out of control exponential increase in street muggings, rape, kidnappings and “sicariato” is everyday reality.

    The amusing part was when on the State TV news they tried to get in the “filthy capitalist” angle: “there are people here who sell you not only fake title deeds but also building materials to get your cane hut set up in five hours, and they even sell you the machete to threaten the police with! Evil capitalist speculators!”

  • Surely if Mr Monbiot has excess roomage above his needs, he should be required to vacate the property and move to somewhere adequate for his needs; renting out rooms would surely be exploitation of the unroomed, wouldn’t it? Monbiot’s surplus rooms must be urgently redistributed.

  • thefrollickingmole

    And they said being placed on the sex offenders register was a bad thing……

    Monopod got an absolute flogging a couple of weeks back when he posted a mental dropping(Guardian) declaring how immoral it was high energy prices were killing pensioners.

    What followed was hundreds of comments basicaly saying “Isnt that win-win for you george?”.
    Funnily enough he didnt appear on that thread as he does on many others….

  • Osp

    Note that the Kindle version of the Pipes book is offered at the link you provide for 18.01 pounds, but it is offered at the US Amazon Kindle store for 10.25 dollars.