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Mike Weatherley, the Tory MP for Hove & Portslade - architect of the squatting bill (see SchNEWS 794) - has spent much of his first 18 months in power attacking the homeless in his own constituency under the guise of a crackdown on 'lifestyle squatters'. For the most part his campaign has been dominated by a collection of factually inaccurate soundbites. His 'facts' about squatting have been repeatedly rebutted (including in an open letter from 160 lawyers – see SchNEWS 791) but Mike soldiers on.
One argument Mr 'Fair' Weatherley has used to deflect criticism of his anti-squatting campaign has been the supposed support from numerous homeless charities. Funny then, that most of these charities publicly opposed the criminalisation of squatting and said as much in the government's own consultation on the issue. Confused by this apparently contradictory stance, one of Mike's constituents emailed him to ask “You claim homeless charities support the criminalisation of homelessness, Crisis, Shelter, St Mungos and more don't - which do?”
Mike could only come up with one: Off The Fence, a Hove based charity and, according to the MP, “We have had many long discussions about homelessness and how the Council, and the government, could do better. But they agree with me that lifestyle squatters are not homeless persons in the main.”
Well, it's perhaps not that surprising that, if you try hard enough, you'll find one charity to back your argument up, but our intrepid citizen journalist was, for some reason, less than convinced by multiple liar Mike Weatherley's reply and contacted Off The Fence himself. Explaining his discussions with the MP he asked to be told, “What Off The Fence's position on squatting is?”
The response was not entirely supportive of Mikey boy's position.
Firstly Paul Young, CEO of Off the Fence, stated that “Mike Weatherley has never talked to me or the Trustees about squatting. One million empty houses in UK is criminal. Anyone saying that Off the Fence's position is to criminalise squatting would be wrong”. He then clarified Off The Fence's official position as: "In regards to squatting, the only criminal element is properties that are left empty, while people are freezing to death on the streets of this City".
Well Mr Weatherley, SchNEWS believes that burning smell may be emanating from your Marks&Spencer's Y-fronts.
Comments and Corrections:
Mick contacted us pissed off that we'd spelled his name Weatherly not Weatherley. We've since given him a E and he seems to have chilled out now. Honest!
Squatted community social centre and veg shop opens in Lewes.
UPDATE: They finally coughed up. After two days of consistent hassling by activists at the Department for Transport earlier last month, during which one person got nicked, the DfT sheepishly released the previously top secret (read: problematic and embarrassing) documents about the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road.
New Squat Law Fails In Court
Anti-cull travellers and squatters plot land seizures.
New squatting law forces homeless to sleep in the cold with lethal consequences.
Since October, Europe's longest, largest 'Postcapitalist land occupation', la ZAD (Zone A Defendre) has been under attack from French authorities who want to clear it and build an airport. Here's another update from 'le frontline'...
German anti-fascists take Berlin on 20th anniversary of comrade Silvio Meier's murder.
UPDATE: The sh*t's well and truly hit the fan since we published this interview last week... Stay tuned for more SchNEWS from the front...