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The squatters making a (particularly) nice point

June 29, 2009

Have to confess to being greatly tickled by the story of the squatters who moved into the constituency home of two married MPs in protest at their “outrageous” expenses claims.

Apparently the £385,000 house in Brentford, west London, had been designated as Ann and Alan Keen’s main home where they spend most nights – meaning they could claim up to £40,000 a year on their “second home” – a £750,000 riverside flat in Westminster (nine miles away). I include the values of the homes not out of  jealousy (at least, not just out of jealousy) but to illustrate that they’re not too hard done by here.

According to the Sunday Express, the home in Brentford had been unoccupied for up to a year (a dispute with builders to blame, apparently) – but no more! A group of ten squatters have moved in – incidentally they claim the place is barely liveable, even as a squat, what with the lack of electricity and water – and, here’s my favourite bit of the story, they’re offering space to Iraqi refugees as a protest at Mrs Keen’s support for the Iraq war.

I don’t want to sound like some bandwagon-jumping whinger here. I understand that MPs living some distance from London will need somewhere to lay their head when they’re in the Capital. I don’t begrudge them that, but the sheer greed of a few is nauseating, and the icing on the cake is the nod to the continued annoyance of a significant section of the public with regards to the Iraq war.

Roll on the inquiry – it won’t bring dead Iraqi civilians back to life, or channel pubic money back out of private company coffers – but there’s the slim possibility we might get the truth at last.

UPDATE: The BBC have a very enjoyable version of this story. Recommend you read it – particularly like the fact that the squatters’ neighbours are letting them borrow milk and access teh interwebs…

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