Monday 13 October 2003

Serves him right

Former MSP Duncan Hamilton is in his early thirties and was the youngest member of the Scottish parliament until he "retired" earlier this year. He fears that he is becoming a Grumpy Old Man. Well, I agree with him on this:
Equally, I am enraged by the gross discourtesy of people parking in the space I own. A trip to the supermarket becomes like a traffic version of Russian roulette - you have a one-in-six chance of getting your space back.
Right on, Duncan.

I live very close to the centre of Edinburgh and our development has a private parking space for each flat. The spaces were provided with a parking bollard but my one scraped the bottom of the car, causing considerable damage. Like some other residents, I had to have it removed. We now have a box that is filled with old newspapers, covered with plastic sheeting and with a "No Parking" sign taped to the front. If the box is not in place, a non-resident parker will use the space within minutes - despite there being a reasonably priced public car park next door. Sometimes people move the box and use our space and on one occasion the box was dumped in a nearby rubbish bin. The local police are unable to do anything because no crime has been committed - it is a "civil" matter. The city parking authorities won't help because it is private property. When I have confronted parkers they seem utterly shocked at my suggestion that they have done anything wrong although there is large sign at the entrance stating that they are entering private property and that no parking is allowed. Apparently, I am allowed to get a contractor to move any parked vehicles but at my expense!

The root of the problem is a lack of respect for property rights. Here I have to note that Mr Hamilton was a MSP who sat on the Scottish National Party benches. Like all parties other than the Conservatives, the SNP legislated for the removal of the property rights of landowners across rural Scotland. They want to go further. From the SNP's website:

The SNP has a long-standing commitment to the modernisation of Scotland’s land laws and an SNP Government would fulfil this commitment to give people control over the future of their own communities and allow greater access to Scotland’s land.
You can't have it both ways, Duncan. When you have helped take away the property rights of country folk you are in no position to moan about someone using your property.