Why do we allow people to own second homes in the United Kingdom, when so many have none?
Why is a 500% council tax not levied on them, to make them less affordable?
It could have something to do with the fact that so many politicians and senior figures in the media own one.
Second home ownership is destroying communities throughout the coastal and scenic parts of the UK. Anyone can see it. Except those who have one.
While the government refuses to act, we should keep making the case that owning a second home is unethical, and urge those who have one to sell or rent it to people who need a place to live.
Could those responding to my suggestion with comparisons to the Soviet Union etc please declare their interests?
ie: do you happen to own a second home, or is your belief that raising taxes on them is a tyrannical infringement on freedom entirely disinterested?
A lot of people seem to be confused about what second homes are. They are not the same as rental properties. They are houses or flats owned for occasional use by people who already have a home, and left empty for much of the year.

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More from @GeorgeMonbiot

5 May
A few weeks ago, I tried to contact a Trading Standards Office on behalf of an elderly person who had been ripped off by a conman. No, you can’t do it any more: you have to go through the Citizens Advice Bureau(!). So I filed my complaint with them. Here’s what happened.
It was as clear a case as there could be. I had discovered enough about the conman to put the fear of God into him, and he confessed to how he operates, and told me who his partners are. He works with an agency that specialises in preying on elderly, confused people.
He instantly repaid the money. But my interest was in ensuring that he can't do it again. Otherwise, he will continue to prey on other elderly people, who don’t happen to know an investigative journalist.
Read 7 tweets
4 May
This moonlighting is profoundly wrong - a direct conflict of interest.
BBC journalists are taking money from the plutocrats and corporations they should be holding to account.
Channel 4 doesn't allow it. Why does the BBC?
It's like the revolving door in politics. Even if you haven't yet accepted money from the people you're interviewing, one day you might. That's bound, subconsciously, to affect your judgement.
This money destroys journalists' integrity.
I would never take it. Nor should they.
The first duty of a journalist is to hold power to account.
It's bad enough that most of the media is owned by billionaires, and the BBC is beholden to the government.
But when its journalists take money from powerful people and companies, that completes the loss of integrity.
Read 6 tweets
29 Apr
Fantastic article by @guyshrubsole about restoring the UK's most neglected, forgotten and depleted habitat: rainforest.
When I first started writing about the UK's rainforests, the overwhelming response was disbelief. Because we have lost all but a few tiny fragments, and because of our deeply weird conservation priorities, this rich and wonderful habitat had been almost completely forgotten.
But I've never seen social attitudes change faster than our approach to ecology in the UK. In just a few years, we have started to shed our strange obsession with degraded habitats, to understand ecological history and to embrace #rewilding. It's an astonishing turnaround.
Read 7 tweets
28 Apr
This is such a fascinating paper. Since 1868, the population of Ethiopia has risen from 7m to 112m.
An environmental disaster? No.
In the study area, land degradation has DECREASED with population growth. More trees, more vegetation, less erosion. Why? sciencedirect.com/science/articl…🧵
Because the overriding issue, as some of us have been trying to point out for a while, is not population but *policy*.
In 1868, land tenure was feudal, and people and their livestock were driven onto steep slopes and into destructive forms of land use. But …
… since then, there's been land reform, giving people equal shares, followed by policies to exclude livestock from much of the land, replant trees, stop indiscriminate felling and protect soil. The result has been a major improvement in people’s livelihoods AND in land quality.
Read 8 tweets
28 Apr
There's a far bigger cronyism scandal than Cameron's lobbying or Johnson's flat. But the media - in particular the BBC - has disgracefully failed to hold the government to account for it.
What is so frustrating about this is that the @GoodLawProject, which arguably now does the best investigative journalism of any organisation in the UK, handed these massive stories on a plate to the media. But most of the media, most of the time, turned up their noses.
The work had already been done, so the old excuse - "it's too complicated, too expensive, too risky" - simply didn't wash. The GLP had the government bang to rights. But it got away with gross corruption, because the media, as a whole, wasn't interested.
Read 8 tweets
26 Apr
This is not to downplay the horror of the Chernobyl disaster, but we now have powerful evidence that it didn't cause germline mutations in survivors' children. The rate was no higher than average even among the children of the heroic liquidators.
This is not surprising – it was the same for Hiroshima and Nagasaki: horrendous as the immediate and ongoing harms to survivors were, there were no detectable transgenerational effects.
Children are born with disabilities all over the world. But in the regions close to Chernobyl, children with visible disabilities were sought out by journalists as if at a mediaevel circus. It was grossly unethical and unscientific.
Read 10 tweets

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