I wonder just how much state control/surveillance the average Brit can stand? It appears the country will quite happily swallow almost anything as long as it is dressed up in terms of “protecting” the vulnerable – particularly children. The Government’s “Every Child Matters” strategy is a classic. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there is some good stuff in it, but it takes us yet deeper into being a surveillance society.

Some will think this is scaremongering, and that I’ll mention 1984 any minute like all good conspiracy theorists. I shall confess at this point I have never read 1984, though I probably should!

So what is the limit? Where does the state responsibility to protect overrule the individual rights to privacy and non-interference? Would compulsory ID cards be OK? Statutory anti-abuse visits by Social Services? How about CCTV cameras in your house, then at the slightest hint of abuse the police could drop by and arrest you. Think of all the crime that could be avoided. Oh, and we could catch all those nasty terrorists too. How could anyone object? If it saves just one life……

I have become an allotment holder! Well not quite, I have just started sharing an allotment with a friend. So, I have a year of hard work but hopefully lots of nice tasty veg. My garden is the size of a postage stamp, and I manage to grow a surprising amount on it, but it’s just too small for serious growing. Looking forward to this, though my back isn’t!

On Sat DS (age nearly 5) and I started work on the allotment with Andrew. About an hour in DS suddenly says “why are you talking like Farmer Giles?” Hmm…. talking like a son of the soil after just an hour, I must be a natural!

What really amazed me was how cheap it is to rent an allotment. £21 for a standard plot. About what I expected per month. But no, that’s the annual plot fee! I think that’s great, and rather democratic. Us paupers can still farm our little bit of England’s green and pleasant at a very modest cost. Long may it continue!

A few weeks ago The Times published an article entitled:

Bolt holes at a bargain price

You think you can’t buy a second home in Britain for less than £100,000? Think again, says Lucy Denyer

http://property.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/property/buying_and_selling/article1294147.ece

Hmmm…… I wouldn’t mind being able to afford a first home for under £100,000. Unfortunately the Isle of Wight is one of those places they list, and indeed many people find it is a lovely place to own a second home. The trouble is said second home will be occupied for a tiny amount of the year, and the rest of the time lie empty, while many locals can’t even get in sight of the property ladder, never mind reaching the first rung. I believe average house prices on the Island are now ten times average wages (I can only find stats for 2004, when it was “only” 7.4).

So if you’re thinking of “investing” in a second property, why not think about investing in something else and instead renting your holiday accommodation? Saving resources is a big issue, we try and save water, save energy etc. as we are aware of the finite nature of such things. So can we please start thinking about how we use our limited housing resources?

Obviously I have a vested interest, as I live in a rented house, on a short term lease. But is it really so much to ask when my income is around 30% higher than the average for the area to be able to afford a modest family home without needing to borrow 7 times my income?

So Lucy Denyer, how about promoting shared bolt-holes rather than increasing the over-consumption of our precious housing resource?

Sometimes I am certain of what I believe, what matters, what is right and what is wrong. Some nights I wake up too often to get into such lavish dreams.

You see, I increasingly think life is just more complicated than the label-mongers would have us believe. We had my ‘rents and brother (who has apparently discovered the Isle of Wight isn’t really further away than the US) over today, and as usual we tried to put the world to rights (taking a quick peek out of the window it doesn’t appear to have worked). Labour’s over-taxing nanny-knows-best approach came up, at which we discussed voting Conservative. I am a liberal (small “l”) and so don’t like a lot of right wing politics, and would never vote Tory. Except I might. After all, if they tax us less at least they can’t interfere in our lives as much as this lot.

What I really don’t see is why we can’t have liberal politics+ small government? Surely the two are infinitely compatible? Low tax, low interference but with a social conscience, a realisation that government does have a role in investing in society but doesn’t have to control every aspect of our lives. Or is it just me that wants something like this? Is it because I just can’t agree with myself?