Saturday, 7 June 2014


This is an image which has been 'doing the rounds' on Twitter in the past couple of days, claiming to show 'anti-homeless spikes' - metal studs in the ground, designed to prevent homeless people from sleeping in that particular place.

Of course, this has sparked a fresh Twitter outrage (these days, a story is scarcely considered 'newsworthy' unless it has sparked a Twitter outrage), and every Tweet I have seen on the issue has condemned the spikes as "cruel" and "heartless".

Cruel and heartless it maybe, but if this is on private land is it not the landowner's prerogative to install whatever security measures he or she sees fit?  The image above is stark, and paints a picture of intolerant attitudes to those less well-off.  It is because this imagery is so powerful that people have been moved to express their anger about this.  But in principle, is this any different from putting a fence around your garden, or bollards at the entrance to your drive?

I don't for a moment wish to defend the idea of trying to making life even more uncomfortable for those members of society who already have things hard enough.  However, if private landowners feel these rather extreme steps are necessary, they have the right to do whatever they choose on their own property.

If you find this idea particularly repellent, vote with your feet and refuse to patronise businesses whose premises sport such anti-homeless measures.

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