At five: discussing the big stories in Bristol, Britain and around the world
After six: straight talking and investigative reports with Martin Summers
For all the shows back to Easter 2009 visit the Friday Drivetime archive page.
08:30 - Who Owns Britain? Journalist Kevin Cahill got interested in land ownership researching for the Sunday Times Rich List with the editor Philip Beresford. Inadequacies of the Land Registry which is constructed to conceal land ownership. Kevin’s book, Who Owns Britain (2002), took 13 years to research and write. BBC TV programme ‘Whose Britain Is It Anyway’ (2006) was based on the book but missed out fundamental aspects of Kevin’s findings. Freeholds are all in fact owned by the Queen so they are leases from the Queen in the small print of land title deeds. The Church of England have sold 2.1 million acres of glebe land slowly over the years. There is 60 million acres of land in Britain to share out among 62 million inhabitants. 1% of the population (159,000 families) own 71% of the land. Domesday book of 1066 was William the Conqueror’s ‘swag list’ inventory of resources to tax. There was a little known second domesday book of 1872. Do we really need land in a merchantile, money economy? 65% of families have a stake in their home either owning it or taking out a mortgage to buy it. US folk song ’This Land Is Your Land’ (1940) by Woody Guthrie. Enclosure and privatisation of land in Britain by the wealthy but ordinary people had no vote. If you could not graze your animals on common land or collect wood in the winter you were dead. The pressure of evicted peoples’ need for land as it was enclosed was taken off by the cities, the factories … and the colonies. The real cost of building a 6 bedroom house: 800 man-hours of labour plus 700 man-hours in materials is 1500 man hours or £15,000 at £10/hour. The repayments on a 50 year interest free loan would be about £6 a week. A home is a fundamental human right so how to make sure everyone has a home that nobody can evict you from? Fiona O’Cleirigh and Kevin are working on a second edition of Who Owns Britain which is due to be published in the Autumn. Did you know the Queen owns 1/6th of all the land on earth? Have you ever heard of the British Indian Ocean Territory, a land area of 15,000 acres which is now believed to be used as a secret prison for captives of the war on terror? Kevin Cahill, asserts that the main cause of most remaining poverty in the world is an excess of landownership in too few hands. He says private ownership of a very small amount on land – one-tenth of an urban acre or an acre or two of rural land – granted to every person on the planet has the potential to begin ending poverty. Kevin says the right to land is a fundamental human right and also wrote the book Who Owns The World (2006)
Tonight’s playout track is Hearts by L.S.G. - aka. German musician Oliver Lieb (1994).