It is a weather balloon that is attached to a warehouse acting as a marker that has been recently taken over by squatters on Grt Guildford Street, opposite St Mungos. I would imagine that there is a message out on the squatter network to head towards it as the warehouse space is huge and presently it appears they are low on numbers. I know some locals have contacted both the police and the council about this, neither are even slightly interested - it really would seem that you can break into any property you like and claim for yourself.
Unfortunately this country has never seen breaking and entering someones else's property under the guise of 'squatting' a criminal offense - unless of course Stig of the Dump attempts to squat a empty government building then it's a matter for Cobra.
All the squatter has to do is stick some vague message on A4 piece of paper on a door or window near an entrance clearly stating their intention to live in the property. It then becomes a criminal offense for the landlord to enter their own property without a warrant.
It's the responsibility for the landlord to take the matter through the courts at their own (huge) expense while squatters defend their position with legal aid paid for by the tax payer.
The laws that now seem to govern this country are nothing more than a list conditions aimed at extracting as much money from the hard working person. It would seem the more tax you pay the less rights you have.
It is clear to me why we have 3 generations of society not interested in getting a jobs. You can live rent free, get pocket money from the state to smoke and drink all day long, you can even claim money to own and feed a pet dog. All gratis! When you're not luxuriating yourself in your SE1-Zone 1 rent free warehouse you can go out and aggressively hassle people for money for those little extras you may want.
Makes me absolutely furious to watch this crap play out so blatantly.
Whereas it's fine by you, Doc, for owners of buildings to leave them unoccupied while people can't afford to put a roof over their heads, and there's a shortage of housing?
Squatters generally occupy buildings which have been long empty. It's not like they break into people's houses when they nip down the shops for a pint of milk.
Daily Mail aside, do you have any actual evidence that living on benefits is a happy state? Have you checked out how much (i.e. little) you get if you don't work? Have you tried to get a council house recently? You really have to have pretty much nothing in the way of assets and/or income before you even get considered. Are you really suggesting that people deliberately make themselves potless and don't work just in order to get a council house and a few quid in benefits?
I think Ivanhoe and Doctor W are looking at the problem from two opposite ends and leaving out the middle bit. To my mind a benefit system's the hallmark of a civilised and sensible society, both compassionate and pragmatic. I don't think people ought to be able to break into private property, but I do think a society with a chronic shortage of housing neeeds to ask itself whether a significant number of unoccupied buildings in overcrowded areas is morally acceptable. And, if not, what might be done to redress the balance.
But for me the important point isn't whether or not people are chosing to go on benefits or make themselves homeless. It's that the system we've got has produced second-generation unemployment, which means people with no direct experience of life without benefits. So, in practice, it's a system that's neither compassionate nor pragmatic. Just less than effective.