Wednesday 11 June 2014


Come on in pal, make yourself at home. The booze cabinet is always open and there’s ice in the freezer. I’m just nipping down the corner shop – do you want anything? There’s the paper, the telly remote, a bowl of peanuts and some hot snacks by the microwave… The car keys are on the hook by the front door if you need them and please do help yourself to the wife. This, I am imagining, is the logical conclusion to the whiny war on private property forever waged by certain elements of society who have never owned very much but have often not had to pay for a lot of it either.

The Guardian reports a flood of complaints about so-called ‘homeless spikes’ despite the fact that such defensive architecture has been in use for decades wherever unwanted intrusion is to be deterred. Pigeon spikes, razor wire atop perimeter fences and walls, anti-vandal paint and the like are all there for a purpose. And usually they only appear once a persistent problem has been identified and has resisted more benign campaigns to find resolution.

Really, The Guardian, a flood of complaints? Or just the usual suspects with nothing else to get outraged about today, mobilising their workshy mates to sign a totally pointless petition demanding that property owners be denied the exclusive use of what they have worked and are paying for. I’d be mighty pissed off to buy an expensive flat only to find that I had to step over a ringworm infested drug-addled drunk, smelling of vomit, piss and faeces just to get into my own home. And so would you. Oh yes you would.

The funniest thing, to my mind, were the numbers of tweeters taking to the ether to complain about how this ‘inhumane’ practice would do nothing to help solve the problem of homelessness. Well of course not, stupid… who even thinks for one moment that most people really give a toss? But it does help solve the problem of the location of the homeless themselves and if it drives them away from those who despise them and into the welcoming arms of those saints who would give up the shirts from their own back, surely that’s a good thing? Matching product to market is a lot more humane than driving them off with pitchforks and burning tar.

If all the people who moaned about more successful people being more successful were instead to emulate some of their zeal and tenacity they too would be able to experience the thrill of home ownership. Then together they could all spike up the place good and proper and the only place left for the genuinely and involuntarily homeless would be the hostels where they might get the very real help they might need. All paid for by the taxes this larger pool of happy, successful people would contribute and not by some self-indulgent war on ambition and good fortune. 

Oi, hop it! You cheeky fakir!

So, next time you see a piece of urban sculpture designed to dissuade the drifters, don’t get the hump, don’t be a prick but try to see the point of it. Sharpen up your thinking, pin down your concerns and take my tip: have a stab at seeing it from the other side of the palin fence. Seen from this boundary perspective tramp spikes are a palpable force for good in a sea of moral turpitude. Yes, I called them ‘tramp spikes’; no need to get all prickly about it.


  1. Yes. Hostels. Full to capacity most nights. Many of the more vunerable won't stay there as rape/assaults/drug use unchecked. System as with most things ain't fit for purpose.
    I do agree with the rest of it mind.

    1. Fair comment. But maybe if we spent less time harrassing the productive and more time being productive, as a society, there would be fewer incidences of homelessness, mental illness, addiction and vagrancy... Maybe.