I don’t get it.

Whenever housing is mentioned, a national programme for the building of council houses for rent, once again, is a very popular idea. So much so as to be widely considered a no-brainer. And it is, isn’t it? Proper public housing, that is, not houses owned by private developers and called ‘social’ to make it sound reasonable.

Housing supply is inadequate for the demand, by the numbers, the type and affordability – actually affordable, relative to wages. Prices are high. Deposits alone can be more than the total cost of the two-bed flat I bought in the mid-eighties. This market means rents are also high. Work is precarious, pay is too low and life’s basics are expensive. Anyway, we know this.

There are the usual and perfectly valid supply/demand concerns over such issues as negative equity, preservation of an older home-owning voter-base, protection of asset values, rising interest rates, the ‘freedom of the market’ and so on. But they should not be prohibitive: two wrongs don’t make a right and to sacrifice the young and the poor for the sakes of flawed socio-economic ideology and the selective protection of vested interests is still a dereliction of State responsibility. It is cruel and unnecessary.

Government borrowing is cheap. The merits of a government borrowing to invest in the things that Society needs has broad, authoritative consensus. But we know that, too.

If our government borrowed to build council houses to own and rent, whether directly or through permitting local authorities (I don’t know), the state/local authority would be the landlord. No only would people in them feel more secure which means less stress but the housing benefit bill would be smaller, having cut out the private profit bit and the rent paid by the majority would be a return on the investment, in perpetuity. It would be an investment that more than paid for itself. Win-win. I don’t get why this is not happening.

***

It didn’t take long for social housing to fall back off the agenda – Natalie Bloomer, Politics.co.uk

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Oversold

Opportunities are not results,
So do not oversell,
For the leverage of your theories
Are as nowt without the actual clout
And where there are made winners,
Are more losers made, as well.

***

”Not enough attention is paid to a similar cliff edge on the other side of the English Channel” – Institute for Government

”Home Affairs Committee raises serious concerns about the Government’s contingency planning for post-Brexit customs operations” – UK Parliament

”It is the UK which is choosing to leave the single market and customs union and that means, by definition, creating a border” – Chris Grey

Excellent reality check: ’A beginners’ guide to trade negotiations’ – UK Trade Forum

***

Lull me a lullaby
Sand in my eyes
Buy me a mockingbird
Give me the sky

Betcha by golly
Wow, build me a folly
Bring me some Kool Aid
Let’s fill up the trolley

Sprinkle the pixie dust
Set up a blind trust
Go short of a picnic
And cut off the crusts

Pipe me a loony tune
Red, white and blue my shoes
Kansas is dying
Jump over the moon

[December 2017]

The value in the tale

In pride of place
That cut your nose to spite your face
And say you did not recognise it, anyway

Of all the scapegoats in your myth
Did make yourselves its greatest gift
To value in the tale

***

At the heart of all this is the political irony that defines our times: that the very thing so many places voted for makes any attempt at their area’s revival even less likely.” – John Harris (Guardian)

So having advised investors to remove their money from the UK, the Rt. Hon. John [Brexiteer] Redwood told the UK government to go for ‘hard Brexit’”. – Frances Coppola (Forbes)

Brexiteer James Dyson says he wants to make it “easier to hire and fire” people and for the government to scrap corporation tax (Metro) – Then “warns government not to cut farm subsidies”, his total farming estate – Beeswax Dyson Farming – is the biggest in the UK (Farmers Weekly)

[”100 reasons why Brexit was a good thing” (Telegraph)] 🤷🏻‍♀️

High Tide

’”A rising tide lifts all boats” but others will run aground
And if you have no boat, at all, eventually, you drown.

Conservatives: You down there: where’s your boat?
Libertarians: You’re gonna need a bigger boat. We have armbands to let.
Corbyn’s Labour: There will be only one boat.
Brexiteers: Come on in; the water’s lovely!

 

Hugh Muir on Capitalism: “a ‘better model’ is needed”. A better aphorism wouldn’t go amiss, either. And not the one about ladders.

Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Proper Nanny-posh
Fiat eccentric
Rudimentary Tory tosh

Clueless windsock
Neocon rising
Into popular despot
Of inadequate pricing

He’s the cloying shadow fog
Of the quid pro nada
MoggMentum ad portas
To his alma martyr

He’s a Brexit Pollyanna
Always ultra polite
Bangs the patriotic hammer
Of his god and his Right

Augmented by faith
In his Latinate gob
Puts vicarious blame
On a bigoted god

With a silk hogwash
And the charm of a cilice

See him handing out the crosses
For his god of decrease

He’s the Passion police

Non sequitur ad ignorantum
Honi soit qui you like
But don’t think public office
Is a suitable site

Your antiquated affectations
Are exceedingly trite
And your unicorn worldview
Is a plasticised blight
Your opinion of the People
Is pompous in its spite
And Jacob, your ad hominem
Of god is pure shite.

Mon Dieu! amirite?

 

“He is also real”

Obviously, he can believe what he wants and his freedom of speech, I would not seek to take away. Nonetheless, I am horrified that he is so popular with voters and that his popularity within the Conservative Party could give him access to real power.

bet the World

Man, in all his vanity,
so eager to compete,
has bet the World
to beat her at destruction to create,
by the design of an intelligence
he fakes.

A party that…

For as long as neither Labour nor the Conservatives speak for me and are unlikely to, any time soon and, since no politicians I like seem about to join the Liberal Democrats, I think I’d rather like to see a new party emerge. Not easy to pull off, certainly but exciting to think about, nonetheless.

A party that attracts from all existing parties and beyond. A party that grasps the best of both Left and Right philosophies because it is intelligent enough to recognise merit and unafraid to support it. A party that is capable of putting its country and her citizens above and before itself. A party that understands how stupidly catastrophic Brexit is. A Remain party, obviously.

A party that believes public service to be noble and high office to be a privilege. A party that values both the liberty of individuals and the strength of the collective. Not a party of naive romantics and incompetent utopians but a party of imaginative thinkers with moderate dispositions. Not a party that is so pragmatic as to border on cruelty and authoritarianism but a party that employs practical wisdom in the pursuit of commonly discerned ideals. A party that respects Law, Constitution and Democracy and understands that all are of more import than as expedient vehicles for narrow ideologies.

A party whose worldview is not small and petty but humane and intellectually curious. A party that leads its country, not as a pompous, self-entitled yappy dog but as already being part of a global family, ever seeking positive, progressive and honourable relationships. A party that considers its nearest geographic neighbours as well-matched members of that family. A party that reveres our planet and respects its finite resources and our environmental impact on its integrity. A party that does not reach for success through exploitation, neither at the expense of its own citizens nor those of other nations.

A party that does not promote holier-than-thou messaging; that does not induce paranoia nor polarise and oppress with lazy scapegoating and policies that further segregation. A party that does not look to inhibit or advance demographic status according to popular whim and its own ideological contempt. A party that can make the local comfortable and sustainable within the pressures and opportunities of modern global connectivity. A party that understands how much stronger a country’s economy is when its citizens are healthy, secure and well-educated; autonomous rather than automated. A party that believes that an economy should work for its Society, not the other way around. A party that recognises how Brexit imperils any such model. A party that understands how Life needs to be worth living and endeavours to not be an agent of indignity, misery and hardship. And completely unnecessary risks. Like Brexit.

Call it “centrist” if you must‬. Or “liberal”. “Patriotic”, even…😉