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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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.

His story

On her back; on her knees
At the sink in bare feet
On a pedestal, silent, please
Dangerous angel
Too frigid; too bossy; too keen
Was his story; his glory
His magical chattel
From baby to wife
To invisible burden
Embattled; embargoed
Her scorn and her fury
Her life
As she rattles the bars
And beats hard on the ceilings
Deducing his god rod
Confuses his yardstick
The fairer sex feeling her Mars
As she’s peeling his story
Unsealing her future
In all types of footwear
And favourite bras.

Austerity is

Austerity is
Not just a long-term economic plan
But a ritual state of mind

A thin-lipped severity
My way the highway
And Protestant hot

Rites shot right through
With a missionary zeal
The taint of antiquated glue

*~*

Dinosaurs need for the Earth to be flat
Lest a curve or a slope puts them onto their backs
So their lumbering carcasses bury their heads
Which is why they don’t know they are already dead

Magic Money Tree

Magic me a money tree
So I can eat its nimble fruit
A bonsai for my patio
Would be so cool and look so cute

I promise to be sensible
About the purposes it feeds
I won’t create an orchard
For a harvest of gratuities

I will not squander its supply
For quantitative daily ease
Nor let it grow unwieldy
Like a beanstalk or an eager weed

I’d spend it on posterity
For ethical prosperity
With vision, tangible and wise
I’d build a life that’s worth the price

Just send a little cutting
And I’ll nurture it with love
Let me feel the sunny uplands
Like the canopy above

 

 

 

this brand of Conservatism

Why on earth would anyone still vote for this brand of Conservatism?

Demonstrably they are false economists. Look around at the ‘strong economy’ they say they are building: it is borne by an insecure, impoverished, paranoid and divided population. They have belittled society by dividing and stripping it of resources and by acting too much on the behalf of those who need the least support but often the tightest regulation.

They show little respect for Democracy and Justice, act as though history were a blueprint and have no reverence for constitutional complexity. They are hollow and shallow. They are feudal, cynical, selfish, short-sighted opportunists who undermine the sensible and wonderful to promote the insidious and entropic. Their worldview is neither ethical nor sustainable.

Voting for this brand of Conservatism is actively choosing a trickle-down cap on aspiration and cohesion that will take out those who believe it will preserve them as surely as it is busily taking out those who already know it won’t. It is actively choosing the most unnecessarily precarious future.

If seven years of manifest incompetence and arrogance have not made this clear, then the Tories’ stubborn la la la fingers in their ears response to the consequences of impending Brexit and the utter vulgarity and horror that is Trump should have made it so, by now.

If Theresa May can keep calm and carry on selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, now, how ethical will she be when our well-being is outsourced? When it is determined by our fear and another’s favour?

If she can hide behind robotic refrains and dispatch pre-programmed proxies because she is too busy micro-mismanaging our affairs – affairs that she treats as though we were a ‘bloody difficult’ inconvenience – how available and accountable will she be when Humanity and the very Planet requires our express solidarity and cooperation?

Perhaps she is so robotic because she is still trying to convince herself. Maybe the only way she can get through this hell she is making is to keep going, pretending that she knows what she is doing. Perhaps this whole can of conservative Brexit-election worms is making her ill and too panicked to risk the exposure; to endure the scrutiny. Perhaps…

However, if she can set her political compass to obeying Paul Dacre’s twisted mind and petty soul, how strong and stable are her principles? If her policies are to be founded on values with such missionary zeal, which is her true north: her parochial Christian devotion or the rabid Daily Mail?

May is an algorithmic marionette, bid to outsource and she asks that we come unto her through flawed notions of patriotism, kippered fairy tales and a blind but absolute trust in her and her team of strings.

If she can so readily and consistently outsource Maybots to represent the interminable vagaries of her puppet mind while she scurries about, micro-managing everything into socio-economic straitjackets, will she not also outsource and shrink our prosperity, our sovereignty and our dignity to Luck and the good or bad grace of others? Of course she will. It’s the Will of her People.

 

with great responsibility came humility

I always believed that with great responsibility came humility. I am so naive. I thought that to serve in public office was both noble and an honour; that to be in the Government, bestowed with making laws and policies that determine the quality of life of the millions of one’s country’s people, was such an enormous privilege that one would be devoted to justifying it. I thought it required integrity and reasonable measures of wisdom and competence. Even more naively, I actually assumed that, simply by mere virtue of achieving and holding such a privileged position, on a personal level – the generous income, the security of an ample pension, the opportunity of network – it meant that they would have a persistent, collective sense of “there but for the grace of…” and act on it.