Friday, 6 October 2017

UK Politics in Paralysis

It seems to be dawning on politicians of all sides the enormity of Brexit.

Like a Rabbit caught in the headlights of a 40-tonne lorry our political leaders have found out that at some point they will actually have to govern the country rather than leave it on autopilot and rely on laws that atomatically implement EU dictats.

Stunned into paralysis, there has been lots of well, nothing coming out of the various party conferences. Forget the Lib-Dems, they probably represent 5% of the counrty's voters these days. The word is irrelevant.

Labour's party conference was a swathe of communist whimsy brought to the UK. Like we've just voted to leave the EUSSR, we don't want MORE fucking totalitarianism, nationalisation or any more government.

We want less, more affordable government thank you.

And Labour; ignoring Brexit does not look clever, it just shows you as perplexed by it as the Tories. Go on, just shove it under the carpet. Just like your Anti-Semitic problem.

Which is where we get onto the Tories. Again, consumed by Brexit and with no real leadership to speak of, there was nothing at their conference that merited any confidence in their ability to govern sucessfully.

The housing crisis is approching melt down. The Grenfell Tower fire highlighted the issue in London, but across the country house prices are close to becoming unsustainable.

The Help to Buy Scheme has admittedly helped first time buyers get on the housing ladder, but it has actually made the problem worse by helping to inflate house prices. By helping people buy houses with less deposit, more buyers are available and therefore demand is higher, inflating prices. God know what sort of catastrophe awaits those buyers on minimal deposits and huge house prices.

If interest rates rise (as they are sure to do) we will find huge numbers of people defaulting on mortages and huge numbers of houses lying empty because they will be unaffordable. The first to fall will be those on the HTB scheme, those just about affording to pay off mortgages at 0.5% interest rates. Will they be able to afford interest rates of 2%, 5% or more? There will be no social housing to house these displaced people. We will have vast numbers of homeless families on the streets. Families, not just single people, whole families. Thousands of families.

Just think of the drain on the public finances of that lot, not to mention the disaffection they would have for the ruling classes. A veritable breeding ground for revolutionary and extremist ideology.

Government (of all creeds and colours) needs to get a grip on housing and get a grip now. I understand that whichever party gets in, supplying vast numbers of new houses will be an unpopular move with householders, those in the suburbs and those on the edges of green belt land. In effect Tory voters.

But Labour have a lot to lose if they build lots of houses and start to lower house prices.

There needs to be legislation keeping this new housing stock outside private hands. That way, the housing stock resides with the government and that way the price of the house is immaterial. It doesn't affect private house prices and only affects the rental income of buy-to-let landlords as rents come down. Luckily the buy-to-let market isn't huge enough to be political dynamite and most landlords these days seem to be foreign investors cashing in on high UK rents. i.e. not UK voters.

Anyone that wants to own a house is welcome to buy vastly inflated private housing if they want to, but will not be allowed to buy new social housing stock.

The only downside is sorting out management of this new housing stock. Many councils have sold ALL their social housing to housing associations. The best bet would be to keep the new housing away from councils. Their mis-managment of original council housing caused the crisis back in the Eighties.

No, a new agency needs to be formed with powers over planning etc. so that they can get the job done. They will have a remit to produce AFFORDABLE, LIVEABLE and LONG-LASTING housing.

No tin prefabs or unit-construction knock-ups here. No shoeboxes either. It's criminal how small houses that builders claim to be homes are these days.

These days there is the knowledge, ability and technology to build sustainable, repairable, economic and totally liveable housing, so why not do it?

The Tories started the mess, it's only right they clear it up isn't it?