David Cameron

We’re in a housing crisis, and the Tories want to make it worse

david cameron housing crisis

There are not enough houses.

I’ve tried to start this blog ten times or more, but it all comes back to that. There are not enough houses. Everyone blames someone different for it, everyone has a different solution to it, but it all comes back to the same thing: there are not enough houses.

You don’t have to look far to find the effects. Rents are sky-high. House prices are higher still. 4.9 million families cannot afford one or the other and need help to house themselves. There isn’t even close to enough social housing to provide for them, so the state foots a housing benefit bill of nearly £17 billion a year to private landlords, many of whose properties are in an embarrassing state of disrepair.

For many, many of my generation, buying a home of their own is a distant pipe dream, or an impossibility.

As I said, everyone has their different thoughts on the causes and solutions. My own are that the myth that this country is overcrowded has made us scared to build, and the solution is a housebuilding program the likes of which would make the post-war boom seem paltry.

One solution which I haven’t heard mooted before is to sell off what little social housing we have. And yet that’s the one which the Conservative manifesto is putting forward.

Read on…

“Are essential services at breaking point?” asks the Southend Echo

echo services at breaking point

If they aren’t, then they are getting far too close for comfort, or safety...

Neither Southend, Essex, nor Britain can take another five years of ideological Tory cuts and mismanagement. Use your vote on May 7th. Kick Cameron and his incompetent mob out.

Debating debatable debates

leaders debates

I’ll lay my cards out straight off here; I’m not much of a fan of party leaders debates in the run up to general elections. We have a parliamentary, not a presidential, system in which we do not elect our heads of government. We elect our representatives to parliament.

What would, in my opinion, be more helpful would be 650 individual debates, one in each constituency in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. That way people can see the candidates that they can actually vote for going head to head, and make the best choice for their local area.

Time was, these were called hustings.

That, however, isn’t going to happen. Unless David Cameron feels he can somehow chicken out of the debates completely, some variation upon the head-to-head party leaders’ debates of 2010 will be happening.

So what would be the best arrangement?

Read on…

So this is how liberty dies — to thunderous applause

tory applause

There was one particular idea which drew a lot of applause from the audience at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham this week. It featured in the speeches of both the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister, and is already pretty much assured to be a centre-piece of the Tory manifesto next year.

And, indeed, today their plans have been published pre-emptively by legal blogger Jack of Kent.

Yes, I am talking about the plans to repeal the Human Rights Act. But what the Conservative Party want to do goes far beyond repealing a single piece of legislation. What they want to do is tear down the British legal system, built up over centuries, and to hobble the rights of its citizens. What they want to do terrifies me to my core, something I don’t say lightly.

And it should terrify every single person living in the United Kingdom today.

Read on…

Does Bernard Ingham think insulting the north will win votes?

bernard ingham

Ah, Bernard Ingham, with your eyebrows to rival the one-time Archbishop of Eyebrow-bury Rowan Williams. Sadly, you haven’t his touch for understanding. Nor, really, do you have the political relevance of your fellow Thatcher bigwigs  like Lord Lawson and Lord Tebbit.

But that hasn’t stopped it, has it? No, you’re still there, still plugging away, still determined to kick down the north just as you did in office. Credit to you, on the one hand.

But on the other, go away.

Read on…