I sit here, trying desperately to understand the reasons that the husband of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith didn’t just visit the plethora of wondrous porn sites that grace the internet, rather than using MPs expenses claim for a porn video which subsequently created another problem in a long list of problems for his incompetent and largely pointless wife. It strikes me as ridiculous.
The issue of whether or not the indelibly randy Richard Timney is “getting any” from wife Jacqui is fatuous and slightly nauseating but it brings back to the forefront of the public mind, the problems that have plagued Mrs Smith for some time. Another shiny gold sticker of woe to add to her wall of thousands of the same.
This time last month, John Lyon, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards agreed to investigate whether Jacqui Smith had broken Parliamentarian rules by claiming £116,000 in second home allowances after she designated her sister’s house in London as her second home, regardless of the fact that she spends (according to her neighbours who made the complaint) about two days a week in that home before returning to her constituency home in Worcester.
This raises three issues; firstly, if MPs like Smith and McNulty have not broken any rules in regard to financing a 2nd home, then the rules are wrong and should be changed. You cannot claim so much money for a second home that is less than eight miles from your constituency home, as in McNulty’s case, it is wrong.
Secondly, just because these rules exist, doesn’t mean MPs like Smith and McNulty are morally obliged to push the rules to their limits. Just because they are inside the law, doesn’t make it acceptable. It isn’t.
Thirdly, and most importantly, second homes are not just a problem for MPs. In a society in which Thatcherism tells us it’s ok to own two, three, four or as many homes as you can possibly buy up because apparently owning equals freedom, we’re left with a deep problem. There are very little affordable homes left in the Country, because those who can afford to, buy them up. Often living in one, whilst using the second as a summer retreat. The “right to buy” has meant that one-time council homes that were built so a young couple could get a cheaply rented home until they had saved enough to jump to the private sector, no longer exists. One time council homes are now owned by the private sector, which during the 1980s pushed the average price of a house up by 225% and more and more people encouraged to invest in a second home. And apparently no one saw this credit crunch – with it’s origins in the sub prime market aimed at those who can’t afford such obscene house prices – coming. Which is apparently fine, easy money, and because community is now a dirty word in comparison to individual, it means those who have holiday homes do not care enough about the local amenities, and so those local once thriving communities die out.
The fishing village of Beadnell in Northumberland is suffering disastrously because any one who dares to reject the flawed notion of social and economic Darwinism is considered out of touch at best and Communist at worst. Beadnell was once a thriving fishing town, but because 256 of the 500 homes in the village are now holiday homes used for a very short period per year; shops, local businesses and schools have had to close down.
Beadnell is just one example. The Scottish village ofBraemar is another example of economic Darwinism imposing it’s strict but certainly not absolute (as opposed to natural selection within nature itself) principle of the wealthy few buying up the available homes for private holiday use, destroying the village life in the process, whilst slowly pushing house prices to the limit, forcing locals out. Would it be too “Socialist” and evil to presume that freedom to destroy a village is not as important to uphold as the freedom for those villagers to live peacefully, and as a community? For all of those who truly equate Capitalism with Democracy, would it not be fair and just, to put it to a vote, whether the citizens of Beadnell or Braemar actually want those rich few, using their village as holiday village? Freedom only appears to actually mean freedom, when it applies to those with money, the rest of us only have the freedom to shut our mouths and let it happen.
Labour offer nothing on their policy website. Absolutely no indication of the future of the housing problem in England and what they plan to do. As usual, useless.
The Tories offer the much of the same bullshit that lead to the problem in the first place. “Conservative Government will make it easier for social tenants to own or part-own their home. This will not only help people up the housing ladder, but also ensure residents have greater pride and a greater stake in their community.”…. So what’s new? Any new homes built under the next Conservative government will be privately owned, which will push housing prices through the roof even more because supply will never reach growing demand due to population rise, and yet another generation of have-nots will be thrown into high rise badly secure blocks of flats polluted with crime and a sense that they are the forgotten children of history. Great. You cannot keep throwing a few new homes into the mix, for short term solutions.
A few people (spurred on by the BNP) seem to be of the opinion that immigrants are “queue jumping” and eating up the last remaining social homes, leaving none for British born citizens. According to a report by the Equality & Human Rights Commission, immigrants made up less than 2% of social housing in the UK. So it isn’t the fault of immigrants, much like every other problem we seem to be blaming on immigrants, isn’t their fault. We appear to ignore the fact that around 800,000 unused private homes around the country, and instead we choose to blame those ‘damn’ immigrants.
So maybe renting is the answer?
Since that wondrous 1988 Housing Act, landlords can freely set rent at whatever price they so choice, which usually means most of the tenant’s wages per month, which in turn means those tenant’s cannot save enough to get a mortgage, even though mortgage payments are usually cheaper than the rent they’re currently paying. And so enter the sub prime market. We all know what happened with that one.
According to Sky News, 83,000 people were homeless in Britain in 2008. Let’s sort that little gem out before we start allowing people to own an entire village, using it once a year for two weeks. If i’m expected to support “freedom” which includes the right to own as many properties as you like, without anyone living in them for most of the year, pushing property prices through the roof, just so you can make a profit and buy a bigger TV, whilst someone else lives on the street, largely ignored, I’m afraid i’m going to have to tell you to fuck off.
And it’s all down to the fact that those cleanly shaven business men in their Armani suits keep telling me that a house is the best investment i’ll ever make……….. I have to disagree with them. A house is not an investment, a house is somewhere to live, to raise a family, and to enjoy. If I ever manage to own my own home, it will not be with the intention to make a nice tidy profit in the future, it will be a home. People should not be allowed to own more than one home.
Still, as long as Jacqui Smith can claim that she broke no rules taking £116,000 for no good reason whatsoever, the equilibrium of greed and immorality is restored.