Sunday 17 October 2010

A plague on both houses

Well, when asked why I'm so pissed off with the Con Dems, I don't really know where to start. So I'll start with their policy on housing, notably their stupid idea of forcing out of council houses people who they think don't need social housing anymore.

On the one hand, it is true that the lack of social housing is a problem. But it's not the fault of people who currently live in social housing. I'll take this opportunity to clear up a few other myths while I'm here; the shortage of decent housing is also NOT caused by:
  • immigrants - who too often are forced into substandard, overcramped and overpriced accommodation.
  • asylum seekers - the lucky ones who are not in detention centres, end up in hostel accommodation.
  • disabled people - we don't cause any more damage than the average person, and most damage to properties is due not to the tenants, but to neglect and cost-cutting by the landlord.
  • gay people - I'm not even sure what excuses landlords give for discriminating against gay people. And whatever excuses they do have, I don't wanna hear them anyway :P
The problem of a lack of affordable housing is one which has been caused by decades of under-investment in council house building, and the selling off of council housing that started in the 1980's under Mrs Thatcher. This has escalated over the years, with whole swathes of council housing being privatised in the past 10 years. Sadly, the only winners have been privateer landlords who are now more able to abuse their power over tenants. And control-freak parents whose grown up kids have little choice but to stay at home. And the bureaucracy in charge of homeless charities :(

In any case, forcing people out of social housing, and into the clutches of anti-social private landlords, will not solve the problem. And I don't use the term 'anti-social' lightly; I have personal experience of private landlords accusing tenants of non-payment of rent (despite payment being easily provable), and even borrowing money off their own tenants!

It will be even worse for people in oppressed minorities who are turfed out of their council house, on a whim by the Con Dem scum. I have experienced overt disability prejudice while looking for accommodation, and know of gay people who have been evicted by homophobic landlords. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Private landlords fall well within the middle class, and it the middle class have a far greater interest than workers, in perpetuating ideologies which benefit the capitalist system - such as prejudice. One of the reasons why the bulk of the Nazi BNP's membership is made up of the middle class.

At the same time, I certainly don't expect the Con Dem gits to do anything to mitigate this prejudice. Even before the election, Tory bastard Chris Grayling said that guest house owners should have the right to turn away gay people. And John Major's Tory government deliberately scuppered the Disabled People's Civil Rights Bill, so we instead ended up with anti-disablism legislation which is so weak and pitiful, I'm surprised it's not the star of Children In Need :P

The only answer to the lack of social housing is to increase the supply of decent, affordable council housing. Apart from the obvious funding solutions, such as taxing the rich and scrapping Trident, I have a few additional proposals:
  • A supertax on empty properties (which would also encourage landlords to rent out their housing at a lower rate, to get tenants in). And a superdupertax on properties which have been neglected to the point of dereliction, such as those left boarded-up for months on end.
  • The ending of privatisation of social housing, in the form of PFI or ALMO's. Since privatisation adds the extra cost of profit for parasitical bosses, it is far cheaper for councils to build the housing themselves.
  • The compulsory nationalisation, without compensation to the owner, of all properties belonging to landlords who abuse their position - whether by overcharging tenants or by discriminating against oppressed minorities.
All these measures, and more, we will have to fight tooth and nail for. A good campaigning organisation I can recommend is Defend Council Housing.

Only by fighting on this issue, and against every attack on our living standards, can we make sure that people get to stay in their homes, as well as their jobs.

And make sure the Con Dems get chucked out of the House Of Commons !!!

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