Sunday 27 May 2007

Do your homework Hodge!

Government minister Margaret Hodge's poisoned views about immigrants and council houses really are extreme - even the Nazi BNP has said that her remarks "echo" theirs! (BBC News: Hodge views echo our policy - BNP)

The attitude of racists (and of many brainwashed morons) is that immigrants allegedly get preferential treatment when it comes to housing. This isn't the case, even with council housing. Most immigrants are immediately housed in private accommodation, often bed-and-breakfast or similar, while many refugees are housed in hostels or even detention centres like Campsfield. Immigrants have to, and always have had to, join the same queue for council housing as British nationals.

Occasionally, clusters (for want of a better word) of immigrants do become eligible for council housing. This is because they tend to arrive in the UK in clusters. This may be because they have fled their own country due to the onset of war, persecution by their regime, or natural disaster. Or it may be because they have come to fill a shortage of labour, especially if they have skills for which there is a shortage at the time. Either way, after a certain time, they eventually reach the front of the queue and are housed in council (or similar council-provided) housing.

In the case of private accommodation, immigrants certainly do not get preferential treatment - quite the reverse, in fact. Like any oppressed minority, they are more likely to experience prejudice and be turned down or given inferior treatment by private landlords. (As a person with disabilities, I have personally experienced prejudice when looking for accommodation in the past. Even, in one case, blatant disablist abuse!) It hardly seems fair to, when they eventually become eligible for a secure home, tell them they must go to the back of the queue again :-(

The answer is to invest in building more council houses and renovating the existing council houses, and stop the creeping privatisation of the council housing stock. Not to blame immigrants, or anyone else, for the shortage of decent affordable housing - when the blame lies entirely with this government and the previous Tory government, who started the sale of council houses.

It's not just in housing where New Labour politicians seem to be racing with racists! Within the past year, Tony Blair himself parroted the myth that gun crime is perpetuated by black youth. And for a number of years, Islamophobia in the name of "stopping terrorism" and attacks on asylum seekers seem to have been the norm for this government. Along with calls for immigrants and their families to speak English even at home.

Well, I sometimes wish politicians and the Establishment in general, would speak English. Rather than their first languages of soundbites, spin, gibberish, and increasingly right-wing nastiness!

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