Peter Wilby – First Thoughts – New Statesman – 17-23 April 2015
The Right to Buy – allowing tenants to purchase at a discount council houses and now, under Cameron’s proposals, housing association properties – is another terrible Tory policy. For many years, almost everyone applauded Margaret Thatcher’s original scheme. Only three decades later can we see the full consequences. More than a third of ex-council homes in London are in the hands of private landlords who are, in effect, subsidised by the state through housing credits that help tenants pay the inflated rents – a supreme example of privatisation that leaves both consumers and taxpayers worse off. Private tenants have no rights even to carry on renting beyond a few months, let alone a right to buy. When you hear Tories praising the policy, agree and say you like right-to-buy so much you think it should be extended to the private sector. Then sit back while they try to explain why that wouldn’t be a good idea.
On reading, with thinly veiled pleasure, the news that Tory MP Mark Reckless has left the Tories for UKIP, I wondered when Nick Robinson (the oh (not) so objective BBC political editor) would be jumping ship and leaving Iggle-piggle and his toffee-nosed bunch of school bullies.
Another Tory first:
Brooks Newmark (who tweeted a selfie of his todger to a journalist!) was Minister for Civil Society (2014–2014) in the Tory Government! What a name for a Ministry. George Orwell would have been impressed with that.
I hope this doesn’t become a habit amongst Tory Ministers: we know they are all pricks, but we don’t want to see them.
Perhaps they can both find a place in the farago party?
PS: Mark Reckless is not the person who sang a song about Norman being a Moron.
The Combe was ever dark, ancient and dark.
Its mouth is stopped with bramble, thorn, and briar;
And no one scrambles over the sliding chalk
By beech and yew and perishing juniper
Down the half precipices of its sides, with roots
And rabbit holes for steps. The sun of Winter,
The moon of Summer, and all the singing birds
Except the missel-thrush that loves juniper,
Are quite shut out. But far more ancient and dark
The Combe looks since they killed the badger there,
Dug him out and gave him to the hounds,
That most ancient Briton of English beasts.
by Edward Thomas (1878-1917)
I am grateful to Philip Maughan, in this week’s New Statesman, for introducing me to this poem in his review of “The Dig” by Cyan Jones.
Edward Thomas wrote the poem “Adlestrop”.
Why Andrew Sells is the wrong choice for Natural England
The government wants a chairman who can flog nature and have chosen a Tory party donor with a background in investment banking and housing developments. (Guardian: 06/12/2013)
The poll, carried out in the run up to Christmas questioned 1,805 adults. 40% of those surveyed support the cap on low paid worker benefits and 30% back the plans.
Respondents were asked what percentage of the entire welfare budget they thought was spent on benefits. The responses, when averaged out, said 41 % of the entire welfare budget goes on benefits to unemployed people. In reality this figure stands at 3 %.
The poll found that on average, people think that 27 % of the welfare budget is claimed fraudulently, while the government’s own figure is 0.7%.
Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel.