As The Housing Crisis Deepens Is This An Answer?

In this article
A home run for housing
Liberal Democrats finance spokesman Vince Cable suggests a policy aimed at reminding people houses are homes to live in not investments to be bought and sold for profit would be a positive move. The idea is that as repossessions increase in number, funds that have been locked for years are released to enable Housing Associations and other social housing organisations to buy the properties from mortgage providers, enabling people who were mis-sold mortgages they could not afford to remain in their homes as tenants.

Cable is, as far as I am aware, the first promient politician to say we must rid our society ofd this obsession with the fallacy that owning property makes us rich or “middle class,” and talk for reminding people that houses are not investments to be traded and there is no real stigma in renting one’s home.

Could this be the first positive step towards repairing the society Thatcher trashed so deliberately and disastrously and Blair pulverised.

Labour Creeps Ever Closer To Fascism.

One of the founding principles of the Labour party was opposition to the direction of Labour. People should not be compelled on threat of losing benefit, to work at jobs to which they are unsuited.

The latest government scam to hit the news, to deny social housing to people not deemed to be seeking work enthusiastically enough. So somebody who has worked in middle management for example and who is made redundant, who has to sell their home to pay off debts, could be forced to take work as a factory hand and once employed thus will find such a job on their CV counts against them when seeking to get back into the work they are qualified for.

The problem neither the Conservative under Thatcher and Mini Maggie Major or Labour under Blair and Brown have never even understood let alone attempted to address is that technology has mopped up millions of jobs. On top of this, millions more have been exported to low labour cost nations thanks to the insane market-mania of successive governments. This has led to phoney employment in what a trade union leader once called candy-floss industries.

Its a recipe for disaster for any economically developed nation.

More on the impending failure of the housing market

The problem weith vastly expanding a blog’s readership as we have done recently, is that once the blog starts to register on the radar it attracts comments that are really nothing to do with anything the bloggers have written.

Take the recent post The Receding Prospect of Happiness which ended on a tongue in cheek comment about a family friend who has just set up as a manufacturer of bespoke Yurts.

Sure enough, along came one of the “I-take-myself-very-seriously-and-so-will-everyone-else” brigade, ranting on about how far we have come since the medieval era when people faced a daily struggle to survive and how people with a utopian view of medieval life are living in cloud cuckoo land. Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course but readers of this blog know Little Nicky Machiavelli is a proponent of technical progress tied to social need rather than the unbridled market forces that are truly driving us back towards the medieval sewer.
Two years ago this blog was predicting the cynically enginerered housing boom would all end in tears as people found themselves in near – slavery to their mortgage providers (how medieval is that?)
Well the rest of the world is just catching up. Read this view from and economist: Mortgaging Our Future – Neal Lawson

I tend to agree with uberblogger Andrew Keen who often complains that one of the great nonsenses of the web is that people do not read before commenting.

The Receding Prospect of Happiness (unless you live in a Yurt)

What do human beings need to live comfortably? Shelter, adequate food and clean water, warmth from clothing and fire and companionship (we are herd animals)
Add to that meaningful occupation to hold boredom at bay and everything is covered really.
What do human beings crave most? Not any of the essentials but happiness. Well the importance of essentsils only becomes apparent when we are deprived of them.
So what do we need to be happy? The essentials, freedom and security maybe?
Things we do not need to be happy are wide screen TVs, cars, MP3 players, designer labels and most of all unaffordable mortgages taken out to buy very modest houses that offer accommodation far too cramped for comfort.
So why did we ever fall for the great housing con?
We ask this question as news reports talk of a big rise in house repossessions as people fall behind with mortgage repayments, the financial markets brace themselves for further increases in interest rates and many homeowners try to rebuild their lives after devastating floods, caused in part by unrestricted building on flood plains and wetlands.
Little Nicky Machiavelli predicted two years ago that the seemingly irreversible rise in property prices would all end in tears. In Japan, where people tend to be even crazier and more sheeplike than in the west, the hundred year mortgage is already a reality. Are we really mad enough to let things go that far?

To find the roots of the obsession with owning a home we need to go back to the early part of the Industrial Revolution. As the poor were driven of the land by the social evil of enclosures, they found themselves entirely in the hands of the property owning bourgeoisie. People who did not own a property of sufficient value did not have the vote.

Laws change more quickly than attitudes of course and the feeling that someone who owned a house (or to be precise, owned a debt) were somehow morally superior to those who rented a home either from the municipal authority or a private landlord.

The social revolution of the sixties did a lot to change that. Suddenly people who had been brought up in modest, rented homes were becoming politicians, authors, members of professions. The old order was being challenged, home owners were often revealed as small minded, grasping and reactionary.

The answer was a spate of conservative terrorism. Starting in the mid nineteen – seventies, first municipal housing was stigmatised and later most of it was sold off. It became almost impossible for a couple who could not rely on parental help to find an affordable home offering good quality accommodation. Young people were forced to buy tiny, poorly built houses often thrown up on unsuitable land. This led them to attempt to trade up as soon as they could stretch their double income to an even bigger mortgage.

The Terrorists of Conservatism saw their policies were succeeding and cranked up the machine, making money easier to borrow, they promised everybody would get rich by buying and selling houses, they preached of family values but practised and promoted the values of personal greed thus putting families under pressure and causing may partnership break-ups and unhappy childhood experiences.

And they have almost succeeded in their aim, having created a new urban poor who, deprived of employment protection laws are vulnerable to abuse by unscrupulous employers.

You may remember John Prescott’s promise of the £60,000 home. It turns out these homes will actually cost £225,000 to buy. The promised price excluded land. How can young people, just out of university with a big debt hung round their necks afford that. So my g-g-g-generaation who were told to be thrifty and save for a comfortable retirement find ourselves having to dig into those retirement funds to give our children a start.

Someone recently told me I cannot blame all of societies ills on Margaret Thatcher. It may seem that I am determined to prove that person wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth, Little Nicky Machiavelli is on a mission to save the Conservative Party. Not that I support or even like them of course, but lack of a credible opposition is a very bad thing for democracy. So as I see the Tory old brigade starting to turn on Cameron and undermine his leadership I must send out the message to them, “Forget Thatcher, that bloody woman’s crackpot idealism has done nothing but harm to the country.”

Before anyone comes steaming in to tell me what a wonderful job she did for us all, remember it might be someone close to you who is next to have their job exported to a low labour cost nation by a “Private Equity” buyout (possible thanks to Thatcher) lose their home because social security does not cover second mortgages, be rehoused in a B&B because all the council’s housing stock has been sold off, suffer a break-up of their relationship and following the stress of a bitter divorce battle descend into depression, drug dependency or alcoholism.

Alternatively you could advise people to stay off the mortgage ladder by buying a weatherproof, warm and spacious Yurt from our daughter’s friend Big Al. Well we are all off to look at Big Al’s show yurt now, as he gears up to launch his new business venture. Join us in wishing him luck, he could have found a way to solve the housing crisis.

We’ll bring you more news as soon as Al’s Yurts are on the market.

The Tyranny of Bricks and Mortar.

Diligent as ever in his quest to expose ways in which ordinary punters are being stitched up, Little Nicky has turned his attention to the housing market and the way it is manipulated. What brought this to my attention is a report that house prices here in Britain are set to rise 50% in the next few years.
Now house prices have risen 120% in the nine years since New Labour came to power while earnings have only risen 24%. These figures just do not add up, surely it is time for a levelling off of prices?
With the appalling state of social housing, the only way people can afford a decent home in a pleasant environment is by getting on the property ladder. In fact those who do not own their own home are increasingly finding they are treated as second class citizens.
If the projected price rises happen only people in the most highly paid professions or those who can obtain help from their parents or are lucky enough to have a legacy from Grandparents or other sources will be able to afford a home and with loans running at around nine times average income the housebuyers will struggle to service the interest on such huge amounts and fend off starvation. They will not even be able to think of holidays, smart cars etc. Is it any wonder more young people are choosing to stay in the parental home.
It is only two generations since most Europeans escaped from the shackles of wage slavery and not much more than that since many turned their backs on the old world to find a new freedom in America, Canada and Australia. And yet those countries too, without even the excuse that population growth has outstripped the available building space, are suffering from exploding property values and stagnant incomes.
The situation has not occurred by accident of course, few things occur by accident in this world.
In the decades after the second world war, industrialised societies went through a social upheaval. The immorality of Christian morality was questioned and failed to stand up to examination. The old ruse of “do not question the will of God” was exposed as meaning nothing more that “do not question the will of the ruling elite.” The working and lower middle classes could no longer be bought off with the promise of rewards in heaven for a lifetime of suffering. State funded education had equipped the majority to relate to the existential view summed up as “you live, you die, end of story: so while we are in between we may as well enjoy ourselves.” People realised that their first duty was not to country or employer but to themselves and their families. They were encouraged by socialist politicians whose polices promoted the tearing down of vast tracts of slums to be replaced with municipal housing, the provision of public service healthcare, state controlled education for all and collective bargaining by trade unions to ensure the workers received a fair share of the profits. Unemployment benefits and other allowances provided a cushion against the vindictiveness of unscrupulous employers. The workers could no longer be starved into submission.
By the nineteen sixties the social revolution was in full swing. Timothy Leary invited the world to “turn on, tune in and drop out,” while in Britain music and fashion challenged the smug complacency of the middle class hegemony. Things were looking sticky for the ruling elite, the masses, proles, the great unwashed were saying “NO! we will not be told what to think and do, we will do what suits us best, thank you very much.

This should have been great news for the human race, but a population of individuals that have the power to think and act for themselves is never welcome news for any government, even those that wave their democratic credentials in the face of any criticism.
And so just as the medieval peasants who were virtually owned by the Lord of their village were superseded by the wage slaves of the Industrial Revolution whose life depended very much on the whim of a factory or mine owner, future generations will find their lives constrained by the need to service the interest on a crippling mortgage.
The bond will not end at death of course, already we feel social pressure to help our offspring spring onto the mortgage ladder, we are made to feel we have let them down if a substantial bung towards a deposit is not forthcoming.
“Oh but how will the poor little dears ever own their homes if you don’t help them” our peers say. Well maybe the best way to help them and to follow the advice of Jeremy Bentham and think about the greatest good of the greatest number is to make our sons and daughters face the reality our parents generation faced, “life owes you nothing,” and then they might get off their backsides and vote for the Green Party, the only political movement committed to ensuring our grandchildren have grand children of their own.
Will it happen? Its touch and go, you see the most sinister thing about this move towards mortgage slavery is it has taken on an almost religious element. And just as religions gained control over civilisations by promising rewards after death so the great god PROPERTY promises that if you work hard all your life, improve, trade up and work, work, work without ever rewarding yourself, you too can be rich when you are dead.
What they don’t tell you is that the more likely scenario goes, you work hard neglecting recreation, in retirement you become asset rich, cash poor thus inadequate diet and high stress levels will drive you into senile dementia. You will not be able to look after yourself and will be forced to go into care. Your home will be sold to pay the fees of the retirement home, you will end up having to move to a home for the bewildered because your funds will run out. You will die poor and forgotten. But don’t worry because by then you will have forgotten who you are anyway.
Is there an alternative?
There are many, we could rise up against the Tyrannies of Bricks and Mortar, Financial Planning, Mass Media and self serving politics. A mass movement can bring about social change. A widespread campaign of passive resistance such as Gandhi led to win India’s independence could disrupt the global economy. And we could all say “screw your overpriced, characterless little boxes,” and live in Yurts.
They can’t put us all in prison