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69 thoughts on “A Cynical Thought


    An absolutely staggering observation. I don’t for a second doubt it is true.
    I grew up in council houses, though my parents did finally bend with the wind and buy theirs. The UK has a backlog of almost 4 decades in building affordable homes for its poorer people. A few houses as a token gesture to grab headlines is not going to make any dent in that.

    So many of the UK’s problems are rooted in the housing crisis.

    And if history has taught us anything, we can’t really be too cynical.

  • glenn_nl

    btw – anyone else read this outrageous slur by that right-wing Zionist and Israeli apologist Jacobson in last Saturday’s NYT?

    This had the heading (at least in the paper edition I’d bought) that Labour (and Corbyn in particular) is now the enemy of the Jews. Not Zionism, not Israel even – Jews.

    Obviously, Jacobson is on a roll. Only the other week, he was telling more lies in the same paper, claiming Corbyn was personally responsible for Brexit and the shambles taking place over its implementation. Clearly, Jacobson has succombed to the same Corbyn Derangement Syndrome that infests the BBC.

    • Dave Lawton

      glenn-nl btw – anyone else read this outrageous slur by that right-wing Zionist and Israeli apologist Jacobson in last Saturday’s NYT?

      Now how about this from the nytimes.”The “original sin” of such alliances may be traced back to 1941, in a letter to high Nazi officials, drafted in 1941 by Avraham Stern, known as Yair, a leading early Zionist fighter and member in the 1930s of the paramilitary group Irgun, and later, the founder of another such group, Lehi. In the letter, Stern proposes to collaborate with “Herr Hitler” on “solving the Jewish question” by achieving a “Jewish free Europe” The solution can be achieved, Stern continues, only through the “settlement of these masses in the home of the Jewish people, Palestine.” To that end, he suggests collaborate with the German’s “war efforts,” and establish a Jewish state on a “national and totalitarian basis,” which will be “bound by treaty with the German Reich.”
      It has been convenient to ignore the existence of this letter, just as it has been convenient to mitigate the conceptual conditions making it possible.”

    • Major Major

      Ahh, Jacobson. A spiritual fellow traveler of Freedland. a self-identified ‘liberal’ Zionists.

      Enough said.

  • pete

    You would have thought that rent controls and a property tax would have been a better way to restore order and take the heat out of the property boom.

    • Ba'al Zevul

      They CAN’T take the heat out of the property boom/bubble. It’s all that’s been propping up the economy for a decade and more. Maybe you believe the published inflation figures – but that’s where the real inflation’s hiding.

      As usual, the economy – or some crazed capitalist’s hallucination of an economy – absolutely transcends the interests of the people it feeds on.

      • Deepgreenpuddock

        The only thing I can’t agree with in your is the ‘ten years’ . It has been going on a lot longer than that.
        Barbour (Heath government) created a housing bubble to prop up the economy. I am sure it has been a major factor for creating a (bogus) sense of progress- by most governments.
        Disgracefully, (because it went against every principle he had espoused for thirty years in politics)-Brown played the same game. It should not be forgotten that Brown complied and played his (subordinate part) in and with the thinking of Greenspan, creating at least partly, and exacerbating greatly, the effects of the conditions that led to the 2007 financial crash.

        • Ba'al Zevul

          You’re right, and thank you. The policy’s finest flourishing was post- Thatcher, of course, with the sale of social housing and the formal initiation of the pure-greed economy. Before that, houses had still been places to live rather than solely capital assets. Ten years only covers the post – crash years (the crash itself having been due to writing bad debt for greedy property buyers), and I apologise.

          • DissidentX

            You’re both on target. God damn exchange value, which we’ve all been educated to accept as god damn god given and fundamental. Most people’s lives turn on the whole concept. Only it’s worse coz it’s on finance capital steroids, with a kick up the arse from derivatives leverage baby. What ever happened to good old use value? That’s the kind of world I want to live in.

  • Republicofscotland

    According to press reports, its 60,000 houses a year short, far too short to meet demand. The media also states that, the last time the country built 250,000 council homes in one year, it was under Labour’s Jim Callaghan in 1978.

    Of course it’s common knowledge that Thatcher, brought forward the right to buy your council house, which only exacerbated the housing shortage.

  • freddy

    There is a massive house building movement in the South of England,
    you can’t move on the roads, the trains are mostly standing room only,
    what’s it like up North?

  • Nick Proctor

    I have heard of a scam favoured by some developers who obtain Council building permission with the proviso that they are providing at least a significant percentage of the development for affordable housing. Yet when completed the prices of each property is uniformly high and certainly not affordable. Nobody from the Council seems to bother to prevent this. I came across a development of flats at the marina with the lock gate at Y Felinheli in 2005 Is this widespread????

    • Deepgreenpuddock

      There has been a fair bit of comment about this. My own experience is that the developers, quite subtly, ‘co-opt’ the planning officers. I would be loathe to describe it as bribery or corruption but I have seen planning officers grovelling/ backward bending (probably without realising they are doing this) on behalf of a big money project.
      It is quite exciting to be part of a major project and while I think it is always important to be vigilant I sense that the entry into a glamorous milieu, and to be fawned over by people with money is quite seductive.
      The local authorities also tend to enter into ‘planning gain’ agreements where, for instance, some deal is done to provide some infrastructure-say land for a school.
      Obviously there is a bit of horse trading but again my sense of this is that it muddies the waters and the developers are usually much more financially astute than the LGOs negotiating the deals, and who are in thrall to their own (cultivated by the developer) importance.
      The general background to local government is that many of them are quite now incompetent, and understaffed and under pressure because of cuts and constant disruption to their processes and procedures.
      My recent dealings with a (Scottish) local authority indicate really very crass incompetences, and amateurishness , including failure to understand legislation even at higher levels of management. Accuracy and ‘fact’ are alien words as far as i can tell. It is all quite a mess, and about time people started to get some insight into these abject failures.
      It is a bit like the PFI contracts. I am not quite sure that the idea or principle of them is so terrible-it was the way they were implemented, and the asymmetry of financial acumen that meant that the funding organisations were able to lever very favourable deals.
      Essentially unprincipled and astute private operators against individuals brought up/ trained in quite a different financial and ethical culture. (No contest).
      There has been a lot of comment about the ‘privatisation’ projects which lead to gentrification, social exclusion in London and especially in Haringey where there is an ongoing protest about the future of the area. These are tied in with the scandal re Grenfell and the outsourcing of functions that were traditionally in- house. These out sourcing deals often seem to be designed to avoid accountability and to provide ‘profit centres’ for a system of cronyism.

  • freddy

    Scotland to steal from the rich to give to the poor

    That’s proper Socialisim

    BBC Scotland has learned that ministers are reviewing the income levels at which people begin to pay higher rates of tax.

    • J Galt

      Absolutely Freddy – the thieving swine!

      The “poor” should rot in the streets – literally since the NHS is another shocking stealing from the rich scam.

      Better still they should turn up at suicide centres to be processed into organic manure – turn the useless eaters into something useful.

  • Dermot O Connor

    Irish radio pointed out that her plan would not be sufficient to meet the demands of the current housing crisis in Ireland (pop 3 million), let alone the situation in the UK (pop. 60 to 70 million).

    • Deepgreenpuddock

      according to ‘google’ the population is nearer to 5 million. But the point is well made .

  • Loony

    Ah yes the all knowing, wise and wonderful British. Hey, here is a great idea lets increase the population by way of immigration and and at the same time let’s do this to the existing housing stock,-2.9592088,3a,75y,180h,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sZMCctOtfJo0_jXCYHyjvjQ!2e0!!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

    It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the British deserve to be homeless.

    • frankywiggles

      Yes, very difficult to avoid concluding that homeless people themselves ought to be blamed for a generation of neoliberal regression in housing policy. Not ideologically rigid politicians who are terrified of doing anything that might reduce the house prices of swing voters.

        • nevermind

          ‘The British people deserve to be homeless’

          welcome Mr. Jacobsen sir, you are nuts and we have seen through your loony existence.
          If the British would not be so reserved and brought up in a self centred, ancient thiefdom/ environment, they wouldn’t all turn into shits like you.

          Question is, does Loony deserve to loose everything he has in life?

          • Loony

            What is the argument here?

            So far as I know everyone agrees that there is a housing shortage. How do you respond to this?

            The answer is that you go around boarding up houses that could be easily made habitable, and at the same time you go around selling “high end” housing for GBP 25 million. Surely that must be a policy designed to create homelessness – or have I missed something?

            There is no need to blame me – all I have done is to provide examples of the polices that are being enacted. No-one seems that bothered about them so you must like them.

        • fedup

          Clearly the prohibitive costs of citizenship that have been year on year on the increase resulting in the bankruptcy of the swathes of citizens* whom can no longer afford the prohibitively high fixed costs of; energy**, water, transport, local taxation, etc. in the face of ever dwindling opportunities of earning a living, or even getting a hand out from the state that has targeted the lowest income people for the highest rates of taxation is in fact the fault of the people and thus they have brought it upon themselves?

          The sickening trend of blaming the poor and the immigrants in deflecting the obvious and patent failure of the policies that have brought about mass bankruptcy of the citizens. As well as induced mass poverty that in turn have resulted in the highest rates of crime that are going unreported. These are all in fact self inflicted because if the poor would only be more productive, and live even more frugally; eating fresh air, and better still drop dead, and the immigrants all shot at dawn or deported this country would be a heaven indeed!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Productivity of course is entirely based on the output that in turn is entirely based on the demand for the said output, thus goes the free markets mantra, thus a lower demand and reduction in the inventory of the output is also the fault of the workers!

          Just when will the fuckwits whom have wreaked such a disaster and fully destroyed a perfectly buoyant economy based on dogmatic ideologies will get the blame, is anyone guess!?

          Did I tell you there is a terrorist under the bed and ISIS/IS/Daesh?Alqaeda/etc, terrorists are hanging around in the toilets to poison people en mass with poisonous farting?

          Pathetic bunch of fuckwits, and the propaganda goes on, relentless.

          * These bankrupt citizens are classified as homeless! Fact that they cannot afford a home or its upkeep of course is never. ever entertained!
          ** Britain boasts the highest costs of energy, water, transportation and local taxation (given the yields of returns on the said taxation).

      • nevermind

        Exactly, frankywiggles if its not the homeless who are responsible for being made redundant ,had their houses repossessed, living on a pittance, its has to be those who dare not look, don’t want to see it, the ignorants who can’t be bothered to.
        Nothing to do with a racket over land banks, kept empty until profits loom, or the racket that is inherent in this weak economy that houses are an investment not somewhere to live, nor has it anything to do with cheating bastards who build 26 houses say that five of them are affordable and then get a lawyer to wine on their behalf, saying that they can’t make enough profit.

        lack of housing is down to developers and mortgage providers, both with an interest in keeping house prices up.

        step 1) ban repossessions of anyone’s house, who is made redundant or falls seriously ill having to give up their work

        2) Any land banks not used after five years have to sell their land for the same price they’d bought it.

        3) A cap on House prices according to their capacity, i.e a three bedroom house should have a price range that can not be exceeded.
        4th) Build council houses for council tenants and rescind the right to buy on new builds, end the period of when council tenants can sell their house and make the local authority the default first buyer in any case.

        5) Any develoment over a certain size, lets say 100 houses, is required, by law, to build apartments holding the same amount of tenants than the houses built. Young people have to be able to afford these apartments, not get into debts for life to live in the current rabbit hutches praised as good housing.

        Finally, the code for sustainable housing must be adhered to with solar panels on every roof, triple glazing as of norm and self builds that go even further than these two minimum requirements should be given priority planning consent.
        Building houses and apartments for rent, as happens in many places on the Continent, should/could be weaved into any of the above suggestions.

        • freddy

          Also have insulating / cladding that causes death,
          to suck up to the global warming alarmists

    • J

      Go on, say it. Don’t bother voting next time around, especially for Labour etc because nothing will change. You might be right, but it’s almost as if you want to be right.

  • harrylaw

    In my comment in the last article I said the the constitutional position of Northern Ireland was only resolved by the Irish Republic changing articles 2 and 3 of its constitution from a ‘claim’ [the whole Island of Ireland and its territorial waters as its own] to an ‘aspiration. That is perfectly democratic, the Good Friday Ageement could not have happened without that constitutional change. Similarly the Israeli Governments ‘claim’ as of right all the West Bank as its sovereign territory [they call it Judea and Sameria] and reject any notion of a sovereign Palestinian state [note sovereign, they may agree to Bantustans] Therein lies the problem, until the Israelis recognise the self determination of the Palestinian people and negotiate a two state solution based on the 1967 borders, and, as the Irish Republic did [in the 1999 referendum] relinquish its sovereignty claim, there can be no solution, unless the solutions of ‘transfer’ or Apartheid and perpetual war are what Israelis prefer.

  • Kempe

    Well maybe we need to hire the Israelis to build our houses.

    One way of making more homes available quickly would be to bring the 200,000 odd properties that are standing empty back in to use (34,000 in Scotland) using compulsory purchase laws or upping the tax. This number incidentally excludes second homes. Standards need to be improved to prevent builders using sub-standard methods and materials and the old minimum floor areas need to be re-introduced.

    • Republicofscotland

      “Well maybe we need to hire the Israelis to build our houses.”

      You mean, intimidate harass beat and drive people off their lands, then claim the lands illegally for yourselves.

      Then quickly as you like, build, build, build because Israeli’s must be quick, so as nobody such as the UN or HRW can complain, once the illegal settlements are thrown up with remarkable haste, they’re there to stay.

      Is it this remarkable haste you speak of, when lauding the violent apartheid usurpers of Palestinian lands?

  • FranzB

    The initiative outline by May was to add an extra £2 billion to the AFFORDABLE homes pot. There was a proviso that if councils could demonstrate that there was a need for SOCIAL housing in their area, then they could bid for part of that £2 billion. Question is who determines whether the bid will be successful – some Tory neoliberal with interests in Laing and Wimpy probably. i.e. if no council houses were built as a result of May’s announcement, it wouldn’t surprise me.

    It’s a PR success though – the BBC talk about May’s initiative leading to the building of 5,000 council houses per year – which is complete rubbish.

    BTW – anybody hear BBC radio 4 reports from Spain over the weekend. Apparently Puigdemont is threatening to declare independence. Threatening. Catalonian independence is a threat for the BBC.

  • Je

    Searching for some figures:

    The waiting list for social housing is 1.8 million households.

    Of the 189,650 new homes and conversions to homes in the year to March 2016 just 6,550 were social houses for rent.

    3x as many council houses are being sold off under the Right to Buy as new ones built.

    According to this FOI request Bristol City Council got 84 new council houses built in the years 2012-16 but lost nearly ten times as many, 823 sold or decommissioned/demolished.

    I’m guessing the social housing stock is still shrinking not growing…

  • Sharp Ears

    On the expulsion of Moshe Machover from the Labour party.


    Abby Martin Responds to Attacks From Pro-Israel Organizations
    By teleSur

    October 08, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – teleSUR journalist Abby Martin recently became the target of a smear campaign by Israeli organizations after an appearance on the podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.

    On the program, which is one of the biggest and most popular podcasts in the United States, host Joe Rogan has a discussion with Martin about her experiences in Palestine while she was there for her show The Empire Files in 2016.’

  • Sharp Ears

    Just five of the families who survived the Grenfell fire have been permanently rehoused.

    22 SEP 2017
    Only five Grenfell families in permanent homes 100 days after fire

    Simon Israel
    Senior Home Affairs Correspondent

    A 16-year-old has become the latest victim of the Grenfell Tower fire to be named. Nur Huda el-Wahabi died alongside her parents and two brothers, who all lived on the west London block’s 21st floor.Meanwhile, the leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council has pledged that Grenfell residents will be consulted before any re-housing decisions are made. Only five families from the tower and Grenfell Walk have moved into permanent accommodation since the disaster exactly 100 days ago.

    Have you noticed how most of the MSM have moved on from Grenfell?

  • Ba'al Zevul

    It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money. Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth? Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors. In the name of God, go!

    (Oliver Cromwell)

    • nevermind

      Yep, and nothing has ever changed since then, except that ye sordid prostitutes wear suits today…..

      • nevermind

        quiz question
        will this Government help unnamed amount of ‘jobs’ at BAE?

        Or will they help to keep 300 Jobs of a historical local mustard producer long bought up by a multinational. Hmmmm, difficult isn’t it…….;)

        • Ba'al Zevul

          The BAE cuts will be to address poor sales of the Eurofighter. I’m pretty certain that our high heid yins have been very actively trying to sell this aircraft abroad, along with our other explosive products, for years. However, our bribes to dodgy Arabs etc obviously haven’t been big enough, and the plane was designed for a scenario in which the Cold War had just become hot, largely in the European theatre. Current Russian models are more versatile, probably cheaper, and being sold more professionally – see, eg,

          …but do note that this video almost certainly has the blessing of the Russian military,,,

          • nevermind

            That does look very agile and capable, once again, the newly stationed flying super weighty and far to complicated F35B’s look tame compared to it.
            Its all the Russians fault, again….

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Whether or not the (old) SU-34 can outfly the F-35 is a matter for national bias… but the advantage Russian salesmen can honestly claim is that their airware is (relatively) uncomplicated and can operate anywhere, in practically any conditions.

            The US is very proud of its old but still useful gun platform, the A10. This is the Russian equivalent*, the SU-25’s sales pitch:


            *Well, sort of. It hasn’t got a Gatling but is just as good at tanks, and flies a lot faster.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            For better- informed discussion of this issue, see –

            Telling comment:

            Pity we can’t make sharp pointy single or 2 seat offensive ‘frames these days for a reasonable price which can be maintained and repaired in the field with basic kit and techniques. Seems to me the technologists have got runaway brain syndrome and everything has to be astronomically complicated and very often does not work.

            Sea Harrier v F35 springs to mind, but doubtless the defenders of that fiasco will make lotsa noise as to why (they think) it is and will be superior, assuming it gets into service.

        • Sharp Ears

          ‘Britain’s biggest defence contractor, BAE Systems, is to cut nearly 2,000 jobs in a significant blow to the UK’s manufacturing sector and the government’s industrial strategy.

          The company, which makes the Eurofighter Typhoon jet and Britain’s nuclear submarines, said on Tuesday that up to 1,400 jobs would go at its military aerospace business over the next three years, along with a further 375 in maritime services and 150 at its cyber-intelligence business.’

          ‘maritime services’. Would that be Trident?

  • nevermind

    Can we cynically assume that you have all your funds for the forthcoming battle in the courts, or did you forget the two riders?

  • david

    Its time to stop letting developers build social housing. Why do we need some big company to build a house ? They don’t have efficiency of scale, just efficiency in profit. Local councils should build their own housing stock from funds allocated by the government. Its not hard to employ the people required to build a house ! Last time I checked ( and it was a while ago) it costs around £30k to build a 3 bed semi excluding land cost. Even if you double that to allow for excessive land prices you still have a 3 bed house at circa £60k much cheaper than the amount a big builder would charge to build it. Rough guess you’d get twice as many social houses for your money that way. Like most things, its not how much money you throw at it, its how you spend the money available that solves the problem.

    • Loony

      You seem to have omitted to mention that local Councils are part of the public sector and that there is a GBP 1.49 trillion public sector pension deficit – the more you ask the public sector to do then the more this deficit will rise.

      If you don’t get robbed by rapacious private developers then you will get robbed by the public sector. Not all problems have solutions and the UK is soon to prove this maxim beyond any possible doubt.

      • freddy

        If 600,000 persons enter the UK
        each year, where will they live?

        If 600,00 persons enter the UK every year for ten years,
        where will 6,000,000 extra persons live?

        Perhaps they will live in council houses?
        Perhaps they will live on the streets in cardboard boxes?

  • Republicofscotland

    Meanwhile Catalan President Puigdemont, heads to the parliament, and prepares for his 6pm address.

    At the same time Catalan farmers flood Barcelona wuth their tractors, in an attempt to defend it if necessary.

  • Sharp Ears

    Cheltenham Book Festival – flogging books.

    Hillary Clinton to talk about loss. Aw diddums! Flogging her book What Happened’.

    Alastair Campbell ‘Diaries Volume 6: 2005–2007 From Blair to Brown’

    Stanley Johnson- Kompromat – A thriller about Brexit!

    Vince Cable – ‘Open Arms’. Political intrigue.

    About. Avoid. Avoid.

  • Dave

    Council housing is the most effective and value for money way to build social housing, but right to buy ended all council house building due to a change in the funding rules and this continued under New Labour, but was finally changed back in the last days of Gordon Brown due to the housing crisis and to win votes.

    Now councils can build council houses and right to buy has been quietly ended by replacing secure tenancies with 3-5 year contracts. The conservative aversion to council housing was because they thought it resulted in labour voters, but New Labours aversion to council housing was because it conflicted with their ambition to join the Euro-currency. I.e. council housing involved public spending, whereas housing associations and PFI housing involved private spending. And using ‘private’ money to fund public services was their way of keeping within the rules for joining the Euro-currency.

    Ironically its Brexit that allows for a big expansion in council housing, and I’m sure the conservatives will be outbid by Brexit/Bennite Labour, unless they have reverted back to Remain.

  • Republicofscotland

    Puigdemont, suspends initiating independence, for dialogue with the Spanish government.

  • Republicofscotland

    Spanish government considers Puigdemont’s speech to be a declaration of independence and is preparing to respond.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Not too far o/t – Palestine mentioned in post – fell over this article pertinent to the demonisation of HM Opposition –

    In decrying an “anti-semitism plague” in Labour, the JLM and its supporters have claimed that they are not conflating anti-semitism with anti-Zionism. But Machover’s case clearly illustrates that they are precisely doing that….

    The …process of redefining anti-semitism by the Labour party is not happening in a vacuum. Politicians and media pundits are starting to push the debate about anti-semitism in disturbing new directions more generally – and this process has accelerated since Corbyn became leader.

    Disturbing description of how the Is***l lobby is pushing its ‘crimethink’ * definition of antisemitism

    * Well worth a read:

  • Steve Uttley

    I don’t always agree with you but this hits the nail on the head. A purely token gesture for headline purposes with nothing behind it. 5,000 houses per year is an insult not a housing policy. A pity because I wish there was something behind it.

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