[Ben Reeve Lewis expresses his views on politicians …...]
Yes folks its silly season again.
That time in the last ditch run up to an election when politicians start making rash and desperate promises which exposes to one all what they are really like. Wheedling, conniving, desperate conmen.
Jumping up and down like needy children shouting “Please, please sir….pick me…pick me”.
Why do we take them seriously?
It always mystifies me why we dignify them with reasoned consideration of their ideas or fluff them up with serious TV interviews that we then discuss in earnest.
John Cleese once said “What’s astonishing is why we don’t all throw rocks at them” and at this time of year I too am astonished as once again their true colours are laid bare for all to see, before the matter gets settled and their image returns to sober suits discussing sober matters of great importance.
On selling off the social housing stock
Spoof newspaper Newsthump got their measure this week with a hilarious story entitled “Rough sleepers given right to buy their cardboard boxes” in response to stories elsewhere that Cameron says if you pick him he will introduce the right to buy for housing association tenants as well
To which top lawyer Giles Peaker commented that there could be serious human rights challenges to the plan.
The Office of National Statistics also commented that the forced sale of housing association stock could add £60 billion to the national debt.
Regular readers will know I’m going to stay away from that last argument given my legendary grasp of the intricacies of finance and a ‘Janet & John’ level of competency with numbers but I do get the human rights angle, which is most ably summed by Giles when he says:
“I’m not sure that the Conservatives have considered the legal implications at all. It’s an astonishing proposal that will force a private owner to sell its property to another private owner. It’s a slow motion catastrophe.”
Legally the possible breach would be of Article 1 of the ECHR – “The right to peaceful enjoyment of the home” further complicated by the point raised by Housing association chief Keith Jenkins who suggests that forced sale of stock without 100% compensation would be ‘Disproportionate’ when viewed in the light of the ECHR.
Solicitor Charlotte Cook of Winckworth Sherwood added to the mix:
“Giving away charitable assets at a discount is not currently allowed. Charity trustees, or board members, have a duty not to dispose of assets for less than their fair value. Trustees can be personally liable if they allow this”.
So whatever way you look at, its just another ill thought out desperate bid to get another 5 years in office regardless of the consequences to the nation they are supposed to be protecting.
Perhaps its Newsthump’s article which best sums up the insanity of the situation:
“Boxes that previously would have been snatched off a market stall have been changing hands for up to five hundred pounds or six bottles of Premium Highland Malt. Homeless man Simon Williams said ‘I’ve been sharing my current box under Waterloo Bridge with my elderly parents and things can get a little cramped from time to time’”.
House of straw
If buying your own cardboard box doesn’t appeal then how about “Cob building”? No I’d never heard of it myself either but apparently its about building your own house out of mud and straw, a building method with much to commend it given the current state of the market [they did some on Grand Designs – Ed].
A three bed house would set you back about £25,000, so all joking aside its an attractive prospect.
Norfolk based Charlotte Eve runs classes in how to do it:
“You dig your foundations on site and you use the clay from that foundation trench to make your walls. It’s very environmentally friendly and it’s also cheap – cheap in terms of construction costs and also in terms of heating the finished home.”’
I’ve always fancied living by the sea so I think I might investigate the feasibility of building a sandcastle to live in. I can’t see a problem with that unless any readers can think of any pitfalls I may have missed.
Speaking of beaches the Telegraph caught my eye with this great story about a £15 million house painted like a beach hut which has apparently outraged the neighbours of Kensington after the owner went all stripey following a row with planners.
The Tele saying:
“Rather than fitting in with the other Georgian townhouses, the three storey property resembled a garish football strip with eight inch wide red and white stripes covering the entire front.”
The owner had wanted to dig out a massive basement but neighbours resisted.
You will recall that I wrote about the growth in ‘Dig Downs’ a couple of weeks ago along with the concomitant rise in objections to the disruption that even Robbie Williams has fallen foul of.
I loved the comments of 18 year old student and neighbour Saskia Moyle who said:
“It’s a real monstrosity- it sounds bad to say that it isn’t very Kensington but it just looks so weird.”
Probably clashes with her Gucci handbag.
Speaking of bizarre neighbours Property 118 ran a query from a member this week who lives in a medieval house next door to a 94 year old pyromaniac neighbour who lights 50 candles every night on the basis that candles are how medieval houses are supposed to be lit.
I’m sure Tony Robinson and Time Team would approve but not the other residents due to the three fires that have broken out in the last 11 months.
A curious problem indeed and I’ve mediated in my fair share of weird ones.
What made me smile this week
The Landlord Law Conference in Cambridge on Tuesday. A third successful sell-out event in a row.
Great to touch base with many old acquaintances and meet some new ones.
The attendees are all the sorts of landlords and agents you hope proliferate out there as opposed to the ones I have to deal with who see no profit in getting themselves educated about their business.
Even though they all know what I do for a living, (so in a sense I should be the anti-christ), they still chat and laugh with me, tolerating my often barbed and sarcastic Newsrounds, more than a couple commenting that they always look forward to their weekly, Friday dose.
And its at #200 now…wow
See ya next week.