Ed Miliband Housing

Margaret Miliband

You have to give it to Miliband, he does put a rabbit out of his hat at every big conference speech.
Credit where credit is due, he is pretty good at this.
Last year he led the political weather by promising a crazily dumb policy on freezing energy prices, with the potential to lead to early price hikes for consumers and supply issues – as if the total mismanagement of energy supply under the 13 years of Labour government hadn’t done enough to damage the energy market.
Hilariously ironic that he raised this as an issue given that Ed Miliband himself did most to increase energy bills all by himself in the name of climate change.
Remember – not one new power station built under Labour from 1997 to 2010, despite the relatively benign economic conditions for most of that time.
This is a useful graphic to see how and when energy prices increased:
Onto this year, and you won’t believe this but Red Ed is evoking the spirit of none other than…as you may have guessed from the title – Margaret Thatcher.
Copied straight from the Margaret Thatcher textbook is the speech’s probable headline to build up to 200,000 more new homes every year – albeit only to be reached by 2020.  Also using new home corporations, forcing companies to use land or lose it and also a new generation of garden cities.
This is clever politics.  I don’t think any of this is new policy from Labour but to lead on it and evoke the spirit of Thatcher is a clever ruse to appeal to the floating voters.
But can you trust Labour on housing?  History says no – even the Guardian harshly criticise the previous Labour administration.
This simple chart shows how population growth shot up under Labour (open door policy – another blog for another time!) and house-building didn’t keep up.
But even more shockingly given the demographic that Labour are supposed to support – only 6,330 council houses were completed in the 13 years that Labour were in charge.  Mrs Thatcher built 17,710 in 1990 alone.
Then again my beloved Tories don’t exactly have a lot to shout about either so far this parliament.  Yes, planning rules have been relaxed – lessening the burden of Labour’s regulation upon home-builders – one particularly interesting policy is that of being able to turn unused town centre offices into flats, something that is being put to good use here in the town on Reading, where I live.
However nowhere near enough is being done to increase the supply of housing, for both the wannabe home-owning classes, particularly the under 35’s – and also social housing for those in need.
I wrote to the Tory party early a few years back to try to encourage them to take housing as seriously as the economy in general, as this is not only a vote-winner but a really significant problem on many levels.  Possibly the biggest problem facing the UK outside of our debt.
I believe in market solutions, however I also believe that government should step in where markets fail.  Markets are clearly failing to build enough houses to meet demand, and have failed for around 2 decades, so my policy suggestion is for the government to set a target for each year, and any undersupply would then subsequently be funded and built by government.
My expectation is that this would nudge builders to make more use of their land and get the necessary houses built without much, or hopefully any building from government.
I would set a target of 200,000 at first and 250,000 by 2020.  Should recession occur then the target would be temporarily relaxed.
I like the garden city idea –I particularly like the idea that won the Wolfson economics prize recently to see 80,000 homes added in 40 towns and cities, including my home town of Reading.  It’s a shame the housing minister has dismissed the idea.
Controversially we should also build on 2% of the green belt.  It isn’t that much.  Housing is more important than 2% of the green belt.
With regards to social housing, I would like to see local authorities being able to borrow against future rents to build more where there is legitimate demand for social housing – for those in need, not those in want.  There was a change in this direction in the Autumn statement last year but more could be done.
I doubt the parties will be too far apart on their manifesto pledges come 2015 on the subject of housing but I know who I trust to deliver.
Housing and energy are just two of the many areas that Labour failed for us between 1997 and 2010.  It wasn’t just the economy that they trashed.
But don’t worry, Ed is going to create a million green jobs.   A ha ha ha ha ha ha!  Once he has destoyed millions of non-green jobs.
(Apologies that I do not have access to Photoshop at work, and my lunchtime has run out so please blend them together in your mind).
Kick Them Oooot Scottish Independence Vote Yes

Should We Kick Scotand Out?

If you are anything like me, you will have been bored sick of the independence debate around a year ago.
So I am not going to go over the same old arguments.  This is a fledgling blog.  I don’t yet have a readership to bore.  So I am going to flip the tables and ask – should we kick out Scotland?
The first thing that stands out and it is a massive point, is that if we kicked them out, there would be around 40 less Labour MPs in Westminster.  That means no more Gordon Browns, no more Alastair Darlings, no more Douglas Alexanders, no more Jim Murphys (you have heard of him I assume?).
It means that in 2010 there would have been a Tory majority.  There would very likely be one in 2015.  And 2020.  At worst a coalition with the Lib Dems.  Right now, Nick Clegg could still be the most popular leader of a political party.
And most importantly – the chance of a huge recession like the recent one – the greatest since the 1920’s, is much reduced.  Sure there will be recessions, the economy is a natural cycle, but nothing like as cataclysmic as Labour gave us.
The only chance of a Labour victory in future elections would be if the Tories really tore themselves apart and the public were hoodwinked by another Blair type figure.
However, if we kicked them out, it would leave them with a very smug Alex Salmond as their leader.  Salmond is a grade A prick.  A nasty, lying, smug prick and I cannot stand him.  However he will exist whether we kick them out or not.
He leads a nasty, vicious group of intimidating bullies who are clearly very good at fighting.
The Scots seem to love a fight.  But I am not just talking pub fights after 10 pints.  They have a fearsome reputation gained in battle, such as the World Wars, and more recent battles such as Kosovo and Iraq.  It would be far better to keep them on our side – the armed forces that are regimented in Scotland have an excellent reputation.  This is clearly a vote to keep Scotland.
Further to that the Scots are funny.  Not as in ha ha look at Alex Salmond’s economic policies, but comedians and comediennes.  They might have a slightly dour accent but that just helps in their delivery of humour.  From Frankie Boyle, to Danny Bhoy, Alun Cochrane, The Krankies and Ronnie Corbett, and to the ordinary man in the street, they know how to tell a joke.  And of course, the home of Edinburgh festival.  We all need a laugh.  Though pictures of Ed Miliband eating a bacon sandwich are always hilarious and may suffice.
Yeah I know I missed out Billy Connelly and Rory Bremner.
I do really quite like the bagpipes.  Not in my face all the time but a wee snippet of bagpipes when I am in Hull city centre at Christmas is most delightful.  And the Scots are pretty good at techno too – Slam and Dave Clarke come to mind instantly.
Food is more of a mixed bag.  Haggis is actually quite nice – better than a Cornish Pasty but give me a Lincolnshire sausage roll any day.  Their love of deep-frying random food objects such as Mars Bars and deep-fried butter balls (yes these do exist) has to be commended, though kicking the Scots out will make our life expectancy figures look better.  And one definitely cannot forget salmon.  I do love a piece of salmon.  Not to be confused with that smug prick.
One worry for the future is FIFA’s desire to have all 4 separate UK states playing as one nation.  So getting rid of the Scots would mean that we would not have to go into any stupid quota system like having one token Scottish player in a future UK football team – we could simply have English players and Gareth Bale.
On the subject of sport, if we got rid of the Scottish, at least we wouldn’t have to pretend to support Andy Murray.  We had our moment of glory when he won, and now he is no longer likely to win we don’t need him.
A clear pattern has emerged here, in that if it were judged on the people alone, then we would not kick Scotland out of the United Kingdom.  The people are mostly warm and wonderful, funny and like a fight.
However there is more to a country than the people.  Whilst ejecting them so they create their own country would mean having to suffer Alex Salmond as the leader of our closest neighbour, we will at least be able to have the last laugh when it all goes tits up Ireland/Iceland-style.
I come back to my very first point – 40 less Labour MPs.  We saw what destruction they rode in their 13 years in charge, not only on the economy, but on health, education and society at large and we should do all we can to remove that risk for the future of our children.
So with a heavy heart, I am voting to dump Scotland out of the United Kingdom.
If an independent Scotland one future year is celebrating Margaret Thatcher day with great enthusiasm and reverence, then perhaps we can discuss being better together (I am so going to use the ‘better together’ line on the ladies when I am next out).  Especially if they discover a new oilfield worth having.  But whilst the risk of socialist destruction remains, we must be strong and kick out Scotland.
Vote YES.  Kick them OOOOOOT.
ps Click here to see a naked photo of Gordon Brown.

New Blog Introduction

Sometimes I stare longingly into Maggie’s eyes, and after a recent night out, she communicated with me.  “James.  We need you in the battle for 2015.  We must not let the socialists back in.  Socialism must be eradicated.”
I questioned how it could be possible that I could be the deciding factor towards the Conservatives gaining a majority in 2015 and remaining in charge for the foreseeable future, after all, I am just a Conservative voter from Hull.
Then it came to me – I am the only Tory from Hull.
It is fair to suggest that the Conservative party can get a bad press, unfairly in my opinion, mainly for being a party for the rich, for the landowners, for the heads of business.
I cannot deny that it is in the interests of rich folk to vote Conservative – that is true.  However I will argue in my blog that it is in the interest of all folk that want to get on in life, that have ambition, that want to succeed, to have a Conservative government.  All those that want to maximise opportunity, those that want to own property and/or run businesses – whilst looking after those in need but not those that cannot be bothered and providing the function of governments where markets will not.
In many ways, I am not your stereotypical Tory.  I am not rich.  I am not from the south or from the countryside.  I have never ridden a horse.  I love immigration.  I went to a shit school.  A really, really shit school.  I have done shit jobs.  I use public transport.  I don’t own land or even a house, in fact I own nothing but a wardrobe-full of CDs.  I earn less than the median wage.
But Maggie was not your stereo-typical Tory.  William Hague isn’t.  Boris isn’t.  I am not.
There are many strands of Conservatism.  I am of the more liberal-minded strain with a strong focus on allowing the economy to breath with as little interference in the markets as possible, and as little control over people’s lives as possible.  I will outline my political beliefs in greater detail, subject by subject, over the coming months.
My aim over the course of this blog, is to show that us Conservative voters are caring, kind, unselfish individuals who want the best for all in society.  I will criticise as well as compliment, and give my opinion on the direction of future policy, not to mention ongoing issues and the personalities within the party.
Further to that, I will be espousing my rather ‘uncool’ opinion that politicians of all stripes are 99% of the time, honourable, decent people, with strong beliefs in how to make our country better, making personal sacrifices for the greater common good whilst taking on huge commitments and responsibility for relatively low pay.
I hope that you will enjoy reading and I look forward to the occasional discussion.  Or even better, the occasional disagreement.
Maggie Forever.