There’s three disparate stories in the news today, and it’s nice that things aren’t being dominated by expenses or the death of a celebrity, and seemingly the expenses of a dead celebrity.
First up, Labour has announced a new housing policy, pledging to build more homes and give councils the right to prioritise placements for local people. The BBC news site states that “Downing Street said it would mean “new flexibilities” for local authorities in response to the “perception”‘ that the current system is unfair.” The BBC continues that this is seen as a response to the rise in support for the BNP.
What’s upsetting about this announcement is that it’s just words; and the wrong sort of words at that. Barnsley local council has said that there is no need for the new “flexibilities”, because of the 1,069 homes allocated in the past year, 1,068 of them went to local people. That’s the best argument against the BNP, statements of fact, not statements which play in to the hands of bigots. By announcing this ‘policy’, rather than giving the truth, Labour is feeding the idea that preferences are given when they quite patently are not.
This is made even more unsettling when David Cameron cautions Labour about the kind of language they chose to employ, warning that the “British Jobs For British People” campaign only serves to promote the causes of the fringe parties. Things are slightly askew; not least because these new homes are going to be paid for with money already earmarked for health and education. A foot on the ladder is seemingly more important than a vigorous foot or the ability to spell ladder.
At a time when the country is being prepared for so much belt-tightening it may make our balls burst, leave it to the Windsors to plead hunger, and brazenly approach the top table to ask for more. The Queen wants a 150 per cent increase in civil list spending, arguing that it’s unfair she has to use her own money to pay the bills*. She’s asking for 20 million quids to stuff in the Privy Purse, every bloody year. But it’s okay, because it only cost us each 69 pence a year to keep her in castles and crowns.
And then there’s Bernie Madoff, who has been sentenced to 150 years for hoodwinking credulous investors. In all he defrauded them of about £40 billion, but that’s fine, it has only cost every one on Earth six pounds each to keep him in castles and crowns. We could have used that £40 billion to build 780,000 starter homes, or finance the royal family for another 200 years, or just pissed it down the toilet instead.
*It’s not actually her own money, it’s the money she’s squirreled away over the past decade from the civil list cash she’s been overpaid.