No ‘story’ dear fellow housing professional. Instead take two facts and see the wood from the trees?
- Fact 1 – Building more social housing properties, that we all know and admit right across the political spectrum is needed, is NOT on any party agenda as a General Election voter issue.
- Fact 2 – The bedroom tax sees every party, apart from Tories, saying it should go because it is an issue that IS on the agenda as a GE vote winner.
Let those two facts sink in. Then do what you delude yourself you have done and think! Fact 1 is about housing in its bricks and mortar sense; Fact 2 is about people – that ‘social’ bit the deluded housing professional always prefixes the term housing with for some reason.
Ever stopped to think why the word ‘social’ comes before the word ‘housing?’ Then again that’s part rhetorical part otiose as prior to welfare reforms (sic, sic and double sic) the landlord has never HAD to know its tenant so the behavioural nudge theory central to them (downsize, take in a lodger etc) are all revolutionary back of a fag packet nuances to the we have always done it this way social (sic) landlord. How the hell are we supposed to know what the tenant will do if we have no idea of who or what the tenant is or does. We’ve never had to know that before…despite calling them customers…ahem!!
Or, as is your want, go off to a darkened room making sure you head butt the padded wall you built 30 years ago and repeat your mantra, why don’t the public see we need social housing, why don’t the public see we need social housing.
Conversely for just £9.99 per month(P&P free) I will send you my revolutionary HousingRealityPills each and every month from that world class brand STBO, a tried and tested age old cure from the greatest company of all in Stating The Bloody Obvious inc. Each 30-day pack contains soluble tablets to be taken shortly after waking and you inhale the vapours of this unique blend of arabica and ammonium carbonate and nothing more.
The bedroom tax is perhaps the ONLY issue that the electorate know about social housing. Social housing per se is not and never can be a story that is worthy to be an electoral issue. The voter knows bugger all about social housing except that White Dee lives there. They know bugger all about social housing because no one has ever told them. Social housing never has promoted itself. When it does, it comes up with HomesforBritain at the same time that Farage creates immigration hysteria as THE political issue – and then has the strapline let’s solve the housing crisis within a generation. The voter has a 25 – 33 second attention span not one of 25 – 33 years.
Hope that wall in the darkened room is well padded!
So why has the bedroom tax as the one and only social housing issue become a voter issue? It’s wrong, its immoral, its unfair and while nobody bats an eyelid if White Dee is affected it also affects Mr and Mrs Brown down the road and they’re good people who raised three lovely kids and did everything expected of a normal family and is now being taxed for the massive stroke he had from overwork. Such a shame as he was a lovely man who would always say good morning to you and now his poor wife, lovely woman too, has to look after him 24/7 and gets no help at all poor woman. That reminds me, I’ll go get some cakes and drop in after work, have a natter with her and give her a little break. Better to just drop in, the Hello, just passing Mrs Brown type of thing, as if I ring ahead her pride will make some excuse.
The bedroom tax has human interest, social housing has not as social housing is where White Dee lives according to the voter…as does Mrs Brown,a nice house she has worked hard to keep despite it being a social housing property rented from the housing association, formerly the council. The money they have ploughed into that house too and now they have to pay an extra £25 per week all because that kind and all to rare these days gentleman Mr Brown, fell ill through overwork.
The voter sees White Dee as the epitome of the social tenant not Mr & Mrs Brown down the road although they all know a Mrs & Mrs Brown. They do so because the great and the good of social housing have allowed them to have that White Dee perception through (a) inaction and the lack of promotion / marketing / branding / awareness raising of the social housing model on a proactive basis, and (b) a lack of reactive challenge to the stereotypical White Dee figure that politicians and the media love to portray.
Oh its all the fault of the coalition blame game and poverty porn then? No.
Social housing’s great and good failed to see the cultural and reputational dynamic of Right to Buy. That has seen a generation of padded walls being head butted by the great and good of housing over reducing stock and no replacement; and they did NOT see that the ‘property owning democracy’ cultural and reputational issue of merely renting makes you a second-class citizen with second-class aspirations and a second-class mentality, is just as bad if not worse.
30 years and more of inaction on that only interspersed every four year or so with THIS election is when housing will be a real issue. This time next year we’ll be millionaires Rodney!
Last week Tony Stacey, the influential head of Placeshapers said don’t assume the Labour Party are a friend of social housing. Inside Housing published this as news. That would be the same Labour party run by Ed Miliband who said three years ago that Labour got it wrong and Thatcher got it right with Right to Buy in his conference speech in Liverpool.
Now there are hard lessons here for my party which some won’t like. Some of what happened in the 1980s was right. It was right to let people buy their council houses.
I said this months before the infamous Miliband speech above and it wasn’t revelatory then. The Labour party has not supported social housing for decades yet the deluded social housing professional errantly sees some historic ethereal link with social housing and the Labour Party, and in that sense, an influential figure actually saying that in public WAS news. Yet this time lag all too typifies the speed at which social housing moves!
Oh did I say there is a free limited edition t-shirt for the first 1000 housing subscribers the SBTO HousingRealityPills offer? Highly sought after too
The chalk writing offset to the left is subtly ironic reflecting the political leanings and the puerile mentality of the housing professional with the Tate Gallery showing a high level of interest.
Seriously, the (alleged) social housing campaigns, all of them, have a great deal to learn from the bedroom tax campaign. The bedroom tax campaign has clear and simple messages. It is directed at government and the general public who shortly will be voting on it. Let’s solve the housing crisis in a generation is not a slogan to capture the imagination of the voter! Neither is “I love housing because…” and social housing will yet again NOT be an electoral issue. Nether is Shout if you haven’t a clue what message to shout and to whom to shout it to.
It’s also time, long overdue in fact, you stopped deflecting criticism and took off the Teflon suits you wear. It’s just not feasible you just keep on telling me its my fault I don’t come up with a solution and just moan all the time…yes moan and rant …you know just as you all have done for the last 30 years and more on a collective internalised basis and then you will probably moan some more when I say how about a sitcom with the del(boy)usional genre of comedy so beloved and so British though like all its needs a snappy title…… such as Only fools and houses!
Quick note for all the Dave’s and Trigger’s out there….arabica (coffee) and ammonium carbonate (smelling salts) – wake up and smell the coffee!