Woods have trees in them you know!

I must have a truly warped brain and I am getting pissed off at writing the “elephant is in the room” which many for some reason dont see.

Today’s bullshit and blinkered responses is in regard to the Cameron loving Policy Exchange think tank report that the best and most asset rich council housing be sold off to fund a massive social housebuilding programme.

This is one of those rarities, a housing story that has made the national news and the BBC website view here is revealing as to the elephant in the room.  Its a good a summary as elsewhere and frankly the idea doesnt deserve consideration anyway BUT the comments of the housing minister Grant Shapps do deserve much more consideration and they are being ignored in the comments and blogs elsewhere.

To explain the BBC (or BBC-placed) story says “Selling top homes when they become vacant would raise £4.5bn a year, enough to build 80,000 to 170,000 new social homes, providing building jobs.”  This is unadulterated Keynesianism.  Stay with that thought and then what does Shapps say: Oops I notice the BBC has updated their view at 10.26 this morning to include the alternate views of NHF and others not there before and taken out the earlier Shapps comment which was such an idea is “blindingly obvious!”

Shapps admitting that what we need is a massive building programme of new social housing is major news.   He also recognises and admits that this will have the Keynesian multiplier beneficial effect and is the ‘blindlingly obvious’ thing to do!  A Tory finally talking sense and finally admitting that we need a massive increase in social housing!  A Tory saying that the Keynesian council house building of just after WWII is the right way to go for the country and ‘blindingly obvious’ to be in the country’s best interest!!!

Perhaps he has been swayed that the £1.2bn of subsidy we invest in social housing per year – a figure he cut in half to that amount – does save the country £5.26bn per year

Yet for some reason – and no I wouldnt dream of saying Shapps’ office has had his original ‘blindingly obvious’ quote pulled! – Shapps doesnt want to put the money up does he?  Is he worrying that the huge talk of his promotion to a real cabinet post is at risk if he agrees to Keynesianism and more council housing?  God forbid I was that cynical!!  No I am much more realistic than that!

Shapps needs to put up or shut up and as he wont put up the money I was going to blog that he should shut up but it seems Conservative Central Office has beaten me to it!!  What was that IDS said yesterday…oh yes the BBC is biased against this government……ahem!!!

The “blindingly obvious” quote from Shapps was a huge political gaffe as it exposes the coalition policy toward social housing is political and not economic.  The same Shapps who admitted on the eve of the CIH conference that the affordable homes programme was a rough and ready exercise!

Note I am not decrying the hundreds of comments that the PX proposal would break up communities, would be a cleansing operation and all the other offensive aspects of the proposal that have correctly drawn scorn.  Just that even the Tory housing minister knows and admits what the known solution is but wont enact that because social housing is anathema and against the political dogma of the Tories even though they now admit it is the right course of action!!

So Minister, come on and let me know should you stay or should you go now?  Dont worry Grant old bean the opposition dont pick up on your gaffes as they are even more incompetent when it comes to seeing elephants in rooms, though if Boris is going to get the support to take over from Call Me Dave, which the rumour mill has it to be, then a gaffe prone replacement will be needed……


The Director of Policy Exchange has issued an article in the Telegraph to attempt to rationalise this nonsense.  It has a subtitle which reads

No one has a right to live in Kensington at taxpayers’ expense: it’s time to start recycling social housing

What a crock of equine anal secretion!

You will see I have emphasised ‘at taxpayers expense’ and for good reason as social housing subsidy is NOT an expense at all and its time we dispelled this myth.  As I say above the £1.2bn per year subsidy delivers a £5.26bn return for the taxpayer and so it is not an expense or cost to the taxpayer at all, in fact as I correctly say it is a net saving to the taxpayer.  The reality and fact of the matter is that this ‘subsidy’ is a simple economic invest to save programme which results in the average taxpayer saving £162 per person per year in tax.

Therefore to start an argument with this false premise means anyone stating a subsequent argument based on that error is a buffoon if we assume he is apolitical or he is giving a political polemic and hoping that Joe Public is sufficiently ignorant enough to believe this “tell-a-lie-often-enough-and-people-believe-it’ bullshit.

Given that the title of this blog is woods and trees to premise an argument based on this myth must mean that that this piece from the Director of Policy Exchange is perhaps ursine anal secretions and especially given the regularity this myth is regurgitated

Yet and it needs saying, why the Labour Party or the housing sector has not advanced the economic argument for social housing is baffling and incompetent.  In not looking at social housing in an economic light it remains in its politically engineered light as a policy for a bygone age.  But even Shapps thinks this is blindingly obvious as the correct form of action needed for the country!!





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