Monday, 28 May 2007

Hodge podge

Margaret Hodge MP has got away with racist comments, bringing shame on the country and joy to the BNP. Labour has failed to censure her or remove the whip. When a Tory last month (Patrick Mercer MP (1)) made a racist statement, he was sacked. Should Labour get away with this? Unfortunately we don't have an effective opposition. Hodge spoke of families 'who have lived in the area for three generations'(2) being given preference, what else can she mean but white people, as non white immigration in large numbers started in 1948.

Hodge has also confused two issues, immigration and housing. Council housing has been sold of in large amounts since Thatchers day, a policy continued under Blair (3). If Labour have been continuing to sell of the old stock and not building new isn't it clear who is the cause of shortages, and it is not immigrants.

Gordon Brown commissioned Kate Barker a couple of years ago to look into the problem (4), she said build homes on a massive scale, they haven't been building them and are now in trouble, but was she right? If they had built on the scale she suggested we would be in even more trouble, with increased pressure on the environment and limited resources. In the same week we've also seen the failure of the government to encourage home insulation as HIPS is being shelved and portrayed as another stealth tax,

Did Kate Barker come to the correct conclusion, or merely one convenient to house builders who donated money to the big parties? Did she consider the empty homes, and empty office blocks that could be converted to homes? Did she look at regional economic differences, the South has an overheating economy leading to housing shortages while other parts of the country see homes worth £5000 (5) and streets with empty homes? While businesses are free to set up where they wish, the authorities have tools they can use to redress the balance. Years ago the Driving Licence Authorities were relocated to Wales, why not do this with other civil servants in the South East and London? Who would shed a tear if some of the Tax people moved to Newcastle, Cumbernauld or Hull? This would at least reduce the pressure.


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