Sunday, 27 May 2007

We know Hodge is a Barking MP, but...

...a grain of logic does occur in parts of what Margaret Hodge says - it is more measured than what the disingenuous Alan Johnson has said in reply.

Do not get me wrong, I do not wish to endorse Hodge, for I do suspect she was told what to say by someone (I suspect a Brownite lackey suggesting she walks towards a political cliff-edge) and that it contains much that I do not "agree" with due to it being an argument on territory and terms I do not wish to fight over.

I noted that the Labour talking head on the BBC Daily Politics, Fri 25th May, was very careful to talk only about EU economic migrants as part of his rubbishing of Hodge's point. I doubt this group is the main gripe affecting the beleaguered residents of Barking or indeed elsewhere and for them to dismiss Hodge's position was disingenuous at best. I am certain he knows what is being discussed - Council resources used to house immigrants before being used to house indigenous people.

Part of the problem is the focus on "need" and the metrics thereof which factors into the concept of "entitlement". I suspect many immigrants will cope with higher overcrowding, for example, far better than locals will and so this is used to gain a higher score in "need" terms.

What is not often discussed is:

Immigrants have chosen to arrive by free will - why should their self-generated situation be the responsibility of the State?

If someone is dependent on the State for housing, why does that enable them to claim others are dependent when applying for visas or other forms of entry? A person who is dependent is surely not able to claim that others are in turn dependent on them because in reality, by consequence, they all are dependent on the State. No, the State should be the one to decide that and the State should not be obliged to take on further "bootstrapping" dependents.

Further, anyone in State housing who has additional children is responsible for their predicament - it should not be the obligation of the State to provide them with ever greater housing.

I can see a sense of irritation if it is indeed true that Asylum Seekers are placed in private rented accomodation while the indigenous are placed in Sink Estates.

However, it is very narrow to discuss this issue on such terms. The problem is State housing or subsidised housing, period. The entire concept needs review and reform.

As I have posted before, I see nothing wrong with short term basic State housing for those who are genuinely proven to be an Asylum Seeker, but they should then switch to "commercial rates" to move them off into their own housing after, say, 6 months. There should be few places and few people that truly qualify for such status - e.g. practically nobody from E. Europe or places where a change of district or shift to a neighbouring country would not suffice.

This country has plenty of very cheap housing for the "terminally unemployed" but not where they want to be - "tough", is my response to that, frankly. Part of the problem of State housing is the very fact that it creates sink estates and often even when not, it blights the neighbourhood. Private slums can rapidly be sold on or rejuvinated if the desire or architecture permits. Voluntary groups such as Peabody do not have Sink Estates. To me this is down to the fact that to be housed by them is not a matter of "entitlement" (via forms, "need", buggins turn whatever) but of discretion.

The State is systemically incapable and pretty much by definition not able to employ the concept of discretion in such things as Welfare and housing. This then suggests the State is not the vehicle through which such things are provided.

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