Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Housing: It's The State, Stupid.

We see some extraordinary nonsense from the hatchet-faced angler fish Caroline skin Flint, suggesting the unemployed be denied access to council housing.

The unemployed will gravitate towards subsidised housing, and council housing is the vast bulk of that. Who does she think will be in council housing?

Well, for me the interest is an issue behind the inanity, imbecility and general puffery of her "policy" which is being and has been well shredded in the press and on blogs. I need not go into the point that she is systematically an awful, nasty piece of work. An arrogant, robotic Blears-in-waiting sound-bite generating question swerving, ladder-kicking lickspittle of the political class. Anyone who saw her in "reset mode" during the Politics Show when she projected a reality distortion field around the question of denying some bearded hate-mongering scrote entry into the UK that the Town Clerk of Britain refused to confront should be used in evidence and played as a backdrop to her eventual air tap dance.

But I digress...

For me the real issue is the involvement of the State in housing. If the State were not landlord of last resort or a builder and operator of vast housing stocks, interfering Authoritarian rent-seekers like Flint would not be able to get her polished fingernails into people's lives in this way - it would just not be her business. The remit of the State would be about if people are entitled* to various benefits such as unemployment or housing, not to give it out with moralistic strings, or, as Samizdata's Guy Herbert coins, Moralitarianism **

This "policy" is just the tip of the evil iceberg that is Statism and the Authoritarianism that it fosters. Once you get the State "in charge" it cannot help but grab control. Once you make the State responsible you prevent people being responsible for themselves and the consequences of their actions. You infantilise people via the poisoned chalice of Welfarism. You make them dependent and thus a client. The dependency implies strings and strings ask to be tugged and teased, like some grotesque Mafia Godfather. This is no surprise. The State is Enforcer in Chief, after all.

The answer is to remove the temptation. The State should not provide vast amounts of housing directly. Look at what they become - economic deserts. If anyone uses the term 'deprived', let them know what entity, if any, does the depriving - the State. Who stops people moving from one location to the other, treating people like cattle? The State.

I believe the key to State/subsidised housing lies in a simple rule: that nobody in receipt of State benefits including housing benefit in cash or in the form of subsidised State housing should be able to increase said allocation of housing. This specifically applies to those who enlarge their families via births, marriages, taking on more "dependents"***, importing family members, bigamous foreign-wed wives or whathaveyou. If you are living in State housing with your mum and you pop a sprog, tough - there you stay. No more rooms. No separate flat. No bump up the list. You want more kids, then do what all the poor working taxpayers have to do - earn more to pay for it, squeeze up or move under your own steam.

* sorry, I hate this word.

** another term came up in that thread - "benetax" a form of tax and benefit mix loved of the FibDumbs. Sounds like a haemorrhoid cream, and quite right as that hits to me at where I think it deserves to be shoved.

*** technically they cannot be "dependents" as someone who is dependent on another - in this case the State - is not really in a position to have their own dependents in truth.


Mark Wadsworth said...

Rog, I agree with your policy that the size of council flat that you get should be decided and fixed at the time of application, and that parents should get automatically traded down into something smaller when their kids turn 18 (it went into my manifesto ages ago), but where I must differ is your description of Ms Flint as 'hatchet faced'. She's absolutely gorgeous IMHO.

John East said...

I agree with Mark. Hatchet faced was perfect for Margaret Beckett, smug dwarf fits Hazel Blears, and androgynous bigot fits Ruth Kelly, but Caroline Flint is just a babe. She can re-house me anytime.

Roger Thornhill said...

Maybe hatchet-faced was a bit strong, but she is an angler fish.

John East said...

I'll meet you half way and settle for angel fish.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Angel. Not fish.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Rog, re your comments over at mine, here is an explanation of how social housing/housing benefit fits in with Citizen's Income type welfare schemes, user charges and land value tax.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Rog, ta for comments at mine, I can't do the nitty gritty like this, we'd have to meet up.