Latest post on Left Futures

Even the Tories’ naked bribery has now gone pear-shaped

Conference pear with Tory logoThere is a very noticeable difference between the way that the Tories and Labour have conducted this election.

The Tories have used the twin-prong approach: personal vilification which has proved counter-productive and now blatant giveaways (of other people’s money) to try to produce a false feel-good factor. However, no serious policy proposals for the country’s increasingly dire social and economic problems, especially the triple deficit problem of a budget deficit of nearly £100bn, a balance of payments deficit of over £100bn, and a productivity deficit that means living standards can’t rise.

Labour on the other hand has, rightly, refrained from vilification (however tempting it might be) and confined itself to a widening series of positive policy proposals which do connect with people’s understanding with what’s badly wrong – on energy bills, rent levels, housing supply, low pay, zero hours contracts, bedroom tax, NHS privatisation, mansion tax and non-doms, industrial scale tax avoidance, and so on. But even when the Tories in increasing desperation are selling off not only the family silver but the kitchen sink, it’s still coming out as ill-thought-through, impractical and unjust.

The Tories are even condemned out of their own mouth: the hapless (and hopeless) former Tory housing minister wrote in a letter 18 months ago that:

If housing associations are obliged to consistently sell off their stock at less than market value, they might find it difficult to borrow which could impact adversely on their repair and maintenance programmes and affect the future provision of affordable housing. The government does not consider that it would be reasonable to require housing associations to sell these properties at a discount. Any increase to the discount available under the Right to Acquire would only be possible through upfront central government subsidy, potentially incurring a high liability for the public purse”.

Well, well, well. 18 months later the Tories offer unfunded discounts of £102,700 in London and £77,000 in the rest of England. It’s amazing what a difference an election can make.

Then there’s the bribery of selling off the Lloyds shares below market value. First, there’s the real question of whether Lloyds (and RBS) should be returned to the private sector at all for the very good reason that the banks cannot be trusted in an open market system – there’s been minimal regulation since the 2008-9 crash, derivatives remain the dark and dangerous heart of the City of London, the shadow banking system is unregulated, and the Big 4 banks are now 50% bigger than when they were ‘too big to fail’ 6 years ago.

But second, there’s a more fundamental question of whether public property can be sold off at a discount/given away on the cheap/franchised or outsourced to the private sector as though it were a free gift. Private property belongs to individuals, public property belongs to the nation or the community as a whole, not to the government of the day to fritter away to secure a cheap partisan advantage.

4 Comments

  1. swatantra says:

    Surely HA’s are under a duty to get the best market price. Of course the Govt and Taxpayer, ie you and me will have to step in and make up the difference. Its a bribe, playing on peoples greed.

    1. Robert says:

      No Housing association in the main sue money given to them by Government or Councils.

      Housing Associations.

      You can apply to buy your housing association home if you’ve had a public sector landlord for 5 years. These landlords include:

      housing associations
      councils
      the armed services
      NHS trusts and foundation trusts

      Eligible properties

      Your property must either have been:

      built or bought by a housing association after 31 March 1997 (and funded through a social housing grant provided by the Housing Corporation or local council)
      transferred from a local council to a housing association after 31 March 1997

      Your landlord must be registered with the Homes and Communities Agency.

      The home you want to buy must also be:

      a self-contained property
      your only or main home.

      Eligible properties

      Your property must either have been:

      built or bought by a housing association after 31 March 1997 (and funded through a social housing grant provided by the Housing Corporation or local council)
      transferred from a local council to a housing association after 31 March 1997

      Your landlord must be registered with the Homes and Communities Agency.

      1. swatantra says:

        Who eats pears these days? Not me. Pears are a questionable fruit.

  2. David Pavett says:

    The Tories are indeed showing multiple signs of desperation with their last minute offers. So what has to be explained is why Labour is unable to pull clearly ahead?

    Brentford and Isleworth is a must win seat for Labour. And yet the Labour candidate has been videod (it’s on YouTube, and unsurprisingly on the Telegraph website) being unable to xplain the basic ideas of Labour’s manifesto. Is this laps perhaps an indications of the shallowness and lack of any substantial vision which lies at the root of Labour’s inability to make real headway. Ruth has a very long track record as a leading local councillor and therefore has a lot of experience of explaining Labour policies. I have no reason to believe that she is not as able as at least the average Labour candidate. I see her “brain fade” as having at least as much to do with the uninspiring and often wrong-headed nature of the manifesto as with individual memory issues.

© 2018 Left Futures | Powered by WordPress | theme originated from PrimePress by Ravi Varma