Brighton houses costs 10 times salary

How many times her salary?

Lucky she bought before the prices went berserk

Property prices are recovering we’re told…….at last ay!?

‘Recovering” is an estate agent term meaning increasing ludicrously and there is concern that we are developing another bubble. The government publish figures showing the average House Price/Earnings ratio for areas of England. Sorting this by the 2013 figure it looks like Kensington and Chelsea is the most expensive with average house price just over 27 times the average salary. But even Hackney is around 10 times. But don’t stop at London. Brighton and Hove is around 10 times average salary, Cambridge just over 8 and if you want to get under 4 times you will have to go and live in Hull!

I had started to come around to the idea that London is becoming like New York. Property there is very expensive, everybody knows that and they’ve just got used to it. Londoners too, will have to accept that living in shoe boxes is the new normal. However, a quick check of some stats by Forbes magazine reveals that the Median Home Price to Median Annual income in 2012 for New York overall is 5.2, about the same as Preston in England! Or about half the price of Hackney and about one sixth the price of Kensington and Chelsea.

But British property pundits regard all this as acceptable. Apparently it’s OK for someone to pay their entire salary for 11 years for somewhere to live. Or half their salary for 22 years. Or a third of their salary for 33 years. And so on. Either this bubble must burst or we are selling our kids into indentured servitude. Nominally our kids will be free citizens (able to pay taxes, die in wars etc) but if they stop working for more than a few days then they’ll be homeless.

The word is that much of the cause of the high prices in London is from Johnny Foreigner who wants somewhere safe to park his money while the global economy is going sideways. Last August This Is Money reported that “foreign investors snap up 70% of all central London new build homes fuelling a surge in prices”. British business’ obsession with London and the mass immigration under New Labour can’t have helped. Luckily our politicians have woken up to the obscene prices of housing and are addressing the problem with imaginative new policies…..oh, no wait….they haven’t have they……..The FT reported today that the instability in Ukraine and the threatened sanctions are causing East European oligarchs to snap up London property. Oh well then. Our kids are screwed.

The full list can be found here. (Table 577)

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Professionalisation of Politics – Labour sign Axelrod

Same bollocks but now sent direct to your phone

Same bollocks but now sent direct to your phone

Labour have engaged Bill Clinton’s old political consultant David Axelrod on a six figure salary to be their strategic adviser. Good grief! Just what they need. Another spin doctor!

Margaret Thatcher is said to have been the first UK leader to employ a spin doctor but New Labour put the idea into hyperdrive with the likes of Alistair Campbell and Peter Mandelson. During the New Labour years I was angered at the flagrant gibberish trotted out by Mr. Mandelson during interviews. He would start a sentence, introduce a clause, introduce a sub-clause and then wander off into nowhere and if the interviewer tried to bring him back to the point he would behave as if this were the height of bad manners. He trained Gordon Brown to attempt this and there is a fantastic bit of footage showing Brown driveling on to BBC political journalist Nick Robinson and then Mandelson looming up to the camera and grinning as if to say: Yes, we’re TALKING BOLLOCKS, you know it, I know it but there is nothing you can do about it.

I even remember Mandelson stating “politics is about spelling out your policies” – No it isn’t, that’s marketing, that’s communications. Politics is primarily about setting policy and that is what Labour in opposition have failed to do.

The utter contempt that Mandelson showed for the public appalled me. While Blair cozied up to the mega-corporations and Brown continued to borrow even during the boom years, New Labour’s arrogance led them to assume that they could do anything they liked and trot out any old bullshit as justification. (45 minutes my arse!).
I applauded when New Labour were toppled and hoped that we had seen the end of this nonsense. Of course the shiny new Tory leader started spinning before getting into power. He changed the Tory logo to a little tree. Remember that? A quick look at the Tory web site reveals it’s been changed again to something a little more traditional.

But then we had the MP expenses scandal and the media phone tapping and the results of the Hillsborough inquiry and the pedophilia in the Catholic Church. It seemed that the whole establishment had been caught with its trousers down and no matter how much they spun the web just tightened around their throats.

So, with faith in politicians at a low and with no clear political winners I thought that we had come off that peak of contempt for the general public and that politicians now understood that talking the talk was not enough, they had to walk the walk.

But, oh dear. The Labour front bench. The Ed and Ed show. The Pinky and Perky of British politics. Both continue to base their opposition to the Tories on presentation over content. Their policies are oh so obviously contrived by the marketing department. Not so much “What do we believe in” but “What can we say that will win us votes”. Remember when Balls and Milliband could not open their mouths without saying the word “failure”? Eds obviously thought that if they said “failure” often enough we’d start associating it with Tories but we just associated it with anyone named Ed. And, oh GOD! Who on Earth thought that Douglas Alexander should be in the shadow cabinet? Nothing to say but wont shut up about it. The Labour leadership are a bunch of salesmen but they have nothing to sell. Just watch this video where Ed Milliband gives identical answers to five different questions.

All this emphasis on the “message” over policy comes about because our politicians are professionals. They have studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at University, they have worked for older politicians and they now understand the mechanisms of power without ever having done anything in their lives which would give them any understanding of the real world. When Ed Milliband talks about “families who work all the hours that God sends” he is talking in the abstract. He has no experience of these people any more than the rest of our political elite. Cameron and Osborne have not worked in mines or in factories. Clegg has never worked in a call centre. None of the current lot have worked as union representatives, charity workers, doctors, programmers, supermarket workers or taxi drivers. Just as bad, none have ever been captains of industry or entrepreneurs or bankers in The City. Their experience of life is gained through reviewing reports and statistical analyses. They study us like we are bacteria in a petri dish and no more empathise with our lives than a scientist empathises with a lab rat.

This week even The Economist ran an article which finished: “The risks of promoting awkward talent and sacking the spin doctor are obvious……..but the alternative….is worse. It is to become ever more ingenious, hated and irrelevant”. Labour seem oblivious. They think that hiring a bigger better media wonk from across the pond will hand them power on a plate. They’ll figure out what to do with power once they’ve got it.

This is why Nigel Farage is like a breath of fresh air. People like him even if they don’t agree with him. They like him because his arguments are reasoned and sincere. They like him because his reactions are human and appear in stark contrast to the rows of pre-programed pillocks who front the other parties.

In the recent debates between Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg it was interesting to note that the question of how much legislation the UK receives from the EU came up twice. In the first debate Farage quoted 75% and Clegg 7%. The topic arose again in the second debate only this time Farage had had the sense to research Clegg’s figure of 7% and had discovered this was for primary legislation and the very same document quoted an overall amount of about 50%. When confronted with this Clegg could only lamely restate his figure of 7%.

Clegg had come on telly to use his PPE erudition to dismiss a jumped up oik but was not on top of his brief. A researcher had obviously given him the 7% figure and he didn’t care where it had come from. He believed in the EU as an article of faith and used statistics as weapons of rhetoric not constituents of rational argument.

So, given New Labour’s appalling record on spin. Given the abject failure of the Ed & Ed show. Given Cameron’s ludicrous efforts to emulate Blair’s spin by dog sledding around Lapland. Given that Clegg’s professionalism was demolished by Farage’s charisma and homework. Given the massive discrediting of the whole British establishment. Given the fact that the UK is amongst the top 7 most unequal society in the world, with the rich hoarding power and the rest of us herded around by “nudge theory” embedded in a massive and ubiquitous marketing machine. On TV, on the radio, on billboards, on football pitches, on smart phones (on this blog site!) Everywhere we look the political/industrial complex is exhorting us that the only way out of our economic problems is more of the same. Work more, consume more and to hell with the planet.

Given the disillusionment of the British public with professional politics, what do Labour do? Do they have a policy rethink? Do they take a step backward toward socialism? Do they take a step forward with radical new policies?

No. They outsource marketing to America. You couldn’t make it up.

Why not just hand the Palace of Westminster over to Price Waterhouse Coopers and be done with it?

 

Roses

Roses

Cook

I saw this shop in Church Road today. Pre-cooked meals for your freezer. Seems like a good idea. Why should ready meals be limited to Indians and Chinese? Open ’till 7pm weekdays. Prices seem OK. Four quid for a Lasagne. Haven’t tried it yet. They deliver too. Excellent. Phone the shop, then bung it in the microwave when it arrives. Basil Fawlty would have loved it!

Cook

Cook

I’m thinking of voting UKIP…..

Why?

Why?

The other day I told a friend that I am against further mass immigration to the UK and she gasped. This was tantamount to racism! Well, it gets worse. I’m thinking of voting UKIP!

For decades I have voted either Liberal (now Liberal Democrat) or Green. The Tories are the party for the elite and old Labor were too engrossed in a failing ideology. New Labor betrayed the working class and put Thatcherism on steroids. Further, I have always respected what I perceived as the calm rationalism of many Liberals with their emphasis on liberty and pragmatism.

William

Liberty

To quote Sir William Harcourt, former 19th century Liberal Home Secretary and Chancellor:

“Liberty does not consist in making others do what you think right. The difference between a free Government and a Government which is not free is principally this—that a Government which is not free interferes with everything it can, and a free Government interferes with nothing except what it must. A despotic Government tries to make everybody do what it wishes, a Liberal Government tries, so far as the safety of society will permit, to allow everybody to do what he wishes. It has been the function of the Liberal Party consistently to maintain the doctrine of individual liberty. It is because they have done so that England is the country where people can do more what they please than in any country in the world”

Even when Labour accused the Liberal Democrats of betrayal by raising tuition fees I did not flinch. The Liberals didn’t win the election but were a junior partner in a coalition and so could not dictate the agenda and most of the people screaming betrayal did not vote Liberal. If they had prized low tuition fees so much they should have put their vote where there mouth is.

I don’t say that I love the Liberals, just that they seem the best of a bad lot. The fact that they are pro-Europe did not bother me as, very broadly, so was I.

But for some time now I have believed that England, and London in particular, are ludicrously over-crowded. There are too many of us. The roads and trains are horrendously congested, house prices are obscene and gradually, what was once spare communal space is being converted into private concrete structures.

Here’s the point: Though mass immigration may drive up national GDP it does not necessarily drive up GDP per capita and even GDP per capita does not place value on shared communal “goods” such as open space, personal space and time not spent standing on railway platforms freezing your fucking nuts off. In 2014 I may be richer in material goods than my grandparents but I am much poorer in space and in time.

However. I value free movement in Europe and can see that commons rules, a cosmopolitan society and various other Euro-paraphilia are advantages so I had thought that congestion is just a price I have to pay. Up until now I have accepted the pro-Europe stance. The world is coalescing into large power blocks. In a world of super powers Europe needs to stick together. We are economically and politically better off as we can get better deals if we negotiate as a united block. Sounds reasonable.

So what’s changed?

What’s changed is the abject failure of the leader of the main pro-EU party to mount any reasoned defense of the UK’s membership of the EU. What’s changed is that rather than Nick Clegg seeking to convince me with rational debate, he sought to bamboozle me with deceitful statistics, absurd slurs and patronizing rhetoric. (Try saying “wind the clock back” one more time Nick). Far from being a reasoned pragmatist I can see he is another arrogant establishment know-it-all who thinks the public are too stupid to understand the truth. He was TALKING BOLLOCKS and could quite easily have fitted in New Labour along with so many current MPs of all parties.

Of course there are right wing racist in Britain that we should be wary of and since parties like the BNP are going nowhere it’s probably true that some of these people will switch the UKIP.

But I am becoming increasingly aware of a different and equally distasteful form of bigotry that goes un-criticised, overlooked and is now so prevalent that it is acceptable even for national politicians. It is the bigotry of the Left. One only has to read the comments to articles in The Guardian or The Independent to recognise the hysterical and hate filled lunatics which slaver over each article attempting to connect Farage with Putin or brand the Tories as racists for daring to even consider an immigration policy. Many of the articles in these papers are not much better and some Labour MPs treat the allegation of racism like a dog smelling the blood of an injured animal. They throw the term racist about without thought and now even insist that merely wanting Britain to be out of the EU is racist. This is deeply stupid and deeply insulting to a nation that has accepted millions of people from all over the world.

Of course we should be wary of populist parties given what happened in Europe in the ’30s but populism is not a definite indicator of fascism. For years British politics was dominated by the Tories and the Liberals until the newly populist Labour party were propelled into power in the 1920s. Also, the main goal of Nigel Farage is merely a referendum on EU membership which, incidentally, should have been conducted before the Maastricht Treaty was signed. If a referendum were now held then, one way or another, UKIP’s raison d’être should evaporate.

I had heard much of the argument between Farage and Clegg before but Farage made one new statement that made me think. When the European Economic Community (EEC) was formed the world was comprised of separate countries with industries protected by trade tariff barriers. The creation of the EEC was a way to create a large free trade zone which encouraged trade and promoted prosperity. Partly because of the example of the EEC the whole world is tearing down trade barriers and entering free trade agreements. Given this, how did political union get onto the agenda?

Farage made some excellent arguments against EU membership but there are reasons in favour that Clegg (and mindless left-wing bigots) seem too stupid to discuss. However, I no longer believe that British membership of the EU is good by default. I need to be convinced and am  having a rethink. Prior to the upcoming election for the European Parliament in May I intend to do some research and perhaps the pro-European lobby will find someone who knows what the fuck they’re talking about.

It’s said that the main reason for “ever closer union” was to put an end to the devastating conflicts between Germany and France. Very good. That’s their reason for remaining in the EU.

What’s ours?

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