Bit of a sorry tale this one. I have a friend who, despite being born and raised in what was Yugoslavia, is a British citizen. He’s lived here for many years, and until his retirement last year at the age of 70 was always in employment. Hence he’s paid income tax and National Insurance, not to mention rates/council tax on his beloved house in Great Dunmow, with its equally beloved garden.
Things have all gone a bit tits up for him. He is separated from his wife, and since she is still living in the family home, he found himself homeless. He spent a bit of time sleeping in his car, but at his age that’s no joke, especially as he’s a bit physically infirm*. He therefore threw himself on the mercy of his local council.
He’s currently residing in what laughably is referred to as a B&B. It’s a glorified flophouse, a notorious centre for drug dealers and alcoholics. He doesn’t belong there, but that’s where he is at the moment, and here it gets really unpleasant. He gets bitten to buggery by bed bugs every night. I did say it was a flophouse.
I wrote to my MP about his plight, while not mentioning him by name. I rather imagine that being a Toff she’s going to spring to the defence of her party’s shockingly iniquitous and inequitable policy on housing. Sadly, she doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
The shortage of council housing is a direct result of her party’s insane ideological devotion to the Right to Buy. Council tenants were allowed to buy their housing from the local authority, at knockdown prices. This meant the likes of my friend, and indeed myself, subsidised others to help them buy housing that the local government owned. It then went into private hands for evermore.
Here’s the truly insane aspect. Council were forbidden to ringfence the proceeds and use the money to build replacement housing stock. That was a clever stroke, wasn’t it?
*Nothing wrong with his brain. He does the Telegraph cryptic crossword every day, and that can stump quite a lot of people who have English as their first language.