Clones. They're old news

I have been surprised by all the fuss about cloning. Clearly, the scientists who replicated a sheep and who are now talking about the possibility of a multitude of Spice Girls are unfamiliar with executive home builders. These housing titans are light years ahead of the scientific fraternity. They have been cloning homes for decades and the fruits of their labour can be found dotted around the suburbs of metropolitan communities up and down the nation.

The reason why executive home builders have kept so quiet about their scientific breakthrough is because of the conflict cloning has with the corporate marketing strategy. Executive homes are always described as exclusive. Unfortunately, a home cannot be cloned and still be exclusive. No one would want to live in an executive clone.

What the builders have done is to disguise their scientific genius by attempting to differentiate between each property.

The advertisements run something like this. "Luxury Living at Affordable Prices. XYZ Homes are proud to announce the opening of their prestigious new development - The Beeches. Now you can enjoy the splendour of your own exclusive executive home. Choose from the luxurious Kingsbury, the spacious Queensbury or the glamorous Royale. XYZ - the first name for the last detail making your dream home a reality".

Closer examination will reveal that the Royale is a slightly smaller version of the Queensbury which, in turn, is a slightly bigger version of the Kingsbury.

Apart from the cloned exterior (red brick, grey slate) and cloned interiors (cream paint, green carpets) executive homes have a lot of other attributes in common. The most striking is that executives do not live in them. Executives live in splendid isolation; they do not live in an XYZ four-bedroom, three- bathroom (one ensuite) Queensbury home in close proximity to another 20 or so non-executives.

It is generally easier to get out of Wormwood Scrubs than it is to get into a new executive home development.

Executive home developments are meccas for mini cab firms, home delivery pizzas and the Round Table Christmas fund-raiser. This is largely on account of most executive home developments being close to nothing other than more executive home developments.

I wonder though what the executive home will do for the social fabric of our society. In streets which were built before the executive clone was invented there is a glorious and aspirational hierarchy which develops. Certain streets are better than others and, indeed, certain streets have parts which are better than other bits of the same street. Executive homes, on the other hand, are egalitarian. There is no difference between a Kingsbury and a Queensbury, the development is designed to ensure each home has exposure to equal amounts of sunshine, and there is very little difference between the Beeches development and the Oaks development a few miles away.

Does this mean that in a century's time the house as a measure of social standing will have disappeared entirely? I sincerely hope not. It is snobbery which drives the property market. It is one of the few manifestations of wealth which is not regarded as course or common. It is perfectly acceptable to invite someone to your house. It is not acceptable to invite them to inspect your collection of Personal Equity Plans.

Politicians have expressed their nervousness about the spread of cloning, and on the experience of the executive home their concerns are justified.

It has it place, but its value to society depends in the end on the extent to which it is used.

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Performance Consultant Trainee

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Consultant trainee opportunit...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - (Full marketing mix) - Knutsford

£22000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Knu...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Day In a Page

Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

The US is getting frayed at the edges

Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert
Housebuilders go back to basics by using traditional methods and materials

Housebuilders go back to basics - throwing mud at the wall until it sticks

Traditional materials are ticking all the construction boxes: they are cheap, green – and anyone can use them
Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'

Daniel Brühl: 'Envy is very German'

He's got stick for his golden acting career and for his beloved restaurant - but Daniel Brühl is staying put in Berlin (where at least the grannies love him)
How Leica transformed photography for ever: Celebrating 100 years of the famous camera

Celebrating 100 years of Leica

A new book reveals how this elegant, lightweight box of tricks would transform the way we saw life on the street and in fashion, on the battlefield and across the world