Why on earth has the UN stuck its neck into the bedroom tax?

There is no basis for a Brazilian ex-politician to lecture us on social housing

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The Independent Online

Never mind what I think about the bedroom tax. Right in principle but not worth it because of the high hard-cases-to-savings-of-public-money ratio. Never mind that. The one thing that really matters is that the United Nations was not created to issue party-political diktats about public policy in member countries.

Why does the UN need a "special investigator" on the subject of housing - as opposed, say, to one on the use of chemical weapons or the deliberate targeting of civilians in war? And if the UN must waste our money in this way, would it not be more tactful for Raquel Rolnik, some washed-up former urban planning minister in Brazil, to stay away from Labour-supporting newspaper stunts? The fuss started when she gave an interview to the Scottish Daily Record saying that the bedroom tax "breached human rights". This is an abuse of language, and makes it harder for the UN to speak with authority when human rights, such as the right to life, really are threatened.

It is not just housing policy. Two years ago, another sub-spawn of the vast international job-creation scheme called the UN took it upon itself to lecture the British on the moral poverty of the way we bring up our children.

Again, there might have been something in it. Some people in this country agree that the culture in which our children are raised is "too materialistic". In this case, I don't happen to agree with it. I think that today's generation of young people is the best educated, best behaved, most considerate, most responsible and all-round finest that this country has ever raised. But my opinion about that is neither here nor there. More important, Unicef's opinion to the contrary is neither here nor there. But not only it is irrelevant, it is an insult.

How dare a bunch of New York bureaucrats tell us how to bring up our children? How dare a Brazilian ex-politician lecture us on the finer points of social housing? We'll decide these things for ourselves, thank you very much.

This kind of nonsense is not just an incitement to any minimally-patriotic person to start faraging at the mouth, it is far more damaging to the credibility of the UN than any amount of logic-chopping and piety in the face of actual human rights abuses, as opposed to fictional ones, perpetrated by the governments of China, Belarus, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia and Syria.