Right to buy: When will aspirational people be able to buy their own firemen and zebra crossings?

If a Labour policy had been derided by so many leading figures, most newspapers would have huge headlines screaming 'Miliband denounced as sociopath'

Mark Steel@mrmarksteel
Thursday 16 April 2015 18:38
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David Cameron laughs while maintaining his usual sexy demeanour
David Cameron laughs while maintaining his usual sexy demeanour

At last the Conservatives have an answer to the chaos caused by a lack of social housing. The solution is obvious, to sell most of it off so there’s even less.

This is the way all shortages should be dealt with. When the Red Cross take parcels of food to famine areas, instead of sharing it out equally like idiots, they should sell it off to the handful who can afford it, so they can get on to the rice ladder.

Even those who can’t afford it won’t go empty-handed, because they’ll get a lovely cherubic smile and an announcement that the good life is returning, which ought to cheer them up all day and make them forget about being hungry.

Similarly, the right-to-buy scheme may leave more people with nowhere to live at all, but that’s easily solved with a scheme allowing families to buy the settee off their mate once they’ve been sleeping on it for five years. Anyone living on the streets will be allowed to buy a doorway, until estate agents are cooing about a perfect little starter home, in a glorious location by Timpson’s the shoe repairers, with attractive en-suite facilities behind a nearby skip and extremely handy for the shops. And as so many of the homeless end up with mental-health problems, they’ll be helped out with a scheme to buy their own straitjackets.

At the moment housing associations provide housing at reasonable rents for people who don’t have £30,000 for a deposit to buy somewhere, allowing families to lead a settled life. Obviously that kind of stupidity can’t be allowed to continue, so instead we need to take the last bits of housing that are seen as places to live, and make them objects of investment like all the others.

This has worked so well up to now, as it’s ensured that while everyone agrees there’s a desperate shortage of cheap housing, the few houses that get built go on sale for a million quid and are sold to Japanese businessmen so they can stay empty and go up in value even more. So you might be living with two kids in your neighbour’s shed but at least you’ve got somewhere elegant to look at when you walk by the river.

The housing associations have condemned the plan, as have the housing charities and even the banks. If a Labour policy had been derided by so many leading figures, most newspapers would have huge headlines screaming “Miliband denounced as sociopath. Experts say they would rather go scuba diving in a lake of Ebola than let this imbecile even look at a house.” Because each day the hysteria gets more hysterical. Yesterday the front page of The Sun called Miliband “Downton Ed”, declaring once again he has TWO kitchens and a NANNY.

To be fair, I can understand how Rupert Murdoch, owner of The Sun, is shocked at such an extravagant display of wealth as that. When you’re used to living in a modest bedsit like he is, you’re going to get jealous of someone swanning about with a nanny, rather than taking their kids with them to Prime Minister’s Questions the way Cameron does.

And Murdoch’s favourite editor, and friend of Cameron, Rebekah Brooks, could sometimes only just squeeze into her kitchen at all. This may have been when she rode through it on her horse but you can see why Miliband’s wealth has annoyed him.

Tomorrow The Sun will reveal more, with a headline saying “Miliband has FIVE teaspoons. He may claim to be on the side of the poor but he has a different teaspoon for EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK if you don’t count weekends.”

Day after day we’re confronted with headlines such as “Tories pledge to allow pensioners to print own money”. And “‘Miliband’s knob is a peculiar shape’, says a doctor”.

Then the BBC takes this stuff up, so the evening news starts: “Labour on the defensive over shape of Miliband’s knob.”

Ed Miliband gets smiley on the campaign trail

Last week a Conservative newspaper printed a story that became major news, about Nicola Sturgeon saying she hoped the Tories would win, which was quickly proven to be utterly made up, but there are no repercussions, they just carry on.

They could write: “Miliband seen burning baby hedgehogs while dancing naked and being sick on the Queen.” Then they’d admit this was in a dream, not in a Home Office document as first reported, and get away with it.

So if anyone is tempted to think the election doesn’t matter, they should consider how much it matters to the most powerful, as they seem to be working tirelessly to get the end result that they want. And if they get that result we can enjoy more schemes, such as a long-awaited shake-up to boost the Fire Service, in which we’ll be free to buy our own fireman. Then people with aspiration can be carried out of buildings all day, instead of only when they’re collapsing, as the outdated local authority insists.

Then the Royal Mail will be forced to introduce a right-to-buy scheme, so people can fulfil their lifelong dream of owning their own postbox.

And zebra crossings will be sold, so you can place one where it’s convenient for you and cross the road when you like.

There may be people who suggest all this will lead to an increase in asphyxiation, old people walking 80 miles to a post box, and the disabled stuck by the roadside for several years as there are no public crossings left, but these types have two toilet brushes so you shouldn’t take any notice of them.

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