I refuse to believe that my view of the contemporary world is entirely based on my age. I don’t see what perfectly valid empirical observations have got to do with having seven decades behind me. The ease with which the younger half of the population dismisses wisdom and experience is a major part of why the world is serially daft in the first place.
Reading a government update on the Grenfell Tower aftermath the other day, I saw that the number of domiciles being newly built to house those families/renters ‘made homeless’ by the fire is twice the number of recorded homeless collated after the fire…and those recorded numbers are themselves over 40% more than the total number of apartments being rented there.
The estimated total cost of this operation is £380m….and of course, as always it will climb. At 129 apartments to be replaced, that works out at over £2m per living space. But as I wrote above, the number of ‘homeless’ claimant named families/singles/couples being rehoused at a cost of £380m comes to 203 households.
At the risk of sounding like a ghoul (I am only using common sense and logic here) 71 people died. So they won’t be needing new housing: because ineffective cheaper cladding was used, thus making their demise a heinous crime, they’re dead.
This is why the numbers seem odd:
- Private sector contractors, hoteliers and landlords are charging whatever they like because this is government money being splurged – and by a Party desperate not to look mean.
- The level of illegal subletting in the Tower has been calculated at around 25-30%. So some people now claiming homelessness aren’t homeless at all. They were all given an amnesty after the fire (in my view, a disgraceful decision) but that clearly wasn’t enough for them. Now they want a second home on the taxpayer.
- Local government officials have confided to me that they suspect a huge amount of double-claiming is in play, but – with the unregistered tenants, deaths and subletting – it is impossible to prove it.
Illegal subletting of privately managed ‘council’ flats is rife, and always has been. As I have written before, there is a racket in place whereby people claiming benefits can charge much higher rents (strictly cash, saves on the paperwork Squire) and in some cases live abroad in the sun on the proceeds. Go to Goa and ask around – plenty of locals will tell you.
The amnesty was granted, and a ludicrous overspend thrown at the problem, because a privatisation-mad government is desperate to be seen to be virtuous. Which is a course of action requiring zero virtue – especially when you’re using other people’s money to do it.
Grenfell has been cynically turned into a Tories-are-evil issue by one Party, and the root causes of it will undoubtedly be covered up by the other Party.
But these are the real learnings from this appalling tragedy:
- Don’t flout the Rule of Law, it sets a bad precedent
- Don’t assume that everyone involved in and damaged by fire is a good social citizen
- Don’t persist in giving social weal tasks to private capital: it can’t be trusted
- Corbynite Labour just loves a victim story.
From Grenfell, the UK Left has moved on to Windrush….now shown to have resulted in 65 illegal deportations. That is 65 too many, but they got their rights restored – plus compensation – in six weeks flat. 3.65million 1950s born women have been waiting to have their mugging reversed for the best part of a decade; the chances are, that mass embezzlement will never be fully reversed.
A lot of you may not have noticed, but the British police force is to bring in a policy of only employing people with degrees in future.
There’s a lot of guff about why in the press release (‘changing face of modern policing’ and all that) but I’d say that most of those who have seen the news so far are still chortling to themselves about how potty this idea is.
That was my first response too. I tweeted yesterday to ask if all crooks, burglars and rape gangs will have to study for PhDs in order to keep up. Would coppers on the beat now be traumatised by the sight of sexual abuse, and thus need two years counselling every six weeks?
A debate I heard about it on one radio station rebuffed this jollity firmly, with one Leader in Diversity wittering on about the changing nature of crime, and how most of it now involved digital crime. Mugging, he suggested, is “almost extinct”. That is of course true – although it does leave one wondering why the last three Parties in Government were able to get away with “falling crime figures” that did include mugging, but did not include internet fraud.
But none of that changes the fact that three quarters of people with internet fluency on either side of the law don’t have degrees. Behind the news – as ever these days – there is another more disturbing reason for the change.
By 2O30, there may well be no real policemen on the beat, in the streets, watching out for the upkeep of law and order. They will either be employees of G4S (a frightening prospect) or – even more worrying – robots. Bobbies will be replaced by Robbies.
The guys and gals with the degrees will be doing other stuff. To be fair, some of them will be specialising in internet crime. But the majority of them will have degrees in electronics, internet Law and information technology.
Their job will be to snoop. To watch and listen to our private musings for signs of hate speech, race crime, civil disobedience, transphobia, non-violent extremism and anything else the fanatical ideologues can dream up.
They will mop up the “mass market” dissidence with which GCHQ can no longer cope.
Meanwhile – at the end of a dark alley somewhere in Peckham – a jerky metalloid with a voice like a Dalek will ask, “Nah then nah then moi lad, what’s a goin’ on ‘ere?”
Finally, most of you will know by now that in 48 hours, two VIPs will be getting married. Equally, many will have noted the press innuendo and hints being directed at one of the Happy Couple on the grounds of, shall we say, somewhat dubious and not exactly ‘royal’ parentage.
I do think this kind of thing is disgraceful. Just because Harry is a ginger and looks nothing like Charles, the media should leave him be on this, his most important of days.
That said, I am fairly sure the marriage will not end well. There will be matrimony, acrimony, not enough autonomy, parsimony, and then in the final Act, alimony. Everything these days is about money.
People who’ve been round the block a few times can see this sort of stuff coming. Most of the rest can’t. Ageism is a lot more than an attitude…it leads to a waste of citizen talent on an epic scale.