Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Revealed

I'm sure you've all been waiting for it and here's an exclusive look at the 'legendary drinks cabinet' you read about in several of earlier entries. This splendid antique - one careful owner -  reportedly started its life in Dover, where the Council experienced a similar dystopic experience to the one we have here in Thanet today, before moving to a new home in Birchington, leaving a trail of rare whiskey fumes and political broken glass in its wake.

On a more serious note, there's a great deal of media fuss this week, over Newham Council, in East London, moving some of its social housing tenants up to Stoke, where the rents are cheaper. The 'Guardianistas' are calling this 'Social cleansing' but it should come as no surprise to us here in Thanet when we look at the sudden and deeply problematic demographic changes that have taken place in areas such as Margate Central and Cliftonville West.

 Reportedly, Croydon Council has said it is seeking to rent private accommodation in Hull, while Waltham Forest, in North-East London, has moved a small number of families to Luton.

You have to ask why they are moving families so far afield and part of the answer, is that the likes of Hastings, Dover and Margate, took the brunt of London council and agency attention over the last fifteen years and the great city  is now beyond full, with a report this month claiming that as much as 50% of social housing has gone to immigrants in the capital.

Whichever way one chooses to argue the case, the reality is that a serious housing problem now exists, not only for Greater London authorities but by association, neighbouring districts as much as one hundred miles away with much cheaper rents. It is reported that a proposal sent to Westminster City Council by one of its private providers, suggests rehousing ‘150 people within the next 12 or so months’ as far away as Derby.  

The intrinsic problems faced by our overstretched system was illustrated in last week's Thanet Gazette, which only confirmed what I had written about months ago. That the pressure on our local schools from far too many displaced children and teenagers in care shows-up in the statistics. After what the former headmaster of the Marlowe Academy revealed to me as his challenges over breakfast last summer, I wasn't surprised by the remarkable number of exclusions in that school alone. There comes a point and this is my 'personal view', where our local generosity works only to increase the disadvantage experienced by the island's indigenous population and the statistics can't be challenged. Regardless of party politics, we have to watch this London problem very closely indeed as quite frankly, I don't trust other councils, County and Government agencies, not to try and displace more people in our direction, given the growing and serious financial pressures they now face.

Let's not forget that we almost got Gary Glitter (seen in Cliftonville) and Abu Qatada was a close call for Birchington!

And finally, as we wait for the bad weather to rip into the north Kent coast, I see we have quite a large visitor, which ShipFinder tells me is the Galatea, moored in shallow water off St Mildred's Bay in Westgate. I snapped a grainy photo on my iPhone earlier.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

definately not one owned by a birchington cllr....its still got drink in it!

Anonymous said...

There used to be a phrase the government used "Mobility of Labour". The situation we now have is the "mobility of the unemployed".
Governments appear to have no joined up thinking. Even my old physics teacher knew that each action has an opposite reaction. Capping housing benefit in London has an effect. It really helps moving unemployed to unemployment black spots. That will really help them get jobs. In the meantime all the efforts of regeneration in Thanet are undermined by importing all and sundry. Is it not time to dig out the Wantsum and declare independence for the Isle of Thanet.

1 o'clock Rob said...

Add in to the housing benefit cap the ongoing sale of social housing to tennants and you can see why this only going to get worse.

Seriously systematic failed policies at Central Government level dating back as far as the 60's are to blame for the social problems faced in this country today, multiplied by the continued failure to sort out at European level the levels of migrants coming to this country from other "safe haven" nations.

The West only has itself to blame, for decades we have prospered while the third world has languished in the back waters, we have had lots of time to solve problems globally but as it didn't benefit us at the time we let them continue... You reap what you sow.

Gordon Blimey said...

"The 'Guardianistas' are calling this 'Social cleansing'"

No they're not:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/apr/25/housing-benefit-ticket-nowhere-editorial

Unless you mean the Marylebone landlord quoted in this piece:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/apr/24/london-landlords-housing-benefit-cap

Or that famous 'Guardianista' Boris Johnson:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/apr/25/boris-johnson-kosovo-style-cleansing-poor

Then you reckon: "a report this month claiming that as much as 50% of social housing has gone to immigrants in the capital." Even the Daily Mail claims it's only in parts of the capital and quotes these figures: "In Haringey, North London, 43 per cent of new social housing tenants were foreign while in Ealing, West London, the figure was 45 per cent." So it's not 50% and only in areas where numbers of immigrants are usually high.

An alternative article suggests that:"Even by Migration Watch’s standards, their paper on social housing was a badly researched attempt to raise tensions. It concluded that 11 per cent of social housing lets in London go to foreign nationals: in a city where 37 per cent of the population is foreign-born, what can you expect?" Read more here:

http://www.leftfootforward.org/2012/04/immigration-social-housing-transparency-fairness/

It's good way to get your readers wound up. First it was The Gays and now them Immigrunts! Good old Tory divide-and-rule mullarky stuff.

Anonymous said...

Gordon, did you take that name just to be as boring as another Gordon we all remember from not long ago.

simon moores said...

I'm not sure that 'Left Foot Forward' really counts as an authoritative source and is as far to the 'left' as the 'Daily Mail' is to the right!

So let's try and agree the facts lie somewhere in between?

Ok..'Guardianista' is a generic epithet for left of centre outraged Guardian readers, you know, the types that populate the BBC.

Alright, so it's 45% and not 50% but many would argue that even 20% was far too high for our society to manage with a debt-burdened, near wrecked economy and under a creaking benefits system.

Would you agree?

Anonymous said...

Gordon
It's because of people like you that we have never had a reasoned debate on these issues over the last 20 years,whenever people try to start debate they get shouted down by do-gooders and politically correct brigades.
Can't you see that this country and Thanet in particular is in danger of a social collapse,too many people,not enough housing and a never ending influx of immigrants from eastern europe that is overloading infrastructure,schools,hospitals and nearly all other services.
This is a small country and there must be limits beyond which everything starts to fail,even now people who have children are worrying about their futures,me included,simon brings up topics for this sort of discussion to take place and i hope that by starting at grass level the government might start to realise that we cannot carry on like this.

1 o'clock Rob said...

But even saying 45% is too high given the numerous reports that say over the whole of London the figure is lower, using the figures from a few London boroughs and saying that is the figure for the whole of London is just spreading misinformation.

The underlying fact here Simon is that families in London are being forced out of their homes because the Government decided to place a swinging cut on housing benefit, that may be as little as £50 a week if some reports are to be believed. The true cost of the cuts will only become apparent in years to come and by then the damage will be done. The cost won't be financial, it will be social as we break up families, put more people into sub standard accomodation, squeeze too many people into smaller houses and see the resentment spill out into our cities and towns.

Central Government is trying to place the blame on high rents charged by landlords but this isn't the case in most instances, they simply charge the going rate and as there is limited social housing stock left as it has been sold off, a policy brought into full force by your own party, they cannot be blamed.

From the street view once again we have Central Government spending billions of tax payers money propping up large instituitions, some of whom are the blame for the current financial crisis, but doing very liitle for the actual populace.

It is things like this that make me and many more distrust politics at any level and believe that the political system and form of governance in this country has run its course and needs to be replaced with something else... whatever that may be.

Gordon Blimey said...

Simon

The claims of Migration Watch and The Daily Mail have provoked articles like the one in leftfootforward, which I was only too happy to reproduce. Reason being that I think this debate is too important to allow just one side of the argument to be heard. Whatever the true stats, there is too much dodgy rhetoric, distortions and lies being bandied about and I think such a complex issue needs the response I gave your op.

In an ideal world there would be little wrong with the free movement of people but as we're nowhere near living in Utopia we need to have managed immigration, that I agree with.

Surely, even you can see that we are in the mess we are in because of the economic policies of the last 30 years - which has also contributed to immigration (free movement of capital/free movement of labour). Globalisation has brought about the exploitation of markets in the developing world and driven many to find a better life in the developed world, this has to be one of the problems that needs addressing if we are to have lower numbers of migrants.

I think there's something wrong with a system where the majority of benefit recipients are actually IN work! 93% of claims for Housing Benefit in 2010/11 were made by people in employment (http://www.bshf.org/published-information/publication.cfm?lang=00&thePubID=5E017604-15C5-F4C0-99F1DFE5F12DBC2A) and if you add onto that recipients of working tax credit, child tax credit, etc, a situation emerges where work doesn't pay for many: wages are too low/rents are too high and the government needs to step in to make up the difference.

I believe something fundamental needs to change - politically and economically, at home and abroad - before the whole house of cards comes tumbling down around us.

1 o'clock Rob said...

When you force local Councils to sell off their social housing stock at sometimes a 1/3rd of its market value and then tell them they cannot spend the money building more houses the eventuality is that house prices go up and rent does to to keep everything balanced.

Which bright forward thinking Government came up with that plan?

Tom Clarke said...

And which equally bright one did nothing to reverse it in 13 years in office, but rather let house price inflation give the impression of endless boom. Meantime they squandered the paper riches, opened the floodgates to all and sundry and now we are both broke and over populated.

Gordon Blimey said...

Tom

Immigration didn't begin with New Labour, numbers may have risen sharply in the early years of Blair's administration but from 1992-98 net immigration was around 2.1 million.

The 90s was also the period when dispersal of asylum seekers started, obliging local copuncils to find accomodation for hundreds of families and putting a strain on existing council stock. The numbers weren't massive but I'd argue that it was this that kicked off the right-wing mantra about "immigrants getting council houses..." The truth is that immigrants were not given priority but asylum seekers were housed by local authorities, often in hard to let properties or in hostels, that were not accessible to those on the waiting list.

For critics of large-scale immigration, New Labour have a lot to answer for but migrants coming to this country in search of a new life, or just a year or two experiencing a different culture, was happening before 1997.

Tom Clarke said...

So what, Gordon, the end result is the same. Our country is screwed and all this bickering about who caused it is counter productive.

I made my comment simply in response to an earlier one which implied Conservative government was the root of all evil. One could equally argue that this country has for many years been poorly served by successive inadequate governments.

Anonymous said...

Great coverage of the gay marriage debate in the Thanet Extra. At last local poltics is being spiced up by the Indpendents. The old parties are lazy and take voters for granted. Now we have real campaigners shaking things up. Dr Jack Cohen & John Worrow on BBC Radio Kent. Ian Driver in the Guardian. Simom Moores up his own backside as Chris Wells once said.

Anonymous said...

5:10 has to be John Worrow....