Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Reader's Letter Of The Day

In today's Evening Standard (page 49, 16 October 2013):

The read scandal about school places for me is that homeowners and landlords near sought-after schools can charge so much for access to a public service, without contributing towards its funding.

Joe Momber, Young People's Party

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

You are scum: official

Via HPC, from The Spectator:

When people my age (I’m in my early twenties) hear that I work in Westminster there are two common reactions: either their eyes glaze over or I get an earful about uni fees, wages or once from an artist, during an otherwise pleasant dinner, an hour-long rant about cuts to the arts. But this time, Sam was excited by a politics that was speaking his language and a policy [Help To Buy] that would help him get out of the room he rents for £600 a month somewhere in Zone 2.

The scheme gives an incentive to save, keep a good credit rating and stay abreast of the news in politics and finance. This is a big shift for ‘Generation Rent’. Interest rates (and salaries) have been so low while we’ve been earners that there’s no been no point in saving, and when you’re not saving or paying a mortgage you’re unlikely to take an interest in the key issues that decide elections.

Surely, this change in attitudes should be welcomed and it presents an electoral advantage for the Conservatives. Renters are less likely to vote and they are less likely to vote Conservative.

With the usual Home-Owner-Ist dexterity, the author deftly conflates "savers" with "mortgage borrowers" as if their interests were aligned.

For a start, "saving" and "borrowing" are exact opposites, and the interests of the two groups are in fact directly opposed. Savers want high interest rates and low inflation and low house prices; borrowers (80% of borrowing is to buy land) want low interest rates and high inflation and high house prices.

And the author doesn't even dispute that interest rates and salaries are too low, or that rents and house prices are too high, but she is still cheerleading for a short term sticking plaster policy (Help To Buy) which will just make things worse.

The really depressing thing is that, according to YouGov (see page 4), half of people actually think this is a good policy.