The white working class

The government wants to do something about the white working class:

As yet there is no online copy of the report by the Department of Communities and Local Government into the resentment about immigration felt by the white working class. According to this morning’s reports, many white working class people feel that their concerns are being ignored and that the system is unfair.

This paragraph must have been in the department’s press release because it is repeated in most of the newspapers:

Anecdotal evidence suggested many felt refugees and single mothers were more easily able to find a council house than working white people whose families had lived in the area for generations. People taking part in the focus groups said that when white people complained, they were told that the system was fair and their concerns were racist.

It all depends what you mean by fair. On the face of it, a system that allocates housing based on need rather than on a build up of contributions may look fair. But such a system will always favour the newly arrived refugee families over the young British couples still squashed into their parents’ houses after having been on the waiting list for years.

Cases like the Afghan family in the £1 million house may be extreme but they seem to symbolise what many see happening on a smaller scale in their own neigbourhoods.

If I was the government I’d build a load of council houses — about a million sounds right. This would have a number of benefits:

1. it’d generate economic activity, staving off a recession

2. by vastly increasing the stock of housing, it would make it hard for house prices to go up again; house prices would stay low for a long time, ending boom-and-bust speculative buying. Houses would typically sell for something like what it costs to build them.

3. all the houses would be very well insulated, which would reduce the residents’ heating costs, reduce Britain’s carbon emissions, reduce Britain’s dependency on unreliable Russian gas, and improve the balance of payments.

4. it’d create lots of good-quality housing, obviously

The criteria for being allocated one of these houses would be being a working productive members of society. People who’ve never worked in their lives would go to the back of the queue.

Iain Dale however doesn’t think the government will do thism, or indeed anything substantive:

Hazel Blears has today expressed concern for what she calls the “ignored poor”. She defines this group of people as the white working classes, who think they have been ignored by government. Haven’t we heard this before though?

Well, yes. HERE in March, HERE in January, HERE in October 2006, HERE in November 2006, HERE in October 2008. I could go on.

Dale is probably right — the government doesn’t give a shit about helping the white working class, or anyone else for that matter. All they care about is for their polices to be seen to be working, not whether they actually work.

Having said that, they probably do mean it when they say they want to help working class people get on the Internet. Because if they’re not on the net, Jacqui Smith can’t spy on their emails, and Andy Burnham can’t censor the websites they look at.

This entry was posted in Britain, economics, politics, society and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The white working class

  1. George Carty says:

    Building more houses would also be good for environment and help reduce of traffic jams, because less households would either need to live a long way from work due to excessive housing prices where the jobs or, or due to a need for two salaries in widely separated locations.

    People resent anti-car campaigners because they like pleasure driving, but I suspect no-one enjoys driving to and from work (which probably contributes more to congestion, pollution and CO2 than other driving…)

    I suspect the government though likes house price bubbles. They want people to spend beyond their means, disguising how Britain’s industries have been all but wiped out by Far Eastern cheap-labour products…

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