Bill Carmichael: Home truths leave the Left in a rage

NOTHING upsets posh socialists more than the prospect of working class people having the chance of owning their own homes.

Judging by the reaction of left-wingers to the launch of the Conservative Party manifesto this week, you would think David Cameron had advocated the slaughter of the first born, instead of simply giving housing association tenants the right to buy their own homes.

The housing association quangocracy, packed to the gunnels with fully paid up members of the liberal-left elite, fell into paroxysms of rage because their tenants, some of the poorest and most deprived people in the community, might benefit from a Conservative policy.

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And the stench of hypocrisy was overwhelming. Apparently, it is perfectly fine for a housing association boss, paid hundreds of thousands a year for a tidy little sinecure, to buy a £1m pad in Islington. But if a working couple want to buy their modest two-bedroom housing association flat, then that is positively evil.

One law for the rich, and another for the poor!

You might think from this reaction that right-to-buy is exclusively a Conservative policy, but it is not. The idea has previously attracted support from such Labour stalwarts as Frank Field and Alan Milburn and three years ago a report from the left-leaning IPPR think-tank recommended it.

Why? Because it supports aspiration, promotes social mobility and is overwhelmingly popular among the people most affected – the tenants.

We’ve been here before, of course. I am old enough to remember Margaret Thatcher’s ground-breaking move to 
give council tenants the right to buy in the 1980s.

Then, as now, this masterstroke had Labour frothing at the mouth and there were dire warnings that homeless families would be left starving in the gutter. That didn’t happen, of course, but what did happen is that over a million working class council tenants took advantage of the discounts on offer to buy their homes.

It was probably the biggest transfer of wealth in favour of the working class in modern British history.

In a few short years Mrs Thatcher did more for working people than the Labour party, the unions and Marxist academics put together – that is why they hate her so much.

What Mrs Thatcher understood was that property ownership (and share ownership that she also promoted) empowered people to take control over their own lives.

She believed passionately that the pride of owning your own home should not just be the reserve of the rich, but should be open to everyone.

Such independence is anathema to socialists. They prefer people to be obedient clients of the mighty state, reliant on the government to provide everything from the roof over your head to your benefit cheque.

That is the source of socialist power – because if you want your rent kept low and your benefits to keep coming, you had better vote for the party that provides these things.

When people become more independent and self-reliant that diminishes state power – and that is the real reason why left-wingers hate the idea of right to buy.

Heat of the moment

A holidaymaker walks into a police station and says he want to report that the weather is too hot.

This isn’t a joke – it actually happened in Oldham, according to a report from Greater Manchester Police this week.

The man was told it was not a police problem and officers warned him that the offence of wasting police time carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail.

I suppose with politicians promising that the state can solve all our problems, it was only a matter of time before someone took them at their word.

And don’t forget that the global warming brigade are constantly telling us that if we all pay more tax then politicians will be able to control the climate.

But two aspects of this story really puzzle me. First the temperature in Oldham at the time was a hardly sizzling 14C, or about 57F in old money. What was he – an Eskimo?

And second, are we seriously expected to believe that there are people out there who go to Oldham for a holiday?