Friday, 18 February 2011
Don't Stand So Close To Me
Yesterday Gregg and I walked down the Lea navigation canal - we were aiming for Limehouse and a lunch of battered hake, chips and mushy peas and a couple of pints of real ale.
We passed the Olympic site, saw all the work that has gone on there. The new, magic developments growing up "revitalising" the East End. On one side of the canal it is all newness and light. On the other, where the Olympic magic failed to spread, it is dereliction, "For Sale", and graffiti.
I've mentioned before my sense of depression when I see what has happened to the area. Hideous, Stalinist builds with pounds per square foot written all over them. Developments that looked so appetising in the glossy sales brochures now look like slums in waiting. Washing draped across rusting balconies that once displayed aspiring home owners supping white wine and laughing, looking forward serious capital gains.
Many of the columns of living (?) space are empty, yet more are being built. As we approached Limehouse every square foot of land had a new build going up.
Yet how many of these would be in the reach of those who need housing? One, two and three bedroom apartments ranging from £300k to £700k. Who earning even three times the average wage could dream of buying such a place?
If I were still working I could not afford to buy the house we now own.
I heard of a doctor earning £80k a year refused a mortgage because she hadn't a large enough deposit. If she can't get on the housing ladder who can?
Capitalism only works for the benefit of the majority if the majority have some say in how it works. Left to itself it is ruthless in rewarding those with advantage and crucifying those with no capital.
We now have a Government introducing policies which seriously impoverish those less well off while allowing the wealthiest to escape scot free. We now have a managerial/ political elite who put thousands of lowly paid workers on the dole yet find reasons to retain, over remunerate or expand their own class.
We are a country that encourages millionaires to seek citizenship, yet turn back impoverished men and women who have found the wherewithal to escape grinding poverty.
We have a government that sends a trade mission to China made up of all the vested large business interests to a country where small businesses excel.
We are a nation sucking on the butt end of our adventure with invention, innovation and betterment. Where the monied Victorians at least showed some guilt; now the guilty are the impoverished, disadvantaged and abandoned.
The syncronicity link? Flaming Nora will not be blogging for a while - because of the fucking state of the housing market brought about by the masters of the universe. It makes you want to take to the streets and cry "Allah is Great".