Jan 142014
 

Following on from the previous post, here is my response to the Welsh Government’s Department for Communities and Local Government’s Housing (Wales) Bill. The deadline for responses is Friday, so if you want to make a point then do it now, and send it to CELGCommittee@wales.gov.uk.

In case the PDF version below should disappear (as they have a habit of doing) the document should be available here.

 

  39 Responses to “Housing (Wales) Bill, My Response”

  1.  

    Two thumbs up.

  2.  

    Hi Jac,
    It’s nice to tell the AMs what they can do with themselves but I think that your letter is destined for a filing cabinet.

    One way of making mores homes available for people in Wales would be to introduce a Capital Gains Tax of 100% on all second homes.

    •  

      It may eventually end up in a filing cabinet but first it must be considered like all the other submissions. More than that, it is already in the public domain, with the possibility that some points I make will be taken up by others. For example, the damaging relationship between Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd and Lovell.

  3.  

    It would have been nice if you could have made this same point without using language that is demeaning and demonising of the working class English. Reference to “tracksuit bottoms” and “£100 scratch card habits” is frankly little more than offensive caricature in what could have been a reasoned submission on their sneaking past devolution by the backdoor. A shame, really.

    •  

      If you’d read it thoroughly, and were familiar with my other writings on this subject, you’d know that I’m talking about the NON-WORKING ENGLISH. Those who move for all the wrong reasons. One I heard a few weeks ago was a family of scruffs who’d moved to Wales because the council where they’d lived in England was threatening to take the kids into care. Fresh start, see. Maybe white trash is not everybody’s choice to describe such people – so what would you call them?

      Here’s another example. Last year I wrote about my son’s neighbours in Machynlleth. http://jacothenorth.net/blog/the-real-wales/ Here’s an update. This non-working English couple arrived in Mach’ a few years ago with 5 kids. Then the woman had twins. To accommodate them all her partner bought a Cadillac Escalade, a 6.2 litre 4 x 4. Now she is expecting twins again. All because with the youngest kids soon in full-time education he will have to accept any job offered him or lose benefits. Better still, to ensure twins, he has been telling people that he bought fertility treatment on the internet. Oh, one more thing; there’s a big age gap between these two, explained by the fact that he was originally shagging her mother, then he started with the daughter, and they ran off together. Now if I’m not describing white trash, then what would you call them?

      •  

        What would I call people with large cars and lots of children?
        Royals.

        If the bloke is co-habiting with the mother of the children and claiming JSA, he has to take any job that’s offered. The rule regarding the age of children work requirement applies only to single parents. It could be that your son is living next door to a wind-up merchant who is not in receipt of state benefits but enjoys the thought of others thinking he does.

        •  

          Fair point. But how many royals are there? And how many of them have moved to Wales?

          To answer your other point: Why would anyone enjoy the thought of others thinking he’s an irresponsible scrounger when he’s not? And if, as you suggest, he may not be on benefits, how do you explain the income to support this lifestyle? If he’s living off his investments, or great-aunt Maud’s legacy, why was he given a housing association property?

          Let’s face it, it may be politically incorrect, but we are dealing here with the white underclass that, by knocking out kids and claiming everything they can, live better than most of those who work.

          One reason I get shouted down for using the term ‘white trash’ is that there are many thousands of people in Wales with a vested interest in portraying such people as ‘victims’ of an uncaring ‘system’; a portrayal which then justifies funding and salaries to tend to these unfortunates. Yes, I’m talking about the Third Sector, so many of whose members also seem to have moved to Wales . . . like predators or parasites following the great herds on the Serengeti.

          Which all makes perfect sense from the perspectives of both the UK government and the puppet show down Cardiff docks. For this influx helps anglicise Wales, which reduces the nationalist threat; while also bringing in Labour voters and supporters, the latter vitally important now because Labour is having great difficulty recruiting Welsh members and candidates.

          •  

            Contrary to what is published in the gutter press, claimants do not get grants or loans to buy luxury 4×4 vehicles. The state benefits payable in Britain are the meanest in western Europe.
            Anyway, I don’t envy the bloke one bit. Living in a house full of brats is my idea of hell on Earth.

      •  

        It’s a stylistic point, really. If you had a problem with the English deliberately bussing over people who are known to have demonstrated anti-social behaviour then that would be one thing. I for one would be very pleased to hear you make that point in a straightforward, reasoned manner. But when you start generalising by reference to the clothes people wear and other things you lose me and anyone else with even vaguely leftwing leanings (See: most of Wales).

        Also, I understand the desire to add a little descriptive flare to what might have been an otherwise dull debate. The problem is that the way you’ve done it just reminds me of all the questions so many of us have about the nationalist movement in Wales — is it a kind of conservatism in disguise? Is it potentially friendly to the “tracksuit wearers” down South or will it, in the long term, only seek to demonise and marginalise them?

        I don’t really want a row with you, I was just a little taken aback. I intend it in the spirit of constructive criticism — I think the point you are making is, at bottom, a valid one and one that many will have overlooked.

        •  

          PS. I recognise that you are “right of centre” but I’m assuming that’s not just another word for legitimated snobbery. I don’t know what you believe about the welfare state, for instance, but whatever it is I do not think the best way to make the point is through unflattering generalisations about the working class.

          •  

            I grew up among the respectable working class in a Swansea neighbourhood. The people I am condemning do not work. Why can’t you get that?

        •  

          People are being moved into Wales who are not just anti-social but known and convicted criminals. Read this tip of the iceberg http://jacothenorth.net/blog/neighbours-from-hell/.

          “The problem is that the way you’ve done it just reminds me of all the questions so many of us have about the nationalist movement in Wales — is it a kind of conservatism in disguise?” Of course it is, all nationalism is conservative to some degree in that it seeks to preserve something from perceived threats. Though the way you phrase that makes nationalism sound like a worrying condition. And who’s “us”?

          I am a conservative and a supporter of the capitalist system because ‘Welsh’ socialism – not Conservative governments in London – has made Wales the poorest country in Europe.

          •  

            “I grew up among the respectable working class in a Swansea neighbourhood. The people I am condemning do not work. Why can’t you get that?”

            The short answer to that is because plenty of hardworking people wear tracksuits and regularly play scratch cards. Those are the sorts of generalisation I am criticising. Is this clear enough?

            “I am a conservative and a supporter of the capitalist system because ‘Welsh’ socialism – not Conservative governments in London – has made Wales the poorest country in Europe.”

            I’m not criticising ideological conservatism right now, I’m criticising one of its trappings — apparent snobbery. See above. I’d like to believe that you yourself do not judge people to be “white trash” because of the way they dress or the culture they find themselves in but the piece above certainly makes it look that way. I get that you intended to criticise louts — people who play the system — but somewhere along the way your language seems to have ran ahead of your point and you engaged in what I would call classist caricature. I’m just respectfully suggesting that the point would have stood perfectly well without it.

            •  

              I tell you what, I’ll do a deal. I’ll admit that “white trash” might have been too much of a generalisation, not specific enough to identify those I’m dealing with and unfairly applicable to some I am not criticising; in return, you stop obsessing on these two words to address the substance of my argument. How’s that?

              And I think you’re wrong to equate conservatism with snobbery. Being a creature of the Left I suspect you’re as guilty as you accuse me of being when it comes to simplistic categorising, lumping all the types and attitudes you dislike on the Right. Believe me, some of the biggest snobs I’ve known have been intellectual or theoretical socialists, who looked down on the Great Unwashed in a way that no blue blood would.

              •  

                The point about local authorities vs housing associations is well taken. You raise many points that reflect the problems that occur when public funds are given to private bodies, including the lack of accountability, as well as problems that inhere in a body located in England managing property in Wales. More importantly, however, you point out how little concern is being taken to preserve the Welsh language in light of the fact that housing is a make or break issue. All of this I can agree with.

                Now, I’ve engaged with the substance. So what are we going to do about it? You seem to be one of the more outspoken voices on issues like this in the Welsh blogosphere. You write a letter (well done to you) but then include in it offensive caricatures (going way beyond the “two words” you mention above) and end it with the recommendation that the recipients resign “en masse.” How seriously do you think this is going to be taken? What’s your intent for this letter, for someone to read it and thoughtfully consider it or as something to put on your blog to raise awareness? If the former than the “recommendation” works against you, if the latter then the classism. That “someone refused a tenancy in England due to criminal or other behaviour will be housed in Wales” is a bloody important point to make, if true. It could be made more effectively without what will read to many people as snobbery.

                I get that you’re being satirical but satire can either be used to undermine or support your point and I’m suggesting, as someone who likes the point you’re making, that you might have fallen on the wrong side of your own barbs this time.

                •  

                  The letter is addressed to politicians who are, as I’ve made clear in the letter and elsewhere, impotent. Therefore the letter is a self-indulgent rant for the entertainment of my readers. But don’t take the letter in isolation, read the posts I’ve made in the past few weeks.

                  The fact is that civil servants, operating in Wales but answering to London, are dictating that Wales builds a couple of hundred thousand new homes that cannot be justified by any ONS population projections. Which leaves the question, is this incompetence or something else.

                  So stop focusing on the letter and those two little words. The issue I’m addressing is much bigger and will be dealt with in ways I cannot discuss; but I don’t delude myself that anything of substance will be achieved with a letter to anybody down Cardiff docks.

                  •  

                    Perhaps I, then, young Turk that I may be, am not quite as comfortable with the idea of impotence. Thank you for raising awareness about this issue. Hopefully a day will come soon when the Welsh will stop ” brood[ing] with dark face/ Over their thin navel/ To learn what to sell.”

                    •  

                      Believe me, son, nobody’s “comfortable” with the thought of impotence until they stop thinking about sex entirely.

                      I knew R S Thomas. A great patriot, alert to the flaws in our people.

          •  

            You’ve got to be cool on Wales Street
            When your index is low
            Dour Jones ain’t got time for the bums
            They wind up in Towyn
            With cars in their driveways
            They light you up rotten every time
            Which you think is a crime

            apologies to: Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman of 10cc

            •  

              Well, well, well. I thought we’d agreed that you would stop making a nuisance of yourself. I do hope this is but a fleeting visit.

              •  

                We did not agree anything of the kind as I never make a nuisance of myself. However, I note that you have broken a pledge about naming names. There was I thinking that you had learnt from the whopping mistake.

  4.  

    Great work Jac. I don’t like using terms like white trash but sometimes you have to call a spade a spade. Often these people are long term workless with a raft of social, medical and sometimes substance misuse problems. The bottom line: How do you improve the prospects of the long term workless by moving them to unemployment blackspots with existing social problems and strained public services? You can’t. It is simply a device for English councils to get rid of problem familes. No one can defend this because it is an atrocity against both families and the new host communities. For ‘vulnerable’ groups like these their greatest resources are the existing networks in their home communities (I appreciate that not ALL of their connections will be positive). The morons that want to allow this process know they can’t defend it so they dont. Instead they shift the debate to focus on the ‘WELSH RACISTS’ who don’t want their country to suffer the collapse in public services, community cohesion, culture and language that comes as a result of engineered demographic change. Dal dy dir Jac.

  5.  

    Here we see MPs in the home counties of England objecting to using housing in coastal communities as dumping grounds….
    http://www.thisiskent.co.uk/Lambeth-Council-makes-Thanet-dumping-ground/story-18619562-detail/story.html#axzz2qZsgVNip
    But if someone objects in Wales we’re called racists.

    •  

      “Officials have asked all 33 London boroughs to disclose their housing plans as councils have a legal obligation to inform each other when moving residents.” This is interesting. FoIs to Welsh councils might yield something?

    •  

      Wow! 4 properties in different locations = dumping ground

  6.  

    Hey Jac. Have you seen this?
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/454411/What-a-farce-Violent-criminal-escapes-deportation-due-to-confusion-over-his-nationality

    ”Joland Giwa, 24, was the former leader of notorious London gang Don’t Say Nothing based in Croydon, south London, and he commanded up to 80 members behind a series of stabbings, shootings and killings.

    He was behind bars for more than four years after finishing a jail sentence for a string of street robberies.

    Immigration officials have struggled to establish his nationality – he says he is from Sierra Leone but the country insists he is Nigerian, a claim rejected by the Nigerian authorities.

    He was freed last month with an electronic tag and has to live near Cardiff, after being bailed by the independent Immigration and Asylum Tribunal. He is banned from going to any part of London.”

    What a bloody disgrace!

    •  

      It is a disgrace but, unfortunately, it is still legal to buy the Daily Express.

  7.  

    I suspect if Mr Joland Giwa commits some serious crimes here, BBC in Wales will describe him as a ‘local man’.

    •  

      Has BBC News, Wales ever described a west African male as a ‘local man’?

      •  

        Yes. Victim of trafficking, Taiwo Ayinde, a Nigerian asylum seeker, worked as a volunteer for Sue Ryder Cancer Care in Cardiff, was deported in 2008. The Western Mail did report his involvement in ‘Nigeria Community Wales’. It appears the policy imposed by the British Government on foreign nationals in Wales is to deport the victims and deserving workers, while at the same time, dump the gangsters and criminals.

        •  

          There is a big difference between the BBC stating “Ms Ayinde had become very involved in the local community” and describing a west African as ‘local’.

  8.  

    The BBC says “Cardiff-based Barwood Land and Estates has lodged an outline application for the site” relating to 1700 homes in Bodelwyddan.
    This is a strange claim as Barwood Land and Estates is based at Roman Way, Northampton.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-east-wales-25780155
    http://www.barwoodland.com/contact-us/
    Is this just sloppy journalism from the BBC or putting a deliberate spin on ‘housing issues’?

    •  

      Fascinating. It could be that Barwood has an agent in Cardiff. But why Cardiff rather than Denbighshire? Maybe because the local branch of the Planning Inspectorate is in Cardiff, and it’ll be them making the decisions not Denbighshire County Council.

      And who the fuck is Owen Jones? What sort of Welshman could think this is a good thing for Wales? It is obviously a commuter community for north west England. A stand must be made on Bodelwyddan. Let’s make it the Tryweryn of the 21st century.

  9.  

    From the only decent Lab MP in Wales:

    Dear Theresa,

    Transfer of Mr Joland Giwa to Newport.

    Enclosed is a report from today’s South Wales Argus. I understand that the Home Office isrefusing to confirm the present location of Mr Giwa. I write presuming that the South Wales Argus story is accurate.

    Understandably there is deep outrage and anger that a man described as a ‘dangerous criminal’ and a ‘serious threat to the public and young people’ has been transferred to a residential address in the heart of urban Newport.

    My constituents raise three main concerns:-

    * Why are the laws on deportation impotent to expel from our borders a person who has flagrantly broken our laws and abused our hospitality?

    * Why Wales?

    * Why Newport?

    There is exasperation that criminal immigrants can evade justice by claiming to have lost their passports, disguised their nationality or by otherwise attempting manipulate the system. Has your department no remedies for these ploys?

    This person presents a problem for London and the rest of England. What was the process that determined that he, and the danger he represents, should be re-located to Wales and Newport. What other areas were considered and what consultations were held with Newport representatives? If unpalatable decisions are unavoidable, London should be responsible for its own problems and not seek to dump them on Wales and Newport.

    I am copying this letter to the Chair of the Home Affairs Committee urging an investigation.

    Yours sincerely

    Paul Flynn

    •  

      Good letter. Unfortunately this has been happening for years. Let’s hope this case lifts the lid on the system.

Ok, you’ve read what I think, now what do you have to say?