The Empire Strikes Back

Most people who’ve looked at the workings of our housing associations suspect that their raison d’être is to bring into Wales the kind of English people who cannot afford to buy a home; yet these observers have been discouraged from criticising this social engineering for fear of being branded ‘racist’, and perhaps getting the kind of verbal kicking that La Kinnock gave Ieuan Wyn Jones a few years ago on Question Time.
The official reasoning for the practice is frighteningly simple. While middle class English people moving in to Wales is all well and good these often keep themselves to themselves, with some even going native. What’s needed is a less tolerant element, less likely to put up with any “Welsh nonsense”, especially if they are concentrated in estates in our rural towns. The “No Surrender!” sort that will take over the local pubs and spout their simplistic right-wing views. (You doubt me? Go to Welshpool or Denbigh, Newtown or Cardigan when the England soccer team is playing, see them walking from pub to pub, bevvied up, shouting, draped in England flags.)
This explains how and why housing assocations outside of our major cities operate. It is blatant social engineering with a medium-term objective of demographic change leading to the longer term objective of weakening Welsh identity to the point where any threat of seccession is removed. Our housing associations (even those that pride themselves on conducting their business in Welsh!) have been all too ready to comply with this ethnocidal policy. But the tide is turning.
The policy has become too blatant, it’s no longer just the politically aware who can see what’s happening. When a decent, hard-working Welsh person is refused accommodation by the ‘local’ housing association, but told that she’d have more points if she was on heroin . . . well, you just know this is not right; a gut feeling reinforced when you then see drug addicts brought in from England.
Small wonder then that today’s Western Mail carried a story telling us that most people in our rural areas can not afford to buy a home. Of course we already knew this, but according to Shane Perkins, chief executive of Mid Wales Housing, the answer is for the Assembly to give housing associations more money to build many more properties. What! Given the record of Welsh housing associations, this would be a catastrophic mistake, even by the standards of our Notional Assembly. (And of course, Mid Wales Housing has just bid for the £11m Vyrnwy Estate; so perhaps Perkins really wants the money for more grouse moor ventures.)
But what was really significant about Perkins’ pitch was his suggestion that the points system be abandoned. He was reported as saying, “We are suggesting that once we establish the applicant has a housing need, thereafter the property is allocated to local people who are in employment and/or are contributing to their communities through volunteering.” A very important change, apparently . . . which could be insincere, or else has not been thought through. To explain . . .
If Welsh housing assocations stop housing riff-raff from over the border, instead concentrating on meeting indigenous need, then they won’t need to build so many properties. Ergo they will not need more money from the Assembly. Or else this is empty and misleading rhetoric, and while making a pretence of abandoning the discredited points system everything carries on as before. Which would explain the call for more geld.
CONCLUSION: Our housing associations are too tarnished by past behaviour to be trusted in future under the same managements, rules, and organisational structures. The Assembly must introduce legislation making strong and long-standing local connections the sole criterion for the allocation of social housing. Housing association properties surplus to demand will be sold to first-time buyers meeting the tenancy criterion. The money saved and generated will go back to the Assembly to be reallocated elsewhere.
That done, the Assembly can turn its attention to the private sector; to ‘affordable housing’ that is anything but affordable to too many Welsh; to private landlords, especially those responsible for multi-occupancy slums in our former resorts; and to the evil system of local plans that force our local authorities to allow house-building on a scale that can only be understood by recognising the same anti-Welsh motives that have for too long determined the workings of our housing associations.

Lies, Damned Lies, And Housing Associations

As regular visitors to this blog will know, I am very critical of Welsh housing associations. They are no longer serving an indigenous demand but are instead importing the flotsam and jetsam of England’s cities and towns. This results in Welsh towns and villages becoming unwilling hosts to an often undesirable element with no good reason to be in Wales.

In order to make my concerns known – and also in the hope of getting more information – I have been in touch with our political representatives and I have also written letters to newspapers. One such letter, to the Western Mail, was passed on to Nick Bennett, chief executive of Community Housing Cymru, because the Letters Editor felt that it contained “serious allegations”. Bennett then e-mailed his reply directly to me. (“Sent using BlackBerry”, natch.) A way of doing things I had never before encountered. Anyway, without going into every example of dissimulation I shall extract a few of Nick Bennett’s answers for closer analysis.

In response to the fundamental criticism of importing its tenants from England Bennett wrote: ” . . . this is a perennial chestnut. It was once raised by Neath Port Talbot and all the Associations analysed all lettings during the year and found no-one who had come from England. Usually what has happened is locals have returned home, or someone has moved into the private rented sector, lived there for a few years and then got on the waiting list.”

What absolute bollocks! “No-one who had come from England”. This is insulting to the people of Neath and Port Talbot, telling them that people they’ve never seen before the housing association(s) imported them have either been there all the time or else were born there. They obviously weren’t looking properly!

Referring to the area around Swansea’s High Street railway station, which I had referred to as ‘Skid Row’, due to the drunks, drug addicts, prostitutes and beggars to be found there, Nick Bennett was equally categorical: ” . . . we are not aware that any of them are Housing Association tenants”. Has Nick Bennett been to Swansea and demanded the address of every toe-rag infesting the High Street area? Of course not.

To believe Nick Bennett Welsh housing associations do not house people from England nor do they provide accommodation for anyone other than teetotal clergymen and school ma’ams. Faced with any criticism his reaction is flat and foolish denial. He does himself no favours. Fortunately, when he strayed from flat denial he rather gave himself away, with the following statement: “There are over 2 million people on waiting lists for social housing”.

When I first read that I thought, ‘Good God, just about everybody in Wales is on the waiting list – what’s going on?’ Then of course I realised that this figure was for ‘Englandandwales’. But what concern should England’s waiting list be for the chief executive of Social Housing Cymru? The obvious answer is none. But this slip confirms for me that our housing associations are locked into an England and Wales framework. (For I guarantee that Scotland and Northern Ireland are excluded.)

From this conclusion we can logically assume that our housing associations have links with English bodies that would like to ‘relocate’ some of their clients. In serving England so well our housing associations are not only blighting Welsh communities and engaging in social engineering they are also spending large sums of money that should be used where it is more needed.

The time has now come for the Welsh Assembly Government to use its newly acquired powers over housing in Wales to deal with our errant housing associations and to come up with a system that serves us rather than our neighbour. And before they start, a word of advice: spend some Objective One funding on a salt mine before talking with Nick Bennett.