Ollie Letwin is very clever and very ignorant

Ministers and officials must invoke Britain’s effort to build Spitfires during the Second World War to help construct the homes the country needs, one of the Government’s key housing advisers says today.

Sir Oliver Letwin, who is carrying out a major review for Theresa May, says infrastructure must be organised like wartime aircraft production to solve the housing crisis.

Wartime was state directed and planned. It was efficient at the single goal, inefficient at everything else. This isn’t what we want, is it?

What we’d actually like is pre-war housing. You know, hte absence of he Town and Country Planning Act 1947, the 1930s being the last time the private sector did build 300,000 houses a year.

12 comments on “Ollie Letwin is very clever and very ignorant

  1. And even Spitfire production was slow at first. Restrictive practices, problems with suppliers, reluctant contractors; all kinds of issues with delivery of sub-assemblies.
    Only the new factory at Castle Bromwich sorted it out. Just in time.

  2. He’d probably like the rationing that came with wartime restrictions though.

    Reducing our sugar, fat and alcohol consumption to “approved” levels is all the rage. Except this time there would be zero tobacco ration.

  3. Letwin is not “clever”.

    He wouldn’t be spouting such shite if he were.

    Nor–if we halted the flood of imports the left is bringing in to destroy us–would we need that many houses.

    You can bet your arse Letwin doesn’t live on the same street as any imports.

  4. Actually aircraft production numbers are a half decent analogy for house building problem – we built 20k Spitfires in the 30s and 40s, we’ve now built about 600 Eurofighters. Its the increasing complexity of everything that reduces the ability to produce stuff in vast quantities. Admittedly the increased complexity of housing is more down to the vast number of regulations the State puts on what a house must look like and be built from, and what standards must apply, but there is a world of difference between a builder turning up in a field in 1935 and building some houses and what it takes to get to do the same thing today, even ignoring the whole planning permission issue.

  5. Oliver Let win is doing this at Theresa May’s behest is he? That’s interesting, because Sajid Javid just went ahead and created his policy without regArd to Theresa May; the most brutal demonstration of her lack of authority it was possible to give her. So here she is trying to regain her, ahem, authority with more of her crypto-socialism.

    She is a zombie prime minister.

  6. What’s your evidence for that Ironman? The Savid Javid doing his own thing bit I mean–obviously she IS a zombie who should have been deposed after June 2017.I ask out of interest not attack.

  7. Well, I know a bit about WWII aircraft production in the UK.
    Some more or less duds (Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley and Albemarle, Avro Manchester, Blackburn Botha and Roc, Boulton-Paul Defiant, Bristol Buckingham, Hawker Tornado, Short Shetland, Vickers Warwick and Windsor, Westland Whirlwind).
    Some good, sometimes very good: but NB that of the most useful, the Hawker Hurricane, was built in an establishment with a sign reading “We are designing the RAF’s new fighter. Air Ministry staff will be admitted when flight tests are complete”.
    The original Air ministry specification for the Spitfire called for a fixed undercarriage, two machine-guns, a top speed of 250 mph. Reginald Mitchell produced something rather better, thank God.
    The Avro Lancaster, the best RAF heavy bomber, was created by giving the Manchester longer wings than the Air Ministry had asked for, and four engines instead of two.
    And the superlative and unorthodox Mosquito was pushed through by de Havilland despite determined Air Ministry opposition.
    Do you suppose that a contemporary Government housing programme would do better?

  8. Given his track record, why are we letting Letwin anywhere near anything at all? For an alleged genius he has made so many unbelievably naive and stupid mistakes it is extra-ordinary. Still at least he is no longer on the Brexit committee (or is he?)

  9. stephen sums it up very well
    OTOH that suggests that Oliver Letwin’s suggestion is both revolutionary and good: tell the bureaucrats to keep the hell out until we’ve done the job and dump the failures fast before the Ministry demands mass-production of duds.
    You can recognise a 1950s council house by the little poles holding up a piece of concrete too small to keep someone knocking on the front door from getting wet – even the Labour Councillors back home got infuriated about the little poles.

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