Why not just make all housing cheaper by building more homes of any kind?

Ministers are planning to build just a sixth of the affordable rented homes needed to meet demand, according to a damning assessment of England’s crisis-hit housing market.

Nearly 600 extra low-cost rented homes need to be built every week if demand is to be met, as more low-income families are locked out of owning their own home. However, the government is only planning to deliver an extra 100 a week under current proposals. It means that demand is outstripping new supply by 500 homes a week, according to new analysis by the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) thinktank. It said that this exposed government building plans as “woefully short” of what is required.

Building a new mansion increases the supply of housing buy that one unit that then brings down, infinitessimally to be sure, the price of all other houses as supply increases relative to demand. Do this a few hundred thousand times and we’re getting there.

It’s also true that the mansion gets occupied, meaning one smaller and more affordable house becomes free for occupation. After all, that is how it works. Cheaper housing tends to be the older stuff, no?

Whose pension comes from the EU?

“Even contempt for ‘experts’ cannot obscure the evidence that the Johnson-led Brexit vote has already damaged and will inflict future harm on the NHS,” Kinnock said. “Meanwhile – vitally – Brexit has already diminished, and will continue to depress, the revenues on which the NHS depends.

“If Johnson really wanted the extra NHS spending, which is sorely needed, he wouldn’t be using the issue as a ploy to feed his lust for the Tory leadership but would be working to end Brexit.

“The truth is that we can either take the increasingly plain risks and costs of leaving the EU or have the stability, growth and revenues vital for crucial public services like the NHS and social care. Recognising that, we should stop Brexit to save the NHS – or, at very least, mitigate the damage by seeking European Economic Area membership.”

No, they’re getting this wrong again

Fathers now take more time off work to care for sick children than mothers, a new survey of parents reveals.

Traditionally it was mothers that stepped in to look after their youngsters when they were ill but a change in social and working attitudes has been attributed to a rise in fathers taking on the role.

A study by health app firm Evergreen Life revealed that a higher percentage of men are now taking time off work to care for their children.

This will be used to show there should be no gender pay gap because fathers more than mothers etc. Missing that mothers tend (as always, tend, this is about averages) to organise life so that time off isn’t needed for the little germ factories that is a nest of young ‘uns.

There’s sharing information and then there’s sharing information

Ken Livingstone, John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn were part of a group of at least 15 senior Labour figures who shared information with Eastern bloc agents, it is claimed.

Jan Sarkocy, a former Czechoslovak spy, described the MPs as “great sources” to himself or his colleagues in the KGB.

The new claims come after he said on Friday that the Labour leader had shared information with the Communist Czechoslovak regime.

My own opinion – based upon no evidence other than just this is what I think they would have done – is that they were over the line. That line between “Here’s a newspaper article” and into “I desire that the system be smashed, here’s some good info.”

But it does depend upon where you draw the line. A generous drawing of it, a too generous one, would have me myself as an agent of the Americans, Brits, Russians and N Koreans all at the same time. That there were some really taking Moscow Gold is known fact. That all were not so. Most I would think would fall under the Tony Benn exception. Regarded by the Soviets as too dippy to be reliable.

Are we supposed to snigger or shout in rage?

The widower of murdered MP Jo Cox has quit two charities set up in her memory after sexual assault allegations from his past resurfaced.

Brendan Cox denied sexually harassing two women while he was married to the late politician, but accepted “inappropriate” behaviour, saying: “I made mistakes and behaved in a way that caused some women hurt and offence.”

He has left posts at More in Common and the Jo Cox Foundation after the Mail on Sunday published accusations made by a former colleague while they both worked at charity Save the Children in 2015.

Sigh

Henry Bolton has been ousted as Ukip leader after members voted overwhelmingly to back a vote of no confidence in him.

The motion, which was issued against him by the party’s national executive last month, was backed by activists 867 votes to 500 at an extraordinary general meeting.

But in an act of defiance, Mr Bolton suggested that he could pursue legal action against individuals in the party over his treatment, having made similar threats to senior party figures on Friday evening.

Quite why an unemployed man would sue over an unpaid job is a little beyond me.

As to the party itself, my party. No, think it’s over. Sad, but there it is. Having won the cats in a sack tendency is just too strong.

Expect less pretty actresses to get film roles

More than 190 of Britain’s leading female actresses are demanding an end to sexual harassment ahead of the Bafta Awards.

For today’s definition of sexual harassment crosses over the line into comely young females using their being comely and young to gain work.

No, I do not mean that it’s just fine and dandy that every young woman who wants to strut their stuff on screen has to watch the producer toss off into a palm plant – and certainly not that rape is just dandy nor fine. But comely youth is something valuable and it’s absolutely certain that one or two have sold it over the years. It might even have been the marginal wannabes doing the selling but still…..any bird who has been to the screen test interview with an extra button undone on the blouse has been doing exactly that.

Illogic

So what is Galloway’s argument? Patient readers must plow through nearly half the essay — though many lovely charts will aid the journey — to find out. Before getting to his casus belli against the SVTAJKSSM, Galloway first runs through a series of “valid concerns” to whet the appetite for antitrust destruction: The Four are really, really big. The Four are addictive. “Google is our modern day god.” The Four don’t pay enough taxes. The Four are destroying massive numbers of jobs.

But destroying jobs is the very point of economic advance.

Owen on housing

Neoliberalism is a con, a fraud, and Britain’s housing crisis vividly illustrates why. The populist promise of neoliberalism has always been about extending choice for the individual. In a properly functioning society – which sadly we do not have – young Britons would be able to choose between a comfortable council house on a secure tenancy, a privately rented home with an affordable rent and security, and home ownership. All of these options have been trashed.

Hmm, as a fully paid up neoliberal I know what I propose to deal with that.

The Tories built this system of endemic insecurity,

Well, no, they didn’t.

The post-war Labour government committed to building council housing to a higher standard than private housing: that pledge must be revived. Local authority-backed mortgages should be promoted on a mass scale; and both stamp duty and an unjust council tax system should both be abolished in favour of a progressive land value tax.

In the private sector, Labour is right to commit to an inflation cap on rent rises and three-year tenancies: but local authorities should be granted the power to impose rent controls, too. Homes which are left empty should face compulsory purchase orders, and then be transformed into council housing. Companies and trusts that aren’t based in Britain should be banned from buying up homes, too.

That’s not what I would do, no.

What I would do is blow up the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 and successors. You know, the Labour law which causes the problem in the first place?

Well, yes Zoe, I suppose so

How language duped us into austerity
Zoe Williams

Interestingly, the actual economic definition of austerity, as Simon Wren Lewis put it.

Roughly – “Any level of spending which does not prevent a fall in employment.”

That’s a rather different meaning from the more general one, no?

Further, cash spend has continued to increase, spend as a percentage of GDP is still above long term averages.

What sodding austerity?

There’s a massive amusement here

Thirteen Russians have been criminally charged for interfering in the 2016 US election to help Donald Trump, the office of Robert Mueller, the special counsel, announced on Friday.

Mueller’s office said 13 Russians and three Russian entities, including the notorious state-backed “troll farm” the Internet Research Agency, had been indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington DC.

A 37-page indictment alleged that the Russians’ operations “included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J Trump … and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” his Democratic opponent.

That being this:

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 3— As President Clinton and President Boris N. Yeltsin of Russia began their first summit meeting today, Mr. Clinton presented the Russian leader with some $1 billion in American aid programs intended to support Russian democrats and spur the Western allies to make Russian reform their top foreign policy priority.

Among the new or expanded programs in the package were loan guarantees to build apartments for demobilized Russian soldiers; loans for Russian entrepreneurs; medical supplies, food and grain assistance; funds to help the Russian Government sell state-owned industries, and technical advisers to help repair pipelines and oil wells and begin exporting again.

Mr. Clinton said the package was intended to help promote free-market skills on a grass-roots level in both Moscow and the Russian countryside, so the movement toward democratic reform would continue no matter who governs in the Kremlin.

Clinton, B, intervened massively (and correctly but still….) in Russian politics. If Yeltsin hadn’t won then Putin wouldn’t be there now. Putin intervened and the allegation – among the more screaming nutjobs at least, the report and indictment don’t claim it at all – that thus Clinton, H, lost.

Why is it OK for us and not for them? And, B and H, isn’t it amusing?

Lie detectors don’t work

Lie detectors have been used to send 160 sex offenders back to prison, Ministry of Justice figures have revealed.

Probation officers have sent paedophiles and convicted sex offenders back behind bars after flagging up concerns about their behaviour or the answers they gave to the polygraph tests.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) started using lie detectors on convicted sex offenders in August 2014 and around 50 people are tested on the machines every month.

Officials have the power to send sex offenders back to prison if the results of the cross examination on the lie detectors trigger concerns for public safety.

Bit of a problem that, isn’t it?

Psychologically they can:

“The machine says you’re lying”

“Yes, sob, sob”

But other than that they don’t. Not the basis upon which we should be jugging people.

When a defence is not a defence

It came as Tim Cook , the Apple Chief Executive, said he did not understand the “ferocious” criticism the company had received and appeared to attempt to defend his organisation by insisting they did not murder babies.

Tim Cook, the chief executive, claimed critics motivated by an anti-aid agenda were “gunning” for Apple leaving the company “savaged”.

In an interview with The Guardian, he said: “The intensity and ferocity of the attack makes you wonder, what did we do? We murdered babies in their cots? All we did was make damn great phones and obey the tax laws.”

Noncey boy bollocks

But we err in presuming convenience is always good, for it has a complex relationship with other ideals that we hold dear. Though understood and promoted as an instrument of liberation, convenience has a dark side. With its promise of smooth, effortless efficiency, it threatens to erase the sort of struggles and challenges that help give meaning to life. Created to free us, it can become a constraint on what we are willing to do, and thus in a subtle way it can enslave us.

It would be perverse to embrace inconvenience as a general rule. But when we let convenience decide everything, we surrender too much.

Convenience as we now know it is a product of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when labor-saving devices for the home were invented and marketed.

The rediscovery of Calvinism, hard work is good for you.

Bollocks.

So law is another thing he doesn’t know about then

Has a crime been committed? If crime is an affront to the accepted standards of society then, yes, that can be argued in both cases.

No, a crime is what the currently written law states is a crime.

Not DoublusPlusUngoodThink.

In contrast, did, and does, Jeremy Hunt knowingly cause harm by his actions? The answer is unambiguously yes in my opinion. This is because there is amply evidence to suggest that alternatives are available; that he knows of them and does nothing to act on them. He is, then, guilty of causing pain and loss of life when both could be avoided. It is not just his judgement that has erred; his actions have been informed by that judgement despite knowing what would happen.

Sometimes a little theorising helps.

Hunt is slowing the rise in the NHS budget. This is now a crime in RitchieUnThink.

BTW, if people can be charged with crimes for “bad” policy options when do we stick Ritchie in the Tower? For the crime against humanity of stupidity?

You think they waste our money this badly?

A former prostitute claimed last night that the Oxfam boss at the centre of the sex scandal regularly paid to sleep with her.

She said Roland van Hauwermeiren had sex with her twice a week for six months in Haiti – after the 2010 earthquake had destroyed her home and killed five members of her family.

The mother-of-one said the aid worker paid her between £70 and £140 each time, after initially meeting her on the street near his £1,500-a-month hilltop villa known as the Eagle’s Nest.

London prices in Haiti after the earthquake?

You think they spend our money that badly?

(Or, more likely, the Mail has the exchange rate wrong but still…..ah, no:’It went on for six months. I would go round twice a week and he would pay me 100 to 200 US dollars a time.)

Well, there’s abuse and abuse, you understand?

A leading children’s rights campaigner, who helped governments around the world tackle the issue of abuse, has been jailed for raping a 12-year-old boy.

Former UNICEF consultant Peter Newell admitted three counts of indecent assault and two counts of buggery and was sentenced to six years, eight months in prison.

His concentration upon no one smacking the bottoms of little boys may have had some prurience attached to it, no?

So new rules weren’t and aren’t needed then, eh?

More than 100 BBC presenters are facing tax bills that could run into hundreds of thousands of pounds after a former star lost her case against HMRC.

Christa Ackroyd earned more than the Prime Minister as co-host of the regional Look North programme on BBC One.

She was paid as a freelancer through a personal services company at the BBC’s request, but HMRC ruled that she should have paid the same level of tax as a BBC employee. Ms Ackroyd must now pay back £419,151.

If the current rules already catch such cases, what need for change?

And let us not forget something very important. Who is really going to face a tax bill? Well, the BBC as well, no?

For what service companies do is lower income tax a bit (the combination of corporation tax and dividend tax isn’t so different), employee national insurance disappears. But then so does employer national insurance, something with no cap at what, 13.8% of income? An amount the BBC is going to have to find, no?

This is the thing that really drove those personal service contracts and companies in the first place. BBC tax dodging.

Re a comment below:

She added that the £419,151 figure did not take into account corporation tax she had already paid through her personal service company. She is considering an appeal.