Agreeing with Cruddas
For the record, I think Jon Cruddas is right about the immigration/social housing issue and Margaret Hodge's intervention has been clumsy and unhelpful.
The problem in Barking & Dagenham - and many other boroughs - is a chronic under-supply of social housing - making it very difficult for people not in crisis circumstances to get a council property, or for those in smaller ones to get a larger one when their family grows - caused by years of right-to-buy, and largely unconnected to immigration.
The newly arrived immigrant families in Barking & Dagenham tend to live in private rented homes - the ethnic minority families appearing on council estates there are in many cases actually not being allocated social housing - they are families that can afford to buy for the first time and the only property they can afford in London are ex-right-to-buy council homes in B&D - the generation of people who first bought them having sold at a tidy profit and moved down the A13 to Canvey Island where I was candidate in 2005, replacing folks who have become immigrants themselves ... in Spain.
I think right-to-buy was in itself a fantastic idea that gave many working class families their first chance at home ownership. The tragedy was that councils couldn't spend the receipts on replacement council housing for the people that needed it and could not afford to buy.
Credit where it's due, Cruddas has got social housing on Labour's policy agenda when it had been shamefully absent for too long. As a councillor representing a ward dominated by estates, and with most of my caseload consisting of people desperate to be rehoused, I applaud that. There are a lot of good reasons why I won't be voting for him to be Deputy Leader - not least because Hazel would do the job better - but I'm happy to record that in this instance I broadly agree with him.