A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

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.


Blogger Benjamin said...

From a Labour election winning point of view, don't you think Cruddas or Johnson have a better chance of appealing in the south, with Brown appealing up north?

Blears does not fit into that equation.

9:59 am, May 22, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

Hazel may be from the north but the issues she articulates e.g. the respect agenda on ASB, resonate with both our core vote and swing voters everywhere. Cruddas doesn't have much to say to anyone who wasn't already voting Labour in 1992 - and personally I think our core working class vote are nearer to Hazel's politics than his. Johnson I think is a very appealing character but he is my 2nd rather than 1st choice as he does not seem to be focussed on the party building/campaigning aspects of the DL role in the way that Hazel is - and lacks the energy and dynamism she has. Also I want us to have a woman in a leadership role.

10:11 am, May 22, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why should a scotsman have any special resonance with voters in northern England?

10:52 am, May 22, 2007

Anonymous Itsgrimrightupnorth said...

Because it's all north of Watford of course. They're all philistines up there who think claret is a colour you paint the outside privy.

11:17 am, May 22, 2007

Anonymous alfredo, lambeth said...

I note you fail to mention that the only deputy leadership contender to jump to Hodge's defence was, erm, Hazel Blears.

11:32 am, May 22, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Right to buy WITHOUT more Council building was a very crap idea. With it might have passed muster. the 4th Option has been party policy for a long time while being ignored though it is fairly hard to find comrades and colleagues who wouldn't prefer council housing to be what it says.

11:41 am, May 22, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

PS Hazel is a bit scared of immigration issues. She's mirroring for a largely white working/white van constituency.

11:44 am, May 22, 2007

Blogger Owen said...

"She's mirroring for a largely white working/white van constituency."

Might want to clarify that one...?

11:53 am, May 22, 2007

Anonymous jdc said...

"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"

And pretty much still can't. We're in Government, we could change that, if we didn't have a fetish for which column of a spreadsheet a number goes in.

12:29 pm, May 22, 2007

Blogger grimupnorth said...

And presumably you agree with this MP too? Also quoted in yesterday's Guardian.

John McDonnell, who tried to challenge Gordon Brown for the Labour leadership last week, said: "This is a deeply reactionary and dangerous statement to make. The issue, however, is not the allocation of housing, but the chancellor's failure to allow affordable house building over the last 10 years - resulting in the present housing crisis."

12:47 pm, May 22, 2007

Anonymous Croslandite said...

Social housing was never going to be a priority for a new Labour government as it didn't play well with middle england voters.

Increasing the supply of housing, social or to buy, would inevitably lead to a slow down in house price inflation.

Thus affecting the major factor causing people to feel that their wealth was increasing.

7:00 pm, May 22, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am aware of a rural council placing people with "local connections" higher up the waiting list.

Is this so different from what was being suggested in an urban environment?

7:04 pm, May 22, 2007

Blogger el Tom said...

Right to buy and right to build are meant to be together.

9:18 pm, May 22, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard a strange rumour the other day - that Cruddas has a kid at the London Oratory. Strange. Although he did defend grammer schools at the Progress Hustings...

1:06 pm, May 23, 2007

Blogger grimupnorth said...

interesting.....I will ask a friend of mine who has a daughter there......

3:03 pm, May 23, 2007

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...

London Oratory is a Catholic Comprehensive school. It is not academically selective i.e. not a grammar.

3:12 pm, May 23, 2007

Anonymous Ian G said...

I've heard Jon express support for faith schools. Not sure I necessarily agree, but at least Jon isn't being hypocritical by saying one thing and doing another.

On the other hand, I'm fairly sure he's opposed to academic selection.

3:56 pm, May 23, 2007

Anonymous adrian said...

This is ridiculous.

Surely academic selection is fairer than selection based on religion, race or wealth?

4:31 pm, May 23, 2007

Blogger Chris Paul said...

Owen: mirroring as I think you know is listening to what people are saying (or imagining what you think they are thinking) and giving it back to them. Hazey is doing the same thing as Lib Dems, and as Margaret Hodge on that issue IMO. She believes LP cannot win power with a "soft" immigration policy. She has said so to me directly. though to be fair it was the morning after elections and she'd had no sleep for 60 hours or some such.

9:58 pm, May 23, 2007

Anonymous Anonymous said...

People in our party who are bashing Margaret Hodge will simply make former Labour voters think nobody is allowed free speech.
Economic maigrants do impact of white working class people in many of our towns and cities when it comes to housing and they are very pissed off that nobody wants to listen to them.
Reconnect and engage with them or will be out of power for a generation.

9:03 am, May 27, 2007


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Free Hit Counters
OfficeDepot Discount