Thursday, 31 July 2014

Guardian letter on "poor doors"

Disraeli, appalled by the inequalities pervading Victorian Britain, adopted "One Nationism" for his Conservative party, to narrow the gap between the haves and the have-nots. The consequent laws passed even included extending the rights of trade unions, and allowing peaceful picketing. Today Ed Miliband, in an acknowledgement that the country has reverted to Dickensian times, has chosen "One Nation Labour" as his election slogan, and nothing could justify his choice more than the existence of "poor doors" and the "segregation of inner-city flat dwellers", only fit for "vile coloured plastic panels on the outside" of their homes.(Poor doors: the segregation of inner-city flat dwellers,26/07/14) The transfer of the adjective from the property to the people signals the arrival, in London at least, of a form of economic apartheid; "affordable tenants" being treated with contempt because they cannot afford £500,000 for a studio flat, are being kept apart from high-income neighbours. This is clearly the sort of divisive behaviour which the previous mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, tried to eradicate with his "pepperpot" policy of social housing  mixed in with other accomodation.
 The fact that developers and "buying agents" are calling the tune is yet another reason for Miliband to pledge more regulation, and to propose legislation which bans all such "segregation"; such promises would not be unpopular. After all, what is the point of having a government which insists that civilised values are taught in our schools, when it allows, perhaps encourages,such intolerance, snobbery and bigotry in its housing policies?

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