Thursday, July 10, 2008

Dance Powered Electricity and Welfare Powered Landlording

Mr Charalambous, a Greek-Cypriot who owns 1,000 properties in north London as well as land in Europe,

So now you can clean your conscience by turning green. To his credit, at least he is doing some good, and is doing it publicly, because there are many other wealthy landlords who keep a low profile and accumulate wealth for dynastic ambitions.

I remember in the Eighties when Landlording in Britain was something despised and condemned by all idealistic politicised youth.

Since then, we have had endless growth in landlording, effectively powered by the insatiable need for social housing. Tax is taken from some people, and the government has spent it on housing other people. For despite the growth in Housing Associations and new home development, the rental market for homes suitable for welfare-dependent mothers of many children has been fed by years of extreme left-wing idealism about the universality of human rights, particularly the right to housing, and this has mostly been focussed in the perpetually Labour boroughs of London, such as Hackney, Haringey, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets, Newham, etc.

New Labour was distinct from old Labour in that it spent years ridding itself of this base of alienated idealistic extremists. The borough first to benefit from this clean-out was Newham, partly because its MPs were part of or at least close to the religious group that formed the Blair government. Consequently Newham was one of the first boroughs to have its own elected Mayor. Since then, the placement of the 2012 Olympics in Newham has extended the changes to the extent that old Labour, in Newham, is effectively gone, and probably retired to Morecambe Bay.

The other Labour boroughs have also caught up, although they took a long time about it. Haringey, which is in North London had the benefit of wealthy middle-class neighbourhoods around Alexandra Park, the Ladder, and even near Turnpike Lane. Haringey is the undisputed centre of London's Turkish and Greek-Cypriot communities. That they chose to live next to each other is surprising but typical in London: in East London in the late 20th century, Tamils, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs chose to live as close to each other as is possible without having to actually admit to liking each other. Since the 21st century started the influx of East Europeans from Poland, Russia, the Ukraine, and Bulgaria has predominated in London, although there has also been a steady flow of immigrants from every class level in every place in the world.

Now they can all come here to dance up a storm, or have lots of babies and get social housing that will power a landlord's empire, which because of welfare idealism and social housing, is still more recession-proof than sleeping on a solid block of gold.

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