Scribbles isn't too happy about Margaret Hodge's move towards a nativist housing policy.
"Margaret Hodge, you make me want to puke. We do not treat the immigrants and asylum seekers as lesser human beings than us. We do not consider them more suitable for suffering. We do not put their distress on a lower priority than our own. We no more deny them the decent housing they need than we would deny them medical care by putting them at the bottom of NHS waiting lists."
That's certainly true of the NHS. There was a Times report a few years ago that a quarter of London's hospital beds were occupied by foreign nationals who'd flown to the UK for free treatment.
On the other hand, a few deserved brickbats are handed out.
"Just who has been allowing economic migrants to come here in such numbers that the racial demographics of some places were forced to stand such speedy anxiety-inducing transformations? Think you'll find that's the government ... So why did this government let it happen? Why are they only now catching onto the fact that rising migrant populations in areas where resources are already scarce will cause suffering to all and rampant racial tension?"
Ten years too late : opineth Cerdic.
Donal Blaney of the Young Britons Foundation tells of the howls of left rage which greeted a similar proposal in Fulham a few years back.
Sunny's not impressed but slightly depressed.
There are two reasons why such a policy is now inevitable: (a) providing housing to asylum seekers is constantly used by the BNP for their own electoral campaigning and is a big source of resentment; (b) Labour has invested so little in new housing stock that such shortages and the vicious fight over them are inevitable.
"This is precisely the sort of garbage which fuels the BNP" says leftie Grimmerupnorth from the seething multicultural melting pot that is Hebden Bridge.
From the equally vibrant streets of Lancaster we hear that the Refugee Council is not happy.
Julie Morgan MP neatly straddles the political fence, noting that Hodge's remarks are 'controversial'. Yes, woman, but so were Hitler's ! Far more interesting is her appearance at the launch of the Breastfeeding Manifesto in London, where she was joined by Arsenal and England footballer Theo Walcott. What ? Breastfeeding ? Theo Walcott ? I know he's young, but surely he's on solid foods by now ?
Interestingly millionairess MP Lynne Featherstone seems to be in cautious agreement with millionairess MP Margaret Hodge :
"In Haringey - where we have a desperate housing need and high immigration - these issues walk into my surgery week after week. What is actually the case is there is a clash - but it's not racial - anyway not here in Haringey.
It's a clash between the 'already here's' - and they are of every race and culture - versus the 'newcomers'. And the system of points for housing that gives priority to number of children, illness, etc often results in what either is or looks like queue jumping. That does cause resentment. What we need is a system that is both fair and transparent. It's difficult to balance the rights of those who have already been waiting with those newly in need, but it's a balance we have to strike – and in an open, transparent way so that people can have confidence in the system."
Fellow liberal burbler Paul Walter is deeply disturbed by the use of the word 'indigenous', reserved for noble native Americans, Siberian shamanic nomads or threatened Amazonian tribes, in connection with the native Brits or English.
And Chris Dillow (who has a book out) surprises me by not using the r-word in a measured post which as usual asks more questions than it answers. Nowt wrong with that if they're good questions.
One last piece - a comment to this Jon Cruddas piece by a poster called Ishouldapologise, who generally toes the Guardian line - I think he's a lecturer.
I am sorry, but I have to agree with Margaret Hodge.
When we arrived back in the UK four years ago my wife had a small job and so did I and the only house we could afford was a small cramped second story flat. My children had to share one small loft together with barely enough room to stand up in. Furthemore, it was a firetrap.
One of my students was a Sri Lankan refugee: a very nice man. He was not allowed to work, but I think he did anyway; in one of the network of Sri Lankan shops in our area. At the same time the government had given him and his family, with two children, a perfectly fine three bedroomed house to live in rent free. I saw it.
It seemed rather unfair to me.
We couldn't find anyone to help us. We were earning just too much to deserve help from the government, but not enough to rent a decent place to live in. My children suffered. Perhaps if my wife had been a single mother the council would have given us priority on a housing list. Perhaps if we didn't both work, then the government would have come to our aid. Perhaps.
But they didn't. Bitter irony. I didn't resent it overmuch, that my student had been helped, I resented, and resent, that we hadn't been helped. We were left to suffer by the politically correct.
There is definitely something very wrong in the system. It shouldn't stop helping refugee Sri Lankans, but it should think about helping working people with British Nationality more than it does at present.
Seumas Milne’s “buts”
4 hours ago