Why is being housed by the state considered a failure?

Social Housing debates are at centre of the political discourse right now, and they rightly should be following the Grenfell Tower tragedy and the ongoing UK housing crisis. We need to ask ourselves collectively some very important questions. It is time to move away from the strong doses of individualism we’ve shot ourselves up with and start thinking together as a collective society. No civilised country, can call itself civilised unless people have housing rights which includes having somewhere safe and secure to live, from the richest to the poorest.

I would like to turn attention in this blog post to the following. Listening to Leading Britain’s Conversation (LBC) earlier in the week, tackling the question of social housing. A caller rang in and stated “Why don’t people work to move out a council home. Why do people in this country think the state owes them everything? My parents came to this country in the 1960’s and they worked and they never relied on the state”. This sort of viewpoint in regards to council housing is unfortunately far too common in the UK. It’s rather elementary to put your experiences, or someone else’s, as indicative to what everyone being housed by the state should do, or be doing. The world is extremely complex, no two people are the same, no two groups of people are the same, no two parts of the country are the same, the environment, is the same etc.

The thrust of this blog post though isn’t why some hold such views (as crazy as they are). The caller stated his parents came to the UK in 1960’s and have never relied on the state, that may well be the case but when we read behind this we see the statement holds value judgements. Not everyone is like necessarily like yourself or immediate others. If you are not lucky enough to have come to the country in the 1960’s when jobs were more easy to come by, or are/were more reliant on the state in the sixties because you have less capital you fall into a category that this caller presumably (and we are assuming at this point, has). Statements such as these lead those living on a council estate to fear openly admitting that they do.

‘Social shame’ is present in UK society. This goes for all areas of state dependency, not just social housing.

Grenfell Tower Burning

The Grenfell Tower tragedy highlighted the many failings of UK society. Not just of local government, but by how people who live in social housing are viewed by those who do not or never have resided in social housing. By this I am referring to both citizens and politicians. Those that have never lived in social housing tend to hold positions of power, over those who do. This very imbalance is a danger to British democracy, at a local and national level.

The image of the blackened hull that is Grenfell Tower should wake us all up to the dangers of lack of empathy and understanding. It should also wake us up to the face that we need to think collectively in order to help others out. So we too may lead lives that are happy. The more people in our country that are happy and not living in terrible conditions the better it is for society collectively right?

We also need to focus on power, who has power. Why do they have it? How? We need to forever question what government is doing, and be critical. At both national and local level, here it seems in Kensington and Chelsea local government were/are able to do as they please without very little oversight from anyone with power. The residents were disempowered and nobody was listening. This HAS to change but can only be done by mobilisation of the people on mass. The Grenfell Silent March which begins at Kensington Town hall and ends at the Lancaster West Estate is one way of doing this, as well as remembering the 72 victims of the tragedy. Now with Brexit and many other issues on the central agenda it is critical that this does not fall off the political agenda. The people of North Kensington need our support not just for a brief moment, but a lifetime.

Only if the citizens of the UK mobilise can we rid ourselves of the class system that has plagued the UK for centuries, and finally tackle rising inequality. We cannot go on creating areas where there are shops implicitly stating to one section of society this is not intended for you and just (2 minute’s walk in North Kensington) short drive away there are shops targeting a different class of person. It is clear that this will take time, primarily as the upper classes/elites who actually most likely prefer the status quo are more than likely to be in positions of power.

To make matters worse the new leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council (appears she is not so new). Has NEVER set foot in Grenfell Tower or any other tower block at all. I wonder if you can guess which part of Kensington she is living in? 😕

There is a massive disconnect between those in power, and classes. Nowhere is this more poignant then in North Kensington, with similar cases up and down the country.

Clearly, as someone senior in the council she should have visited the tower without question. To talk with residents, and investigate the many complaints. If she had actually visited the tower in the many years in which residents were complaining she would have seen this. Her position in my opinion is surely is also untenable.

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A clear problem is representation, if someone is unable to take the time to step foot in any tower block in a borough they have a deputy leadership role in, how are they supposed to represent all the people in that borough? Especially if this said person is middle/upper class, visibly. They will need to do connect with the people they should be working on behalf of and that means everyone a borough. Nobody in this council appears (or actually cares) to represent the poor, traditional working classes or service class. I am aware by simply mentioning the class system in this way, I am partly responsible for upholding it.

And finally, Grenfell Tower has clearly changed how these country sees social housing. Has it truly touched all corners of society? Probably not. For too long social housing tenants have been held in contempt by councils and housing associations. From my own personal experience of living in 1970’s tower block (featured image on the right) reporting issues to Enfield Council and them not being acted upon, often with that familiar response that KCTMO residents had, stating that nobody else has reported the issue and issues often taking long to resolve.

To conclude. Why is Social Housing considered a failure?

Being housed by the state is considered a failure by some in society because of the increasing lack of empathy, the overuse of value judgements, lack of care, lack of oversight by us collectively towards those less fortunate. The over focus on owning property and gaining wealth through property has led to a destruction of society as we know it. This over focus on purchasing property is partly fuelled by the fact that the rental market is poorly, regulated with poor securities.

We have allowed society UK society has become more individualistic, more about “keeping up with the Jones”. The idea that people live in council homes out of choice rather than need as the LBC caller suggests is another reason. It is clear not everyone is the same, and tarring everyone with the same brush is a problem that a majority of UK society appears to have.

Too little oversight at local government level has allowed for conflict of interest, corruption, or just general disinterest all of which seem to be rarely picked up in any official statistics (which is equally worrying!).

This is a tragedy that we are all responsible for. Lacklustre politicians and indifferent citizens. We are all responsible.

(In a few weeks in the top menu, I will add a link with videos of various events recorded post Grenfell for viewers. For those wishing to understand more about the problems residents faced in Grenfell Tower and the Lancaster West Estate the Grenfell Action Blog is a good place to start.)

Take care 🙂

UK General Election 2017

The political landscape has been shaken up as Theresa May u-turned on yet another promise. The conservatives are very far ahead in the polls now and Mrs May announced that she chaired a meeting of the cabinet where they agreed the government should hold a general election on the 8th June.

In the recent local council elections, Labour was trounced. This election holds importance in the type of Brexit the UK faces will largely be decided come June 8th. Most policies enacted by government aren’t as wide sweeping, and certainly aren’t as destructive over the long-run as leaving the European Union will be.

Therefore, it’s not only critical that everyone gets out to the ballot box. It’s also crucial the public make an informed choice on the type of Brexit (as well as type of governance) they want. Already we have felt the sting of food price rises due to a weakened pound. As prices continue to rise and real wages stagnate over several years this will only compound those at the lower end of society. The social cost is high, as will be the political cost of any government who commits to Brexit in the long-run.

Public opinion can change and political parties would do well to remember that. The public should too. The reality is only starting to just starting to bite, when the Brexit pain really starts to dig in it will be interesting who the new bogeyman will become. Will discourse simply deepen its focus on the other? With people saying we didn’t go far enough about rejecting immigration. Will it just continue to be the EU? The conservative, right-wing dominated media controls information in the UK at the moment so we can make a prediction based on that.

These are all pitfalls that will beset any new government, and could make them unelectable at the next election in 2022.

With all this in mind, choosing the next government is not a decision that any voter should take lightly. This is the most important election of the 21st century so far.

Tim Farron, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn

Main party leaders: Tim Farron, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn

Appleton’s election tip:

Think wisely about the main issue that affects you. Whether that’s the environment (clean air), the NHS (which certainly is from what I’ve experienced recently at breaking point), Brexit (will affect this, and future generations including tie up government resources and development for years to come), immigration (because a sizeable chunk of the population perceive this to be the issue of our times), disability (major cuts over the past 7 years) or if it’s something I missed. Have look at party manifestos see what party best stands up to fix the issues you face. I’d recommend this approach, and not basing it on personality, a leader is an important part of a political party no doubt but the people behind it and the values/issues they wish to tackle are as important.

This marks my first post since December 2016. I want to continue on a little more but I have just come out of a two night stay at Barnet Hospital due to severe glandular fever. I was not able to swallow at all, only spit and was on the verge of throwing up, my tonsils were killing and almost touching.

Hope all readers are well. I’ll be back posting soon. Even more so as I’ve finished and passed my masters for this year. Just one year left 🙂

It’s been a great 2016, now to 2017

Happy New Year!

2016, WOW. What a year.
No, I’m not just talking about Brexit or Trump here (equally big, but on a negative level). But personally!

This was the year of the graduation. The completion of my degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE). The beginning of a MSc in International Public Policy at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) and a couple of interesting study trips.

The end of the year also marks the reshaping of this blog. It’s no longer going to be known as it once was. Some readers may already have noticed this but it going to taking on a more professional, politically inspired form.

I hope everyone has a great remainder of 2016, and a very happy new year 🙂

Take care!

Degree complete, Masters to begin!

I’ve neglected my blog this summer. I’ve been immensely busy as usual but I’ve got a degree. I finally feel that achieved something finally (see below) 🙂

My delight

My delight! A 2.1!

I should have posted this ages ago but I’ve been busy planning and doing things. My graduation is booked up for Friday 16th September (next week).
At the beginning of the month my grandad in Jamaica passed away. Whilst my other one is quite ill himself. So, it’s been a bit sad on that part.

A lot has happened now. I’m kinda in the hunt for a new job part-time/full-time that gives me useful experience. I had an interview with BP as a duty manager that I ended up not attending due to sheer distance, it was simply too far to work.

I recently applied for a Masters degree in International Public Policy at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). I got accepted on 1st September, and I’ve decided to commit and go for it 🙂

The full course (MSc International Public Policy) will be part-time and taught at a distance. However, I will be making heavy use of my university campus facilities due. The campus for the school of Politics and International relations is quite close, just on the London Overground line.

Having completed pre-enrolment. I’ve now just registered my modules for this year (semester 1 & 2). Currently waiting for my degree certificate and a few final bits to fully enrol.

I’m getting ready to study again. Buying folders, switching from Dropbox to Google Drive, and getting prepared mentally.

Anyone who is starting a Masters anywhere this year contact me 🙂

Images from the past few months (will be posted here)

I’ll be blogging soon friends!

UK votes to leave the European Union

Lack of understanding..

The ref exposed a large lack of understanding

The UK has voted to leave the European and thus will no longer be part of the European Union (at some stage). Something that is part of the greater good, it might not be perfect but what form of governance is. The UK has voted to leave an important block, in an increasingly interconnected, interdependent and globalised world.

Let me get to what I believe we have just caused through our decision to leave both nationally and on the continent.

It’s all self-inflicted harm

We’ve produced a period of self-inflicted instability nationally and throughout the continent through these areas;

• Economically, the market has crashed. The pound has dropped and has stabilised at its lowest level since 1983

• The UK Economy and the Eurozone could suffer from more Economic turmoil if decisions aren’t made quickly and rationally to instill business confidence. The Eurozone affects us in or out of the EU. As we live in an interconnected world, with a full globalised economy.

• Socially, areas which benefited from EU funding such as Yorkshire, Hull (marina and port areas entirely built on EU Social finds), Cornwall now need to worry about where investment will come from. The many care institutions and other institutions. Who were funded in total or part by the EU now need to worry about their future existence

• Again, products that are protected under the EU. Like Melton Mowbray pork pies etc, may be concerned about region protection but we should get a deal that allows us to continue protecting these inside the single market. Albeit at greater cost

• Our European soft power has now been diminished in one move politically, economically, and diplomatically

Now some of the specifics. The quitters sold the public a line that they should pass more sovereignty back to Westminster. To analyse the sovereignty issue:

• Sovereignty is not a whole. There is no such thing as overall sovereignty as politicians have continually alluded to. Sovereignty is split into three parts; international legal, domestic, and Westphalian-Vattelian sovereignty.

• Sovereignty is fluid. Not absolute in the 21st century, there is no empire or commonwealth (as there before was)

• Globalisation has eroded sovereignty more than the EU ever did, or will. The EU provides a mechanism for democratic control over the pooled or contracted out Westphalian sovereignty. Transnational corporations, the media etc, lobby parliaments and invest large sums into campaigns, and in some cases directly target politicians. In an effort to influence them. Some even use threats of leaving a market (for another country) or threaten intervention in the market through other forms (not just capital flight). This is one reason many countries are increasingly being held hostage by the likes of Amazon and Google etc.

• Without a regulatory body or large block that has a lot of influence the trend will continue. Just ask Microsoft or Google about business in the EU. It’s been regulated very well for the most part, to make sure people are not exploited and that corporations do not run a mock. There is a fine balance but the UK alone will struggle unless it co-operates more in this area. The laws that are often passed in business and the tax world thus often favour these corporations massively.

The End Result

End result: We most likely will end up with the Norwegian model. Inside the single market, and contracting out our Westphalian sovereignty. The difference being where it was once pooled out democratically in the EU and we had influence on laws and any potential reforms of the democratic process. There will now be none. So, we have no democratic input on the Westphalian-Vattelian sovereignty that we will contract away under ANY future model. Of course we could opt for nothing at all of course (which means not trading with the EU and being in the single market!). So, we we’ve given away democratic control (which you can reform and change) for none at all on the sovereignty that will have to be contracted out.

There will be a constant erosion of Westphalian sovereignty, the state system itself is eroding. There was a good quote, I can’t remember where it came from but it was basically along the lines of; Europe is where the sovereign state was born, there it shall end.

Globalisation is the largest threat to sovereignty but that doesn’t have to be all bad, As long as there are checks and balances, which by the vote to leave yesterday we’ve removed another layer of.

The 350million a week figure which was a lie was more like 180 after our rebate, most likely won’t be spent on NHS or other services in this country. Nigel Farage said so, so hey it must be right. Of course we already knew that. The cost of any other agreement with the EU will probably be quite significant, along with replacing any social funding that we now may have to provide to institutions or under developed regions. The EU did quite well with wealth redistribution in that sense.

Of EU, Empire and Commonwealth

The EU project is something very unique and is so difficult to quantify. A project looking to promote and nurture peace, freedom and security in a very unstable world. For those who say NATO gives us security. Well, they’re right but so does the EU. The member states work through diplomacy, soft power, and economics (the ability to apply sanctions). It’s not all about hard military power. Border disputes must be settled before any country is admitted into the EU. The African Union, Caricom, ASEAN use it as a model for security and trade.

What we can look forward to is a government full of hard right-wing, casually racist prats. Boris Johnson, I don’t think he knows where he is on the political compass, just snaking his way to the leadership of the Tory party. Jacob Rees Mogg, and Daniel Hannan. We can’t rule Mr. Farage out too of course, can see him defecting back to his old party to party in the sun.

But hey, we got the commonwealth and the empire right? Right? Haha.
I’ve not been a fan of direct democracy and referendums due to the amount of misinformation sides can promote, and the public can often vote on issues for the wrong reasons. I feel this has pretty much proved that case.

If you made it this far, congratulations. I didn’t mean to make it this long.

What this vote has shown is that we are a nation divided. We now project ourselves as insular and at worst living with some past notion of empire. Britain is better than this.

“When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice” – Rupert Murdoch

As you notice, racism has reared its ugly head again in this country 🙁

A petition that made me chuckle. Including all countries of the commonwealth (sarcasm). Except the Brown people, yes those people. If you are an ethnic minority and you voted to leave on the hope that there would be a deeper connection with the commonwealth. You will be let down. Especially if you are brown. The petitionhttp://tinyurl.com/l272w2k 😆


By now it’s clear to see the quitters have no central plan. The Tory leadership is a poisoned chalice. The opposition along with the elected party is in a total state. Those poorest will suffer first, particularly in poor regions of the UK that benefited from the EU social development fund, regions like Kingston upon Hull, and Cornwall. The economy is taking a battering and the racists/xenophobes are out in force. We got to brave our self-inflicted storm and try to re-unite what now is a very divided, inward, and increasingly intolerant country.

Some hard-hitting images post-referendum

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EU referendum – Fact and Fallacy

British and EU flag

Britain and the EU need each other.

The EU referendum isn’t far away, both campaigns are in full swing.

With just 3 weeks I can’t help but feel concerned. First, the narrative of the referendum is negative largely coming from the Leave campaign (Boris and his Hitler remarks, Racist comments from some Brexit supporters), although the remain campaign have had to put up with the Prime Ministers comments (R.E World War three).

When history is made, people in the future should learn not to make the same mistakes. Let’s go back to 1929, a global financial crisis. Then the rise of the far right. Hard economic times feed political extremism and reactionary politics. This is no time for nationalist policies and history has taught us what turning to the far right can do. Fractious, aggressive and divisive politics is not what Europe or the world needs. What’s needed more then ever coming off the back of a financial crisis is cooperation, internationally and within continents. Turning to nationalism as the past has shown leads to uncertainty.

Another concern with the recent populist/nationalist rise is that it largely ignores the world around it. The economic crisis that created citizen concern for the “other” or immigration was global. The Eurozone had differing issues on top of this, but the UK isn’t part of the Eurozone.

A large percentage of claims the leavers make are inaccuracies or just blatant lies (see the leaflet images below). I will tackle these in my post referendum analysis (when I have some free time). For now I hope all will make use of balanced sources, I’ve provided an independent source below.

Independent referendum research and Conclusions

For an independent source, take time to head over to fullfact.org. Probably the best source for anything related to the referendum. From their about page:

Full Fact is the UK’s independent, non-partisan, fact-checking charity. We check claims made by politicians, the media, pressure groups, and other voices in public debate, and push for corrections where necessary. We also work with government departments and academic research institutions to improve the quality and communication of technical information at source, and campaign for greater transparency in the public arena.

I have much more to say on this but no time. I had a leaflet come through my door the other day from vote leave.

I posted this along with a poll on the recently relaunched political debate forum (Let Politics Talk). You can view it here. I’d be glad to debate with some readers 🙂

So, I’m campaigning with StrongerIn, doing some phone banking and taking part in battle bus events.

Yet, again I really want to expand on this all more but I really have had absolutely no time.
Hoping for a Remain result. Though it doesn’t look too good at the moment.
Come on Britain, we are stronger and greater in!

More to come soon. Stay tuned.