At a recent Bradford Council meeting, a dozen or so Labour councillors declared interests as landlords (for completeness three Conservative councillors and one Green did likewise). The sight of this made us grin a little - socialists as a new rentier class!
However, there's a serious point to be made here about the housing debate. Bradford's Labour councillors are adamant that we are facing a "housing crisis" in the City and that we desperately need "affordable" housing for the vast hordes of future Bradfordians. As a result Cllr Slater, the housing and planning lead is adamant that "middle-class" objectors to greenfield housing development must be slapped down:
And Councillor Val Slater conceded she and other councillors will be locking horns with “middle class” protesters as the battles rage over where to build the 45,500 homes said to be needed by 2028.
So why then are those rent earning labour councillors not playing their part? After all Cllr Malik, chair of the corporate scrutiny committee doesn't just own one or two houses:
At Premier Housing we have been providing quality rental properties for over 20 years. Whether you are a student or a professional we have an ever expanding portfolio of quality, studios, flats and houses, you can be certain that we will find a property that suits your needs.
You could ask why Cllr Malik doesn't stand on his socialist principles and provide some of that "affordable" housing? Or is this what is meant by affordability:
He (Cllr Malik) is one of two directors of Premier Housing (Bradford) Ltd who, along with the company itself, were fined a total of £34,000 by the courts earlier this year.
The firm has a portfolio of rented flats in Bradford, Leeds, Halifax and Liverpool and was taken to court by Liverpool Council over 41/43 Holt Road, Liverpool, for eight offences under the Houses in Multiple Occupation legislation.
The charges described the flats above a shop as rat-infested and poorly-converted.
The company re-appeared in court for six similar offences relating to flats in Laburnum Road, Liverpool.
Not much evidence of caring for the poor but that's not really my point here - why don't those Labour councillors rent their properties out to the poor at affordable rents rather than argue for the rest of us (who don't earn rents) to pay more taxes so as to pay the higher rates of housing benefit needed to pay those higher market rents?
And here's another idea - Cllr Slater lives in a large three or four bedroomed house in Bingley (about ten miles or so from her 'deprived' ward). Just her and her husband. Why isn't she doing something to help with this "housing crisis" she's invented by renting out those spare rooms?
But then I remembered! The thing about socialism is that it's not about people actually doing caring things to help less fortunate folk. Such activity is patronising and to be stopped - the state through taxes will provide what those folk need! And Cllr Slater can sit in her comfortable home in a pleasant market town secure in the knowledge that she has forced those pesky taxpayers to cough up for subsidising affordable housing.
Taxpayers like the one who wrote to me recently:
"My full army and OAP adds up to £14,590 of which I pay almost £1,000 tax."
These are the "middle classes" that Cllr Slater is so disparaging about. This is the lie of her ostentatious socialism - condemning decent, hard-working folk to virtual penury while lecturing us about how we don't care because we don't support higher taxes and more government.