Search
  • 738

Houses



I am sorry to subject you to the quote below. Doubtless, like me, you will want to stick a pencil in Harry’s eye—though I grant that “Fiona” and “Harry” are the correct names for this type, though much else is wrong in this little sketch.


“Harry, a 32-year-old Good Middle Class Graduate from a Good Middle Class Family™ looks up from his phone. His eyes move across the cramped rental flat to Fiona, his girlfriend of five years. He’s been thinking about starting a family for a while.


Later that evening, he tells her: ‘I’ve done some maths — we can just about afford to buy a gardenless 1.5 bed flat in Catford and have a baby, if we reduce our food budget.’ And they’re the lucky ones. And yet, is that all his country has to offer them? Britain’s answer to anyone who isn’t a home-owning pensioner today is, unfortunately, yes. The formerly normal aspiration to settle and start a family is out of reach for swathes of young people. A fundamental compact between conservative principles, and the party that is supposed to represent them, has been broken.”


This quote, extracted from an Unheard article about homeownership, constitutes nonsense. The idea is that people only move to the right if they own a home and have children—otherwise they remain forever-kids controlled by the left; ergo, the fewer homeowners, the less likely people are to vote Conservative—if the Conservatives cannot increase homeownership they are sunk, since there will be a permanent rental class that votes for the left. In a sense, the whole question is pointless: Britain is like the Islamic Republic of Iran, you can vote for any party you want so long as it is Shiite Muslim—so that every party in Britain is progressive, it is just a question as to whether you want faster progress or slower progress; just as Iranians choose liberal or conservative Islam—to amend the anarchist slogan, the idea always gets in.


This particular fascination with homeownership derives, as with many things in British Conservative politics, from a vague remembrance of Thatcher. They remember that Thatcher sold the council houses and so won over a share of working-class voters with what constituted a bribe—after all, the houses were built with money from home-owning taxpayers and then sold to people who could never otherwise afford their own home to get them to vote Conservative. The problem was that it constituted a one-time offer, and now you still have the same residuum who could never afford their own homes; except now there is less state-provided housing, a larger population thanks to immigration, and many squalid overcrowded rental properties instead—and many people richly rewarded with homes they could never afford in the first place that they could later sell for large profits.


The fact is that people with names like “Harry” and “Fiona” are never, never in doubt about homeownership: firstly, they earn over £50,000 each—and so have above-average salaries (their “food budget”—this notional non-existent thing—just refers to when they pop down to Waitrose to pick up spicy Japanese rice wafer snacks and Prosecco); secondly, the bank of Dad (nominally, “the bank of Mum and Dad”, but this is a realistic website) will come forward with the necessaries for a deposit when the time comes. They will own a home.


Political positions—as with homeownership—come about due to biological factors; the people with the impulse control (a tell for intelligence) to own a home in the first place have children, by and large, who also have the impulse control to save for a home—and wealth is transmitted down the generations through loans for deposits and similar aid, one reason why the left knows that equality demands that the family must be broken up. So the people who own homes will be the people who have always owned homes—the “Harrys” and “Fionas”; and their political position is also biological.


Now, it is true that almost all young people are leftist—even if they have a predisposition towards the right; and this is so for two reasons: firstly, young people are forming their identity and are more malleable—they are group-orientated and the left tends towards group-orientation, towards the mob; secondly, whatever their intelligence or predisposition they are inexperienced and so are more likely to trust vague promises by the left (“It could work, maybe.”)—especially as the education system that has formed them tells them that abstract rational scientific schemes, the guise in which the left always presents itself, are high status.


As people age, they become less interested in what other people think of them and they also gain more experience—reality is right-wing, so they move to the right to some degree by default as they accrue experience; and, in fact, all that happens is that they become “just like dad”—since all the youthful experimentation was for the most part a fruitless push against biology facilitated by a concern for what is “cool”, by the degree to which they buckled to group pressure. The exception to this situation are those people that are permanently corrupted in some way, usually because the wider system incentivises them to use what would otherwise be positive attributes—such as conscientiousness—in a perverse way.


Now, families, career success, and homeownership may accelerate a trend to the right. You may see that a baby has a fully formed character immediately and hence find it almost impossible to credit the left’s “educationalist” ideas anymore—yet this is not integral to the movement. Of course, some people, narcissists, constitutionally never move beyond being an awkward teenager worried about what other people wear to the club—and so they will always be on the left, and so women, being more narcissistic, are implicitly on the left; although, as with any mob, they are malleable—they love a bully, the bully-lover.


So the “home question” is a red herring; it only shows that Conservatives today are democrats who want to bribe the mob with cheap homes that will be acquired…how? Presumably by some state intervention, since the council housing stock has been raided—Thatcher’s bribe was used up long ago. In fact, the people who will pay to expand homeownership will be “Harry” and “Fiona”—they will have to pay more tax to enact a scheme that is anti-Conservative except in the sense that it gets more votes for the Conservative Party, after all the “true meaning” of conservatism in a democracy.


A secondary issue, Harry has had his girlfriend for five years—now, really…The decision to have children is existential: you would be amazed at the conditions in which people have children—people who are more primal, on the council estates, just whip ‘em out without much thought at seventeen. The prerequisites are adequate food and a shelter (of some sort); the conditions were set in pre-historic times—the prerequisites are fulfilled and over-fulfilled in modernity beyond all need.


The reality is that Harry is a decadent: the middle-class diligence and restraint that allowed his ancestors to buy houses and only have two children, either through sexual restraint or discreet contraception, have turned, in a liberalised social environment, into decadence. Childbirth is existential, not financial; in a normal environment, it would not be socially acceptable for Harry to shack up with his gf for five years—he would have had to marry her to have sex with her, and to marry is to put yourself on the road to childbirth; and, at that point, “Looks like we’ll have another one in the family, but I’m sure we can make do—he can have his brother’s clothes anyway.”


It is only in a decadent system that Harry can “experiment”—possibly indefinitely—and worry that his career is never “in the right place” for children; although, as with many things in life, there is no right place for what is an existential act—though his middle-class diligence will mean that he is always “lining it up”, getting it in the right position. He can do it because there is no social pressure to marry and have children—and, in fact, since people can divorce any time they wish, with the divorce usually initiated by the woman, there is little incentive to do so from his perspective. Men do not feel an urgent need to produce children, women do—and so men have to be reasonably constrained and incentivised to reproduce; if they are not, they end up like Harry (who, contra the quote, is not actively planning a family but rather enduring and pretending not to notice his gf’s subtle hints that she wants children)—his forward-planning can go on forever when there is no social pressure or no incentive to marry.


Indeed, the whole “it’s so difficult to afford a house so we can’t have children” is just an excuse to avoid the existential issue. I have seen educated refugees from the Middle East—academics—force out children in practically one-room conditions in the West because they are married and the war at home pushes the issue to the fore; and also because the culture expected it—middle-class dignity be damned.


Talk about “the necessities” for childbirth represent evasions, snobbery—yet the evasions will continue indefinitely until a non-decadent context for childbirth is re-established. This means an end to divorce, new restrictions on abortion, and a social context where sex outside marriage is unacceptable. All very well, dream on! Well, whether those conditions are realisable or not it is because those conditions do not exist that people do not have children, not because there are insufficient homes that the Conservatives should somehow produce through government action—or even economic growth, even if they grow the economy (they will not) it will just give Harry more time to fiddle with his console; the issue is existential, not economic.


In the interim, what will continue to happen will be for more and more immigrants to arrive in Britain—the real issue with the “housing crisis”. Now, homeownership itself is a very British idea—even the French, historically, are not homeowners; it was acceptable for middle-class French people to rent their whole lives—in Britain, you can barely call yourself middle class if you live like that. Britain is not being inundated by French immigrants, but the point remains. “An Englishman’s home is his castle”, the notion essentially alluded to in the “Harry” and “Fiona” article, remains an English idea.


I have no idea if the Somalis and Pakistanis who mill around the streets about me see it that way. In fact, I know they do not—for example, I have met many Pakistanis, well-educated professionals, who are expected to contribute to a brother’s mortgage as a family duty (source of endless feuds, naturally); so for them “homeownership” means something very different than for the British—and what it means for a Somali, or even a Pole, I cannot tell you. So even the premise that we need to be a “property-owning democracy”, as the 1980s slogan went, does not not apply in contemporary Britain, for the population means different things by “property-owning”—and, besides, the slogan is an oxymoron; a democracy exists to dissolve property, for property excludes the people.





{{count, number}} view{{count, number}} comment

Recent Posts

See All