The housing crisis


Sir, – Your editorial “The housing crisis: the Government’s greatest failure” (July 20th) starkly outlines the facts of the crisis. But while the tone of the view expressed is correct, labelling the fiasco “a damning indictment” of the Government’s competence, the ideology that drives policy requires closer scrutiny. There is a template for rebuilding a nation after a fiscal collapse, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal”. It showed that greater social equality was a vital element to the success of any such plan. The basic reality is that if a community is to pull together to overcome adversity, the rewards of the collective effort must be shared fairly. And therein lies the explanation for current failures – a Government that is driven and blinded by neo-liberal ideology and that strains every sinew to resist any proposal that might see fairer distribution of the common wealth. Consequently, it will never achieve the level of social cohesion and solidarity necessary.

FDR also pointed out that in politics, nothing ever happens solely by accident (or incompetence), “if it happens at all, you can bet it was planned that way”. It is very important to understand the difference. Incompetence can be readily cured; ideology, particularly the variety most members of the present Government espouse, is chronic. – Yours, etc,