A Cunning Plan or a Modest Proposal?

I have what Baldrick would call a Cunning Plan...
I have what Baldrick would call a Cunning Plan (and Swift a Modest Proposal) for solving the UK’s housing problems. Of course, Baldrick’s plans were always less than cunning and Swift’s outrageous proposal was merely satirical. My own suggestion is outrageous but it is also practical.

As I noted in my previous post, Britain’s housing problem is not so much a housing problem as a regional development problem. Most of the jobs are in the London region and South East, sucking in people not just from the rest of the UK but from throughout the world. Not all these people find work, so the area is a magnet for unemployment as well as employment. Some who have gainful employment in other parts of the country/world are attracted by the higher salaries in London. They seem to be oblivious to the higher housing costs until they get here. A salary which would sustain a very comfortable living in Bradford (not to mention Karachi) would offer only abject poverty in London. At the same time as putting great strain on housing and transport in London and the South East, this migration tends to drain other regions of much of their youthful talent. We desperately need policies which reverse this

So, how do we generate sustainable growth outside the South East? There is one gigantic enterprise which is based in London - the Government. Yes, I know that parts of the giant machine of Government have long ago been dispatched to other parts of the UK, but this is frankly a job-creation scheme which has backfired during the present recession. Many of the jobs created were never needed and were therefore dispensable when finances were squeezed. The DVLA was despatched to Swansea many years ago. Why not the whole Department of Transport? It may be objected that the hub of the department must be where the ministers are so that they know what is going on in their department, to which there are at least two satisfactory rejoinders: (1) It is clear that geographic proximity did nothing to promote effective communication between the Home Secretary, Theresa May, and the head of the UK Border Force, Brody Clark; (2) it is not necessary for MPs to stay in London.

I am not suggesting Parliament should move to Swansea, but there is no good reason for it to stay in London, and wouldn’t it be good to see the back of those dreadful, self-serving, over-paid and dishonest MPs? There must surely be places which would welcome them with open arms. Doncaster, with its long reputation for political corruption, perhaps, or Kingston upon Hull, Newcastle, Grimsby, the Isle of Wight, Carlisle? Anywhere as long as it is a long way from London. I’d suggest somewhere more remote, such as the Shetland Islands, but I’m not sure that the union between England and Scotland will last that long. The Falkland Islands might be a possibility but MPs’ antics would risk frightening the penguins. Or we could outsource Parliament to a call centre in Mumbai, if the Indian Government will let us. This last action would (judging from other call centres in Mumbai) have the added advantage that those charged with imposing further laws and taxes upon us would be too ignorant of UK geography to do so.

Wherever Parliament goes, all those MPs with their generous expense accounts will spend and spend. Admittedly it is not very productive expenditure compared with investing in manufacturing industry but if they going to spend the money anyway they might as well spend it somewhere where it will be appreciated. An army of civil servants, bankers, journalists, party apparatchiks, lobbyists, sycophants, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, mistresses and expensive call-girls and rent-boys will follow in their wake and suddenly there will be no housing crisis in London. No doubt the good burghers of Hull, or wherever, will be happy to build as much housing as is necessary to accommodate the alien horde and, let’s face it, almost anything which was done to Doncaster, the Isle of Wight or Hull would be an improvement.

London and the South East, freed not only from a housing crisis but also from the proximity of the most parasitic members of society, would enjoy a cultural and economic renaissance.
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