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Who will win the gentrification wars? Middle-class neuroses won't solve housing inequality

Get back to the cereal café. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)

Get back to the cereal café. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)


January 27, 2023   7 mins

Gentrification. Are you pro or anti? Perhaps, if you’re reading this article in a small town with a dilapidated high street, this question may be far from your mind. But if you’re inside the M25, it will loom larger, and will perhaps seem as daft as asking “poverty: are you for or against?”

The release of 2021 census numbers helps to explain why, for millennials in our core cities, the “G” word has become so politically charged. One recent data-blog showed the steeply rising number of residents in professional jobs across London and Manchester. The changes will have been plain to see if you have lived in these places over the past decade, with estate agents popping up on formerly run-down high streets and artisan bakeries appearing in railway arches.

Long-term residents and those on the public-sector frontline often see the shift as a mixed blessing at best. But anxieties are most acute, in my experience, among those doing the gentrifying. The term, after all, describes a moneyed caste pushing out “authentic” locals. Ruth Glass, the formidable Marxist sociologist who coined contemporary usage of the word, described the phenomenon as “displacement”. And many of those doing the displacing — whose politics tend also to be Left-leaning — feel a deep unease about their role.

This guilt is sometimes absorbed internally, but on other occasions it’s deflected elsewhere — at everyone from oligarchs and developers to hipsters and yummy mummies. At the real gentrifiers. And this imagined class is easily illustrated, such as through the Nine Elms Sky Pool, the Dalston Cereal Cafe and the Deptford Job Centre bar. These developments represent the most decadent aspects of modern urban renewal, and encourage people to conclude that it’s something only ever done by other people. (Curiously, the above feelings rarely dampen the appetite for craft beer and sourdough, or spur people to become regulars at the nearest flat-roofed pub. But that’s a debate for another day.)

I am a gentrifier myself. That is: I’m a former young professional who moved to London for work in the early 2010s. I haven’t felt especially flush as I’ve bumped around London’s private rental market over the past decade. But I guess, without realising it, I have been able to pay higher rents than previous waves of residents in the same areas. In this sense, I am “part of the problem”. But I increasingly wonder if this mood of penitence is helpful. This isn’t to downplay the absurdities of the London housing market. Or to deny that such absurdities bring with them an often-ugly social reality, with visible affluence a stone’s throw from homelessness. It’s more that the way gentrification is discussed, as an urban cancer wantonly infecting hearty postcodes, seems very narrow.

I first questioned my attitude to the phenomenon a few years ago, when I heard a parliamentary candidate in an economically struggling town mention the possibilities of gentrification. As the only Londoner in the room, I looked around incredulously, expecting people to be on their feet in anger. Yet the audience gazed back with interest. The candidate did not talk of it as a catch-all solution, and no one broke into spontaneous applause either. But I was struck by the fact that, in an area that had seen its high streets boarded up and its economy ravaged after the 2008 crash, gentrification was not the dirty word it had become in London.

To extend this thought, let’s revive the reportedly abandoned slogan, “levelling up”. The need to rebalance the national economy is acknowledged, in principle, by Left as well as Right. And addressing regional inequality will require, most agree, the attraction of skilled sectors to the places which currently have the fewest opportunities. Hence, the “left behind” towns which successfully level up will be those who persuade their younger populations that they don’t need to move to the nearest metropolis to advance their prospects. If they manage this, then they’ll start to attract skilled workers from elsewhere, too. House prices will rise, as the demand to live in the town increases. And cultural and commercial changes will follow, to cater for the new resident base. The area will begin to gentrify, in other words, once it “levels up”.

Writing in 2017, Dave Hill, a critic of the anti-gentrification zeitgeist, pointed out that ending gentrification in London is not difficult: “Boroughs could stop collecting rubbish
and let packs of dangerous dogs roam public parks, snarling, biting and defecating freely on the grass,” he wrote. “Southwark could close Borough Market. Lambeth could rip out Windrush Square. Sadiq Khan could
launch a campaign called London Is Closed. [This] would soon limit the capital’s attractions, deter foreign investment and eventually bring its population down.” Hill’s argument, acidly put, is that gentrification is a problem of success. Londoners should be careful what they wish for. His contention is underscored by a recent MRP poll, which found that only 11 of the UK’s 367 council areas say their communities have improved in recent years. Ten of these are in — you guessed it — Inner London. The remaining one is Manchester City Council.

At what cost, some might ask? How many people have been pushed out to achieve these polling results? Indeed, even if Hill is right and regeneration is a net positive, you could argue that central London has, in the past 20 years, become a victim of how sought after it is, experiencing “gentrification overkill”. In the late 20th century, boroughs such as Lambeth or Brent benefited from an influx of additional social capital and spending power; from groups who’d once have been too scared or snobbish to live in inner-city areas that had become hollowed out. But, by the 2010s, this had reached a tipping point. If we compare 2011 and 2021 census data for non-UK born populations, we find that much of Inner London is bucking both the national trend and its own history. Boroughs are either getting less diverse or flatlining, with newer waves of migrants settling in parts of the UK where housing is affordable. For Londoners who pride themselves on their city’s multiculturalism, this will be worrying.

Another piece in the puzzle is social class. Gentrification reflects the unromantic fact that more and more Brits do desk jobs. If our cities are gentrifying then that’s partly because our whole economy is, and has been for decades. The true history of the capital is like that of a room repeatedly wallpapered, as its inhabitants move “up” in the world. The road names in the Square Mile — Poultry, Cheapside, Milk Street — reveal a gentrification process going back centuries. And, like the increasing tendency to renounce middle-class identities, the anxiety about gentrification comes from changing material circumstances. The very term “gentrification” insinuates membership of a new nobility, of modern-day squires and duchesses. Few, in a country which aspires to meritocracy, welcome this association. But the reality, however squeamish some feel about it, is that a larger and larger proportion of the population do non-manual roles — and that these people need to live somewhere.

The rising number of middle-class jobs does become an issue if it’s happening faster in some places than others. And this, according to the data-blog cited at the start, is in fact the case. While the blog found that “the professionalisation pattern is clearly visible [beyond] big cities like London”, it also revealed that different areas are professionalising at different speeds. Of the 30 local authorities becoming middle-class quickest, for example, 13 were in Greater London or Greater Manchester. The rest were mostly commuter towns around the capital, or university cities such as Cambridge, Bristol, Warwick and Exeter.

The issue, then, if we’re talking about the increasing number of white-collar jobs, is not necessarily gentrification itself but the uneven spread of gentrification. You could argue — and perhaps there’s an undergraduate essay question to be set on this topic — that the goal of policy-makers should simply be that every UK classroom contains a representative economic and demographic cross-section of the population. If that’s not happening, then governments must intervene.

Does the above question matter, to anyone except gentrifiers already beating themselves up? The debate, I’d say, has wider implications. For one thing, it reveals the extent of geographic polarisation. Very different conversations are happening in different parts of Britain. One analysis I conducted in 2021 looked at parliamentary seats according to various deprivation metrics. The 100 English seats with the highest housing deprivation were almost exclusively in London. The 100 seats with the highest employment deprivation were, in most cases, a long way from big cities. Just eight seats featured on both lists (most of them, interestingly, in Birmingham). To put it bluntly, deprivation in half of the UK means you can’t get a decent house, and deprivation in the other half means you can’t get a decent job.

Another interesting element was party politics. Seats with high housing deprivation tended to swing towards Labour between 2010 and 2019. Constituencies with the fewest barriers to housing shifted Tory — including places which are deprived according to most other metrics. And a recent study by Ben Ansell showed a more specific consequence of this. It estimated, at constituency level, support for house-building — a topic that’s become especially charged over the past year. Enthusiasm was greatest in Labour-held city seats with high housing deprivation: places with transient communities, a precarious rental market, visible street homelessness, high internal inequality and pressure on services thanks to overcrowding. Constituencies where gentrification is, as we like to put it these days, “a thing”. Londoners may feel betrayed by the lack of enthusiasm outside the big cities. But is it really a surprise that those with a completely different experience of the housing market are less convinced about the need to build?

The gentrification debate can feel myopic. To those living in places where well-paid work is in short supply, it may look like navel-gazing from people who’ve had too much of a good thing. Those in its midst, on the other hand, feel the claustrophobia of rising rents, or see their local economy becoming prohibitively expensive over just a couple of years. The fallout from the Liz Truss mini-budget, which affected home owners and private renters alike, has created an intense focus on the housing issue. Young residents in cities have become vocal critics of Nimby-ism by older generations, and planning — not an especially sexy subject a few years ago — has become a wedge issue in some areas. The risk, for mainstream politicians, is that house-building becomes the next big culture war topic, splitting the country along generational or geographical lines.

There is a temptation for politicians to throw their all behind this, attacking the gilded lives of those in one area or another. But those who successfully bridge the electoral divide will be those who identify the thread that links the two. Gentrification is proof not that our authentic urban centres are being invaded, but that exceptionally high levels of regional inequality benefit no one.


Chris Clarke is a social researcher and former political press officer, and is the author of The Dark Knight and the Puppet Master

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Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Young people – like the author – are so squeamish about discussing immigration that they cannot think straight.

In the 10 years between 2005 and 2015 the population of the UK grew by 5 million people due to unrestricted immigration from the EU A10 countries (in the 30 years between 1975 and 2005 it grew by 3 million). In good years we build 250k new houses. The consequence was that house prices spiralled out of control.

The only way to get a handle on house prices is to:

1.Cap overall immigration numbers to 100k

2.Encourage firms to allow remote working, where they can, to allow people to spread out around the country

3.Re-classify obsolete commercial property (offices killed by home working and shopping centres killed by Amazon) as residential and get converting.

Ten years now we could have solved the house price problem and the regional inequality problem.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

4. Reform taxation to discourage the middle class from hoarding it’s wealth in property.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Unless the middle class are hoarding their wealth as a hedge against being let down by government promises (yet again). For urgent medical care or care homer places for instance.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

But who are the ‘middle class’ white collar workers driving gentrification now?? Outside of London (where there are pockets of tech & other entrepreneurs), a huge proportion of these new Nimby homeowner wealthy are from the public sector. Its not all nasty greedy business people. There are two classes; the unacknowledged ‘New Rich’ of millionaire Zahawi GPs, NHS managers, council leaders, uni bosses and technocrat regulators, then the Less Rich army of teachers, uni lecturers nurses etc whose secure salary & pensions mean they can at least secure a mortgage unlike a sole trader with variable pay. The Left feed this idea that the UK is chocka with Capitalist Sanuky Non Doms and evil businessman and ignore the size wealth and advantages of the State workers and their dachas. Its is utter tosh. It is the millionaire propertied MP & governing London class who have engineered the crazy property boom and enriched themselves hugely in the process (40m Blair portfolio/3m houses in Islington). So the Q is; is gentrification dependent on the further extension of the State? And is it dependent on the rigged policy of no house building and mass immigration?. Are there not dangers in all this? Why talk wealth & class but avoid the Elephantine Blob in the back garden??

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

middle class and gent ?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

those who take offence as opposed to take a fence?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

middle class and gent ?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

those who take offence as opposed to take a fence?

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Ah that’s moi once the pension runs out.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Having seen what my father went through in his final years, I fully intend to off myself as soon as I start experiencing dementia symptoms.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Having seen what my father went through in his final years, I fully intend to off myself as soon as I start experiencing dementia symptoms.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

But who are the ‘middle class’ white collar workers driving gentrification now?? Outside of London (where there are pockets of tech & other entrepreneurs), a huge proportion of these new Nimby homeowner wealthy are from the public sector. Its not all nasty greedy business people. There are two classes; the unacknowledged ‘New Rich’ of millionaire Zahawi GPs, NHS managers, council leaders, uni bosses and technocrat regulators, then the Less Rich army of teachers, uni lecturers nurses etc whose secure salary & pensions mean they can at least secure a mortgage unlike a sole trader with variable pay. The Left feed this idea that the UK is chocka with Capitalist Sanuky Non Doms and evil businessman and ignore the size wealth and advantages of the State workers and their dachas. Its is utter tosh. It is the millionaire propertied MP & governing London class who have engineered the crazy property boom and enriched themselves hugely in the process (40m Blair portfolio/3m houses in Islington). So the Q is; is gentrification dependent on the further extension of the State? And is it dependent on the rigged policy of no house building and mass immigration?. Are there not dangers in all this? Why talk wealth & class but avoid the Elephantine Blob in the back garden??

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Ah that’s moi once the pension runs out.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

My “hoarded middle class wealth” (AKA pension) provides good quality, long-term affordable houses for 2 families, who don’t want to buy, and an income on which I pay plentiful tax, in my “non productive boomer retirement”. Would you prefer me to have it in offshore funds and stocks?

A lot of people need to grow up and get their heads straight.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Unless the middle class are hoarding their wealth as a hedge against being let down by government promises (yet again). For urgent medical care or care homer places for instance.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

My “hoarded middle class wealth” (AKA pension) provides good quality, long-term affordable houses for 2 families, who don’t want to buy, and an income on which I pay plentiful tax, in my “non productive boomer retirement”. Would you prefer me to have it in offshore funds and stocks?

A lot of people need to grow up and get their heads straight.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Whilst I agree that the writer is squeamish about immigration, your own suggestions have some significant practical limitations.
With 1. How do we actually go about capping that immigration? Most sensible people seem to agree that this is someting that has to be done, but when we have entire sectors of our economy dependent upon us stealing qualified staff from the developing world, we’ve got very loose definitions of asylum seeker and refugee, and courts systems and an immigration service stuffed full of individuals who see their jobs as allowing people to remain even if their applications fail, it’s very hard to see how that can be implemented any time soon.
With 2. that will always be resisted by the affluent classes who actually get to work from home, they don’t want to live in neighbourhoods like mine, alongside the street drinkers, the mentally ill who walk along shouting at themselves, and the poorer workers who do the menial jobs, they gentrify areas so that they have their own little enclaves of coffee shops, fancy cafes and independent shops, the wilkos and poundlands and icelands clash horribly with their aesthetic preferences, what they want from a neighbourhood is entirely different from what those who cannot work from home want, nimbyism will always win.
As for 3. have you ever spent any time in properties that have been converted from commercial space? They are generally pretty awful, poor heat insulation, next to no sound insulation, clunky layouts and constant problems with drains because the drainage systems were never designed to handle the waste water from full time dense occupation. The wastewater facilities were only ever designed for water from a few toilets and sinks, and as properly upgrading our sewage systems would require huge amounts of money, they just cross their fingers and hope the systems mostly cope. These kinds of homes are considered good enough to cram the poor into, but you’ll only ever find the affluent classes in bespoke conversions of pretty buildings in nice areas, they won’t be buying pokey flats in ugly buildings in rundown industrial areas.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

Thanks for your comments AL.
1.Having left the EU we are no longer obliged to allow anyone into the country. We can (and do) set our own rules about work visas, dependent families, foreign students etc.
On refugees: we need to work out how we control and limit numbers. Apparently the government is going to pass legislation making it impossible for people entering the country from another safe country to claim asylum. We shall see how this works. I suspect we may end up having to leave the ECHR.
On vacancies left by reducing immigrant numbers we should have at least two approaches – tax incentives for businesses to automate away from the need for low-wage jobs currently filled by immigrants and focusing education and training of British kids (a to fill shortage occupations.
Also you can do it this in a controlled, tapered manner – dropping from 300k to 100k net immigration could be done over a parliament so businesses have time to adjust.
2.You are right. The affluent home-workers who would have moved to a flat in outer London will move to the nicest bits of provincial towns. This does bring some challenges (monopolising the best schools for instance and also lecturing locals with their dreary, right-on opinions in the pub) but it also means they are spending their high salaries in the local area. This raises the overall wealth of the town increasing the wages of tradesmen, shop keepers etc (who without being undercut by low-wage immigrant competition, can demand higher rates). I think it is a net positive.
3.Britain has some of the best (or at least most famous) architects in the world. This is meant to be a core strength of ours as a country. They need to get to work on solving the problems which you list. The incentive will be there because regardless of what we do, these office blocks and shopping centres won’t be covering their investor’s debt repayments as soon as the current leases run out.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Thanks for responding. I think that on immigrtion, you have about the best possible outcomes listed there, I suspect that the swarm is going to make all of that very difficult to achieve though, and we’ll probably be sat here in a decade conversing with others about the exact same things, and probably still tied up in the legal red tape of trying to leave the ECHR.

In terms of the affluent spending money and raising wages, to be honest, because the majority of their income goes into supporting particular businesses, they tend to have a limited effect on the low waged, particularly with how local councils are absolutely shafting local businesses to prop up their vanity projects and plug holes in funding created by financial mismanagement (but that’s a whole other mess than the one we’re discussing). The large majority of jobs that cannot be automated will continue to pay the bare minimum wages unfortunately, and those on benefits will continue to be stuck in the social housing ghettos, so ultimately, I believe the same patterns of increasing inequality between different areas of housing will remain the same as those I’ve witnessed here over the last 15 years.

The architecture problem is as much one of politics and ideology as it is of overcrowding and cost cutting. Our planning laws prohibit us from producing new buildings that are too classical in style, new additions onto older buildings are required to look distinct from the old, so we get a situation where architects are reluctant to risk designs that are too traditional or have too many classical features.

Even worse, we are currently living through an ideological period where beauty is considered to be elitist and discriminatory, the era where fat positivity and queering reign, and these ideas do influence how we design and repurpose buildings. Whether new builds or conversions, we are presented with soulless concrete, brick and metal boxes, with occasional plastic panels in lurid colours to break up the grey monotony. Thus it seems that every financial and ideological incentive is not for them to fix these issues, but to spread them.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

All very dispiriting but, doubtless, realistic stuff. The blob – be it “human rights” lawyers, brutalist architects or incompetent local councils – will almost certainly try to slow things down. Without brave and clear political vision at the very top, nothing will get done. And when did we last see brave and clear vision at the top?
The policies I suggested would help middle class kids afford larger homes (cos they don’t have to buy in outer London and won’t see endless population growth forever ramping up costs). They should also spread the wealth around the country a bit more than now. They might even draw the middle and working classes together a bit more as they will be living in (and proud of) the same towns. At least I hope they would.
Maybe they will help the problem of regional and local inequality around the edges. but they won’t solve the problem of the poorest in the country getting shafted from all sides. I suspect no policy can ever change that.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

I suppose the difference here is that I don’t have a middle class perspective, and I’ve little desire to further pamper the middling classes. Whilst I do see the issues with gentrification continuing, I get the feeling that many of the ideological pigeons of the middling classes are coming home to roost.

The middling classes tend to lean left, and have been consistently pro-immigration, they do love to bang on about wealth re-distribution. They wanted wealth redistribution, and they’ll get it, but in the long term, their wealth is what is most likely to be redistributed, mostly amongst themselves and the losers will not be happy about it.

Their enclaves are not immune to reality, some of them will inevitably shrink and parts of them will be absorbed into neighbourhoods like mine, and some of those who think they are safely possessed of affluence will find themselves on the other side of the glass with the dreaded plebs who they’ve been sneering at for years. Others will luck out and manage to retain their lifestyles at the expense of their neighbours.

Niels Georg Bach Christensen
Niels Georg Bach Christensen
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

From Denmark one of the most taxed countries in the world the lesson is, that the middle class get more than their part of the taxes in return, because they plunder the public sector as you say. It’s very difficult to stop this. In reality they are better to argue their way to public benefits, Access to Hospitals, better Schools, support for university students, free education. Even if they ar po migration and fugitives, they don’t mind segregation, because it means that their kid don’t have to go to school with migrants.

Last edited 1 year ago by Niels Georg Bach Christensen
Niels Georg Bach Christensen
Niels Georg Bach Christensen
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

From Denmark one of the most taxed countries in the world the lesson is, that the middle class get more than their part of the taxes in return, because they plunder the public sector as you say. It’s very difficult to stop this. In reality they are better to argue their way to public benefits, Access to Hospitals, better Schools, support for university students, free education. Even if they ar po migration and fugitives, they don’t mind segregation, because it means that their kid don’t have to go to school with migrants.

Last edited 1 year ago by Niels Georg Bach Christensen
AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

I suppose the difference here is that I don’t have a middle class perspective, and I’ve little desire to further pamper the middling classes. Whilst I do see the issues with gentrification continuing, I get the feeling that many of the ideological pigeons of the middling classes are coming home to roost.

The middling classes tend to lean left, and have been consistently pro-immigration, they do love to bang on about wealth re-distribution. They wanted wealth redistribution, and they’ll get it, but in the long term, their wealth is what is most likely to be redistributed, mostly amongst themselves and the losers will not be happy about it.

Their enclaves are not immune to reality, some of them will inevitably shrink and parts of them will be absorbed into neighbourhoods like mine, and some of those who think they are safely possessed of affluence will find themselves on the other side of the glass with the dreaded plebs who they’ve been sneering at for years. Others will luck out and manage to retain their lifestyles at the expense of their neighbours.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

All very dispiriting but, doubtless, realistic stuff. The blob – be it “human rights” lawyers, brutalist architects or incompetent local councils – will almost certainly try to slow things down. Without brave and clear political vision at the very top, nothing will get done. And when did we last see brave and clear vision at the top?
The policies I suggested would help middle class kids afford larger homes (cos they don’t have to buy in outer London and won’t see endless population growth forever ramping up costs). They should also spread the wealth around the country a bit more than now. They might even draw the middle and working classes together a bit more as they will be living in (and proud of) the same towns. At least I hope they would.
Maybe they will help the problem of regional and local inequality around the edges. but they won’t solve the problem of the poorest in the country getting shafted from all sides. I suspect no policy can ever change that.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Thanks for responding. I think that on immigrtion, you have about the best possible outcomes listed there, I suspect that the swarm is going to make all of that very difficult to achieve though, and we’ll probably be sat here in a decade conversing with others about the exact same things, and probably still tied up in the legal red tape of trying to leave the ECHR.

In terms of the affluent spending money and raising wages, to be honest, because the majority of their income goes into supporting particular businesses, they tend to have a limited effect on the low waged, particularly with how local councils are absolutely shafting local businesses to prop up their vanity projects and plug holes in funding created by financial mismanagement (but that’s a whole other mess than the one we’re discussing). The large majority of jobs that cannot be automated will continue to pay the bare minimum wages unfortunately, and those on benefits will continue to be stuck in the social housing ghettos, so ultimately, I believe the same patterns of increasing inequality between different areas of housing will remain the same as those I’ve witnessed here over the last 15 years.

The architecture problem is as much one of politics and ideology as it is of overcrowding and cost cutting. Our planning laws prohibit us from producing new buildings that are too classical in style, new additions onto older buildings are required to look distinct from the old, so we get a situation where architects are reluctant to risk designs that are too traditional or have too many classical features.

Even worse, we are currently living through an ideological period where beauty is considered to be elitist and discriminatory, the era where fat positivity and queering reign, and these ideas do influence how we design and repurpose buildings. Whether new builds or conversions, we are presented with soulless concrete, brick and metal boxes, with occasional plastic panels in lurid colours to break up the grey monotony. Thus it seems that every financial and ideological incentive is not for them to fix these issues, but to spread them.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

Thanks for your comments AL.
1.Having left the EU we are no longer obliged to allow anyone into the country. We can (and do) set our own rules about work visas, dependent families, foreign students etc.
On refugees: we need to work out how we control and limit numbers. Apparently the government is going to pass legislation making it impossible for people entering the country from another safe country to claim asylum. We shall see how this works. I suspect we may end up having to leave the ECHR.
On vacancies left by reducing immigrant numbers we should have at least two approaches – tax incentives for businesses to automate away from the need for low-wage jobs currently filled by immigrants and focusing education and training of British kids (a to fill shortage occupations.
Also you can do it this in a controlled, tapered manner – dropping from 300k to 100k net immigration could be done over a parliament so businesses have time to adjust.
2.You are right. The affluent home-workers who would have moved to a flat in outer London will move to the nicest bits of provincial towns. This does bring some challenges (monopolising the best schools for instance and also lecturing locals with their dreary, right-on opinions in the pub) but it also means they are spending their high salaries in the local area. This raises the overall wealth of the town increasing the wages of tradesmen, shop keepers etc (who without being undercut by low-wage immigrant competition, can demand higher rates). I think it is a net positive.
3.Britain has some of the best (or at least most famous) architects in the world. This is meant to be a core strength of ours as a country. They need to get to work on solving the problems which you list. The incentive will be there because regardless of what we do, these office blocks and shopping centres won’t be covering their investor’s debt repayments as soon as the current leases run out.

Rob N
Rob N
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

5 Encourage non-native borns (esp non British citizens) to go home and sort out their own country. We need to get back to a country where British culture and identity are the, vastly, dominant majority.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

Somebody at some stage is going to have to explain to me what “British Culture” is, exactly. Morris dancing? Fish & chips? I’d rather have a curry and I suspect most people under 70 would agree.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

Then why are you living there since you seem to be sneering at it?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Kat L

Thanks for dealing with the woke racist tuuat.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  Kat L

Thanks for dealing with the woke racist tuuat.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago

Then why are you living there since you seem to be sneering at it?

Margaret F
Margaret F
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

Yes and thank you for having the courage to say it. Obviously “capping” or even halting immigration is not enough. Not even close! As Enoch Powell warned more than half a century ago, the non-British must be “encouraged” to leave. There is more than enough of everything (housing, jobs, healthcare, etc) in Britain for the British. The problem is that this tiny Island does not have enough for the entire world. One way or another, send them back!

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Margaret F

I’m pretty sure that if it was put to a vote, even of only those you’d define as Pure British, more would vote to expatriate you and those that share your views on ethic cleansing, than would vote in support of said views.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Oh shees, ethnic cleansing? That’s not at all what was written


Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Kat L

“the non-British must be “encouraged” to leave. ….One way or another, send them back!”
Seems pretty written to me Kat.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Kat L

“the non-British must be “encouraged” to leave. ….One way or another, send them back!”
Seems pretty written to me Kat.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Oh shees, ethnic cleansing? That’s not at all what was written


Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Margaret F

I’m pretty sure that if it was put to a vote, even of only those you’d define as Pure British, more would vote to expatriate you and those that share your views on ethic cleansing, than would vote in support of said views.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

“Encourage non-native borns (esp non British citizens) to go home and sort out their own country.” Ah yes, ethnic cleansing, great idea.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dominic A
Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

Somebody at some stage is going to have to explain to me what “British Culture” is, exactly. Morris dancing? Fish & chips? I’d rather have a curry and I suspect most people under 70 would agree.

Margaret F
Margaret F
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

Yes and thank you for having the courage to say it. Obviously “capping” or even halting immigration is not enough. Not even close! As Enoch Powell warned more than half a century ago, the non-British must be “encouraged” to leave. There is more than enough of everything (housing, jobs, healthcare, etc) in Britain for the British. The problem is that this tiny Island does not have enough for the entire world. One way or another, send them back!

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob N

“Encourage non-native borns (esp non British citizens) to go home and sort out their own country.” Ah yes, ethnic cleansing, great idea.

Last edited 1 year ago by Dominic A
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

cap? overall? you must have been down to the hunt kennels…

Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Well, none of that will happen.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

4. Reform taxation to discourage the middle class from hoarding it’s wealth in property.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Whilst I agree that the writer is squeamish about immigration, your own suggestions have some significant practical limitations.
With 1. How do we actually go about capping that immigration? Most sensible people seem to agree that this is someting that has to be done, but when we have entire sectors of our economy dependent upon us stealing qualified staff from the developing world, we’ve got very loose definitions of asylum seeker and refugee, and courts systems and an immigration service stuffed full of individuals who see their jobs as allowing people to remain even if their applications fail, it’s very hard to see how that can be implemented any time soon.
With 2. that will always be resisted by the affluent classes who actually get to work from home, they don’t want to live in neighbourhoods like mine, alongside the street drinkers, the mentally ill who walk along shouting at themselves, and the poorer workers who do the menial jobs, they gentrify areas so that they have their own little enclaves of coffee shops, fancy cafes and independent shops, the wilkos and poundlands and icelands clash horribly with their aesthetic preferences, what they want from a neighbourhood is entirely different from what those who cannot work from home want, nimbyism will always win.
As for 3. have you ever spent any time in properties that have been converted from commercial space? They are generally pretty awful, poor heat insulation, next to no sound insulation, clunky layouts and constant problems with drains because the drainage systems were never designed to handle the waste water from full time dense occupation. The wastewater facilities were only ever designed for water from a few toilets and sinks, and as properly upgrading our sewage systems would require huge amounts of money, they just cross their fingers and hope the systems mostly cope. These kinds of homes are considered good enough to cram the poor into, but you’ll only ever find the affluent classes in bespoke conversions of pretty buildings in nice areas, they won’t be buying pokey flats in ugly buildings in rundown industrial areas.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Rob N
Rob N
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

5 Encourage non-native borns (esp non British citizens) to go home and sort out their own country. We need to get back to a country where British culture and identity are the, vastly, dominant majority.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

cap? overall? you must have been down to the hunt kennels…

Rob C
Rob C
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Well, none of that will happen.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Young people – like the author – are so squeamish about discussing immigration that they cannot think straight.

In the 10 years between 2005 and 2015 the population of the UK grew by 5 million people due to unrestricted immigration from the EU A10 countries (in the 30 years between 1975 and 2005 it grew by 3 million). In good years we build 250k new houses. The consequence was that house prices spiralled out of control.

The only way to get a handle on house prices is to:

1.Cap overall immigration numbers to 100k

2.Encourage firms to allow remote working, where they can, to allow people to spread out around the country

3.Re-classify obsolete commercial property (offices killed by home working and shopping centres killed by Amazon) as residential and get converting.

Ten years now we could have solved the house price problem and the regional inequality problem.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago

The simple solution is re-create the mass of workshops producing high value products where craftsmen and their families lived, such as in Renaissance Italy, the Silk Weavers of East London and metal workers of Birmingham. However, Britain has a dire shortage of skilled workers, especially within inner city areas. Perhaps we could look at Switzerland as to how they produce people with advanced craft, applied science and engineering skills and to SE Asia for teaching maths and science.
That way those born and bred in area could afford to live in it and any gentrification would be done by them, not outsiders.

Jane McCarthy
Jane McCarthy
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Good point. We have eviscerated our skilled working classes. The results are visible in our society.

Veronica Lowe
Veronica Lowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

My children are descended from silk weavers in Somerset, tailors in Gloucestershire, musicians and craftsmen of various kinds, but now such skills are almost seen as elitist.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Veronica Lowe

Well silk weavers were an elite which is why they made lots of money, became bankers, and made even more.
The Left mocks elitism. Do wou want to be operated on by the fifth rate, the type who struggled to pass GSCEs and are clumsy or fly in a plane designed and built by half wits?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Veronica Lowe

An utter tragedy: the wool business in Gloucestershire and elsewhere, not least the world centre for the production of baize was an incredible phenomena, now all gone.. Then it was the aircraft industry that peaked in WW2, now also mostly gone, and the mining, fishing, shipbuilding, all done succesfully elsewhere in Europe. The early 1950s were a complete collapse, as Japan and Germany rose: a tragedy.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago

Since the late 19th century those running Britain: politicians, fast track civil servants and civil service in general, writers, intellectuals , academics, education authorities, un and semi skilled unions ( Not skilled unions such as EETPU, and AEU ), lawyers, accountants have had a contempt for trade and technology : this does not exist in Germany, Japan, China, Switzerland , etc.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago

Since the late 19th century those running Britain: politicians, fast track civil servants and civil service in general, writers, intellectuals , academics, education authorities, un and semi skilled unions ( Not skilled unions such as EETPU, and AEU ), lawyers, accountants have had a contempt for trade and technology : this does not exist in Germany, Japan, China, Switzerland , etc.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Veronica Lowe

Well silk weavers were an elite which is why they made lots of money, became bankers, and made even more.
The Left mocks elitism. Do wou want to be operated on by the fifth rate, the type who struggled to pass GSCEs and are clumsy or fly in a plane designed and built by half wits?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Veronica Lowe

An utter tragedy: the wool business in Gloucestershire and elsewhere, not least the world centre for the production of baize was an incredible phenomena, now all gone.. Then it was the aircraft industry that peaked in WW2, now also mostly gone, and the mining, fishing, shipbuilding, all done succesfully elsewhere in Europe. The early 1950s were a complete collapse, as Japan and Germany rose: a tragedy.

Jane McCarthy
Jane McCarthy
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Good point. We have eviscerated our skilled working classes. The results are visible in our society.

Veronica Lowe
Veronica Lowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

My children are descended from silk weavers in Somerset, tailors in Gloucestershire, musicians and craftsmen of various kinds, but now such skills are almost seen as elitist.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago

The simple solution is re-create the mass of workshops producing high value products where craftsmen and their families lived, such as in Renaissance Italy, the Silk Weavers of East London and metal workers of Birmingham. However, Britain has a dire shortage of skilled workers, especially within inner city areas. Perhaps we could look at Switzerland as to how they produce people with advanced craft, applied science and engineering skills and to SE Asia for teaching maths and science.
That way those born and bred in area could afford to live in it and any gentrification would be done by them, not outsiders.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 year ago

I am middle class and this middle-class guilt fest makes me laugh. Before the war Hoxton smelt so foul that coppers walked down the middle of the street to avoid getting too near to the houses. Now it’s posh. You know what? In a world of bad things that’s a good thing.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

Malcolm, what became of the people who smelt?

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

They got indoor toilets and bathrooms.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

They got indoor toilets and bathrooms.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

Hoxton? … Posh?….

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

Except the stink has been replaced by the foul smell of narcissists spinning around their latest trendy guilt trip.
If London is so gentrified why am I so much more fearful of walking it’s streets compared to just 20 years ago?

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

Malcolm, what became of the people who smelt?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

Hoxton? … Posh?….

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

Except the stink has been replaced by the foul smell of narcissists spinning around their latest trendy guilt trip.
If London is so gentrified why am I so much more fearful of walking it’s streets compared to just 20 years ago?

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 year ago

I am middle class and this middle-class guilt fest makes me laugh. Before the war Hoxton smelt so foul that coppers walked down the middle of the street to avoid getting too near to the houses. Now it’s posh. You know what? In a world of bad things that’s a good thing.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 year ago

The problem with the left is they need poverty in order to exist.
It doesn’t matter what you call it – Gentrification, Levelling Up, Self Improvement, Ambition etc… if you eliminate poverty you remove the reason for the Left to exist.
Ergo any attempt to improve peoples lives is counter productive to the Left as it removes their core voters & raison d’etre.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

The post 1960s middle class Left; not the Non Conformist practical patriotic types such as Keir Hardie who praised Samuel Smiles ” Self Help ” as a manual for socialism.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Wise

The post 1960s middle class Left; not the Non Conformist practical patriotic types such as Keir Hardie who praised Samuel Smiles ” Self Help ” as a manual for socialism.

Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 year ago

The problem with the left is they need poverty in order to exist.
It doesn’t matter what you call it – Gentrification, Levelling Up, Self Improvement, Ambition etc… if you eliminate poverty you remove the reason for the Left to exist.
Ergo any attempt to improve peoples lives is counter productive to the Left as it removes their core voters & raison d’etre.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

The problem for me is that only gentrified people can write/talk about gentrification. So the article I have just read is at least biased. If all of the gentrified do-gooders were to move into the old parts of northern towns, surrounded by very un-gentrified people, their views would be more useful.

The author also suggests that more jobs would attract people (better jobs perhaps) with more working from home. In Wales, the ruling Labour Party has suggested something very similar, the aim being (seriously) that 100% of jobs are government jobs with proper pensions. There is a flaw somewhere with this idea but I can’t put my finger on it.

We have created a culture of dependency, where you have to have government hand-outs for everything. Some people will have genuine problems but a huge number will refuse to work. The pay, apparently, is not enough to risk coming off benefits.

The answer is to design a true democracy, without political parties. Then every individual can become a politician.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

I live in a seriously deprived area. It happens to be right next to one of the least deprived areas, because the area around the only outstanding primary school in the whole area got gentrified. That school takes a handful of pupils from this estate each year, a token admission to make the affluent neighbourhood next door feel a bit better about themselves, but the good intentions seem to be rather shallow and only stretch to the point where they don’t truly inconvenience them.

They turn into the perfect nimbies should there be any attempt to build social housing on their doorsteps, that seemingly belongs elsewhere, where they and their families won’t have to witness the messy results of throwing large numbers of people with all manner of vulnerabilities and serious needs into close quarters and ignoring them (this is what care in the community really is for the most part, chucking people with complex needs into properties and crossing your fingers that they cope just well enough that they don’t need any genuine care or support). The Council always prioritises the gentrified area for repairs, renovation, etc, so they get the nice traffic calming measures, even if the majority of actual dangerous driving happens down here in social housing land, they get the pavement repairs whilst the disabled on this estate cross their fingers and hope that they don’t slip and fall on the broken pavements. When election time comes, the gentrified neighbourhoods are filled with “Vote Labour” signs, here you’re more likely to see England flags hanging out the windows than any signs of political support.

The people on this estate are hard working too, this is where the delivery drivers, the supermarket workers, and the care workers live because their wages just don’t stretch to the kinds of prices that work from home land demands. The gentrifiers might claim empathy with those like me and my neighbours, but they mostly look down their noses at us, as dirty uneducated people who most of them wouldn’t ever attempt to befriend, we only exist to them as a way to score easy virtue signalling points.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

Excellent post.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

Excellent post.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

ahh… but northern working class people love going out to the country to run their long dogs and terriers…..

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

You might not want a true democracy where the mob rules.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

I live in a seriously deprived area. It happens to be right next to one of the least deprived areas, because the area around the only outstanding primary school in the whole area got gentrified. That school takes a handful of pupils from this estate each year, a token admission to make the affluent neighbourhood next door feel a bit better about themselves, but the good intentions seem to be rather shallow and only stretch to the point where they don’t truly inconvenience them.

They turn into the perfect nimbies should there be any attempt to build social housing on their doorsteps, that seemingly belongs elsewhere, where they and their families won’t have to witness the messy results of throwing large numbers of people with all manner of vulnerabilities and serious needs into close quarters and ignoring them (this is what care in the community really is for the most part, chucking people with complex needs into properties and crossing your fingers that they cope just well enough that they don’t need any genuine care or support). The Council always prioritises the gentrified area for repairs, renovation, etc, so they get the nice traffic calming measures, even if the majority of actual dangerous driving happens down here in social housing land, they get the pavement repairs whilst the disabled on this estate cross their fingers and hope that they don’t slip and fall on the broken pavements. When election time comes, the gentrified neighbourhoods are filled with “Vote Labour” signs, here you’re more likely to see England flags hanging out the windows than any signs of political support.

The people on this estate are hard working too, this is where the delivery drivers, the supermarket workers, and the care workers live because their wages just don’t stretch to the kinds of prices that work from home land demands. The gentrifiers might claim empathy with those like me and my neighbours, but they mostly look down their noses at us, as dirty uneducated people who most of them wouldn’t ever attempt to befriend, we only exist to them as a way to score easy virtue signalling points.

Last edited 1 year ago by AL Crowe
Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

ahh… but northern working class people love going out to the country to run their long dogs and terriers…..

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

You might not want a true democracy where the mob rules.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

The problem for me is that only gentrified people can write/talk about gentrification. So the article I have just read is at least biased. If all of the gentrified do-gooders were to move into the old parts of northern towns, surrounded by very un-gentrified people, their views would be more useful.

The author also suggests that more jobs would attract people (better jobs perhaps) with more working from home. In Wales, the ruling Labour Party has suggested something very similar, the aim being (seriously) that 100% of jobs are government jobs with proper pensions. There is a flaw somewhere with this idea but I can’t put my finger on it.

We have created a culture of dependency, where you have to have government hand-outs for everything. Some people will have genuine problems but a huge number will refuse to work. The pay, apparently, is not enough to risk coming off benefits.

The answer is to design a true democracy, without political parties. Then every individual can become a politician.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Just in case there is not enough comedy on TV the subject of the article provide wry amusement with their sparkling wide wheeled Land Rover Defenders, replete with roof racks and little ladders, walking into the local in pristine Barbours and Hunter gum boots, having failed to do their research, and discovered that battered Toyota Hi- lux, Schoffel and Botte Le Chameau had long supplanted the aforementioned… The next dead giveaway is the Farrow and Ball paint on the cottage, and having to take game to the butchers to be ” oven prepared”…..

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Just in case there is not enough comedy on TV the subject of the article provide wry amusement with their sparkling wide wheeled Land Rover Defenders, replete with roof racks and little ladders, walking into the local in pristine Barbours and Hunter gum boots, having failed to do their research, and discovered that battered Toyota Hi- lux, Schoffel and Botte Le Chameau had long supplanted the aforementioned… The next dead giveaway is the Farrow and Ball paint on the cottage, and having to take game to the butchers to be ” oven prepared”…..

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

Dodges around the white flight issue. For 50+ years white middle class have deserted inner cities to avoid the effect extended asian poor families had on the streets. Go and visit Karachi, now a slum after the Empire left. Extended family money buys up corner shops and terraced houses. As they prosper they move up like anybody. London is a dump because white people left it.
In the North and Midlands the death of coal mining and big industry left a residue of poor white people. The more clever left. Ruthless entrepreneurs buy up worthless housing and collect social rent from the unemployed and single parents’ benefit offices.
People buy what they are allowed to borrow. A person with a dirty hands job still likes a nice house and doesn’t want drug dealers, homeless and drunks outside their window.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

Dodges around the white flight issue. For 50+ years white middle class have deserted inner cities to avoid the effect extended asian poor families had on the streets. Go and visit Karachi, now a slum after the Empire left. Extended family money buys up corner shops and terraced houses. As they prosper they move up like anybody. London is a dump because white people left it.
In the North and Midlands the death of coal mining and big industry left a residue of poor white people. The more clever left. Ruthless entrepreneurs buy up worthless housing and collect social rent from the unemployed and single parents’ benefit offices.
People buy what they are allowed to borrow. A person with a dirty hands job still likes a nice house and doesn’t want drug dealers, homeless and drunks outside their window.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

You might try restricting the at present, virtually unrestricted rights of ownership by foreign nationals which drive up property prices by making this country a world centre of asset price speculation and money laundering.

Very few other countries offer such rights.

You could link it to doing away with housing benefit to non-nationals, or any other benefits come to that.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

You might try restricting the at present, virtually unrestricted rights of ownership by foreign nationals which drive up property prices by making this country a world centre of asset price speculation and money laundering.

Very few other countries offer such rights.

You could link it to doing away with housing benefit to non-nationals, or any other benefits come to that.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
1 year ago

It’s hard to take seriously anyone who blames the “fallout from the Liz Truss mini-budget” for anything at all.
The interest rate rises under Truss weren’t much to do with her.
The reckless borrowing of her predecessors was enabled by rampant money printing, which inevitably led to inflation (particularly in house prices, thanks to an inexcusable lack of house building).
Faced with this inflation, and plummeting pound caused by rate rises at the US Fed, the BoE belatedly increased the base rate.
Any suggestion that the dire situation facing “home owners and private renters alike” would not have arisen without Truss is for the birds.

Mark Goodhand
Mark Goodhand
1 year ago

It’s hard to take seriously anyone who blames the “fallout from the Liz Truss mini-budget” for anything at all.
The interest rate rises under Truss weren’t much to do with her.
The reckless borrowing of her predecessors was enabled by rampant money printing, which inevitably led to inflation (particularly in house prices, thanks to an inexcusable lack of house building).
Faced with this inflation, and plummeting pound caused by rate rises at the US Fed, the BoE belatedly increased the base rate.
Any suggestion that the dire situation facing “home owners and private renters alike” would not have arisen without Truss is for the birds.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago

Much talk lately about the middle class, the laptop class, the virtual class. It makes me wonder what percentage of these jobs could be described as productive in societal terms. My guess is that 90% of them are completely unnecessary jobs which contribute very little to society, wealth, humanity, community or happiness.

I include most of our governmental systems in this. All of our best laws are long since made. I doubt the need for a standing government in the UK at all. They could probably meet on demand for maybe 20 to 30 days each year but then the nature of bureaucracy is always to grow and replicate, like a metastasising cancer.

When did we ever hear of a government department closing down because its job was done?

Last edited 1 year ago by Albireo Double
Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago

Much talk lately about the middle class, the laptop class, the virtual class. It makes me wonder what percentage of these jobs could be described as productive in societal terms. My guess is that 90% of them are completely unnecessary jobs which contribute very little to society, wealth, humanity, community or happiness.

I include most of our governmental systems in this. All of our best laws are long since made. I doubt the need for a standing government in the UK at all. They could probably meet on demand for maybe 20 to 30 days each year but then the nature of bureaucracy is always to grow and replicate, like a metastasising cancer.

When did we ever hear of a government department closing down because its job was done?

Last edited 1 year ago by Albireo Double
ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

This has always happened. I was born in Dalston, on the fringes of Islington which had originally been built as mid-middle-class housing (terraced houses with room for one servant sort of lifestyle) but by the 1960s had become a combination of 1930s social housing flats and houses degenerated into HMO under the pressure of immigration.

Look at the original illustrations to Paddington Bear, showing an all-white, prosperous middle class Notting Hill (interestingly enough this motif recurs in the 2000s films featuring Hugh Grant).

Run-down areas become relatively cheap and the aspiring young middle classes move back in, because they have the money to do so.

So it goes.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

This has always happened. I was born in Dalston, on the fringes of Islington which had originally been built as mid-middle-class housing (terraced houses with room for one servant sort of lifestyle) but by the 1960s had become a combination of 1930s social housing flats and houses degenerated into HMO under the pressure of immigration.

Look at the original illustrations to Paddington Bear, showing an all-white, prosperous middle class Notting Hill (interestingly enough this motif recurs in the 2000s films featuring Hugh Grant).

Run-down areas become relatively cheap and the aspiring young middle classes move back in, because they have the money to do so.

So it goes.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

Chris Clarke is a Labour Party activist (according to his book blurb). That does not lead me to discount his opinion, but it does make me want clarification about how much ‘housing inequality’ is undesirable and how much is desirable.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

Chris Clarke is a Labour Party activist (according to his book blurb). That does not lead me to discount his opinion, but it does make me want clarification about how much ‘housing inequality’ is undesirable and how much is desirable.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

“Who will win the gentrification wars?”Is this last year’s question?
Maybe I am an Eeyore, but as I look round this hollowed out country, I wonder whether the middle class should worry about joining the plebs in ignorance and poverty.

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

The view from inside social housing land is largely that the cost of living crisis is a comedy of middle class hysteria. Affluent people wringing their hands over the cost of paying for things that the majority of us have never been able to afford and wonder why they can’t live without.

On this estate, there’s still a fair few who don’t even have their own washing machines, many of us have never had dishwashers, a decent proportion don’t have wifi in their homes and rely on wifi hotspots and data on their battered mobiles. People in my neighbourhood who don’t drive aren’t making a lifestyle choice, they can’t afford a car, and often can’t afford the public transport ether. Plenty turn to cash in hand work to supplement the money they do have, and there’s a massive black market industry selling cheap tobacco.

It’s little wonder that so many here laugh when they see sob stories of people on ÂŁ60k per year claiming they are struggling with their detached houses, multiple cars, and countless optional extras.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

I take it that we agree

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  AL Crowe

I take it that we agree

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

fancy a day out beating?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

about the only reason country people like any new incumbents is that when Glenn and Marc are slaving away in London and taking their PA’s out, Kayleigh and Chardonnay become ‘ gentrification whores’ out of boredom and lack of attention….

AL Crowe
AL Crowe
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

The view from inside social housing land is largely that the cost of living crisis is a comedy of middle class hysteria. Affluent people wringing their hands over the cost of paying for things that the majority of us have never been able to afford and wonder why they can’t live without.

On this estate, there’s still a fair few who don’t even have their own washing machines, many of us have never had dishwashers, a decent proportion don’t have wifi in their homes and rely on wifi hotspots and data on their battered mobiles. People in my neighbourhood who don’t drive aren’t making a lifestyle choice, they can’t afford a car, and often can’t afford the public transport ether. Plenty turn to cash in hand work to supplement the money they do have, and there’s a massive black market industry selling cheap tobacco.

It’s little wonder that so many here laugh when they see sob stories of people on ÂŁ60k per year claiming they are struggling with their detached houses, multiple cars, and countless optional extras.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

fancy a day out beating?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

about the only reason country people like any new incumbents is that when Glenn and Marc are slaving away in London and taking their PA’s out, Kayleigh and Chardonnay become ‘ gentrification whores’ out of boredom and lack of attention….

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

“Who will win the gentrification wars?”Is this last year’s question?
Maybe I am an Eeyore, but as I look round this hollowed out country, I wonder whether the middle class should worry about joining the plebs in ignorance and poverty.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

Perhaps gentrification complaining is just another an expression of victim culture and identity politics.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

Perhaps gentrification complaining is just another an expression of victim culture and identity politics.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

ahhh… LDGT… Let day gun trash….

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

Reduce immigration, duh!

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

Reduce immigration, duh!

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
1 year ago

‘Ruth Glass, the formidable Marxist sociologist who coined contemporary usage of the word, described the phenomenon as “displacement”.’

Is there anything worse than people moving into an area and displacing the current residents?

Margaret F
Margaret F
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Displacement – Replacement. Tomayto – Tomahto. Call it what you want. Being pushed out of the home of one’s ancestors is something worth fighting about.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Yes, robbing them and selling their children drugs.

Margaret F
Margaret F
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Displacement – Replacement. Tomayto – Tomahto. Call it what you want. Being pushed out of the home of one’s ancestors is something worth fighting about.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Carr

Yes, robbing them and selling their children drugs.

Steven Carr
Steven Carr
1 year ago

‘Ruth Glass, the formidable Marxist sociologist who coined contemporary usage of the word, described the phenomenon as “displacement”.’

Is there anything worse than people moving into an area and displacing the current residents?

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

I think that Trollope was onto something in Doctor Thorne, with his mantra “Frank must marry money.” Today, Trollope would be writing “Britain must build houses.”
If you don’t understand this, fly to New York for the weekend. When your return flight is circling in the early morning over England’s green and pleasant land, waiting to land at Heathrow, swear to me on a stack of building regulations that there is no more room in Britain.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

You are missing the whole point. The people with money, influence and power want to see those rolling green hills, stone walls and quaint houses. It’s their playground. Even if they seldom go out there, there is the aesthetic appreciation they experience while landing and taking off. And they need it for filming movies. It’s scenic. Get with the program!

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Cunningham
Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Deleted -duplicate post

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

There are more houses now relative to population than fifty years ago. Building more won’t help. The problem is over-occupancy – too many childless people occupying to much living space. A much better idea would be to reform taxation to remove the perverse incentives that create this situation.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I suspect that’s a feature, not a bug.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Which are ?

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I suspect that’s a feature, not a bug.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 year ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Which are ?

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Surely it was Lady Arabella and Lady Scatcherd who wanted Frank to marry money, rather then Doctor Thorne.

Stuart Adams
Stuart Adams
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Both my grandfathers married up and so did my dad. I highly recommend it as a way to make sure your offspring can afford to live in a chi chi little terrace house once occupied by a bootmaker

Stuart Adams
Stuart Adams
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Both my grandfathers married up and so did my dad. I highly recommend it as a way to make sure your offspring can afford to live in a chi chi little terrace house once occupied by a bootmaker

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

You are missing the whole point. The people with money, influence and power want to see those rolling green hills, stone walls and quaint houses. It’s their playground. Even if they seldom go out there, there is the aesthetic appreciation they experience while landing and taking off. And they need it for filming movies. It’s scenic. Get with the program!

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Cunningham
Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Deleted -duplicate post

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
1 year ago

There are more houses now relative to population than fifty years ago. Building more won’t help. The problem is over-occupancy – too many childless people occupying to much living space. A much better idea would be to reform taxation to remove the perverse incentives that create this situation.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Surely it was Lady Arabella and Lady Scatcherd who wanted Frank to marry money, rather then Doctor Thorne.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

I think that Trollope was onto something in Doctor Thorne, with his mantra “Frank must marry money.” Today, Trollope would be writing “Britain must build houses.”
If you don’t understand this, fly to New York for the weekend. When your return flight is circling in the early morning over England’s green and pleasant land, waiting to land at Heathrow, swear to me on a stack of building regulations that there is no more room in Britain.