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Compared To What, Whinger?

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That the world isn’t perfect is just one of those shocks that adults do have to overcome. But when complaining about those imperfections it is necessary to ask Thomas Sowell’s question, compared to what?

The complaint here being that the contracting out of maintenance on council housing has led to a four day – four day! – delay in repairing some damage:

This is the story of the consequences of a flood that left me and my neighbours without water for four and a half days in the middle of a pandemic.

OK, that’s definitely an imperfection.

PFIs suited New Labour down to the ground. They could salve the conscience of the middle classes by “improving” social housing, while apparently sparing the taxpayer the cost of doing so. It was a fudge, a marvellous fudge. Everyone could have everything and no one would have to pay for it. Except, of course, the social housing tenants, who saw the regeneration, management and maintenance of their homes handed to the private sector – for-profit companies with the primary objective of minimising costs in order to maximise profits.

The flat I live in was one of 2,348 homes transferred by Islington council to the PFI consortium Partners for Improvement in Islington in 2003. A 30-year contract worth £350m, it was the first council housing PFI regeneration scheme in England to begin.

Eh? What?

No, no, compared to what? A four and a half day delay is not fun, obviously. But what was the system before? What would the alternative system be today in fact?

That would be the council’s direct labour force. And does anyone think that the council’s direct labour force would fix a burst pipe in only four and a half days? Over a weekend? In the middle of a pandemic?

You do? In a world where British Telecom could be late on a three month warning to install more telephone lines? Yes, that did actually happen. If you do then there’s a useful bridge in NYC you might want to buy.

The useful question for us is whether that lust for profit leads to a better service or not. And anyone who recalls the 1970s would have to say yes, it does.

There is though a much more important question here:

Clare Allan is an author and creative writing lecturer who writes on mental health issues

Why the hell are the rest of us subsidising her into a council flat?

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5 COMMENTS

  1. ‘Why the hell are the rest of us subsidising her into a council flat?’

    Perhaps because what she ‘does’ is so worthless that she can reasonably be deemed an unemployed pauper?

  2. Why is it that having a cwnt makes so many left-leaning wimmin into cwnts? Of course, left-leaning men are cwnts because they can’t always get the use of one.

  3. If you were relying on ordinary tradesmen to fix your owned home after a flood, four days would be damn good going. What the whinger doesn’t realise is that she has, free, a call-off service that is far more useful and effective than waiting for a problem to present and then ringing round trying to find someone who can do it in a reasonable time.

  4. It’s the middle of winter. Builders are up their eyeballs in work, where they are allowed to work. I’ve spent four weeks trying to get a builder to just come out and look at a wall that needs plastering. She seems to not understand how physics works.

  5. This is a system set up by Islingtonian Labour Politicians that subsidies Islington Council to use the PFI consortium and penalises the consortium if it fails to deliver the service. New Labour specialised in giving hand-outs to Labour Councils at the expense of Conservative Councils and/or (usually and) the general taxpayer.
    A spontaneous pipe-burst??? One stop-cock for the whole block rather than one for each flat? YMBJ!
    This is a piece of “creative writing”.

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