Brockley al dente

Official confirmation that the economy is shrinking seems as good a cue as any to grant Hugh his wish and create a thread for those who wish to discuss their fortunes in public.

So are you being forced to readjust or are you an artist now able to go on trolley dashes in Dandelion Blue thanks to the wave of money flowing in to fine art as a store of wealth for billionnaires?

192 comments:

Richard Elliot said...

No vast wealth to discuss a la High. However, I am definitely thinking a bit more about what I spend.

I think some local businesses - which offer good value options - will benefit, while others at the more luxury end might struggle.

My flatmate had his haircut in the hairdressers next to Shop on The Hill rather than somewhere fancy in town.

Am I going to rush to buy luxuries at Dandelion Blue and Degustation or go out for so many meals out? Maybe not.

Let's hope the economy doesn't get as bad as some doom sayers are predicting....

Tressillian James said...

Feel the same as Richard - I'm not being effected by the downturn - however the news and constant media doom are starting to make me think twice about purchases. I am remortaging early next year so I'm concerned. Those to suffer? Unfortunately £8.00 bottles of wine at Degustation don't look so good value as an equivilant one at £4.00 in Tesco. It's an easy way to save. Same as the haircut - no more Gentleman's barber in Mayfair - hello local barber or hairdresser.

Hugh said...

Coffee shops will take a hit during the crunch. £1.50 or £1.75 twice a day for a week makes about £100 a month, pre-tax.

A lot of people are happy when base rates mean they save that on their tracker.

monkeyboy said...

my tracker mortgage is below case rate so i'm over paying for now to make the shock less when it ends. Always felt a little boring when i saw my chums adding to their mortgage, i work in transport. Not glam but safe, some of the media & marketing luvies may be munching their last artisan bap of thinks.

monkeyboy said...

must get my pc fixed. Can't type propper on my phone.

13:24 said...

For the last ten years my earnings have been less than I'd get if I could claim benefits, so I've been in a recession mindset for that time.

It brings out the creativity in you. I've just tarted up my kitchen for 150 quid (eBay clean 2nd hand sink, Aldi mixer tap, precision cut mdf etc.. - and am not scared to tackle basic plumbing and carpentry), and the result is far more satisfying to me than spending ten times that amount on some identikit show-home creation, even if I could afford to.

What is starting to grate is the endless trite articles about how the mighty, who've been living high on the hog for the last few years, have fallen, and how hard life is without their "necessities". Or what 95% per cent of the world's population might regard as luxuries. My heart bleeds.

Schadenfreude? Definately.

Talking of DIY, Whites next to the Rivoli is scaling back in the next few weeks, and the boss might be pulling the plug totally. Pity. One of the most useful shops around for the bodgers and tinkerers amongst us, and staffed by blokes who know what they're talking about, so tons of free advice too.

The Cat Man said...

I have to be honest, I havn't been affected at all and actually things are improving.

Companies only like auditors when things go wrong so my job is relatively secure.

I have also just been promoted, so more disposable income to spend on the things I want.

I always have a policy of buying local and Dandelion Blue is a smashing shop with some hidden treasures. I actually think for a Deli, its relatively cheap (its cheaper than Borough market for example - another one of my favourite haunts).

I am also really looking forward to the new shop opening on Mantle Rd - The Broca supermarket. The front is painted a vibrant purple/green/silver now and I will most certainly be spending money in there rountinely.

My mortgage is fixed for 3 more years so no issues there. House prices on my street havnt fallen yet.

The only major dilema facing me at the moment is when and where to invest my hard earned cash.

lb said...

I'm going to have to switch from sturegon to lumpfish caviar.

lb said...

As well as learn how to type "sturgeon".

Hugh said...

Catman said:

'House prices on my street havnt fallen yet.'

What planet do you inhabit?

The Cat Man said...

I'm being honest Hugh, they havn't. I would expect they will soon though.

Anonymous said...

..the planet where grown men walk cats.

Moira said...

Catman -I've been looking for a property for the last 6 months and I've noticed a drop in prices. According to the estate agents I talk to, prices in Brockley have already dropped to what they were in 2006. All of them have said that they are going to drop further.
Would you care to prove otherwise?

Anonymous said...

I have also been talking to estate agents recently. The views I heard are that high end properties have definitely dropped, as moira says. But the low end of the market - small one bed flats - seems fairly stable. We had our one bed flat valued a year ago at £165K and again last month and there was no change at all in the valuation because of its location and good state of repair/decoration. So perhaps the Cat's road is full of beautiful one-bed flats next to the station???? It's a remote possibility..

13:24 said...

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if you actually wanted to sell it, you'd have to take 145k or less.

Estate agents OVERVALUE properties to get you interested.

Tressillian James said...

I think you'll find people will stop selling before they will drop to 145K. As long as you can afford the mortgage (and this is dependent on the recession not making too many of us unemployed), there is no reason to sell at a loss. Therefore I would think after initial losses it will steady.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm well aware of that having sold and bought several properties in the past. My point is that the valuation has stayed exactly the same. And a search on sold prices in the area is still showing that one beds are holding their value. Despite that we have decided to rent our flat out rather than sell because rents are so good. And our income has halved so we need all the cash we can get.

13:24 said...

"I always have a policy of buying local and Dandelion Blue is a smashing shop with some hidden treasures. I actually think for a Deli, its relatively cheap (its cheaper than Borough market for example - another one of my favourite haunts)."

Borough Market. Reminds me of Harry Enfield's "I saw you coming" sketch. Full of educated idiots who pay over the odds just so they can tell their friends they shop there.

God knows I've done it!

Jt said...

I don't think that prices will drop as dramatically as some people hope. The government wants and needs stability. Gordon Brown has staked his political reputation on the 'end of boom and bust' economics. He didn't stop the boom, but he appears to be doing all he can to stop the bust.

We've seen how energetically he's got stuck into doing so, domestically as well as internationally. You'll notice he is even telling the banks to slow down the process of repossession.

http://tinyurl.com/57gxkt

It's like the government is trying to physically slow down the cycle of business, and arrest the bust until confidence resumes.

drakefell debaser said...

Asking prices may not have changed that much but any person that has to sell will often be forced to accept a lot less that what they may have asked for. A friend has had to drop his asking price by £50K to get an offer moving, then the buyer pulled out and now the next buyer is asking for the price to remain in the 1% bracket so another £15K off. Luckily he has managed to renegotiate his own future purchase down else he would be stuck.
Those that don’t want to sell will just wait it out and possibly rent it as an interim measure - I think the BBC called these the ‘accidental landlords’ which anon 11:04 probably falls into. This is fine for now but if this market gets any bigger, rental values will fall due to an over supply. Watch the rental and property values plummet in towns and cities which have had a recent surge of ‘stunning’ new build apartments bought up by amateur landlords where the developer apparently paid for the stamp duty………

If in doubt, pay for a professional surveyor (not estate agent) to give you an assessment.

The Cat Man said...

I understand that rent has already fallen by 5% in london due to a over supply of housing (120%) against an increase in demand for rental property of 27%.

My neighbour sold his house recently at a price similar to a few mths before that.

Its all low value housing - relatively speaking - but it is houses opposed to flats.

I would expect flats and high end houses to fall in value, but at the low end people always need a roof over their head but not necccessary two lounges, a billiard room or 5 bathrooms.

Headhunter said...

Gotta say I agree with Catman. Despite sensationalist headlines from the Evening Standard, asking prices really don't seem to have changed much in the 2 bed conservation area flat bracket (that's the market I know best).

Of course not a lot is selling, but as TJ points out, people are just not willing to accept silly low offers unless they really have to. In fact there is not much new stuff coming on the market anyway at the moment, just about everything on sale has been on sale for many months.

To me, all this indicates that fundamentally, people have not been affected greatly by economic problems yet. Perhaps next year as and when recession bites, we'll see redundancies and unemployment rising and find that people are forced to sell up property, but for the moment, people seem happy to sit and wait for a decent offer and if one is not forthcoming, so be it.

Brockley Nick said...

@hh - You're right that when or until the real economy is hit hard, people will mostly not need to sell and accept price drops.

However, if you do need to sell your property now then it must be beyond doubt that you'd have to settle on a lower price than you did a year ago. Therefore, prices have fallen.

I guess all this underlines is that price falls are as notional as price rises, unless you're actually attempting to buy or sell.

Headhunter said...

Oh yes certainly actual sale prices have fallen but at the moment, in Brockley, asking prices barely seem to have flinched indicating that at the moment at least, Dandelion Blue and Degustation should be OK.

However judging by comments here, people are reacting to the news of pending economic doom by reducing their outgoings, even though they don't particularly feel the squeeze yet.

Personally, as a headhunter in the investment banking world, I fear that I could lose my job next year so I am trying to reduce expenditure. God knows what I'd do if I lost my job - become a cycle courier perhaps!? Anyway, I'm tightening the belt for the moment, although couldn't resist booking a cheeky weekend away in Lisbon for my birthday in December...

Moira said...

Nick, that's not been my experience as I too have been monitoring 2 bed flats. I regularly get emails from estate agents specifying a reduction on a property (and its not just agent spin as I've been noting down prices on particular properties). And every agent has said to me on practically every property I've viewed that I should put an offer in for £15,000 to £20,000 below asking price.

Anonymous said...

I am not selling my 2 bed room flat for less than 300k.

Headhunter said...

I've still been getting letters from estate agents telling me that a sale has recently fallen through on my street, blah, blah, blah and asking if we would be interested in selling...

My other concern is that if I lost my job, I would no longer be able to post as headhunter on Brockley Central. What name could I use?

Anonymous said...

I would love £300K for my two bed flat!!! But in the real world, I'm staying very happily put in Brockley and buying less booze!

drakefell debaser said...

Headhunter, should you loose your job you would hopefully become headhunted.

As for feeling the crunch…no bonus this year so that is a shame and will affect next years holidays but, grateful for a job to go to. I have reined in spending on non essentials and luxuries big time and have focused on reducing debts now which I think is more of a positive development. I know Prudence would rather everyone carried on spending just as he and Darling plan to but that’s just not feasible for us.

We do shop locally as much as possible and I have used Tom Boyz as well on the last two occasions rather than getting my hair cut in more elaborate surroundings - they are really good and so much cheaper and convenient. I think local shops have a unique opportunity to make the most out of the downturn. Some shops should offer you a tissue as you walk out, they are that expensive and I doubt they will last but hopefully I can still buy a slab of Comte this time next year. Oh, went on the cheap for wine in Brockley on Friday as I couldn’t be asked to go to Degustation…£4.99 from corner shop and I might as well have bought vinegar for 80p so there are definitely certain things that can’t be cut out altogether.

The Cat Man said...

I think we are in danger of over analyising this. The key link between everyones comments is the number of houses/flats on the Market. Even if actual prices are lower (moiras experience) it does not mean you will get a place in a high desirable area as the number of properties 'active' on the Market is lower ( head hunters experience). Brockley is due immeniently structural changes. There will be a higher number of investors/property owners in brockley who know this and who will decide to stay put compared to other areas with no structural change.

The lower frequency of 'active' properties for sale will dampen down the negative falls.

The question to ask is have many people seen alot if for sale signs around brockley compared to other months?

Anonymous said...

I should point out that there are now two anonymii posting but that's only becasue my bloke would kill me if he caught me talking about his flat on here!!!

Brockley Nick said...

Sorry Moira, my post wasn't very clear - I agree, prices have fallen.

The Cat Man said...

a good easy way (that does not hurt the local economy) is to cycle to work instead of getting the train - saves something like 100 quid a mth!

fabhat said...

The 1.7mill house for sale on Wickham Road now looks like a porcupine with for sale and to let signs from 3 different estate agents - that is certainly not shifting in this climate... Nor the refurbed house also on wickham which is trying to see the development as a whole (2 mill+) as well as individually.
As for my crunchy circumstances - I'm a self employed service provider for the media - so I'm concerned.Things have been quiet this month, but that's not unusual.I'm hoping that continued hard work and excellent service will keep my head above water...

Monkeyboy said...

Well if Darling really does go all Keynesian on us it will be good for me. Just hope Crossrail goes ahead, I'm bored of not delivering Thameslink. I want to not deliver something new.

(by the way, anyone read 'The Shock Doctrine' by Naiomi Klein? if shes right about past events the IMF will leap in and unleash a tidle wave of Freidman-esk free market mayhem. Good book if a little paranoid?)

The Cat Man said...

Cant say thats high on my 'to read' list.

I'm currently half way through Tony Benns latest diary

max said...

A properties thread and only 35 comments so far! This would have been at least twice as long one year ago.
An indicator of the mood as good as any other,

Headhunter said...

Probably also coz everyone has said what there is to be said about property prices in other threads!

Anonymous said...

This is the thing, the market is made up of individual transactions. If someone wants to buy my flat, they will have to pay the price I state.

The flats in the conservation area are comparable to those in Notting Hill, Belsize Park they've been historically low because we're not on the tube, that's changing.

It is a LOVELY area, it's established, not some new build on a river, solidly built, high ceilings etc, etc and it is worth 300k.

fred vest said...

"by the way, anyone read 'The Shock Doctrine' by Naiomi Klein? if shes right about past events the IMF will leap in and unleash a tidle wave of Freidman-esk free market mayhem"

already happened in 1976, giving rise to 3 decades of thatcherite-blairism market love ins

although having read it you'll probably be aware how little actual/real free market content there was in freidman-esk practice anyway, it was his permanent contradiction - with every move taken on the road towards a 'free market' the level of state involvement/intervention increased step by step with this - to the extent that from a sate expendtire point of view there is little difference between keynes & friedman (both of course being avidly anti progressive/socialist and pro capitalist, with at least keynes however being more honest about what was needed for capitalism to be saved from itself) - sure the distributional aspects/outcomes are different to some extents, but not as much as you'd think, and certainly won't be in what's to come anyway

jon s said...

Anon, no one wants to buy your flat for that overinfated price so you don't have a transaction........

Monkeyboy as a political scientist and economist, I must steer you away from the cheap polemecist Naomi Klein. She's just cashing in rehashing the many old arguments from the 1970s as to why structurally adjusted lending doesn't work. The true masters that proved it are Mosley, Harrigan and Toye and the IMF doesn't do it anymore.

If you want to read a fun polemic written by someone who actually knows what they are talking about, try Nobel Prize Winner Krugman's columns and books.

drakefell debaser said...

The flats in the conservation area are comparable to those in Notting Hill, Belsize Park they've been historically low because we're not on the tube, that's changing

By this theory then your flat will be worth £400K upwards once the ELL opens?

I love optimism but i think you chose the wrong comparables.

Hugh said...

Nick, great work in choosing the thread title.

Hugh said...

My recipe for Crunch success: Stay in work, pay down the mortgage and buy equities.

Mokeyboy said...

.....wish I hadn't asked. Still I'm an Engineer, I leave the bean counters to worry about where the money is coming from.

George Orwell all the way for me - Road to Wigan Pier, a must read.

The Brockley Marxist was at the station this morning. His bucket had a big sticker on it, 'Save humainity, destroy capitalism' or was it 'eat more fibre'? Not sure, I was in a rush.

Anonymous said...

Jon S, how do you know the flat is overinflated have you seen it?

Hugh said...

Monkey, I preferred Orwell's Aspidistra, the import of which, if I may summarise, was 'Cash is ace and we all want it'.

Monkeyboy said...

Ah... you mean 'Keep The Aspadistra Flying' great book. Poor bugger was only trying to get his leg over while remaining true to his socialist principles.

What about 'Burmease Days' or Homage to Catalonia'?

All on the Monkeyboy best reads list.

patrick1971 said...

George Orwell is one of my great unreads, apart from 1984 at school.

Ditto Graham Green...never read anything by him. Although after sitting through the truly execrable film of The End of the Affair, I can't say I'm desperate to change that.

MB said...

...and the essay he wrote 'Shooting the Elephant' he was not a fan of our imperialist adventures. Also wrote 'Politics and the English Language' he could teach Campbell a thing or two about spin.

but we digress...

Headhunter said...

....yes, back to house prices...

The Cat Man said...

Has anyone else seen the front of the new broca shop? It looks really rather nice!!

Anonymous said...

I don't go up that way unless its to get out of Brockley.

Do they sell meat?

Hugh said...

I find having a 'policy of buying local' a bit strange.

My policy is to buy where convenient and I can get good value.

Tressilliana said...

My children were born in the early 90s and I was very aware of the negative equity crisis then. I was constantly meeting other parents who were stuck in the one-bedroom flats they'd bought before their children were born and now couldn't sell for enough to cover the mortgage, which effectively meant they couldn't get a new mortgage on anything bigger, as they'd still be stuck with a big chunk of the old one. Given the crazy multiples people have been borrowing in the last ten years I find it hard to believe there aren't going to be similar problems this time.

Anonymous said...

My policy is to buy where I feel the most comfortable given all the factors. If that's in the Sainsbury's in New Cross, Oxford Street or on the Internet, so be it.

Deliberately trying to adjust the market away from sheer desire tends to make things worse and encourages a crustified culture.

The Cat Man said...

I think there is an element of truth in that. However, people in Japan often have mortgages that may last upto 125yrs so there is also a structural element to this too.

Now that we live in a 'global' economy, there is alot of international finance buying up assets in prime areas - that means london.

Its a form of economic displacement to the current residents, but i'm not allowed to talk about that.

Hugh, buying local is not strange as the cycle of income and expenditure means any expense you have locally means that income is generated locally with all the knock on effects. If we all only brought locally, more shops would open to cater for our needs and overall the area improves.

Hugh said...

Catman, you first.

fred vest said...

also remember it's only if the 'right' people buy locally as well, those who avail themselves of the services of turf accountants and sauted poultry trattoria's need not apply to join in on this heroic effort to improve the local community through the magic of consumption

Anonymous said...

That's a point. What's wrong with buying a local kebab? Surely if the market is there...?

State the obvious said...

I always buy local Kebabs otherwise they're cold when you get them home.

Has anyone else noticed it's got dark an hour earlier today.

Hugh said...

To be fair, when I want a local pint I never go nearer than Greenwich.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

To be even fairer that no longer qualifies as a local pint....

fred vest said...

"Surely if the market is there...?"

this dichotomy is a bit similar to lefties who bang on about how great democracy is and then get the hump when after the peple have spoken, they don't like what they've said

in this instance though it's all power to the market, provided the market delivers a pre determined outcome sanctioned by the 'right' people

Bea said...

Working for an investment bank that it in the process of being taken over, I’m finding it very crunchy right now. Chances are that I won’t have a job as of January and so have been looking around. Fortunately, being a secretary means it’s possible to work in a number of industries (not just banking – although up to now, along with lawyers, they’ve paid the best). Some interviews have been forthcoming (which is good to know) so it’s not totally a wasteland out there yet.

My belt is getting much tighter and the worry increasing (in Special Brew mode right now). Nevertheless, I am optimistic that things will pan out despite being a single Mum and the sole source of income. Deep breath and fingers crossed.

The good news is that I bought my flat (two years ago) well under market value so even though the price will have dropped I strongly suspect it’s still not as low as what I paid – although I have no intention of selling right now. However, I will have to in about three to four years time as I can no longer reasonably share my one bedroom with my son (although the couple I bought from were sharing it with their 14 year old daughter!). They were stuck in that 90’s negative equity trap Tressilliana has mentioned.

The Cat Man said...

I didnt even think it was legal to share a bedroom with a 14yr old girl!

There is most certainly what the council calls minimum standards for accomodation. Normally it's something immigrants do not realise when often they are happy to share 4 to a bed as the rent is too high for them.

The flat near my house, had 6 guys living it for a period of 6 years before the housing assocation realised they were squatting! Thankfully now they are evicted.

Tressillian James said...

"Normally it's something immigrants do not realise when often they are happy to share 4 to a bed as the rent is too high for them"

Catman - would that be immigrants as in my partner form China or Headhunter's partner from Japan?

max said...

I am an immigrant too, and I live in a 4 bedroom house. And there's only three of us living here.

Anonymous said...

Catman - is your surname Bennett?

The Cat Man said...

guys, relax. i didnt say it to give an ear bashing just stating facts.

jpm said...

Property prices have 'fallen' relative to what, the increase(s) in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007?

In Brockley, as elsewhere, what we are seeing is relatively few deals going through; when they do it's at a reduced rate (or because of it). In fact the value of the total housing stock normally availale for sale in Brockley hasn't gone anywhere - because it's not available for sale. The figures are based on a tiny selection, especially when large houses are taken into the figures.

A 'landlord family' is rapidly fincreasing its portfolio by snapping up flats - and at a reduced rate. (They know which way property in Brockley is going by 2010. If only they wouldn't dump furniture in the streets every time there is a tenant turnover though.)

Tressilliana said...

I'm an immigrant from North of the border. Up there we count ourselves lucky if we can sleep on the heather, of course, no such luxury as beds.

Monkeyboy said...

It isn't ilegal to share a room with a 14 year old girl - it's not a fact, your wrong. It's hardly desirable but poverty reduces your options. What you are doing, as usual, is insinuating that those not blessed with lilly white skin do not have the high moral values as those from Winchester.

I'm the son of immigrants and am disapointed but not surprised at your comments.

The Cat Man said...

Monkeybaby grow up and don't be so discriminatory.

Social services allow a boy/girl to share the same room upto age 11. If you are older (and I think adults qualify - apart from you due to your mental age) then you should have seperate bedrooms. If you live in council accomodation, you can apply for larger premises for that very reason.

The Cat Man said...

So all in all, if you are really poor - our wonder UK state will help you out for free.

Ignorance is not bliss.

Anonymous said...

Was it a council house? no, she bought it from a private buyer. It's not illegal to share a room with minors.

Lewisham wayward said...

I live in a block of one bedroom flats and two of the six flats are occupied by families with young children. So not much evidence of local rents coming down enough to allow families who are working but not earning canary wharf banker salaries to rent larger accommodation. I only hope that Lewisham council realise this and prevents further developments of one bedroom properties to give families the reasonable amount of space they need.

Armpit Vale said...

Simple solution to overcrowding - don't have kids?

Tedious bore said...

I wish Cat's parents addopted that policy.

lb said...

I enjoyed the "sauteed poultry trattoria" concept.

max said...

Cat Man says:

"If you live in council accomodation, you can apply for larger premises for that very reason."

Does that mean that once you apply for it then the Council will transfer you to larger accomodation? Not really, the Council will place them on a waiting list and there they'll wait, still in the overcrowded accomodation, and often they'll wait and wait and wait.
Overcrowding is a common problem for many Council tenants and it's not something that is easily solved, lots of people live with it.
But you should know this first hand as you come from one such a family.

The Cat Man said...

It was never a problem when I was young to be honest.

Maybe things are different in London to Winchester? Public services in winchester are generally very good or at least better than average.

lb said...

The reason that waiting lists are now a problem, compared to 25 years or so ago, is due to one thing: RTB. The larger properties in particular were snapped up quickly, so there is now a great shortage.

The GLC even used to own small retirement bungalows in seaside towns, so that older couples - when their children had moved out - could exchange their large London council houses for a smaller one on the coast, freeing up the large properties for families. All this is long, long gone, of course.

Bea said...

... and in the private sector you just wait until you've saved enough money (highly unlikely), or get a promotion (and take on more debt), or a wealthy relative dies and leaves you a stack load of money or win the lottery (dream on) or ... you move somewhere cheaper (which is what the couple with the 14 year did).

max said...

And before the sub-prime mortgages existed people on low income were allowed to spend all their money on rent but not on a mortgage of roughly the same amount.
Unless you are in social housing of course.

Hugh said...

I don't have time to follow this thread. Where's it going? Something about class war?

lb said...

Whether you think RTB was a good policy or not will partly depend on your views of social housing in general - but aside from that, I think RTB was a poorly executed policy. It may have rewarded tenants of long standing with the option of buying their home cheaply, but it also delivered a whole swathe of the social housing stock, maintained with the tax payer's money, into the hands of speculators within a few years. A large amount of it is now being rented back out to local authorities, of course.

It was also the driving force behind the original housing price boom - though whether you feel this was a good thing or not will depend on whether you were able to make money from it.

Anyway, everyone had their nose in the trough for a few years, didn't they?

fred vest said...

"And before the sub-prime mortgages existed"

i've seen serious attempts by some over recent months to try and absolve the market of blame for the baseless expansion of credit in the last ten years, by putting forward such nonsense talk about equal opportunities and fear of being pulled up for racial discrimination being at the root of the expansion of credit

so it's not the inherent instability & contradictions of the system itself that's the problem but in actual fact it was the pursuit of social & economic justice by these progressive & egalatarian institutions that got us into this mess! priceless

drakefell debaser said...

Sub prime wasn’t for people on low incomes. Sub prime is for those with credit problems, albeit one can lead to the other. LB is right about the right to buy causing the shortages. The downside is the present lack of social housing but there is an upside and many families now own their homes which would have been impossible for most, had this opportunity not come about. I think there should have been a longer and stricter qualification period to unlock the discounts though which would have prevented so much property going into the wrong hands.

max said...

I wasn't commenting about egalitarianism of banks, I was just saying that people that say that those that pay £1200 a month in rent shouldn't qualify for a £1200 a month mortgage may have missed one side of the argument.
For people on low-middle income paying commercial rent is like being mugged of all your money all the time.

Headhunter said...

I always found that a bit bizarre, that in London, you could happily pay £600+ rent for 1 bed flat, however if you want to pay a mortgage of the equivalent amount per month many banks refused. However I guess that one of the main reasons was that many people trying to borrow for mortgages at this level were in relatively unstable jobs... like headhunting?

fred vest said...

"Sub prime wasn’t for people on low incomes. Sub prime is for those with credit problems"

a fairly pedantic point to make given that in practice/reality the two go hand in hand at least for all but a tiny minority of sub prime mortgage holders (i.e. those whome low income was not the primary factor determining their credit situation)

i think the figures showing the amount of defaults/delinquincies occurring when rate resets kicked in clearly show the problem lies in the fact a regular flow of sufficient income was not present to cover the servicing of debt taken on

fred vest said...

"I wasn't commenting about egalitarianism of banks"

yeah i know you weren't, just jumped in at a tangent on something else

as you were

Anonymous said...

If property prices falls, the equity we have in our property increases. Those of us that put deposits down.

This is a good thing isn't it?

patrick1971 said...

I think something had to change with mortgage policy re affordability. I bought my first place in 1999, just before the boom really kicked in. I originally wanted to buy a house in the same street I was renting in, and rent out three of the four bedrooms. There was a proven market but the bank simply was not interested in the prospect and wouldn't let me count the potential rental income. Clearly ludicrous. But I think the pendulum tipped too far the other way so "affordability" meant what you said you could afford, not a proper calculation of what you could afford.

Re RTB: I really don't understand the argument that it is responsible for lack of council houses. The housing itself didn't disappear; people are still living in it. Surely the idea of the policy was that the buyers, and thus by implication their descendants, would be removed from that part of the population that needs council housing? Maybe that didn't happen, and it's these children and grandchildren of these first buyers who are applying? If so, how are they eligible? No matter how little I earnt, I certainly would never get a council place.

Like I said, I don't understand this argument that there is less housing out there due to RTB. The houses are still there. There's less council housing, but surely the idea is that with property ownership comes affluence thus reducing the need/eligibility for council housing through the generations.

patrick1971 said...

BTW I'm not trying to have a pop at council housing per se (that's a whole other argument!) but just trying understand further the theory that RTB decreases housing stock.

The Cat Man said...

I dont think that its that surprising. With renting you have the flexibility to give 1 mths notice and stop paying it.

With taking on a mortgage, its much more complicated and costly for both the bank and the customer.

It stands to reason that the criteria is more strict.

drakefell debaser said...

yes fred vest. That is why I said one can lead to the other.

As you were

lb said...

RTB wouldn't have decreased social housing stock if properties had been built to match those sold: but they weren't. The political climate was against building new stock, and - purpose-built stuff aside - it was impossible to replace a lot of the older properties that local authorities had bought up in the 1960s at low prices (especially in London - the 'spiritual home' of RTB, given that RTB was effectively the brainchild of the GLC in its Conservative-controlled periods - with a heavy input from Sir Keith Joseph). Remember that councils weren't able to spend the revenues gained from these sales on building new stock.

The 'wealth creation' argument clearly didn't work in the long run, either, did it? RTB was a political gesture, not an economic one. It was an attempt to extend the boundaries of the property-owning middle class and reduce the political power of monolithic local authorities.

Brockley Nick said...

Fred - although there are lots of reasons for the financial bubble, there it's not just apologist fantasy to say that the sub-prime expansion was fuelled by social policy

From the NY Times, 1999

http://tinyurl.com/578x36

"In a move that could help increase home ownership rates among minorities and low-income consumers, the Fannie Mae Corporation is easing the credit requirements on loans that it will purchase from banks and other lenders.

"The action, which will begin as a pilot program involving 24 banks in 15 markets -- including the New York metropolitan region -- will encourage those banks to extend home mortgages to individuals whose credit is generally not good enough to qualify for conventional loans. Fannie Mae officials say they hope to make it a nationwide program by next spring.

"Fannie Mae, the nation's biggest underwriter of home mortgages, has been under increasing pressure from the Clinton Administration to expand mortgage loans among low and moderate income people and felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits..."

It's a very interesting and prescient article.

max said...

Headhunter, you're right, people that banks consider to be in unstable jobs were always refused credit. How ironic in the light of today's events.
I am one of those, as a freelance artist I could get a mortgage with 10% deposit and a relatively steady income only because of relaxation in credit.
I used to flush rent money down the pan until then.

fred vest said...

nick - the last sentence of the article you quote pretty much sums it up though

".....felt pressure from stock holders to maintain its phenomenal growth in profits"

the maintenance/increase of profit was the end in itself, not social policy, and if social policy could be used as a means to that end then it of course would be - now if it was the case that that by product (greater access to housing by all) was an embedded & sustainable by product of the relentless search for ever increasing profits then i guess most of us would be happy to live with that situation

but it wasn't

max said...

I think that in this Country the one very wrong policy was the encouragement to invest in second homes as a substitute to a pension fund.

The Cat Man said...

eh?

People have been investing in housing (as their pension fund) for 100's of years.

Originally it was only the upper class who held housing stock for their kids pensions, the recent expansion in finanical markets and mortgages created more possibilities for the middle classes to follow suit.

The current housing market boom/bust cycle is more to do with the availability of money to fuel demand stemming from the financial markets. These finanicial markets, I might add, have only been de-regulated since the 'big bang' in the 1980's.

max said...

The upper classes don't have pensions, they have assets, and investing in houses has been one of their sports for ages, but they're relatively few. What the Blair government did was to ease on second houses to make it accessible to the masses, flooding the market with small investment buyers, it's a huge difference.

fred vest said...

"I think that in this Country the one very wrong policy was the encouragement to invest in second homes as a substitute to a pension fund."

i think the problems started when people began to view homes in general as investments rather than er.. homes (and even worse investments that would, without fail, rise in value year after year through little or no effort on the part of the 'investor'/homeowner)

look at the phenonmanal rise in the amount of property type programmes on the telly all of which had at their root not how to improve your home and make it a nicer place to live in for you and your family, but how to increase it's value for eventual sale to then be able to buy another one and do the same, i.e. ultimate satisfaction was never granted and pushed further and further away with each transaction

(didn't they even allow folk to get tax relief on investment properties bought to put into their personal pension plans or did they scrap that loopy idea)

The Cat Man said...

Max, I think you will find that the rich do indeed have very large pension funds. They normally create a scheme and invest in 'assets' within the scheme wrapper for tax efficiency.

I'm quite surprised you made that comment, its a very silly thing to say.

max said...

If it was so silly for me to say so why then you just repeated it only expanding in a technical context?

fabhat said...

Cat Man - I think Max and fred Vest are right - it's the change of housing from a home, to an "asset" is definitely part of the problem. I have friends, who when they outgrew their 1 bed flat, didn't sell it, as they might have done a few years before, but kept it, changed the mortgage to BTL and bought a bigger place to live in. That change in attitude has also meant there is less housing stock available - those 1 beds don't reappear on the market, forcing up prices of the 1 beds that are left, and allowing the shoddy expensive "deposit paid" new build schemes that are now proving to be so overvalued, to flourish...

The Cat Man said...

Fabhat, I agree with you. Homes should come first.

Max made the point that the upper class do not have pensions, they have assets. I made the point that an asset can be, and is, a pension fund.

The point you are making highlights what I said earlier - expansion of 'cheap money' through a de-regulated financial system enabling the new middle classes to buy up additional houses.

I agree, this should be regulated. Everyone should have the right to a home.

fred vest said...

if you want to be drearily pedantic about it one could point out that the proportion of the mega rich's assets tied up in actual pension funds are but a very small proportion of their total assets, given the restrictions on how much can be invested in pension schemes before the tax advantages of doing so are lost (about £2m i think) - therefore when the tax advantages are lost the rich would look to other tax avoidance schemes, other than formal pension schemes, to invest their 'hard earned' cash

max said...

Hold on! Looks like we are in agreement!

fabhat said...

scary...hey Max, what's happening about your birthing centre plans?

Headhunter said...

Well, one of our contacts at Bar Cap has just bought a shiny new house. Hurrah! Banking and property are NOT dead!

http://tinyurl.com/6rkaka

Anonymous said...

I don't like capitalism very much. It doesn't bring out the best in people.

Headhunter said...

In the overall scheme of things you're right anon, but at the moment it brings out the best in me coz I still have a job and can just about afford the mortgage....

The Cat Man said...

HH, presumably you were being paid a % of the base salary of the people you recruit, does that mean you are loaded?

And what are you going to do if you lose your job, will you leave the brockley posse?

Anonymous said...

A lot of people don't like capitalism that much, but there's not much of an alternative. So we just have to put up with it. It's all a bit rubbish really.

Headhunter said...

Nah it's a team effort. My bonus is generally based on how we all do as a team and how the bosses see my contribution to that effort. Headhunting is more long winded than straight recruitment. Each one of our searches and placements can take several months to complete as we deal with senior people (clients and candidates)and hires at that level constitute quite large investments by banks. The firm is paid a fee based on base + 1st year bonus, not just base...

Headhunter said...

Anon - You could be quoting Marx or Lenin. Capitalism, it's all a bit rubbish. Love it.

Headhunter said...

Anon - You could be quoting Marx or Lenin. Capitalism, it's all a bit rubbish. Love it.

max said...

Fabhat, the Council has all of a sudden sprung into action, although not to pursue my proposal plan.

A few weeks ago I attended a meeting at Council where all parts interested were given a run down of the situation.

They have done a feasibility study to use the whole of the building as a Youth Centre, they are short of a few millions and they have not submitted requests for those funds that would be available because they haven't got a revenue budget to fund it so they don't feel like committing to a Youth Centre unless it sustains itself once opened.
On the plus side there are people with the right experience at work to iron out these problems.

I have put forward my alternative proposal and I said that although their plan is admirable and well worth pursuing I thought it would be wise to think about alternative plans in case that specific one wouldn't realize. I pointed at the fact that what I suggest would involve a revenue stream and that is a crucial difference with the Youth Centre.

One important information that came out anyway is that it costs £3m to fix the place.
Other people also are interested in all or part of it for a Museum of Lewisham.

max said...

Fabhat, I forgot to say, I'm still working to try to keep it alive as a backup plan and as such I've been speaking with a few people.

patrick1971 said...

"RTB wouldn't have decreased social housing stock if properties had been built to match those sold: but they weren't."

True enough, Ib, but the point I was making was that in selling off council house stock, the housing itself doesn't disappear, and theoretically you have reduced the demand for council housing as those living in the now-private property don't need to be housed by the council any more. So, again theoretically, demand for council housing should have gone down as RTB increased. Why didn't this happen?

drakefell debaser said...

Did anyone watch Dispatches last night – Don’t bank on the bail out….?

Its worth watching on catch up if you can. It was done by Hugh Hendry a hedge fund manager so a different side to the story given they were quite widely blamed for bringing the odd bank here and there to their knees.

Tamsin said...

Max - Fabhat - is it the Playtower you are talking of? If so, I heard the architect talking about the Youth Centre plus proposals at the Telegraph Hill Centre AGM on Saturday - really interesting - but given the growing prevalence of multi-use - would your plans fit in with that?

Tressilliana said...

Patrick, I'm not an economist or any other sort of expert, but surely one of the problems with housing in the UK is that the number of households has increased at a higher rate than the population generally, because people are living longer and getting divorced more. Many people in those circumstances will need social housing because they are on very low incomes.

fred vest said...

"True enough, Ib, but the point I was making was that in selling off council house stock, the housing itself doesn't disappear, and theoretically you have reduced the demand for council housing as those living in the now-private property don't need to be housed by the council any more. So, again theoretically, demand for council housing should have gone down as RTB increased. Why didn't this happen?"

Your right that the housing itself doesn't disappear but that's not the point, the availablity & access to that housing disappears for many

As to your theoretical reduction in demand, well i don't know the exact figures but a significant proportion of houses bought under RTB were either immediately sold on into the 'normal' market making them out of reach for those who could not obtain the finance to purchase them at their 'full value' or the ones which were not sold on immediately were gradually sold on when the occupants departed this mortal coil by their progeny. So all in all and one way or another a significant transformation was affected in the accessibility to those homes leaving an increasing number of people fighting over a decreasing supply of housing stock

max said...

Hi Tamsin, yes, the Playtower.
The Youth Centre's proposal as presented at that meeting was for the whole of the building.
Wasn't the proposal that you saw like that?

BTW, £3m is the sum needed just to fix the building structurally, that's just the starting point of any capital budget to bring it into use.

The Cat Man said...

There is a growing tendancy for people to live alone by themselves as well.

Theres the increase in immigraton to consider as well. On international terms, we have high salaries in the UK so there is downward pressure from people entering the UK labour market which pushes down UK wages further. This affects the ability to buy a house.

max said...

Don't worry Cat Man, it could all go pear shaped with British markets contracting across the board, then people would stop coming here and we'll all be happily broke. No doubt the Daily Mail would find some other pet hate though, they used to hate Jews once.

fred vest said...

the inflow of money into the (particulatly london) housing market from rich overseas investors along with the pumping in off money through cheap credit in the buy to let sector and the like has had a far higher impact on pushing up house prices (with the associated ripple effect)and thus making them out of reach of even people on median pay than workers coming into the country have had in lowering wages and making home ownership even more out of reach for those who didn't have a hope in hell of buying their own home anyway

lb said...

[patrick]: What Fred said. Also, don't forget that rents were deregulated at about the same time.

Hugh said...

This thread could get so like massive huge it renders the rest of BC otiose.

13:24 said...

@Cat Man 16:11

..but doesn't immigration (by which I mean cheap labour)put a cap on wage inflation leading to lower inflation (and low interest rates) all round; meaning greater affordability for those of us who'd never be able to buy under the usual 'rules'? Obviously, this isn't the case now.

Or did the period of low interest rates in the UK have nothing to do with low wages (at the relatively unskilled level)?

Or should I stay out of arguments with people trained in economics?

The Cat Man said...

No, please join in!

Thats an interesting perspective.

Wage inflation has never really been that high - circa. over the last 10 or so years - 4-5% at a maximum per year. It used to be higher but we do not have many unions now so wage increases are constrained.

Ignoring inflationary aspects (nominal wages) and comparing real wages (what you can afford) the housing stock in the UK is limited is supply is far from keeping up. Therefore we can only afford to buy less as the labour market continues to increase in size.

Both the unskilled and the skilled are affected by this nowadays as IT developments enable anyone on the planet to service a customer in the UK, therefore, why opt for the expensive UK resource?

Culturial differences lock in relationships, but these are being fast removed as we integrate more.

Pooper Scooter said...

Just trying out my new moniker...

max said...

I think I can translate in English what the Cat Man said.

"House prices went up more than wages and it's because of the foreigners"

The Cat Man said...

Its mostly because of the de-regulated financial markets, actually.

Its not easy for any person to up root, leave their friends and family behind and move to a different country so there is always an element of inertia in the labour market.

Max, you are shockingly silly at times. Although you did have a good idea with the derelict building in lewisham so not everything you say is silly.

Hugh said...

Can we all say what we do?

I'm a lawyer.

fred vest said...

serial killer

Anonymous said...

WAG

13:24 said...

Dilettante

drakefell debaser said...

independant mortgage adviser

The Cat Man said...

poofter

The Cat Man said...

Sorry, I mean auditor.

fred vest said...

@ 13:24, 16:30

"but doesn't immigration (by which I mean cheap labour)put a cap on wage inflation leading to lower inflation (and low interest rates) all round; meaning greater affordability for those of us who'd never be able to buy under the usual 'rules'?"

lower interest rates leads to higher house prices - so any benefit of being able to borrow money cheaply is offset by having to borrow more of it, and sets up the situation that is now unfolding

and as to cheap labour in the domestic country leading to lower inflation in the domestic country that maybe had some merit to it up until the late 70's/80's but it's a different world these days - take a look at what inflation's being doing recently compared to what wages have been doing (particular public sector wages), keeping wage rises low isn't going to do jack shit when you rely on the world market to supply food, energy etc... fair enough cheap chinese labour producing consumer goods for the west has went some way to counter this though, however that relies on immigrants not being immigrants

Anonymous said...

Fried chicken salesman, turf accountant and constructor of neon signs

fred vest said...

sauteed poultry solutions if you please

monkeyboy said...

@cat, much as it pains me to say so that was funny.

max said...

Sorry Cat Man, I hadn't spotted the suble reasoning on deregulation of the job world market.
I nevertheless think that deregulation is inevitable and positive, there are draw backs to be managed and there are losers in the job market, but globalization also lifted billions from poverty in the developing world and therefore prevented epic migrations even bigger than what we have today and who knows what the Cat Man would be saying then.
Some people don't migrate because they are attached to their roots, but if you're hungry you'll move, as the boats constantly reaching the South of Europe show there is an enormous amount of people ready to risk their lives to get to a better place and if the world doesn't get fairer on the way it deals with trade and opportunities then this flow will only get worse and this together with a lot of other consequences throughout the world.
In all I think that freedom of movement is a good thing, for men, jobs and capitals, and borders need to go down, with time and in a manged way but that's the direction that needs to be pursued.
This is just my opinion, I can be completely wrong of course.

13:24 said...

Fred Vest - that makes sense. What I was trying to get over was that my personal, pre-crunch, feel-good factor was based on an over-inflated property valuation, making me potentially more wealthy should I sell, (which at the time, I saw as a good thing) - counteracting the lack of pay increases in some of the things I've had to turn my hands to over the last 15 years.

I'm not actually saying that low wage inflation is a good thing: after all, historically, relatively higher wage inflation was what paid off your mortgage.

fred vest said...

yep i see what you mean, however your feel good factor was from a standpoint of being a homeowner with a mortage far less than the value of the house, you asked earlier if it would mean

"greater affordability for those of us who'd never be able to buy under the usual 'rules'"

which i assumed you were referring to people who weren't in such a position as yourself, and as you can see far from making it better for them it makes it worse (as they have to pay/borrow the inflated value that you are/were comfortably sitting on)

Anonymous said...

Max - "In all I think that freedom of movement is a good thing, for men, jobs and capitals.."
So women don't figure in the world's economy then?

Anonymous said...

Well, someone needs to do the cleaning up obviously...

The Cat Man said...

I think if you faced with being unable to buy a house, or live near your friends and family because wages are too low or housing too expensive then freedom of movement doesn't give you much freedom.

It forces you to go to cheaper areas away from your loved ones.

And people complain about a lack of community?

fred vest said...

for once i agree with you, freedom in this sense is only freedom if you can back your desires/needs with cash money in the market, if not then all these freedoms mean nothing, they are potential/contingent freedoms accessible to some but not all, it's not real freedom

it's the pet notion of freedom for assorted neo-liberals, thatcherist-blairites and others, 'freedom from' rather than 'freedom to' etc....zz

max said...

Those are obviously factors to consider and I said that I think that an effort to manage the negative effects of globalization is needed but that's probably just all that governments can do.
We're now in an interconnected world and governments can't possibly keep their counties separated from the rest of the world, reluctance to join in a a process of integration is futile and leads to empoverishment.
The modern world is very different from any other situation so far and the old paradigms like protectionism don't work anymore.

max said...

Cat Man says:
"I think if you faced with being unable to buy a house, or live near your friends and family because wages are too low or housing too expensive then freedom of movement doesn't give you much freedom"

Well actually in one of those situations freedom of movement gives you the opportunity to move and work somewhere else, like generations of emigrants have done across the world since the dawn of time.
Unless you think that North Korea has got it right of course.

fred vest said...

"governments can't possibly keep their counties separated from the rest of the world, reluctance to join in a a process of integration is futile and leads to empoverishment"

not sure that was what i implied at all, it's possible to critcise the existing situation without taking a position that you suggest above

The Cat Man said...

My point is that freedom of movement is not freedom at all.

To have freedom you need to be faced with a number of viable options that you can afford based on your wage level and this doesn't really happen.

I would also argue that a degree of protectionism is useful to preserve the diversity of cultures and communities that we currently enjoy.

Global integration, like most things in life - should be balanced

max said...

Fred, people that are pushed to uncomfortable positions by free trade need help and that's what governments can do, would protectionism make less people uncomfortable? I don't think so, I think that movement of people and goods has done quite some good to this Councty, a pretty high quality of life compared to places with less movement.

Cat Man says:
"I would also argue that a degree of protectionism is useful to preserve the diversity of cultures and communities that we currently enjoy."

Can you clarify on this please, shall we ban non-English literature from this island or would a ban on the internet be enough?

The Cat Man said...

The dividing line on what to protect is a grey area but I have my views and happy to debate.

My view is that established culturial elements in the UK are over looked due to the greed of large corporates and the liberal-left political elite favouring globalisation. This has resulted in poorer British communities being discriminated in the labour market and in the ability to live and establish a home in their respective communities. I think this effects new arrivals less as they will probably have less ties to the UK compared to those who have been here for something like 25yrs or so.

Trevor Phillips (the head of the racial equality commission) said pretty much the same thing on the bbc yesterday. I have alot of respect for him. Its something we seriously need to look at to stop extremist parties gaining support.

But if you want a quick - no frills answer, my dividing line would have to be to restrict housing rights to those with who have lived here for 10 years, ensure UK history is taught more in schools and make citizenship lessons compulsory in schools. I would also impose strict quotas on foreign skilled and unskilled labour.

Anonymous said...

Another seemingly pleasant and interesting thread hijacked by Cat Man to turn it into yet another racial rant....

max said...

Just to take you on your no frill proposals:

- restriction of housing rights for those that hav been living here for less than 10 yeaers.
Why 10 years? Just out of a hat? And why would you restrict the rights of somebody that is in the Country for good reasons?

- ensure UK history is taught more in schools.
Complete pet peeve, some other would want more chemistry or economy or even swimming.

- strict quotas for skilled and unskilled labour.
Would you drop out of the European Union so that Polish plumbers cannot come here anymore? And what about Commonwealth citizens?
I think that apart from these two groups that are from countries that have very well justified special arrangements coming out of international trade (which makes us rich in the first place) and the third group of refugees that are here for humanitarian reasons all others can't just come and stay, not lawfully at least. And those that are here unlawfully shouldn't be here only that the government doesn't have the capacity to find them and expel them all as the police is also busy with a number of other things. And that is what I'm saying, that if you want migrations to stabilize you need to make it fairer upstream.

And I'd recommend you reconsider your alleged membership of the Libdems in favour of the BNP because your program just fits perfectly with theirs.

The Cat Man said...

Learning UK history is a pet peeve?

max said...

No, it's grandstanding about the need of teaching more UK history that is a pet peeve.

The Cat Man said...

oh ok

lb said...

"liberal-left political elite favouring globalisation"

Jesus. I'm reminded of the ever-amusing Stephen Colbert quote: "Reality has a well-known liberal bias"

Moira said...

I believe Citizenship is compulsory in all state schools in England for 11 to 16 year olds

Jesus H Christ said...

More British history....erm... from when? the 1950's onwards. I'm all for that, the Windrush etc. Or perhaps earlier? the Normans, the Romans. Or the history of the Windsors (more correctly the Saxe-Coburgs) and our Queen marrying Prince Philip of Greece. Please do yourself a favour, I'll be generous here, perhaps your not actually racist but would you concede xenophobic?

..and as for the "liberal-elite" you'll be ranting about the secret world government next and the fact that the Jews control the media.

lb said...

Perhaps the Catman's actually David Icke, I hadn't thought of that one.

Monkeyboy said...

Actually Trev is the chaiman of the equalities commision I think so encompases race, sexuality, disability, age, ginger hair and any other nasty discrimination.

I think Trev was actually advocating something positive, carrying out afimative action to help a disadvantaged group. In the same way as perhaps the military making a special effort to recruit more gay and lesbian recruits and the police and civil service activly seeking ethnic minorities.

Trev was NOT saying restrict the number of foreigners flooding Albion.

fred vest said...

"Actually Trev is the chaiman of the equalities commision I think so encompases race, sexuality, disability, age, ginger hair and any other nasty discrimination"

covers everything but class/economic discrimination - the biggest single source of inequality in existence

trev and his like exist to ensure that inequality is distributed more equally amongst those groups you mention

Anonymous said...

The Windrush - quality retort JhC!

mb said...

fred, agreed. I don't think he was advocating free fox hunting lessons for toffs just help for a group who are disenfranchised - poor white boys. Chill man!

Hugh said...

Is anyone here black?

mb said...

no, but i read the guardian. Does that count?

Anonymous said...

Iz it coz I iz?

Anonymous said...

no, but some of my best friends are

UK News said...

Russell Brand has resigned, Darnit, Daily Mail strike one!

Anonymous said...

A victory for the REAL PC brigade, the sort of "more offended than thou", Daily Mail reading bellends who use the term the most!

neanderthal d said...

Lb

"RTB wouldn't have decreased social housing stock if properties had been built to match those sold: but they weren't."

Nail on head there. Councils' were expressly forbidden from spending any revenue raised from Right To Buy on building more Council/Social Housing.

Keith Joseph, and one of his ideological acolytes, Margaret Thatcher wanted to clip Local Councils wings. Their rhetoric about rolling back the "frontiers of the state" was essential in this tawdry little manoeuvre - it didn't stop them centralising power to Westminster though.

Much of the "free market" dogma that inspired "deregulation" has had consequences that are now being played out in the current financial/economic fiasco that we are currently enjoying.

"Trickle Down Economics" strikes me as being no better than a Golden Shower from those that call the financial shots.

Monkeyboy said...

...anyway, I'm as guilty as the next man for being baited into an argument with Rudolph Hess.

In terms of impending financial meltdown, I'm not doing much different. Small(ish) mortgage, steady job which should ride out the storm so I'll still be able to buy the occasional posh loaf of bread. Never been out of work, I must say I find the thought a bit scarry. Hate to think how I'd feel if I had kids, could always put them to work down the kent chalk mines I s'pose.

Headhunter said...

Well the other night at der Jam TJ, Bea, KFH, Patrick and I touched on what we would do if made redundant. I think I would become a dog walker/cycle courier/EFL teacher... I actually quite like the idea, combining 3 of my great loves - dogs, cycling and waffling on in front of a crowd...

13:24 said...

Whatever you do HH, don't entertain the cycle-courier idea, unless you like getting soaked by 9 hours of freezing rain, being endlessly told to deliver the package at the back of the building where all teh smelly waste-bins are, and having fag-ends chucked at you by White Van Person. For 60 quid a day (if you're lucky). Come the weekend, you won't go near a bicycle. You'll need to start smoking roll-ups to fit in with the other 'cool' masochists too.

Stick to Tefl-ing (if you can handle the interminable lesson-prepping)

Headhunter said...

OK, cancel the courier idea. you've put me off. I could do EFL though. Back in Japan, I used to be able to prep a 2 hour lesson in 10 mins then hang out smoking in the staff room... Back when I was unhealthy

Tressillian James said...

What would I do? I think I might retire early and live off KFH's recession-proof earnings. If he'll let me.

But seriously - I think I would rethink my current career and downshift a bit.

The Cat Man said...

I'd start my own business - i've always wanted to start/run a cafe.

The Catman Cafe, has a nice ring to it don't you think?

HH, I've been ill for the last two days and have not cycled. I'm seriously thinking that I should give up cycling until late Feb as the weather is getting very nasty all of a sudden. I go to the gym when I arrive at work anyway so was thinking of doing 5 mins warm up on the cycle each day instead.

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Ideas for a cafe:

The Cat's Mioaw
Enoch's
Darkside Dinners?

Anonymous said...

Oh good. Another bleedin' cafe. Just what Brockley needs.

Do people realise how much hard graft and stress is involved in running a food based establishment (even in the good times)?

Cycle couriering seems like a ride in the park (see what I did there?) in comparison.

Headhunter said...

So you're going to become a fair weather cyclist are you Catman! Don't let the weather put you off, there's nothing better for fighting off those winter bugs than a bit of exercise in the morning!

Just cycle a bit faster so you get warmer, or invest in some decent thermal stuff and good gloves to keep you warm, but yuo shouldn't need that much clothing if you pick up enough speed. I still manage to break sweat on the way in, even though the temperature hovers around 3 or 4C

Brockley Central Label Cloud