Tuesday 21 August 2012

Cleansing Wipes

As a student of - among other things - urban planning in the nineteen seventies, much talk was of urban blight, sink estates, white flight and the like. (Nope, none of this is new) There comes a point where it is impossible to attract voluntary inward investment and those with resources sell up and move on. Those who are left care little for their environment and like a dirty protest, happily shit on their own doorsteps.

Eventually, as buildings fall into decline and crime, public health and safety issues arise, the local authorities move in, bulldoze the place and sell off the land for redevelopment into offices and trendy wine bars. The phoenix rises from the ashes, forty years of neglect are wiped clean. And nobody lives there any more.

The selling off of high value property in Chelsea to fund social housing elsewhere, as Grant Shapps is proposing, sounds to me like the opposite of urban blight. If I had the means to buy a house in an exclusive borough it would not best please me to find an extended family of Somalian refugees living next door. And as a normal tax payer I am offended by the notion that those who contribute nothing may get to live in a house I could only ever dream of.

The Labour vision for Chelsea

Those on the left have attacked the proposal as social cleansing. But let's call a spade a spade, eh? This would be so much more far-reaching than mere cleansing. This would be Chelsea wiping its arse.

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