Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Conversation with a Conservative (1)

Interviewer: Minister, I'd like to talk about the state of housing. There's concern about some London councils being forced to send low income families to other, cheaper parts of the country. What is your response to this problem?
Minister: Well, you see we live in a free market. If people cannot afford to live somewhere, they are free to move somewhere more suitable to their means.
I: Yes, but minister, some critics say this is a form of social cleansing. What is your response to this accusation?
M: This is pure nonsense. We all live in a free country. There's freedom of movement. We didn't create this problem; it was created by the overspending of the previous government, which means that now councils have to take some serious steps.
I: But how does encouraging poor people to move to areas with fewer jobs help improve growth, for example?
M: As I say, we live in a free market. Obviously, people have to be flexible; that's how we promote dynamism in our economy. Rome wasn't built in day; we should all look long and hard at the sacrifices that we'll all making. We're all in this together, you know!
I: "In this together"? In what way are you making sacrifices, minister? mean, I've had to cut down on the number of servants I use at my pad in the country. But we're getting off the point. Remember that it was the Conservatives who started the "right to buy" which helped give freedom to thousands of families to buy their council houses and put them on the road to prosperity.
I: Yes, the "right to buy", minister, that's true. And how did the Conservatives replenish the housing stock of those thousands of council houses they sold off?
M: (confused)....I'm sorry, I don't quite see what you're getting at.
I: I mean the "right to buy" reduced significantly the number of houses available to those at the lowest rungs of society, and the government has yet to replace them. This is also, is it not, a contributing factor to the rising cost of rents in those deprived areas where councils are no longer afford to pay for their council tenants. If you decrease the supply of housing, minister, you naturally increase the price.
M: Well, the government doesn't set the prices for the housing markets; we live in a free market, after all.
I: So who does?
M: Erm, no-one, really.
I: Thank you for your time, minister.

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