Friday, April 06, 2007

On voting

There's no getting away from it: I'm definitely on the electoral roll now. The local district council sent me a letter and a form to fill-in last year. I ignored it for a couple of months, hoping that it would go away. Sadly, they sent me another missive, stating that it was a legal requirement to register on the electoral roll. It was simply less bother to fill in the form than it was to take the matter to the European Court of Human Rights, so I filled it in. And now, through the letter box, comes an envelope, with my name and address hand-written upon it, and leaflets inside from two local worthies, Vicki Black and Leslie Phillips, seeking my vote as Independent candidates.

Reading these leaflets, I get no real sense that either candidate has any policies as such. Vicki says that "were there a Common Sense Party, I should be more than willing to join." Leslie, however, does say that "My main interest is Social Housing and I am committed to providing accomodation, training and support for homeless young people." Well, as a Wikipedia entry puts it, "Governments since the early 1990s have...encouraged 'mixed tenure' in regeneration areas and on 'new-build' housing estates, offering a range of ownership and rental options, with a view to engineering social harmony through including 'social housing' and 'affordable housing' options. Recent research by Dr. Rebecca Tunstall has argued that the evidence base for tenure mixing remains thin." The article by Dr Tunstall points out that "It is notable that there is little explicit evidence of the views of housing consumers, whether housebuyers, potential buyers or tenants, on mixed tenure." So I'm not really sure I want to vote for someone who supports a Social Housing policy. And by 'accomodation, training and support for homeless young people,' does that mean that money is taken away from hard-working people, via taxation, and given in the form of hand-outs to alcoholic layabouts? I think it does.

Neither candidate mentions the anti-social effects of the lengthened opening hours of the pubs and clubs in town. I can't sleep on Friday and Saturday nights for the endless train of drunk people yelling their way down my street. It used to finish by 1:15am; now it goes on to 3am, and sometimes 4am. I guess the council generates extra revenue from the pubs and clubs, so this is one policy which isn't about to change.


Dawning One said...

Love your interpretation Gordon!
I can see you are a futurist :-)

Gordon McCabe said...

I'm very much in favour of the future, Dawning One. In fact, if I were to express my policy towards the passage of time, in the metrical structure so beloved of Tony Blair, my Blairite sound-bite would be:

'Investing in the future, but not forgetting the past.'

Clare said...

My sympathies for the noise, Gordon. You're right, it's getting worse. I am quite looking forward to old age and becoming deaf enough to sleep through anything.

Neil Forsyth said...

With regard to your comments on homelessness and social housing, I really must object. I have worked with and on behalf of homeless people (mainly children and young adults) for fifteen years. So, suffice it to say, I know a bit about this fairly complex social problem. And it is a social problem. And it is complex. Look, Gordon, I'm sure you know it has very little to do with "hand-outs to alcoholic layabouts". But it has a lot to do with social justice (you might be reaching for your violin now, but I don't care), redistribution and breaking cycles of poverty and neglect. On a more human level, it is about helping young people, many of whom have experienced the most appalling childhoods you can imagine. I work with them every day. Alright, I'm in danger here of coming across all moralistic, so I won't harp on about it. I don't want to lecture (I do enough of that mid-week).

Gordon McCabe said...

If we're talking about children, Neil, then you're indisputably right to correct me.

I have personal knowledge, however, of a girl who got herself pregnant to acquire a flat, and I see young 'travellers' in Dorchester, who pick up their social security and housing benefit, and then blow it on alcohol. If they've had poor childhoods, then you have to sympathise up to a point, but there's a point at which it becomes a lifestyle choice.