Very loud!

But who is listening and taking notice?

Big noise, big problem, simple solution?Big noise, big problem, simple solution?
The noise is deafening, there's so much upset about the politics of the moment. David Cameron's attempts to reform Housing Benefit have, along with the hope of doing the right thing at the EU budget talks, formed a manic duet; and that's this week. Last week the big noise was the proposed Immigration Cap. Alas for the coalition all of these topics are rooted in EU related problems. This is so annoying as the EU was supposed to be a 'done and dusted subject'. It was supposed to go away and leave them to get on on with receiving the adulation of a grateful public happy with the outcomes of their constant efforts on the nation's behalf. These three things: Housing Benefit (HB), the EU budget (EUb) and the Immigration Cap (IC) are related and not just by their decibels and date.

The relationship is based on immigration, economics and welfare and 'fairness'. It will take a while for the heat generated by the HB proposals to turn into light. But even at this early stage common sense tells us that the present way of dealing with HB is unsustainable. Change had to come because we could not economically afford to continue with the current system. While common feeling suggests that when the spotlight falls on the high level levels of immigration into our cities, especially London, this too is not sustainable. In this case economically and culturally too. Again common feeling, or raw prejudice, we don't have the facts yet, suggests that not all immigrants come to the UK to work. Some come to subsist, this is possible because not only are there official benefits there are networks that enable this.

Clearly it's hard work for the coalition to sell the idea of HB reform, 'you will get less', to a nation that sees the EU wants more from member nations. But then the EUb, like immigration to the UK, seems to be beyond reasonable control. The warm words from Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, about no Kosovo style ethnic cleansing "on his watch", were just plain daft. As was his suggestion that poor people should not "as in Paris" be forced to live in the outer suburbs, this is a mistake he will regret. Anyway, why Paris? In New York and Bangkok people live in the district they can afford, why should London be different?

Onto the Immigration Cap. This refers to Non EU workers, it is a fact of EU policy that all EU workers are free to work at any place within the EU. We are told by British business leaders that they are being 'held back' by the shortage of skilled workers. Note how being held back is on the same scale of woe as 'unfairness'. Also note how sloppy and hard to define are these concepts of unreasonableness. It is hard to imagine what labour problems the UK has that will be solved by this measure. Like HB this idea of a cap does not solve the problem it simply moves it away.

Ideally the UK should aim to educate children so they can be creative and well paid but this does not happen. So to minimise labour shortage problems for UK industry we joined the EU. We are now told the problems remain. Hence the new solution is to open up our labour market to all. There is no need to be gold standard Human Resources Manager, any fool can see this won't work either. Rather as a philatelist can never get enough stamps, the UK can never get enough skilled workers.

So the best partial solution is to improve education now. Using London as an example there will be many people living there who know that living costs and taxes will rise despite the best efforts of the coalition. The money going to the EUb will continue to be seen by them as a scam. They will have watched the population rise bring extreme pressure to bear on housing and they will have their own opinions on the many scams behind HB. They will tend, at first, to turn away from politics as we saw in the recent election of a very dodgy character as Mayor of Tower Hamlets, where a minority of extremists got their man in.

And of the future? Well 'fairness' like a spring shower of rain is not about to fall on us all and our inner-city resident knows this. Rowing back the problems in education will take years and more than the free schools' concept can provide. The cost of housing, over the long term, will probably never go down. So its value relative to average income is the key. One thing is certain and that is social housing, 'affordable housing', is another scam like HB. It simply moves but does not solve the problem. Then there's immigration. Hitherto AlBeeb and the liberal/left MSM have told us this is an 'off limits' topic for discussion. Not any more. Let the debate begin.

Footnote - For more on the immigration cap see HERE.