Opinion: Vince Cable gets it right. Again.

Our Vince got a predictably warm response in his speech before lunch. Much as I would love to bring you the great man in moving technicolour, I am currently alone in the LDV Cupboard and lacking the technical means (or indeed, the first clue) to accomplish this, and can bring you only Ye Olde Text.

But I can also show you which bit made me jump up and down and cheer:

We need to confront our national obsession with property. Houses are homes to live in; not gambling chips.

Regular citizens of the People’s Republic will know that I have form on this topic. I spent the late nineties and early noughties as a student. The papers were provided at breakfast, all of them, every day, and every day I flipped listlessly through the colour supplements like the unpoliticised hound I was, looking at my bleak domestic future.

It’s difficult to express how utterly alienated I felt by the language, the assumptions, the frame of reference employed by the press in Labour’s booming Britain on the subject of property. There were entire series’ of columns, whole mini-supplements, devoted to the subject of buying to let.  There were apparently serious articles seeking to help the reader choose “up-and-coming” areas and make “canny” investments by, oh you know, just taking out a second mortgage and buying their offspring a house to live in at university. That kind of thing. While, natch, investing in Farrow and Ball paint and sticking a vanilla pod in the oven in order to pop that all-important extra seventy three grand onto the value of their actual house, sorry, pension plan. I mean, who were these people?

And above all, towards The End of the boom years, there were those asinine pieces on how fiddling with stamp duty would “ease the pressure on first time buyers”, an ill-informed misstatement so barkingly untrue it doesn’t even deserve the name of myth.

In doing what he does so well, and putting his finger on the obvious but unarticulated, Vince has pointed out the coming and necessary culture shift. As he points out himself in the speech, he predicted the housing crash and was called a doom-monger, but he was right. He’s right about the cultural outcome as well. And I, for once, will be putting aside my usual snarky objectivity when it comes to societal groupthink, and stormtrooping for it.

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4 Comments

  • “It’s difficult to express how utterly alienated I felt by the language, the assumptions, the frame of reference employed”

    Time to exhume our old friend A. Maslow 🙂

    I am reading the speech now…

  • Poetry!

    One comment I will make is that if these tax cuts will be made, going beyond the 4p cut in income tax, indirect taxes such as VAT should be the first in line for the axe. These really are regressive taxes which proportionately hit the poor much harder, which is presumably why Thatcher was such an enthusiast.

    The low, despicable nature of Camoron’s focus on IHT at the expense of taxes on useful activity, reflecting a preoccupation with the well-being of himself & his mates at the expense of those who actually want to make their own way in the world, must be exposed.

  • Dear Asquith,

    Can’t get rid of VAT unless EU does or we leave the EU – and LibDems love EU!

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