Sunday, September 29, 2013

Margaret Thatcher "gave the Conservative Party intelligence and committed leadership"

What she would never have done would have been to use taxpayers' money to manipulate the property market. It is manifestly statist to devote £12 billion of other people's hard-earned cash to guarantee the mortgages of 200,000 in order to bypass the caution of lenders to stimulate house-buying. The doctrine of Thatcherism no more entertains this than it does spending taxpayers' money to create jobs. It is businesses, enterprise and innovation that create jobs: it is building societies and banks that lend money for people to buy houses, and they should exercise caution and lend wisely. When they throw caution to the wind, they go bust (or should).

Margaret Thatcher understood the value and force of the market. As Lord Flight said yesterday, this mortgage guarantee is "unwise" and will "end in tears". Eds Milliband and Balls haven't condemned it entirely because it is precisely the sort of state intervention that they see as having moral force. But many Conservatives will view this as a moral hazard zenith.

Or nadir.

It’s hard to tell if this unmitigated folly is a high or a low: His Grace is unsure of the unit of measurement or if a negative quantity is beneficial or detrimental. Either way, the proposal for the taxpayer to underwrite 95% mortgages is an offence against all that is moral, just and right. It amounts to the taxpayer-enforced insuring of the individual against incautious investment. No longer caveat emptor, but screwat taxpayor.

The proposal is aimed at first-time buyers. David Cameron wants to help 200,000 of them to get a foot on the first rung of the housing ladder by providing a mortgage indemnity scheme. At a time of increasing national debt and growing budget deficit (ie failing Coalition policy), the Government is intent on restoring 95% loan-to-value mortgages to improve affordability and inject some life into the housing market.

It is difficult to conceive of a more peccable policy than one which lures you into a state of maximum indebtedness at a punitive rate of interest, especially when debts of such gargantuan proportions built on the shifting sand of inflated property prices were largely responsible for the global credit crunch and the state we’re in. This time, instead of financial institutions selling on the risk of sub-prime mortgages to an ever-cascading carousel of private banks, the taxpayer will act as guarantor of last resort.

As with the bank bailouts, the shareholder (homeowner) takes the profit in times of plenty, but the poor taxpayer takes the hit in the lean years. It is even more invidious when you consider that those who take out these 95% loans will be subject to a higher rate of interest than those who are deemed to present less of a risk: the repayments will be arduous and the emotional costs very high. This is simply piling Pelion upon Ossa. At these thresholds, the ‘dream of home ownership’ can rapidly become a nightmare trap of negative equity and unsalability: the Englishman’s castle becomes his dungeon. House prices are not guaranteed to go on rising in perpetuity: the easier-credit bubble will surely burst, just as it has always done. It is as if we have learned nothing from Gordon Brown’s economic innumeracy.

Of course, Conservatives favour home ownership: Margaret Thatcher heralded a revolution in the property-owning democracy with the sale of council homes to tenants. But these were massively discounted in recognition of decades of paid rent: they were sold at significantly less than their market value, and so presented no financial risk to the buyer. She was, as ever, mindful of the market, famously noting that it cannot be bucked.

The Bishop of Manchester-designate, David Walker, said: “Help to Buy is like tackling a food shortage by issuing food vouchers rather than getting more crops planted”. And he is quite right. If any shift were needed, it is either in increasing the building of social housing or in dispelling the shame associated with renting. The Royal Family rents; the Archbishop of Canterbury rents. What is this Tory fixation with owning that which the market determines you cannot yet afford?

David Cameron is taking an enormous risk with this policy: he is not only gambling that current property prices will be sustained; he is attempting to ‘buck the market’ by encouraging would-be home owners to a level of indebtedness beyond what the market believes is advisable, desirable, sustainable or moral. Lenders are cautious because they have just learned (the hard way) that debts must be secured. When they are not, you enter into the Looking Glass economics of Wonderland. The Lady will be turning in her grave.


Blogger DanJ0 said...

I suppose they're hoping for the a combination of the multiplier effect and the feelgood factor to boost things in time for the next election. The property market is already distorted by artificially low interest rates intended in part to stop a crash in house prices. We've had a sustained transfer of money from savers, including pensioners, to borrowers over ther last few years. What we need is either to build many more houses, and to continue this year on year, or to reduce the population to something more manageable. I favour the latter but it'll cost a generation or two as the ratio of workers to pensioners is too low for a while.

29 September 2013 at 09:42  
Blogger bluedog said...

This really is the height of stupidity, Your Grace. It's as though Northern Rock with its loan valuation ratios of 105% never happened. We must pray that Welby & Glynns Bank doesn't succumb to this exercise in the madness of crowds.

We know Osborne thinks IDS is a bit thick. But if this scheme blows up any time before the next election, and it easily could, on whose ministerial door will those whose lives have been wrecked come knocking? IDS.

29 September 2013 at 10:19  
Blogger David Hussell said...

An excellent article, spot on I'd say. Than you Your Grace.

Like any Christian I do not "worship" the market, but I see it for what it is, a very necessary and efficient way of allocating resources, which sometimes needs a steer to ensure moral fairness or equity for all. However those who will benefit from this are not living in hell holes, but renting acceptable homes I'm sure. So what is being done is for political reasons, using other peoples money, the taxpayers, as a guarantee and as such is morally questionable. He is not being helpful if these people would be better living in rented homes until they can genuinely afford to buy.

It risks too much for the benefit of a few all to project a "caring" , "we are like you" image of the Conservative Party which is based on foolish and false economics. This is not the Conservative Party of Thatcher but a drifting, gimmicky , vote harvesting outfit.
Vote Ukip I say.

29 September 2013 at 10:41  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

An excellent article.

However Ernst did not know whether to laugh or scream whilst perusing an ad in a newspaper by a builder of a block of luxury flats and penthouse apartments in Greenwich village, promoting the offering of the 'help to buy' scheme and a 5% deposit to the new poor-rich.

All 3 parties own one side each of a triangle of financial corruption.


29 September 2013 at 10:52  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Behind all this there is of course a truth that all politicians refuse to see.
Putting my professional hat on now, we are a tiny over crowded country with much of the population cramming itself into the greater SE.
Opposition to building on our shrinking green spaces can only intensify giving ever greater headaches to the Conservative voting areas especially.
Overcrowding is already a reality, soon to be back to Victorian levels, I believe. Large back gardens are being built on and much public opens space, school playing fields, etc were shamefully and foolishly sold off during the Thatcher years.
Building densities go up and up from the standard 8 per acre of the inter-war years, then to 10, 12 and now by a series of pragmatic steps, usually heralded by some design "breakthrough" as a fig leaf, we are commonly building so called family homes at 18 or more per acre, or almost 50 hectare in new money. Living conditions are overcrowded , at least in my book.
Yet massive inward migration continues apace as if we had unlimited space ! Sheer madness. One only has to go to the north of the country or Scotland to see how bad southern England, in many areas has become. A trip to France reminds one of the pleasures of free flowing, emptier roads and quiet unhurried villages and market towns now merely an increasingly distant memory held only by older folks like myself.
All this is driving up the price of land for building homes. Only environmentally and politically unacceptable large scale multiple releases of land in many different areas simultaneously would address this problem, which is now acute, and here to stay. Land prices and house prices are unlikely to fall significantly because of the environmentally necessary rationing of land release. All else is hot air.
I consider myself to have been privileged to have been brought up in spacious areas of South Wales and to live where we do in rural Suffolk. I genuinely pity the children and young people of today being brought up in this increasingly rats in a cage land.
Loss of control of our borders is adding to an existing serious, indigenous problem but the "main"parties are not interested in such difficult long term problems. It is very sad.

29 September 2013 at 11:00  
Blogger raggedclown said...

She may have given the Conservative Party 'committed leadership', but what did she give the country? The 'economic miracle' of turning North Sea oil into two major recessions in 11 years, punctuated by pre-election booms paid for with a fire sale of national assets; the de-industrialization of the country that gave the world the industrial revolution and the replacement of its industry with an irresponsible and untameable financial sector; and a property market that resembles a monopoly board. And that only begins to touch on her disastrous legacy. Every single problem that besets this country today is the consequence of the Blonde Beserker's disastrous period of governance.

29 September 2013 at 11:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I don't know how people live in the South East, it's a nightmare just to get around.

29 September 2013 at 12:16  
Blogger Mark B said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

29 September 2013 at 12:28  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Never did understand this need to ‘breath life’ into the housing market. A property is only worth as much as someone can pay for it. Is that wrong ?

After all, we don’t breath life into the funeral business, and free up a few homes currently occupied by decrepit types...

29 September 2013 at 12:52  
Blogger raggedclown said...

'Right to buy', which was supposed to spread home ownership to the masses and make everyone middle class, has brought about a situation whereby fewer and fewer people can afford to buy their own home. Our grandparents were better off than we are. Another Thatcher-inspired disaster from the Woman Who Destroyed Britain.

29 September 2013 at 12:58  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Relax, Your Grace, nothing to fret about. It's just an implementation of Agenda 21 of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) . It's all in <>Section I: Social and Economic Dimensions<> of the book if you must really trouble yourself with the petty details. Anyway, in Europe, resistance is futile, so, for you my friends, the war is over.

29 September 2013 at 13:02  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

To wit, Your Grace, "7.9 (d) All countries should, as appropriate, facilitate access of urban and rural poor to shelter by adopting and utilizing housing and finance schemes and new innovative mechanisms adapted to their circumstances...." From UNEP's "Promoting Sustainable Human Settlement Development."

29 September 2013 at 13:40  
Blogger IanCad said...

Thank you YG,

So much sense on a policy which will only lead to disaster.

It is said that the difference between a fool and a damn fool is that the latter will not learn from his own mistakes and the former will not learn from those of others.

We have a perfect lesson here in the US housing market where profligate lending precipitated not only the financial crisis, but declines in property values that could not be countenanced over here.

From 2001 until 2007 anyone who could sign their name could get a loan. I kid you not.

The result being that house prices in most of the country dropped by 50%. In some areas much, much more than that.
Improved, ready to build lots declined in many - even desirable areas - by 90% or, believe it or not, even becoming worthless.

Investors picked up the carnage. Few buyers are able to get loans. The US is becoming a nation of renters.

If the proposed insanity is implemented the same will happen over here.

Already we have loan to income ratios of six to one. That in itself is unprecedented and unsustainable.

To pump more printed money into this already dodgy bubble borders on the criminal.

David Hussell

A very comprehensive post.

You have defined the problem.

Obviously, we need more housing.

You are oppposed to Back Yard Building. I actually believe that it part of the solution.
Of course, Slough springs to mind. We can't have that, but I do think that attractive, pitched roof timber framed, energy efficient buildings would work well in some cases.

The problem is that in the UK there is absolutely no understanding of modern timber frame construction.

New codes are needed, perhaps modelled on the IRC (International Residential Code) Health and Safety must adapt to this new industry. Legacy building methods must be completely abandoned and not modified. New workers will need to be trained, and it ain't in carpentry.

We have a glorious country. Preserving its uniqueness and beauty has to be the chief proireity.

29 September 2013 at 13:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Avi, "Promoting Sustainable Human Settlement Development." no doubt contains nothing about ending unrealistic immigration policy which considering the modest families the indigenous now have, is the driving factor on why what there is to buy is so expensive. A BBC report this last week pointed out that we are fast running out of grave yard space. Interesting that no room for the dead takes prominence over no room for the living...

29 September 2013 at 13:54  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

You guess correctly, Inspector. Freedom of movement and migration is encouraged; so, you will one day be free to set up a new life in Kinshasa, for example. This will create room for migrants who are more deserving of your no doubt luxurious and roomy quarters and even your stool at your favourite watering hole. A new life in Africa for you will be a delightful adventure...and will put a pretty tan on your undoubtedly pale British visage. And don't worry about overcrowding issues. Agenda 21 recommends robust planned parenthood programs and reduced living space as the primary means of population control.

29 September 2013 at 15:36  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Margaret Thatcher didn't destroy the British coal industry. Market economics did. Labor unions prevented the mines from modernizing - which meant the mines could only maintain market presence only by virtue of subsidy. The longer this went on, the worse the market distortion became and consequently the greater the cost of extrication. Thatcher performed that necessary extrication. If the miners suffered, its because they refused to acknowledge economic reality. They demanded a certain income and a certain way of life as a national right, and expected others to fund it. That demand was not realizable in a sector so important to the economy like energy.


29 September 2013 at 15:46  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

Here's a novel solution : get rid of 5 million or so immigrants and two things will happen, housing will become available to the indigenous population and the price of housing will fall, making it affordable for most people.

29 September 2013 at 16:18  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Ian Cad, regarding construction, I had the pleasure and the honour to co-host with the college I taught over 15 years ago, masonry apprentices from Bridgwater College, near Somerset. We covered North American construction methods using timber frame, cavity walls with drainage, insulation and vapour barriers. If you go to their apprenticeship page, at, you will see that the lads practiced on brick and concrete block cavity walls, which are typical for commercial buildings. I suspect that the training and technologies are available in Britain, but from what the instructors were saying, there is resistance to innovation among contractors.

Regarding your legacy buildings, I'm a huge fan of maintaining and retrofitting historical structures. It is expensive to install good drainage and insulation, but the alternative is losing a building...and once it's gone, it's gone for good. This is an area where incentives, tax breaks and even funding makes sense; maintaining one's heritage architecture is part of maintaining one's past and culture.

29 September 2013 at 16:21  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Here's a picture of one of nicer looking Victorian (ie. 100+ year old) houses. That's probably a 3 bedroomed one with a downstairs toilet at the back of a sticking out kitchen on the ground floor:

A more typical one is a '2 up, 2 down' which originally had an outside toilet. We have towns and cities full of these, and our immigrant population tends to live in those areas.

29 September 2013 at 17:24  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Housing stock like this is probably one reason why the indigenous birth rate is quite low in the UK: no room for big families now that aspirations have risen.

29 September 2013 at 17:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

And there, DanJ0, is the very reason the socialists jettisoned the working class. You see, those two up two downs were where working class children would be starting their own families. Not spending years stuck in a high rise flat, hoping to get something on the ground, as much of it was given to immigrants with ready made families. Doesn’t seem fair looking back, does it ? An act of treason against the people...

29 September 2013 at 18:02  
Blogger Anglican said...

We need more houses. The house building firms are sitting on 400,000 building sites which have planning permission. But they prefer not to build on them because they make more money building on greenfield sites. Here I would agree with Labour - either build on them or lose them. They are holding the country to ransom.

As for population – England is overpopulated by any standard. The number of old people will increase considerably, requiring more pension and medical costs. But don’t worry about this; the government has everything under control. Just wait until they roll out their euthanasia programme (with all-party agreement).

29 September 2013 at 18:17  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Just wait until they roll out their euthanasia programme (with all-party agreement)."

Given that everyone gets old, why would people accept that?

29 September 2013 at 18:24  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Given that everyone gets old, why would people accept [euthanasia]?

Because,Danjo, we now know that people will apparently accept anything, no matter how batshit-crazy, such as...oh, I don't know, like two blokes "marrying" each other... if smartly packaged and heavily promoted by the state and its organs. What was it? Ah, "marriage equality." An interesting test-run by our betters and their social planners, who now have better idea of what buttons to push. The meme for euthanasia, I believe is "quality of life." Equality and quality, such happy words.

29 September 2013 at 18:48  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Given that everyone gets old, why would people accept that?

Because A) people are stupid; B) they don't all get old at the same time and will only think of the immediate benefits of getting rid of an old nuisance without considering the ramifications it will have for them and C) see A)

29 September 2013 at 18:49  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Oy Vey! I'm in agreement with Avi! Hold on, let me check my foreskin...

29 September 2013 at 18:50  
Blogger David Hussell said...


You are right that "building companies" now make more to their bottom line, by not building, but holding onto land banks. This is because land, in the SE especially, is often the cost component representing 60% of the final market price of a house. Incredible but true. All this flows from a total disconnect between population growth and the available land, because we are, it's very, very simple, hugely over crowded. There's really no simple solution to this. If we boost construction massively it will use up so much of our "green and pleasant land" it would be politically and environmentally unacceptable, in a democracy anyway. I really don't see any palatable answers.

Ian Cad,

I am not anti all back yard building per se, but I see it against the total loss of open space available in our cities and towns. If , over time, many back yards and public open spaces and allotments etc are built upon, gradually life in the urban areas will become as dehumanized as it is in the soulless monstrosities of China. Have you seen their garden free and park free cities? It makes the original British guided parts of Honk Kong look uncrowded ! People of our culture would not thrive in such ultra-urban environments.

Avi, IanCad,
I agree with you regarding timber frame construction. We are hugely, irrationally resistant to it being wedded instead to heavy masonry construction which is slow, and as speed of construction feeds into bottom line costs mainly via the duration for which money is expensively borrowed, commercially, it makes for an expensive product. Having travelled extensively in Scandinavia I am a great fan of timber frame construction, vapour barriers and thick insulation, all good, cheap, lightweight construction that is energy efficient for the construction and life stages. I have built myself, behind our 19th century Conservation Area cottage, such a construction. I designed and then built - a builder friend doing most of the physical construction-a large two bedroom bungalow sized timber framed, visually totally convincing "Suffolk barn" for a very modest cost/square metre. But I didn't face the massive cost of a building plot on top of the mere £22,000 for the construction. It's the land supply vs population that is the problem to which there is no answer.We need another Australia or Canada for people to emigrate to, but not, millions more joining us in this tight little island.

29 September 2013 at 19:00  
Blogger IanCad said...


I wasn't implying that legacy systems be abandoned wholesale. Just that the legacy methods are incompatible with modern timber framing requirements.
Most particularly in foundation systems. Masonry construction, of course, is far heavier than light framing. Timber framing is easily displaced by impact or wind. Over here anchorage for these structures is wholly inadequate. Not a problem with masonry - it won't blow away.
There will always be a need for skilled stonemasons and other trades who are involved in renovation of old buildings. Sadly they're in short supply.

29 September 2013 at 19:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Given that everyone gets old, why would people accept that?

The existing provision for the aged, own room in a nursing home will soon be considered top of the range hotel accommodation. A much cheaper arrangement and the one everyone will be familiar with in a few years time is the dormitory. An outbreak of flu, and that’s half gone in just a few days...

29 September 2013 at 19:16  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Apologies YG for an uncharacteristic deviation from the topic, but the temptation was too great for a mere mortal : --
To borrow that glorious Inspector's inimitable phraseology, if I may be so bold Inspector General, ......... despite all these troubles, this man is rather chuffed, spiritually renewed in fact, having spent a glorious day in the September sunshine of a very un PC environment, an historic motor race day, surrounded by oodles of beautiful British automotive technology roaring around the race track, representing from the early beginnings up to the 70s, and dining on beer and bacon rolls, and all with the intoxicating whiff of Castrol racing oil drifting in the stiff breeze. Hardly had he "parked" his sturdy Volvo ex rally car which he somewhat provocatively bounced across the field at speed, when he was besieged by proper British delightfully un PC teens eager to "pop the hood" as Americans say. All very reassuring. It was almost as if it was, 1960 all over again. How refreshing !

29 September 2013 at 19:18  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Ian sand David,

Not sure what you mean by "heavy" masonry. Do your guys still build double or triple-wythe walls? Pretty, if properly done, but not great for insulation or moisture control. Those have been phased out in the 50s here in Canada and probably the US too. Brick veneer cavity walls with weep holes tied in to moisture-proofed lumber backing is the norm.

I wax nostalgic, but the problem with masonry is that it's a skilled trade and too many things can and do go wrong; poor trowel skills, bad or inappropriate mortar mixes, sloppy jointing, etc. The beautiful English brickwork of hundred years ago, with the softer lime and sand mortars, smaller units, custom cut or rubbed brick, exquisite and properly laid-out arches, beautiful and complex pattern-bonds, all those skills are a thing of the past...except for a few real restoration masons and nutcases like me.

29 September 2013 at 19:38  
Blogger Albert said...

A very good post. Meanwhile, Dave is also offering a tax-cut to a minority of married people, which is later and less than promised, and will - as I understand it - discriminate against couples whose total earnings are less than other couples who will benefit simply because there are two earners each on slightly less than the one earner. So a gay couple in a Civil Partnership, will get the tax-break which is really directed at supporting families, because, as a gay couple, neither will be at home looking after the children, whereas families will be penalised. I suppose Dave couldn't afford to give the tax-break to all families because he needs their money for this mortgage scheme. So here's another policy that will alienate Dave's own supporters, without, one suspects, gaining many new ones.

If Dave wins the next election, it will only be because Ed Miliband is so bad. It is interesting to reflect on why our politicians are so rubbish at the moment. It seems to me that it is based on the fact that it is perceived that they need to be charismatic, young, good at presentation etc. Meanwhile, the most important and successful politician in Europe is the charisma-lite Angela Merkel. In the end, what the electorate wants is someone who can do the job well.

29 September 2013 at 19:54  
Blogger Len said...

'David Cameron is taking an enormous risk with this policy'

Well.. no... we are ...but we have no say in the matter.

Just like bailing out the banks and funding the bonuses for those who are sacked(moved on)because they cannot run the business for which they have been paid a fortune.

29 September 2013 at 20:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "Because,Danjo, we now know that people will apparently accept anything, no matter how batshit-crazy, such as...oh, I don't know, like two blokes "marrying" each other... if smartly packaged and heavily promoted by the state and its organs."

Note the homophobic tangent to the same old topic. Shame on you.

29 September 2013 at 20:02  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Corrigan: "Because A) people are stupid; B) they don't all get old at the same time and will only think of the immediate benefits of getting rid of an old nuisance without considering the ramifications it will have for them and C) see A)"

If only people were as clever as you, eh? Seriously, you don't really believe that people will accept involuntary euthanasia of the elderly? It's one thing to accept the targetting Others for adverse treatment but quite another to accept it for oneself in the future.

29 September 2013 at 20:06  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Excellent article YG.
It is so short term and manipulative so the ConDims can say the economy has recovered
and just in time for the next election too. It's inevitable that it will end in tears.

Instead of offering this crazy “Help to Buy” schemes to artificially inflate the mainstream housing market loading young people up with even more debt when they already have massive amounts as they'll still be paying off from their student loans, why not look at the other end of the housing market – the retirement sector. The government should look at enabling people to sell their family homes and more into retirement apartments from age 70+ freeing up housing stock for younger families to buy. They can do something like an easy purchase plan whereby the buyers pay 70% of the market value of the retirement apartment on purchase and when they need to sell it the outstanding 30% at market value (this can go up and down according to the market so it would have to be the value at purchase if higher) on resale or death. It would be like an interest free loan for the life of the purchaser or until they wanted to sell.

Most new houses since the 80's built in the UK by all the mainstream builders are flung up as cheap as possible to maximise on the profit, they are brick and block with lots of gypsum plaster board for the walls upstairs and floors made of chipboard squares that creak when walked over. Not much timber.
I'd never buy one unless it was detached as you can hear everything going on next door. Sometimes builders cut corners especially when trying to cram in as many houses as possible on a site. Building terraced town houses, there is sometimes no block cavity wall space between neighbours just two skins of plasterboard.
I think all those old Victorian terraced houses in cities like Liverpool and Birmingham should be renovated as they are ideal first time buyers' purchases for young people.

29 September 2013 at 20:12  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Same old story of unsustainable promises to realize the communist agenda of creating a population dependent on the government so that they will vote for handouts for themselves and poverty for their children and grandchildren.

29 September 2013 at 20:23  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Yes, DanJ0, people will not only accept involuntary euthenasia of the elderly, they've already accepted it in the case of Jews, homosexuals and assorted left-wingers (Nazi Germany) and in Britain where it is presently running at just under 200,000 per year in the case of the unborn. The Irish have similary accepted it in the same case (numbers yet to come in), so why wouldn't they accept it for the elderly? Had you any concept of getting old when you were twenty? Why do you suppose people rarely begin to make pension provision for themselves until they hit the mid-thirties? Because getting old is something that happens to everyone else, not to you, and if you can euthenize your parents in a "civilized" and "compassionate" manner, why not?

29 September 2013 at 20:34  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Corrigan: "Yes, DanJ0, people will not only accept involuntary euthenasia of the elderly, they've already accepted it in the case of Jews, homosexuals and assorted left-wingers (Nazi Germany) and in Britain where it is presently running at just under 200,000 per year in the case of the unborn."

Well, there's the Others I was talking about, except the last bit which is a different matter altogether.

"Had you any concept of getting old when you were twenty? Why do you suppose people rarely begin to make pension provision for themselves until they hit the mid-thirties?"

Yes I did. I've never imagined that I would stay young forever. Lots of young people don't make pension provision because they think they have time to do it later, or that something will turn up, or that they can't afford it at a young age, not that they will never get old, you numpty.

29 September 2013 at 20:53  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Greetings David Hussell @ 19:18 - you carry on that man. Although the Inspector is not an Englishman, but a product of the Empire, he does delight in returning to England a style of speech which is still around in parts of the world the Empire touched.

By the way, have you noticed the comments section now is more akin to that which is deserved by such a fine Anglican blog. Not a completely unacceptable state of affairs at all...

29 September 2013 at 20:53  
Blogger David Hussell said...


I like your phrase, "charisma-lite Angela Merkel" , and what you say is spot on too !


What do I mean by heavy masonry ? It's just a phrase for solid construction using brick, block or whatever usually in double skins. I've seen US , if not Canadian, brick veneer outside leaf with timber frame inside and it is fine. Here a well constructed house would normally use brick outer with block inner, and block work upstairs, preferably. Insulation is now to ever higher standards and takes the from of wool "bats" , placed between the outer and inner leaves as it goes up. However what I describe would only be done on a quality self build or private treaty built house.
Mass construction is just that, fast and furious cheap construction, which is technically, in terms of the "U" value or energy retention, superior than earlier methods, but it is flimsy, inflexible and not very robust. It would use brick outer, to maintain a semblance of tradition, but with interior "studwork" , timber frames knocked together and then having reflective silver foil inner, plasterboard (which I hate) fastened over the top, insulation bats would rest between with suitable moisture vapour tar paper barriers etc. Sound insulation between rooms and floors is negligible. Ground foors are now usually suspended reinforced concrete short beams hung between dwarf walls on shallow strip foundations, whilst upper floors are rubish quality chipboard. The outer, heavy brick veneer would bring its weight down onto strip foundations, which if there were no clay problems would be about 2 feet ( 600 mm) deep.
For my timber frame structure I ensured total structural rigidity by applying renewable hardwood panels over the inside allowing shelves etc to be hung anywhere and everywhere.
Like you Avi, I am a fan of quality brickwork, arches, hand made bricks, bucket handle "mortar" jointing, and have been known to go into raptures at the sight of a geometrically perfect elevation, whilst my long suffering wife finds somewhere better to point her line of vision.
Here because of population pressure, gardens are so small the only way to get a good sized plot is to try to find a large empty plot and build your own, via a builder, or buy an older property. So ours is 1849, and was both improved and extended by us, complete with my organizing drilling for a ground sourced heat pump producing endless very cheap energy.

29 September 2013 at 21:23  
Blogger bluedog said...

Inspector @ 13.54, your comments on grave space are right on the money. And who owns most of the grave-yards? The CofE. Could this be the next opportunity for the world's most commercially minded Archbishop? A chain of crematoria? Imagine the scenario; elderly Anglican is offered estate planning, executorship and trustee services by the relevant division of Williams & Glynns, following a hot lead from his local vicar, and owing to a shortage of plot space, signs up to be cremated. All part of the service. Of course the RCC doesn't do cremations but fierce competition for business from the Non-conformists can be expected. I don't think the Muzzies cremate either, so remaining grave space in country churchyards may be occupied by Catholics and Muslims.

Mr Avi, delighted to see that you are wading through Agenda 21. As a refugee from Marxism and the centrally planned economy you will feel very much at home. Ed Miliband's recent pronouncement about confiscating unused building land is pure Agenda 21. And if you have a car, forget it, you will be priced out of using it.

29 September 2013 at 21:38  
Blogger Nick said...

To me it sounds like the policy of a PM who is both visionless and desperate. Desperate because their is an election looming and he knows he will be fighting with a shrunken and demoralised army.

This policy has all the forethought and wisdom of Big Society. We must keep hoping for a PM who focuses on real issues instread of headline-grabbing gimmicks

29 September 2013 at 21:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

There’s a thing Bluedog, the family doesn’t buy a plot, but rents it for a reasonable sum every month. Of course, failure to keep up the payments means disinterment and the remains left on your doorstep.

Papists do do cremation these days, old hound. This business about being raised from the ground at the end of the world is just so much rot along with talking snakes seducing hungry women...

29 September 2013 at 21:53  
Blogger John Dub said...

Albert: " It is interesting to reflect on why our politicians are so rubbish at the moment. "

That's simple - because the agenda is not to help the people. It's to further the agenda of the elites, be that mass immigration, multiculturalism, AGW, the EU etc.

On a thread relating to the great Maggie, the common story was that she was knifed because of the poll tax etc.

However, one interesting thing to note is that she was knifed three weeks after the commons speech where her attitude to Europe was "no, no, no"

In my opinion, the Pro-EU Tories committed treason against the people, and I loathe every one of the bastards accordingly..

29 September 2013 at 22:03  
Blogger raggedclown said...

Incidentally, my grandfather was a *real* thatcher, i.e. someone who thatched roofs for a living. He managed to buy, some time after the war, a three-bedroom detached house (with a brick roof!) for £350 for himself and his wife and five children. He had to take out a mortgage to do so, but was easily able to afford it without benefits or handouts. (Outside toilet, but my uncle converted one of the bedrooms into a bathroom after my mother and her sister moved out). That house sold a few years ago for around £450,000. There is no way a working man with five children could afford such a property as a first-time buyer these days. Thanks, Tories, for properly screwing the housing market in order for your wealthy friends to play at monopoly with real estate.

29 September 2013 at 22:08  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Clown. A good old school friend of this man is the son of a country estate agent, now deceased. In the villages of the Cotswolds, there was property you couldn’t give away. No electricity, no sewerage, no nothing. And they littered villages even in the late 1970s. All bought up now, and 450 K, yes, that’s the asking price at the lower end...

29 September 2013 at 22:39  
Blogger David Hussell said...

John Dub,

Your analysis is correct. The people are merely the backdrop, the context against which the politicians pander to the minorities, of all descriptions, and the financial elite.
The politicians are there to serve themselves, all too often, then the international, global elite and then the minorities, but only the people in so far as they need to harvest their votes with promises that are rarely kept, and if they are kept, just enough to ensure "brand loyalty".
Patriotism is as nothing, in reality, and Christianity, well it's an obstacle to be modernized.
There's a complete disconnect between the electorate and the politicians, most of whom should be replaced.
Vote Ukip !

29 September 2013 at 22:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

David Hussell. “Christianity, well it's an obstacle to be modernized.”

Most profound. Sadly, the modernisers are the very Christians....

29 September 2013 at 23:03  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Danjo opined: Note the homophobic tangent to the same old topic. Shame on you.

No, shame on you, Danjo, for already calling opposition to SSM "homophobia." Marriage is not just a statutory interpretation, it's also a millennia-deep cultural definition which people are entitled to cherish and defend regardless of temporary political plays. Get used to that.

And what kind of a "phobe" will I be called by others in a decade or two when I predictably reject other "marriages," which can also be legislated with the stroke of the state's pen, "marriages" between multiple partners, under-aged kids or adults and kids, people and animals, siblings, parents and other close relatives? Do they also deserve "marriage equality" because all these combinations can be sexualized and be even genuine "loving relationships"? So, no, mine was not a tangential swipe; if the state and its organs can manipulate a population to live with an idea that would have been ludicrous and abhorrent a mere decade ago to the majority, then culling the old and the unproductive and even grinding them into hamburger to feed the hungry may not be too far down the road. And if you think this is far-fetched, remember that euthanasia and cannibalism have been far more common than SSM.

30 September 2013 at 05:07  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Avi: "No, shame on you, Danjo, for already calling opposition to SSM "homophobia."

Actually, I said the tangent is homophobic. It has nothing to do with the article topic or what I've said here. You're just launching an attack because I'm homosexual. That's what is homophobic. As I said, shame on you.

30 September 2013 at 05:42  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Marie, David Hussel, bluedog, and raggedclown, thank you so much for this invaluable info on your building practices and problems! A few paragraphs here and there...which I read and re-read, than closed my eyes to visualize... and I suddenly have a composite image of the topic that could take days to piece together. A joy to see so many knowledgeable folks on a single blog.

Took me a while to work through the slightly different terminology...and even within my Province we have significant variations...but it seems your issues are similar to ours, here in Canada. Our severe weather calls for more robust buildings with better protection from the elements. We get extremes of hot and cold, with plenty of moisture and road salt to mess things up. Brick and stone spalling and defoliation is common, as moisture gets into the masonry units, freezes in the winter and pops off the surface skin. Lots of efflorescence too...quiet a bit in new residential construction. My special beef: strong mortars with Portland cement an plasticisers instead of good old slaked lime which bond to the masonry like a sonofabitch and crack it with the slightest shifting. And it seems your residential contractors can be bums, just like ours.

"Bucket-handle mortar jointing," ha! Almost forgot that term. I think in my parts it refers to joints that are 7mm or less, but to some it means drawing a decorative indentation along the vertical and horizontal joints...the opposite of beading a joint (which is the hardest of all, I think). And, "Building terraced town houses, there is sometimes no block cavity wall space between neighbours just two skins of plasterboard." Whoa, that's nasty! Never mind hearing the neighbor pee for half an hour after pub night, it also means there is no effective firewall between two residences? One would think that would have been banned long before the eighties.

With apologies for the veering-off, Your Grace...the topic of housing and traditional English masonry (not to forget the Scottish stone masons and the Welsh weavers and their complex multi-wythes) brought this on and the joy of finding other construction and architecture boffins.

30 September 2013 at 06:06  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Yes, it may see so, Danjo, but I would have used the same argument with Hugh Heffner and the Playboy Bunnies because it's the best example of radical and rapid social engineering.

30 September 2013 at 06:09  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

...and remember, Danjo, it's not always about you.

30 September 2013 at 06:11  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

I'm a lightning rod for homophobes here, Avi. As you so clearly demonstrated back there.

30 September 2013 at 06:21  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Perhaps so, Danjo. It wasn't my intent to offend you though, but offend you I clearly did by ignoring context and being flippant, Dodoesque even, and for that I'm truly sorry and beg your forgiveness. Seriously.

30 September 2013 at 06:31  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Your Grace

Poor old Mrs T is now the political equivalent of Cromwell to religion.

Flawed though she may have been, she saved the nation from rack and ruin and old Ernst has put it to others disparaging her..If not her within the political landscape of 1979 then whom exactly??

Some tend to believe their parents were some kind of stern despot when younger but the coming years and hindsight reflect that our interest was their best intention despite the odd cockup here and there.



30 September 2013 at 08:26  
Blogger David Hussell said...


A pleasure to meet someone who appreciates the finer points, the aesthetics of wall construction, and not just the current obsession with heat retention, important though that is.

We have the same problems with spalling of stone and brickwork, and down to the same mechanism, but less severe than in your climate, I would guess. Efflorescence too is a particular hate of mine, as the salt works its way out of the newly laid bricks, but it is temporary thankfully.
One day on an appropriate thread, as his Grace has been very tolerant, I will explain the delights of East Anglian flint wall construction. We even have tall church towers built using this rather primitive method.
Euthanasia. Without inadvertently creating a catalyst for strong feelings regarding other societal issues, as I have no wish to do so, I agree that the important question raised by your point is, speaking generally, as follows perhaps. Just how malleable is the "opinion" of society regarding what are profound changes like the legal "managing" of the entire process of our demography, who lives and dies, and when; this is being done via the birth denying methods and at the other end of the life cycle maintaining life or curtailing it. It may be becoming hackneyed but the Orwellian nightmare is being unfolded in anything goes Holland, it seems to me. A society increasingly rejecting its Judaeo-Christian moral heritage is an exceedingly more malleable one in which to effect nightmare scenarios.

30 September 2013 at 08:53  
Blogger Marie1797 said...

Yes, one would think the lessons of the Grt fire of London would still be hammered home. I guess the outer coating of the plasterboards might be pre treated with some sort of flame resistant solution rather like the sofa and other soft furnishings are, I don't know? Large well known builders here don't have the buildings inspector on site very often and as long as things that show are to standard, they cut corners on blocks and other materials on the inside. Maybe that's why they wire in so many smoke alarms?

30 September 2013 at 14:19  
Blogger Anglican said...

Question for those intending to vote UKIP. Just how 'Christian' is UKIP?

30 September 2013 at 17:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Anglican, to use the words that might come from the delightful Chinese waitress who served me on Saturday...

“Plenty good !”

30 September 2013 at 18:51  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

David Hussell,

Ah, the sublime mysteries efflorescence and the temporary blight of crypto-efflorescence in new construction, which I suggest you are witnessing. Plain efflorescence is a serious and often terminal blight. We may long ponder why with all the quality control systems and precision technology at our modern brickworks we cannot control salt content and seepage in clay units. Those softer, supposedly badly fired bricks of old, embedded into what we were taught were primitive and weak mortars, appear to fare better. And your mention of East Anglian flint wall construction has me salivating to look up the subject right away.

But I say David, His Grace appears open to topics which affect the soul of the ship Britannia, and the endangered legacy of British masonry...formal or a fine topic of discussion. Should you propose to pen a guest post and should the idea be pleasing to our host, I would gladly supply some technical sketches of my own and a few photo examples of the Canadian variants. I have to boast: I have copies of early twentieth century scale plans for some of the most incredible decorative masonry found in English cathedrals and former monasteries and also of modular hollow terra cotta units.

In view of the aims of this blog, I would argue that architecture is religion and politics. British architecture reflects Britishness and thus one finds that its greatest accomplishments are not so much in grandiose monumental, ooh-aah-honey-get-the-camera marvels, but in the incredible excellence and mind-blowing profusion of ordinary functional structures, from palaces and cottage walls, right down to the humble barrel vaults in cellars and the still-functioning old brick-lined sewer systems.

Marie, most likely the plasterboards are treated with flame resistant coatings, but the reality is that a full-blown house fire will transfer fire-starting heat through a flimsy plasterboard faster than it takes the firemen to start up their engines. It's all about gaining time for the response teams to do something that works well before temperature can climb enough to overwhelm almost any protection.

The large, well-known builders will cut corners (a fine brick masonry based expression relating to absence of "queen closures"), but they will typically do this within the building code. From my experience in Canada, it's the small, residential jobs that need to be monitored for quality and worker safety. And yes, we here also have a serious shortage of inspectors, but thankfully we have a seemingly endless supply of social workers, lawyers, city hall bureaucrats and parking cops to compensate for this. Somehow.

2 October 2013 at 05:15  
Blogger ukFred said...

We have had four generations of political pygmies standing on the shoulders of one giant. If Rusty Dave was keen on freedom, he would allow business owners to decide for themselves whom they will serve and the ludicrously ill legal situation such as the case involving with Peter and Hazelmary Bull in this country would never have had to come into being.

2 October 2013 at 22:32  
Blogger ukFred said...

We have had four generations of political pygmies standing on the shoulders of one giant. If Rusty Dave was keen on freedom, he would allow business owners to decide for themselves whom they will serve and the ludicrously ill legal situation such as the case involving with Peter and Hazelmary Bull in this country would never have had to come into being.

2 October 2013 at 22:33  

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