Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Brockley Housing Graffiti

I am intrigued by this graffiti in Brockley. It's on a hoarding on a building site where the Maypole pub stood until recently in Mantle Road (Brockley Central reports that private flats are being built there).

The slogan 'I will never buy a house thanks to Gordon Brown' might be just as it appears - the anguished cry of somebody whose hopes of getting a mortgage have been dashed by the credit crunch. On the other hand the speed with which this slogan has been publicised by Conservative publications such as The Spectator makes me wonder if it was more directly politically inspired. Either way there is a Conservative assumption underlying the slogan, namely the myth of 'property owning' as the uinversal solution to housing need.

I guess everybody wants a home that is affordable, in good condition and big enough for their needs plus the security of knowing they can't be kicked out on the streets at the whim of a landlord. But this has never been delivered to everybody by the private housing market. Many people have never been eligible for a mortgage, and many of those who do have a mortgage soon find out that their property effectively belongs to the bank. Recently there was a repossession of a house in my road in New Cross and no doubt if recession kicks in there wil be more, just as under the previous Conservative government.

Meanwhile many people in Lewisham, as elsewhere, are struggling to have a decent home at all, let alone a mortgage (there are apparently more than 3000 families in overcrowded accommodation in the borough). Whatever anger they may legitimately feel for the government it doesn't take a genius to work out that Tory policies of reducing targets for affordable housing aren't going to be much help to them. Nor is the building of luxury flats on that Mantle Road site. Though if previous recessions are anything to go by flats like these, which are often bought to let by landlords, could end up being rented out to them after all.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

But why is the accomodation (that the 3000 families are living in) overcrowded? Are they leaving (breeding) beyond their means?

I've never quite understood what overcrowded accomodation means unless you live in a phonebox. If your family is too big for hour house, take some responsibility for it. Don't wait for a bigger one to be doled out.

Transpontine said...

I am not going to spend my time arguing with Victorian notions about the poor breeding. If anyone is really interested in finding out more about overcrowding and its impact, check out Shelter.

Anonymous said...

The same hand writting as the one in the Daily Telegraph

so same Tory

How about building council houses

Anonymous said...

The Tory Mayors first act
to cut affordable housing quota

houses for the rich only

ross said...

not one to defend boris but all that he's cut is the % quota for affordable housing - a thing that most boroughs were not achieving anything like the target anyway, and in addition did not even have to adopt the london wide target and were free to set their own (lower) targets (which they still didn't meet either)

so not sure why everyone laments the death of a policy that existing only on paper anyway and remained for the whole of ken's term an unenforceable headline sound bite that was quietly brushed aside when it came down to business, or one that could be met more easily by bizarrely actually cutting the overall supply of housing itself i.e. to supply 50% of next to no homes being built as affordable is not that hard to achieve, compared to 50% of shedloads of homes being built - it also closely tied the supply of a basic human need firmly to wider market conditions, a thing central to the new labour project

as i understand it boris has done away with the 50% quota but has pledged to ensure the provision of the same number of actual affordable homes over the next term, i.e. 50,000 affordable homes

i've no doubt that boris, like his predecssor, will not actually come good on this pledge, but we should at least be attacking the right thing here

Transpontine said...

Wasn't sure what was meant by the Daily Telegraph reference - is there some more graffiti mentioned there? I started thinking that you could interpret the graffiti completely differently - maybe they were making some kind of anarcho statement about refusing to participate in the property merrygoround! Not sure why they would want to thank Gordon Brown for that though.

fabhat said...

the same hand has written "lie back and think of england" on the vesta road road bridge over the railway. I haven't spotted any more yet - but couldn't see what relevance this one had - esp to the ocation, unless they are suggesting a large suicide pact?

Transpontine said...

There's some graffiti at a bus stop on Shardeloes Road which says something like 'what are you waiting for?' which looks like it could be the same person. This deflates my conspiracy theory that the housing slogan was written by a conservative activist to manufacture a sense of popular revolt. It suggests instead that it was written by somebody with more paint than politics

ross said...

i think that one ^ is just someone whose got a bit taken in by all the misty eyed 68 media pap that's been churned out of late

Transpontine said...

Well 'I can't buy a house' isn't exactly 'All power to the imagination', but then there is the argument that 1968 slogans like 'take your desires for reality' paved the way for 1970s/80s me-centred consumerism so perhaps there is a continuity...

ross said...

nah i was referring to 'what are you waiting for?' hence the "^" in the post referring to the above

however you're right in what you say, the primarily individualistic demands of the students not only confronted the supposed shackles of conservatism but any form of restrictions on their individual desires, such demands were not only easily absorbed by consumer capitalism but in turn gave it a new lease of life in itself - and gives us the society we have at present

the irony of them and their demands and their legacy forming the primary market of, and therefore the main pillar of support for the very system they were supposedly revolting against is unfortunately lost on most so called radicals

so yep, many sentiments of 68 became the very basis of subsequent neo-liberal economic policies, with revolt successfully absorbed, commodified and sold back to the revolting

Anonymous said...

the picture with similar handwritting in Croydon appeared in Daily Telegraph in run up to GLA elections

Fed of Con Students

I guess better than hang Nelson Mandela slogans of the 80s when Boris was in FCS