Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Perverted By Language

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or LinkedIn here http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy

Is it just me or are we getting bogged down in #UKhousing these days with what Eric Blair described in his novel, Nineteen Eighty Four as 'DoubleSpeak'?

If you work in the sector you hopefully understand what has really been happening this last 20 years. Meanwhile in the outside world, the person on the street is not aware of what we do, why we do it, how it is funded, why we build what we do and how its controlled by Westminster, devolved or local government.

Words like 'Affordable' as in 'Affordable Rent' are bandied about. Not unsurprisingly, Joe & Julie Public think that one of these must be pretty, well 'affordable'.  Clearly, this DoubleSpeak for 80% of a local PRS rent is not very, for a key worker, such as a nurse, teacher or a worker in the police service.

The closest to a really affordable rent is actually an assured or similar social rent from a registered Provider, RSL or other housing organisation.  Joe & Julie identify with these as being from 'Council Housing', which pretty much outside London, is mostly not Council Housing any more.

Chuck into this a lot of spurious stats about out of control housing and other benefits, families living in 6 bedroom houses with a horse and lots of recent TV shows, picking lots of selective examples from around the UK of our 'typical tenants', and you can see where the confusion originates.

Our elected leaders now would like to rack up rents high enough to force housing association renters into RTB 2.0 owners, reducing the number of these assets available to house those key workers and others on low incomes. It's easy to assume that our social housing is being seen as nests for non-Tory voters and the master plan is to convert our tenants as soon as practical. the possible flaw in this proposal is that I would guess most of our tenants are in the body of citizens, not actually turning out to vote. Also, I cannot see SNP voters turning Tory blue anytime soon, as given time and half the chance, the sensible Scottish Parliament will be pulling the plug on RTB as soon as practical.

Meanwhile, while benefits may be a 'leg up' or 'encouragement' from a Tory viewpoint, its 'rampant failed soviet style socialism' from an opposition one. Semantics and that perversion of language once again. Now I would like to see a credible opposition, as it moderates policies, making them ultimately workable. So, rather than abstentions to votes, I want to see amendments and more oppositions please, from our elected MPs. Also, stop voting as whipped, represent your constituents', that's what we elected you for .

Also, where are the housing good news stories when you need them? Its lucky we seem to have an army of communication team staff on our payrolls. I believe it's time to send them all over the trenches and start a long delayed truth offensive, to get the message out. We are doing a good job here, the facts need to get out, not in DoubleSpeak, but using plain English. If each medium-large RSL produced one good news story every fortnight, we would have excess of 5,000 annually. Now that would be a real backlash, a tsunami of articles for TV, newspapers, twitter etc.

If our comm's staff are not able to help us turn that tide, possibly we need different ones, or a few less. Any other sector, like supermarkets, oil companies and others already have the ear of government and would be fighting their corners, much better than social housing is managing. Its maybe a time to take a leaf out of their books.   

Related Post: Are you really fighting for your right to true affordable housing?


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The Fall - Perverted By LanguageThe Fall - Perverted By Language.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009


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