Genuine members of political parties are an endangered species, both at party conferences and in the country at large. There is no doubt that party politics, and the old systems, are in real demise. And this is a shame, because real politics, on the street, has morphed and flexed and is now at a hugely vital and energetic point in the game.
Our desperate need to deliver economic growth becomes ever more pressing, and the party conferences won’t even touch the sides. I don’t really buy into the notion that house building is the total answer. But the parallel need to house people is, of course, also becoming ever more pressing, whether or not there is any causal connection in economic theory.
There was a “Homes for Britain” fringe meeting held by the Town and Country Planning Association and Crest Nicholson yesterday lunchtime at the LibDems; in the face of the mansion tax furore (and Nick Clegg’s raiding of the pension pots) where they asked “Are garden cities and suburbs part of the solution?” Bless.
Me? Well I reckon we need a hundred, or maybe a thousand, solutions to cracking our need for homes.
One possible solution presented itself in a much overlooked and uncommented-upon item, which fell on stony ground during the Olympics, lost in all the bells and whistles. This may be of serious significance to the housing debate, or more accurately, the homelessness debate. On Thursday 10 August I caught a simply splendid piece on Radio 4′s You and Yours, outlining how Stoke on Trent City Council is working in partnership with the Empty Homes Agency to bring forward a radical “homesteading project”.