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Letter: Cllr Potter Is Displaying the Politics of Envy

Published on: 3 Jun, 2020
Updated on: 3 Jun, 2020

From Jules Cranwell

In response to: Something Deeply Wrong When Minimum Wage Earners Line Multi-millionaires’ Pockets

Cllr George Potter’s letter sounds like typical Liberal politics of envy. I have never owned a property to let, but am not the least envious of those who do provide such homes to those in need.

I would also point out that there is something deeply amoral with the level of profits generated by developers. in 2018 Persimmon was to pay their former CEO a £100m bonus, yes that’s £100,000,000, before public pressure led to its reduction to £76m and then his resignation.

Yet the Lib Dems insist on assisting with the rape of our countryside, through their adoption of the ruinous Tory Local Plan.

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Responses to Letter: Cllr Potter Is Displaying the Politics of Envy

  1. George Weightman-Potter Reply

    June 3, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    Firstly, it’s a pity that Mr Cranwell can’t comprehend of someone objecting to an injustice without having an ulterior motive.

    Secondly, I’m not sure what I’m meant to be envious of, given that I was lucky enough to be privately educated and to be born into a well-off, property-owning, extended family, and given that I am lucky enough to work in a well-paid profession. My objection to rent-seeking is not because I lack the means to become a landlord myself, but because it is wrong.

    Thirdly, the choice to use a hyperbolic metaphor which belittles sexual violence really seems to me to be indicative of the kind of mindset which places all the value in the world on one’s own view of trees and fields, but very little value on the lives of others.

    If my thinking above is a hallmark of being a Liberal then I am very proud to be one.

    George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham

  2. John Perkins Reply

    June 3, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    George Potter’s assertion, in his earlier letter, that “Jules Cranwell will find that it is the Rightmove spokesperson who made the generalisation” is misleading. It was George Potter, here: The Rightmove press release does not mention “exploiting the situation” or “increasing rents”, nor does The Dragon article. It might be legitimate to argue that landlords are “discriminating”, but, as that’s been the case for years now, it’s hardly pertinent.

    To accuse Mr Cranwell of hyperbole is almost amusing, coming from somebody who uses it constantly. If Cllr Potter objects to use of the word “rape” then I suggest he read Alexander Pope.

    I disagree with Jules that the councillor’s letter is typical of “Liberal politics of envy”, there’s nothing Liberal in the rants here, they are pure 1960’s “Trendy Lefty”.

  3. Christopher Dalby Reply

    June 3, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    I believe Mr Cranwell has missed the point entirely here.

    I do hope that he and others are aware (as I’m sure they are) of the terrible situation our housing market is currently in with hard-working people forced into renting for life with little or no chance of ever having the opportunity of investing their money into a property of their own.

    This is not ‘envy’ and calling it such is actually quite offensive, to be honest.

    Peoples motivations behind purchasing properties to ‘buy to let’ are to make money and certainly not to help people. Let’s not be naive in regards to that.

    The problems buy to let have caused to the housing market are substantial for first-time buyers, especially in places like Guildford.

    If only people like Mr Cranwell cared as much about hard-working young people looking to invest in their futures as much as the prosperity of buy to let landlords.

    Massive reform is needed to rebalance the system and give people the opportunities they once had and deserve and until reform arrives things will only get worse as the fundamental “right” of people to own a home rather than line the pockets of others becomes an ever-distant dream.

  4. John Perkins Reply

    June 4, 2020 at 10:02 am

    Mr Dalby is presumably offended by the fact that the fundamental right to own their own home was taken from the English in 1066.

    In the rest of Europe, including those countries that were communist until recently, it’s normal to rent. Few people there trouble themselves with the idea of investing their money in property – they prefer to let a landlord take that risk.

    People’s motivations behind purchasing vegetables to sell are to make money.

    • Christopher Dalby Reply

      June 4, 2020 at 7:01 pm

      There are now fewer people than ever that have the chance to get on the housing market, especially young people, and are forced to pay extortionate rents.

      This is a real shame and quite frankly a national scandal, there are people that want to be able to invest their own money in their own property rather than making other people wealthy, something Mr Perkins does not seem to realise or care about. Instead, he seems full of excuses for our totally broken market which is a real shame. He appears to be totally out of touch to current times.

      We need to support the rights of those that wish to buy properties rather than make baseless excuses as to why they shouldn’t have that right.

      In Europe house ownership is growing more and more every year, unlike here where the trend is going the other way as house prices make ownership impossible.

      • John Perkins Reply

        June 5, 2020 at 3:46 pm

        During the 1970s I saw my step-father lose a large amount of money he could not afford when house prices fell.

        In the early 1980s I lost some myself when prices fell again (in part due to a less-than-honest mortgage agent and a similarly-minded building society manager), though less than others at the time.

        Despite that, when Margaret Thatcher proposed increasing home ownership by encouraging as many people as possible to buy, I regarded it as a good thing.

        After “big bang”, money to buy property became more freely available. (Previously it had been limited by the tendency of lenders to only lend to those who could prove they didn’t need it.) It all went well and increasing numbers of young people bought their homes.

        Then in the early 1990s, thanks to John Major’s obsession with the ERM, interest rates rocketed and house prices crashed. I was again lucky as I’d bought earlier enough that my house was still worth what I’d paid for it and I was earning sufficient to keep up the mortgage payments (at 17.5%). Many I knew found themselves with negative equity and repayments they could not meet.

        More recently, leaseholders in buildings with flammable cladding have found themselves faced with massive repair bills and their homes unmarketable.

        I guarantee Mr Dalby that the misery of being in either position far outweighs the annoyance of paying “extortionate” rents. Perhaps even totally.

        • Christopher Dalby Reply

          June 10, 2020 at 4:11 pm

          John Perkins is correct to say that all investments come with danger, including housing, nobody has ever doubted that but he is missing the point entirely.

          He seems to be suggesting that in his opinion (or rather experience) it is better for people not to have the choice of investing in a property of their own because of the risk. That’s a very strange way of looking at things.

          In the long term, even properties that don’t appreciate massively can, over time, be seen as a way of reducing housing costs at the very least and will always see some return rather than none. Going on what we have seen in the last 20 years and the fact this country continues to fall short of the number of properties needed (demand far outweighing supply) I’d suggest that property is a pretty sound thing to invest in currently, even if appreciation will eventually fall (not a bad thing either).

          Mr Perkin is judging a whole system based on personal experiences and possibly wrong decisions.

          People deserve choice and who is anyone to disagree with that?

          • John Perkins

            June 11, 2020 at 10:35 am

            Saying anyone who disagrees is “missing the point entirely” does not make much of an argument.

            I have not argued that people should not have a choice and have not judged anything. The suggestion that renting is bad while owning is good is simply false.

            The article which initiated this debate ( led to baseless accusations that the rental sector was somehow immoral and lining the pockets of multi-millionaires. Yet, although they almost certainly do exist, very rich landlords must be a rarity.

            On the other hand, with mortgage rates more than 3 per cent above the base rate, multi-billion pound mortgage lending companies could be said to be lining their pockets.

            With a deposit, up-front fees and early redemption charges, a mortgage is generally only better over the long term. Those wishing to move about freely should weigh their choices carefully.

            A house buyer only owns a property when the last penny of the mortgage is paid – up to that point it’s owned by the lender. With a 10 per cent deposit, a lender can afford to lose that much in nominal property value or loss of repayments before any of its own money is at risk, no landlord has such a luxury.

  5. George Potter Reply

    June 5, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    Mr Perkins is of course quite correct. In Europe, it is the norm for most people to rent rather than to own their home.

    Is Mr Perkins is an enthusiastic supporter and advocate of the much stronger rental rights which make this a workable option for those European countries?

    Does Mr Perkins support minimum three-year tenancies, extremely limited grounds for eviction, inheritable tenancies, security of tenure and stringent rent controls?

    Because if so then that is most welcome news.

    George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham

    • Jim Allen Reply

      June 5, 2020 at 1:09 pm

      Writing as a past trustee of a rental property, all of George Potter’s “stringent controls” miss out on some other necessary controls. What about tenants who leave damage property no recompense (beyond any deposit)? Or those who deliberately do not pay their rent at the moment so the landlord has to go three months without rent before spending out on eviction fees perhaps in excess of £5,000 with no real chance of regaining that money?

      Secure tenancies are great for the tenant but take little account of the cost of maintenance, damage and non-payment of rents leaving landlords out of pocket.

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