Brexit, Britain votes to extract itself from the EU

I write this from the point of view of a New Zealander, who has some English relatives and friends. I’ve never been anywhere further North than Australia, but hope to visit the British Isles and mainland Eurpoe, sometime. It is about 24 hours since the news broke that the “Brexit” vote has been counted and the result is “Leave” the European Union.

First let me say of the current British PM (David Cameron), I think the guy’s an idiot, and I’ll tell you why.

In England, previously, the very recent past, just a few months ago, there was a competition to name a new Royal maritime research vessel. The competition was in the form of a public poll (something similar although less formal than the recent “Brexit” voting poll). I’m unsure of the exact system, but it probably came down to a few college friends having fun on social media, Facebook, Twitter etc But somewhere someone said “hey let’s see if we can get the stupidest name we can think of, to win the poll !” You guessed it. Turns out that “Boaty McBoatface” won. This has left the maritime research authority in an unenviable situation that it is, almost if not actually and completely, legally required, to name Britain’s new flagship of maritime research, “Boaty McBoatface”.

So with this knowledge clear in the front of his mind, having only just recently occurred, why oh why oh why would David Cameron (or to use his apparent title The Honorouable David Cameron Dik HeD, why would he even have instituted a poll if he wasn’t absolutely sure to win it ?

Stuff I’ve previously read said the poll was to quieten some rumbling voices of dissent from within his own political party. Hmm, well how’s that workin’ out for ya Davey boy ?

It seems the REMAIN (in Europe) vote won out conclusively in London, Oxford and Scotland. But pretty much everywhere else in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, voted “LEAVE, Let’s bloody go mate, on yer bike as fast as !”.

I have heard it said that one major contributing reason towards many people voting for “LEAVE” was because of difficulties the UK is currently facing regarding a shortage of housing and especially a shortage of affordable housing. Especially when people see immigrants coming into an area, the immigration is then, rightly or wrongly, blamed for those housing problems.

(Here is a short quote that I have cribbed off someone’s Facebook). “… I voted out. Why? Simply because politicians had tried to force a remain vote by imposing an intolerable dilemma on the British people. In, and keep the decline we have forced on you, or leave, and we will ensure even more pain and hardship. Think about it. That was really the message of the remain camp. Worse still, the message was originating from persons who live in penthouse accommodation and shop at Harrods. …” (Quote ends).

Certainly in both Australia and New Zealand, this is an issue at the moment. Both countries have high (relative to our population) immigration. However the vast majority of immigrants settle in the one area (each) that is already full to bursting point, and with people sleeping in cars and tents on open land because there’s simply not enough houses.

Yes that’s right, about 60% of immigrants to Australia, never go any further than the greater Sydney area, and in NZ, it’s the Auckland area.

Obviously immigrants like to settle in the major metropolitan areas because they are the most “cosmopolitan” places. Because of previous migration, that’s where the most “ethnic” food stores will be. The Lebanese and Chinese food shops, the Indian take=away and the Asian grocery store. And hey it’s understandable that if a Vietnamese person needed to visit a doctor or dentist, they’d be more comfortable going to a Vietnamese speaking one.

You’ve got to ask, why the idiots in the Australian and New Zealand governments, instead of actively bringing in all of the fully supported migrants to areas which are already over-populated, don’t they pick some of the half-empty country towns dotted around the land ?

It’s true that support services for new migrants, like social support services and some English classes for new arrivals etc are already located in Sydney and Auckland, but those sorts of things could be opened up elsewhere with very little effort.

From a zero start, a critical mass of new immigrants would very quickly be built up, so very soon they could have access to ethnic based shopping options and healthcare providers in their own languages.

One wonders if the same is needed in Britain ? Do new migrants need to be more equally shared around the place ? And for that matter are there issues regarding housing supply and affordability that need to be addressed ?

Governments cannot be blamed for the weather (well not directly) but they are responsible for things like immigration. New entrants can be granted visas which require them to live somewhere for a particular period of time (say 10 years) by then they will (hopefully) have become settled in their new community, and hopefully they won’t want to all rush to London/Sydney/Auckland the very day their 10 year visa condition expires.

To all those wallies in government, I say to them “hey budds, why are you so single-minded about doing nothing about housing affordability and supply and just leaving it all up to the “free market” (which clearly isn’t working) ?”

We have many many restrictions of the otherwise “free market” in many areas. Whether talking about UK, Australia or New Zealand, the government specifically DOES NOT ALLOW the “FREE MARKET” to apply with respect to things like the supply of COCAINE, or MACHINE GUNS, or PLUTONIUM dust.

Now maybe you should argue we should just leave all those things up to the FREE MARKET as well, and not be bothered about what terrible downstream social consequences might well arise (with all the cocaine, machine guns, and radioactive dust floating around the city streets).

Or maybe it’s time for the governments, at least in those countries that are having major problems in their biggest cities, to find some fixes.

I personally believe that taking the PROFIT-EERS out of the equation will help considerable.

Just to take a simple example, water (definitely essential to life). In places like Australia and NZ we have a two-tier system. We have “for profit” water as sold in plastic bottles and carry-containers at supermarkets and we have “not-for-profit” water as made available through our city council, or local water authority.

The difference in price is somewhere in the region of a thousand to one, or 1000:1. Often even more. Indeed in many areas, the bottled water actually wouldn’t be allowed to be piped to the city’s inhabitants as it is HIGHER in contaminants.

To take an example I know from Christchurch city in NZ. The cheapest house and land package in the cheapest suburb would be about NZ $ 250,000 in Aranui, for an old 3 bedroom house on land (and possibly no lockup garage).

(In NZ, the minimum wage of $15.25 per hour is $31,720 annual gross. So using the traditionally accepted bank formula of house price being 4 times annual gross, that would make an affordable house total price of $126,880. Therefore housing, (at the bottom range of the market) is a multiple of almost 8-times income. ie Christchurch’s cheapest houses are costing about double what they should in relation to wages. Minimum wage isn’t going up by anything anytime soon, and never goes up by much anyway, so somehow we need house prices to fall to half what they currently are.)

I am *NOT* suggesting that similar houses (to what’s currently available in ‘Aranui’) could be made on a “not for profit” basis of one one-thousandth of the current NZ $ 250,000 price, ie, DON’T expect to buy a house and land package for just NZ $250 !

But it makes me wonder, if we took the profiteers out of the equation, how much would a house and land sell for ?

(In 1974, NZ took the profiteers out of the motor vehicle personal injury compensation system. Annual car registration in NZ is now NZ $ 130 annually. Australia has a similar-to-the-USA profit based system and car registrations (including MVIT “green slip”) are somewhere around Aust $800 a year. ) So taking the profiteers out of the equation, might well reduce house prices to a quarter or a fifth of their current level.

How much would people happily pay for a house to have security of tenure over their home, if they knew that when they sold it again, whether in 3 months or 65 years, it would have to be on-sold for the same price they brought it for ? ie, no personal profit would be made.

Currently in Auckland NZ we have the stupid situation that houses get fully refurbished, at a cost of many tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, just prior to demolition (as the house buyers just wanted the land onto which to build a new house).

Not counting the cost to the planet in the huge waste of resources (the labour resource of a fully refurbished house is entirely wasted during its demolition, and only a limited amount of the materials used are salvaged and re-used).

In Auckland and Christchurch, and possibly London too, can we please get the PROFITEERS and “investors” OUT of the housing “market” Let’s leave the housing “market” for people that want a house just to live in, for them and their families.

Far too many people are currently paying 70% or more, of their nett income in “rent” whether it’s to a private landlord or  in mortgage repayments on huge loans to buy even basic housing. That gives them very little else to spend on food, electricity and home heating, car costs and public bus/train transport or education classes and courses etc.

Imagine how much better life on Earth would be for all of us, if rent or mortgage repayments only typically amounted to say 10% of your weekly income.

Think how much good could be done as people donated just a small portion of all their “spare” money to various charities (whether it’s guide dogs for the blind or conservation groups trying to re-plant native trees or whatever). What about saving something extra towards a rainy day, or ones’ retirement ? If it was just 10% of weekly earnings needed to  cover rent or mortgage payments, folks on even modest wages could afford to “gamble” something on the share market. The extra finance available for new start-ups would push investments in new technologies. Many would fail, but some would succeed.

When I first heard about the “BREXIT” vote coming up, I was initially a supporter of LEAVE. I looked forward to Britain re-establishing closer links with former colonies like Australia and New Zealand.

NZ exports used to go 70% to the UK and 3 % to Asia, but since the early 1970’s that ratio has switched. Asia’s population has exploded and the people there want feeding, plus some manufactured goods we sell into those markets and many people from Asian countries come to NZ for holidays.

However I have come to the opinion that the right move was for Britain to stay within the European Union.

It seems though, that with the outcome of the BREXIT vote, an orderly withdrawal will commence.

The process is expected to take 2 or more years and the exact details simply aren’t known.

Some options are a sort of “Norway” situation which would place Britain outside the EU and unable to vote on EU policies, but still bound to adhere to many of them. Whatever the details eventually become, there will be many politicians and senior civil servants laughing it up big-time at the taxpayers’ expense, as they attend an even greater number of talk-fests over the next few years…

“Boaty McBoatface” it makes you think, don’t hold a poll unless you’re sure you’ll be happy with the outcome.

I fear that 48% of Britons are going to bed unhappy tonight and that a great many more (98% ?) will be unhappy when the repercussions of leaving the European Union, come back to bite them in the arxe.

I’m left wondering if “immigration” has taken the blame for the UK government’s failure to provide, allow and facilitate, healthy, safe, comfortable and affordable housing for people. All in the name of “free market” economic theory.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s