Tuesday, 6 July 2004

The long arm of the law

After what seems like forever Shirley Porter has had to cough up:
DAME Shirley Porter, the former Conservative leader of Westminster City Council, has handed over £12 million to settle the surcharge imposed on her following the "homes for votes" scandal of the 1980s, it was announced yesterday.
A "homes for votes" scandal. It sounds rather shocking. So what exactly did Shirley do?
Surcharges were imposed on the Tesco heiress after it was found that she approved a policy to sell off council homes to potential Tory voters in marginal wards to boost the party’s election prospects.
Aha, that's it: using taxpayer-financed council houses for the purpose of electoral gain.

But hang on a moment. Isn't that exactly what generations of Labour politicians have been doing by building all those council houses in the first place? In fact the construction of so many council estates in Glasgow has created a population that has come to believe that the state owes them everything: housing, jobs, education, health services, pensions and welfare. That in turn has made the city one of the poorest in the UK. The perpetrators of this mass pauperisation now dominate the Scottish Parliament. It's no wonder that they are totally unable to create an entrepreneurial culture.


David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Andrew Duffin (
It was one of the Bevins (Ernest or Aneurin, I always mix them up) who swore that the GLC would "build the Tories out of London" - by which he meant, they would build so much tax-supported housing, and hand it over cheap to their supporters, that there would be a Labour majority everywhere in the British capital. 
And by God, they did. 
For some reason I don't remember HIM being surcharged. Wonder why not?

19 July 2004, 12:35:59 GMT+01:00
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Neil (
Certainly the hypocrisy of Labour politicos in saying how shocked they are at her is quite expected.  
It may be partly that she has the money to be surcharged & they mostly don't but a law that is enforced only by one side on the other is neither law nor justice (see also Yugoslavia).

6 July 2004, 22:46:12 GMT+01:00
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David Rainey (
Stuart, the Sheffield study analysed the census data in blocks of Local Authorities structures. Accordingly, Glasgow City council was a single unit in the study and did very poorly. However, in England (London, especially) the Local councils are smaller and often many are needed to cover an entire city. Thus, the top ten deprived areas are: 
LA GOR Pov% Rank 
Tower Hamlets London 46.46 1 
Hackney London 44.36 2 
Newham London 42.93 3 
Islington London 41.66 4 
Southwark London 41.41 5 
Glasgow City Scot 40.93 6 
Camden London 40.31 7 
Westminster London 38.93 8 
Lambeth London 37.85 9 
Haringey London 36.68 10

6 July 2004, 22:33:30 GMT+01:00
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Squander Two (
A few years ago, there was a plea by Glaswegian ambulance services for people to stop using ambulances as taxis. Apparently, what lots of Glaswegians were doing was pretending to have some sort of injury, calling an ambulance, waiting till it reached their destination en route to the hospital, then miraculously recovering and asking to be let out. Don't know how much this was happening, but the problem had clearly become so commonplace that there was a need to put out a public plea/warning.  
I used to think talk of "the hand-out culture" was Tory scare-mongering. Glasgow taught me otherwise. So glad to have left.

6 July 2004, 18:13:31 GMT+01:00
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Roland Watson (
Good point about Labour, David. 
Being a Glaswegian, I am almost ashamed of what Labour has done to Glasgow as I am of what they have done with the Holyrood shambles. 
About 1/4 of Glasgow adults are on sick or unemployment payouts. Glasgow will never get off the ground with so many expecting everyone to owe them a living!

6 July 2004, 11:55:57 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer said...

Gawain (
I worked on a council election campaign in Westinster just after the story broke. The Tories had naturally promised to stop their nefarious activities. 
Funny thing is that the loxcals who I canvassed were incenced.  
"Why have you stopped?" 
"Best thing that has happened in this area" and so on. 
On being pressed they were normally not Tory voters, but house priices were rising, which they were happy with and the area was improving, the crime rate had dropped markedly and the level of vandalism and urban blight had decreased as well.

6 July 2004, 11:43:39 GMT+01:00
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Stuart Dickson (
Glasgow is not "one of" the poorest, it is THE poorest city in the UK according to a recent University of Sheffield analysis of the 2001 and 1991 census data. 
The late Sir William Gray (Lab), Provost of Glasgow in the 70's (his successors have been political midgets by comparison) acknowledged that public provision of housing in Glasgow was poor. But he defended the junk that was thrown up in the 40', 50's and 60's by pointing out the dire state of the private housing stock by the end of hostilities in 1946. (As well as building cardboard housing, they destroyed many architectural gems.) 
In the immediate post-war years where was the private sector meant to find the vast sums of capital necessary for redevelopment? 
Glasgow must be one of the last cities on the planet still suffering in extremis from the after effects of the most recent Great War. 
Would any of you invest in the shares of a Baghdad housing developer right now? No? You do surprise me...

6 July 2004, 10:27:05 GMT+01:00