The left need to keep their house in order

Written by Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register. on 6 April 2011 in Diary
The RMT chief's decision to stay in a housing association home despite earning £145,000 reeks of hypocrisy

Bob Crow, once a proud Communist, seems to have strayed a long away from Lenin’s path. While the Bolshevik leader set an example to his counterparts by living in a single room, the RMT chief couldn’t be more different. This charming man has taken up residence in a housing association home, set aside for families on low incomes. "Do you earn £60k or less"*, Bob? Last time I checked £145,000 didn’t fit into that bracket.

The former party member, now normally found disrupting rail journeys across the country, has refused to apologise or pack his bags following reports that he pays just £150-a-week in rent, apparently 50% less than the cost to real life suckers like me and you. Bob even crows about living 'with the community', and insists on keeping in with his roots. His spokesman even had the gall to claim that Bob 'believes social housing should remain available for future generations.’

For someone so proud to be born into a working class family, Bob stinks of hypocrisy. Has he stopped to think that perhaps his living arrangements are depriving one of his own union members of a home? His members, who go out on strike over their own 'pay and conditions', probably fit quite comfortably into the bracket of ‘low income’. Crow may be saving a few bob at the expense of faithful members. What a shining example of union bosses in action.

Bob Crow's behaviour is no better than the MPs lording it up in second homes in the expenses scandal last year.

Housing associations are there to serve the needs of the community, not to house wealthy people who want to stick to their roots. With affordable housing in short supply in many areas, it is hardly right that a man earning well over £100,000 should be rewarded instead of young families who really need it.

Most people who don't own a house, myself included, have to pay steep rents for private housing to live in box-sized flats – while Bob Crow gets to live in a three-bedroom house in LONDON at a fraction of what he would pay on the open market. Oh, how the other half live! And he hardly has to worry about finding money to cover his transport costs...

This however isn’t a question of envy or an angry tirade from a have-not, the issue is that champagne socialists need to accept that they can’t have their cake and eat it too. The right thing to do, dear Bob, would be to pay the true value - a reported £300-a-week.  And if you are so choked up about your swelling wage packet, hey, why not start a kitty for the 5million + waiting to get their foot in a housing association door.
*L&Q housing association website quote


Tags: Bob crow, RMT

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