Failed London Mayor and loony left person Ken Livingstone has announced some draconian proposals this week for the capital’s lettings market as part of his campaign to oust Boris Johnson from City Hall.
In a plan that is straight out of, ironically, Marx’s Das Kapital, Red Ken suggests that he will launch a not for profit lettings agency that will pioneer rent controls and bring about the biggest state intervention in a free market since the Russian Revolution, a period in history no doubt of balmy fondness on Livingstone’s part.
The idea of an authoritarian rental agency is not the scary bit though. Establishing a ‘low cost’ lettings company in this way is, in fact, competitive and so we’re all for it in principle if it simply wishes to co-exist with other commercial entities in the same market.
No, it’s the other aspects of Ken’s proposals that are startling and that would have devastating implications on tenants’ conditions and house prices.
Such as rent controls where the big clunking fist of Ken’s ‘state’ would intervene in the market and artificially force lower residential property rents by way of a formula that would peg wages to the rent paid so that ‘not more than one third of a private tenant’s salary was spent on rent’.
A la the commune tower blocks in the former Soviet Union and China that have now given way to FREE markets in fact and, resultingly, buoyant economies that reap rewards such as higher tax income, employment and so on .
Ken’s is an entirely unworkable, backward looking plan and one that Ken’s communist bedfellows of history would no doubt be proud of. And certain ‘Woolfie Smith of Tooting’ types.
The trouble is that centrist, state control has never resulted in a successful or happy time for any economy, market or industry. British Leyland and all that. (Yes ok, capitalism might also have its draw backs as evident currently but over history as a whole, communism is the absolute loser in economic ‘success’ terms).
It’s a very good job by our reckoning that Ken languishes behind Boris in the polls currently, and no wonder.
Boris may have his foibles but he won’t try to dictate how you live your life, what you spend, where you spend it and, indeed, where you live either.
We eagerly await the next comedic policy announcement from Kenneth in his already faltering campaign to regain the London Mayoralty…
For example a 90% local super income tax for all Londoners earning over £150,000 per annum, a figure just over the salary that he himself aspires to earn in office?
Or can we expect a tax on all houses that have a BMW in the driveway? Or perhaps a supplementary congestion charge for all vehicles that have leather seats and alloy wheels?
He might consider a levy on tennis and cricket too, both ‘toff’s’ games eh?