Housing is a hot topic in the UK. To be honest it’s always a hot topic. In the UK, in SA, everywhere. There are always a bunch of people with waaay too much space and people with not enough and moreover no running water or heat etc etc. This issue certainly dates back to the middle ages and potentially even in cave man days there were probably people with nice snug watertight caves and people crouching under trees and damp ledges waiting to be taken out by sabre tooth tigers.
The thing that gets me with this big split in a place like London or New York is we all want to live and work as close to the centre as possible (third world countries do NOT work like that). So my dear British plus one bemoans the fact that if I had my way we’d have a bijou flatlet with a little garden in a nice central location instead of a drafty big house in the countryside that takes an hour and a half to commute to work but has a mancave shed and a garage that actually has a car and not junk in it. (Brits use garages as storage for stuff rather than cars most the time).
Either way as we are not high earners we are somewhere in the middle and have neither the bijou flat or the big house but we have a few options at least. We have managed to have a balcony and we can afford the heat, lights, water and we don’t have to share with other people. (How I don’t miss house sharing!)
I feel for the people who can’t necessarily afford all this but still have jobs in the centre of town. What the wanker bankers, politicians and other well paid professionals never seem to notice are the army of invisible minimum wage people who make the city run. Not necessarily the sanitation workers who have unions and can go on strike. But the cleaners, the sandwich makers, the coffee baristas, the bartenders and waitrons who all work for the private sector and smooth over your day. I have no idea what would happen if all these people just didn’t come into work one day. If, instead of dashing off for a quick sandwich on the fly you’d have to go buy the ingredients and make your own and you’d return to a kitchenette full of rubbish as the cleaner hadn’t been in and then you’d have to just drink your beer at home because there is noone to pour it out for you.
These are the people who live 15 to a house. Who catch a train and a bus and then walk, commuting for well over an hour on the cheapest means possible to make their pennies stretch to get to work. These are the people who don’t get big bonuses and expenses paid when they treat someone to lunch.
I’m not sure how we address this injustice. I know although I think it’s unfair I’d be even more angry if these people were suddenly just given better housing when I’m still struggling to get even close to what I’d really want in life.
But that’s the thing. Life isn’t fair and if you don’t fight the good fight, well, I guess the sabre tooth tiger gets another easy lunch. On the pleb.