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Letters—Profit not Netflix to blame for unaffordable housing crisis

This week readers write on the housing crisis, homophobia and Portugal
Issue 2791
For sale signs cover a piece of grass

Ordinary people don’t need advice from the rich

TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp has been dishing out some helpful property advice, claiming she feels “enraged” when young people say they can’t afford to buy a house. 

If I had a pound for every time a rich person weighed in like this, I still couldn’t afford a mortgage. 

Allsopp has decided the youths need to hear some hard truths about how their Netflix subscriptions and coffees are the reason they can’t afford houses. 

She claims that when she was young she was able to buy her own house because she limited herself to “buying a lipstick” on payday. 

“When I bought my first property, going abroad, the EasyJet, coffee, gym, Netflix lifestyle didn’t exist,” she said. Of course, it wasn’t long before people on social media pointed out that the Allsopp’s dad—Baron Hindlop—is minted. 

The real problem is about spiralling property costs, and a system where the human right of housing is reduced to a commodity. 

It’s not about streaming services or takeaway coffees—it would take more cappuccinos than you could drink in a lifetime to afford the average house deposit. 

And it’s getting even harder for people to save up for a deposit, because of low pay, cost of living rises and soaring house prices. 

People are forced to pay astronomical rents that just go towards their landlord’s mortgage. 

The average cost of renting a home has risen 8.3 percent in just one year. It’s an impossible situation for young people.

Each time people like Allsopp try and leture others on financial responsibility it blows up in their faces. 

So you’d think that by now it’d have occurred to them to stop doing it. 

But it hasn’t and it won’t, because that would mean admitting they benefit from a system that allows a minority to amass staggering wealth, at the expense of the vast majority. 

The only way to to make them stop will be to redistribute the wealth they’ve managed to accumulate through exploiting everyone else. 

Bethan Turner

East London

Underbelly of homophobia exposed

The recent trial of Gary Jenkins’ murderers, a bisexual man killed in an attack in Cardiff 2021, showed up the homophobic attitudes of prosecutors. 

The prosecution told the jury that Gary Jenkins’ “sexual predilections would be his undoing” and that he was well liked despite his “lifestyle choices or peccadilloes”. 

These outrageously homophobic comments by the very people trusted with fighting for justice highlight that the state is not innocent nor neutral. There is a widespread idea that is pushed from the top of society that the fight for liberation is pointless because of advances such as gay marriage. 

But the everyday reality is more complicated.

Some 81 percent of LGBT+ people haven’t reported experiences of hate crimes to the police—and it looks as though attacks are on the rise. 

Fights for liberation have been co-opted and diluted to hide the trauma that working class women, LGBT+ and black people go through every day. 

The state doesn’t protect ordinary people. 

But it does protect an oppressive system and that is why the fight for liberation is not over.

Jeandre Coetser 


Socialists should fight for broader campaigns 

Ian Birchall raises some interesting points in his letter, (Socialist Worker, 2 February).

The Socialist Workers Party has the right policies but engaging with people is a slow process—and it can be hard going.

This is not a note of despair, but rather a call to extend our work to make contact with those sections of the class who are suffering.

We are small, and that means we have to work with other people. This means using all opportunities to challenge the dominant philosophy. 

A new electoral Labour Party concentrating on elections is no solution.

A united front involved in local campaigning allied to wider issues such racism and climate change would create a wider base on which to build a revolutionary movement.

Ralph Tebbutt


Left owed credit in Portugal

I was a member of the International Socialists in the early 1970s and when the fascist regime fell in Portugal I went to live in Lisbon in 1975. 

I am still in Portugal so it annoys me to read simplistic articles like “Strategy of Radical Left has failed in Portugal” (Socialist Worker, 2 February). 

The article states that the parties to the left of Socialist Party were strategically wrong by cuddling up to it and, “disaster”—the growth of the far right—was the consequence.

Right wing and fascist politics have been growing in most western capitalist countries. 

Portugal is not an exception. Where Portugal is exceptional is that when the fascists were defeated in the 1970s, several radical left wing parties came into being. 

The Communist Party and the Bloco still have considerable support.

This support meant that in the last government the Socialist Party had to make concessions to the radical left. 

This time, there were fears that the Socialist Party would be dependent on the right. 

I think that, this time, people voted strategically for the Socialist Party in order to keep the right out. 

The radical left has clearly been more successful in Portugal than the Socialist Workers Party has been in Britain.

John Voyce

By email

Football fight is two halves

It’s okay to suggest that footballers “ought” to come out to strike a blow for LGBT+ rights, (Socialist Worker, 2 February) but what’s needed is unity.

Players and fans alike need to stand together and make it difficult for the bigots to speak out.

They could walk off the pitch or sit down during a game to stop racists or homophobes shouting abuse. 

The fight is not for black or gay players alone—it is for all of us.

Heather Booker


Northern fight needed

Tim Leunig, one of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s top aides, thinks that workers in the north of England should “accept lower wages”. This really shows the Tories with their mask off. 

For all the rhetoric of levelling up, Tories aren’t accepting responsibility for economic devastation and hardship. 

Sadly low pay seems like it’s becoming a northern tradition. We should revive the real history of struggle by taking part in protests and strikes for better pay. 

Tom Kay


Where is Labour help?

I was really shocked when I found out one of the jailed Insulate Britain protesters was a Labour councillor, (Socialist Worker, 4 February). 

I don’t think I’ve heard a peep out of the Labour Party defending them.

David John

On Facebook

Yet another rule broken

It’s hard to believe that this shambolic government can still shock me. 

But the news that Tory minister Gillian Keegan carried on with her day despite knowing she was Covid-19 positive is mind boggling.

How many rules are these scumbags happy to break?

Janet Dyer 

East London

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