Sajid Javid: ‘It’s no use, Prime Minister, I’ve done my best to cajole the local authorities, but I can’t do a thing about it. You’ve promised more houses but though they nod in sympathy half the MPs, half the Cabinet and most of the Conservative councillors, are totally opposed. They think they won’t get elected if there is too much new housing.’
Theresa May: ‘Don’t tell me about it Sajid. I can guess what the reaction is. It doesn’t sound like joined up government, but it is jolly hard when the obvious thing that needs to be done is the opposite of what all your MPs want. They may want their children to be able to afford to buy a house but they don’t think like that. That’s a long-term aim and their short-term aim is to get re-elected.
When you think about it, though, there is a real problem. Not enough houses for everyone. I suppose it comes down to there being too many people in the country.
Then there’s this business about dementia and living near main roads. I don’t think we can duck that one now, the link is too clear. The noise and fumes of the traffic are clearly damaging those who are exposed to them. Too many people driving around; too many cars on the road. Too many people, again.
We’re spending a fortune on HS2. It’s got to be done. The roads, the railways are full. We need the transport capacity. After all the UK population is going up and up. You can’t have more people in the country and expect them to stay in the same place all the time. They’ve got to get to work and they can’t live in the centre of cities because the house prices are too high. That’s what commuting’s all about.
And I hardly dare mention Heathrow. Bigger population again. Thank goodness we’ve lost Zac. He was high profile. The rest of the MPs in the area are vociferous enough but hardly household names.
The press keeps going on about taking labour from overseas. I can see the criticisms, even the moral ones. They said we raided the Empire for its wealth but the real wealth of a country is its people and it’s now that we are doing the actual raiding: nurses from Nigeria, doctors from India, care workers from Nepal. Someone told me about a Bulgarian graduate the other day, working as a ticket collector for Transport for London. The minimum wage here is four times that in Bulgaria. She’d have been mad to keep here office job over there and is much better off doing an unskilled job here.
Yes, I know that our high wage rates are stealing talented labour from other countries but what are we to do? After all, native Brits know the system. By the time they’ve spent a quarter of their life in education, all work has been knocked out of them. They know that they can get an easy job at the minimum wage without breaking into a sweat. And if the job doesn’t suit, the dole is not uncomfortable. Nearly two million not in work and I can’t do a thing about it because I’ve gone on about ‘governing for everyone’ which is tantamount to saying that I am going to keep everyone happy. Which fool told me to say that?
Most employers don’t want a Brit anyway. Can you imagine one of our soft teenagers being a care worker or picking fruit? Molly-coddled from birth they are simply not prepared for it. Thank goodness for the Poles and the Nepalese.
But then there are the numbers. England is fit to bust with already the densest population in Europe and it’s going to get worse: 65 million now; 70 million in fifteen years; the biggest country in Europe by 2050 with nearly 80 million people. What are we going to do?
Sajid: ‘Brexit means Brexit’, that’s all I can say.’
(Image: US Embassy London)