Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Look Back In Anger

The events commanding the media are largely about the young and the reality of life in urban areas. There is a lot of blistering comment to the effect of this one was coming, indeed inevitable and why. This blog has made it clear that all was not well and there was to be trouble at the mill or rather shopping malls.

Yesterday, I did not attend a meeting. A raft of family things got in the way. In the past I might have grumbled about that, but now I was not sorry. It had the makings of a tense session concerned with budgetary, employment and related issues. After half a lifetime in meetings on these subjects I swore to avoid them at all costs in retirement.

At one time these meetings would have been a routine easy hour or so that would have been more about neighbours getting together for a cup of tea and a chat. The flats we were in were run in a way that was not 100% efficient but responsive and we knew where we were and who we were dealing with. Now that has gone and to the dismay of all can never return.

What most of my friends here and neighbours find difficult is in understanding just what has happened and the implications. To ask why and hope for a rational answer is normal. To try to explain in so many words that the reasons are extremely complex and we are all now in a chaotic and unpredictable situation is much harder.

It seems mad and it is and whilst they may think it is nothing to do with them the idea that they are in the middle of it and are going to have to carry part of the cost is distinctly unwelcome. That it is impossible for them to have what they want is more unwelcome. That there is little that can be done and less that will be is very bad news for anyone in the 80+ age group.

The freeholds of all our flats, once owned by the developer have now been through other hands. Then they came into the possession of bit City financiers who were concerned with maximising the returns of their investment and securitizing both the income and assets for highly leveraged speculation and trading.

These financiers who have now defaulted have surrendered their interests to the Bank of America. This is a bank that is much troubled and is carrying large scale liabilities. What is going to happen to our freeholds is not known but it may not be good news when it does. With many other developments it is not just the freeholds but their property management service as well that is in the mix. Zeus preserve them.

Another major problem is the effect of the huge volume of legislation that has been imposed in terms of employment, health and safety, a variety of rights and obligations that all work to support the employee and others but not us. This has radically affected the way the development is taken care of and nobody likes what has happened.

The implications that the deal which we all signed up for is dust and it is far from clear what can be or should be done is an unhappy one for people who just want peace and certainty and to know that they have some say in their living spaces.

So at the far end of the age scale we have around the country large numbers of people who feel that they have been betrayed, conned and let down by people who have sold them out to the financiers who in turn have been trying to rip them off of all that they possess. Those living at the margins of incomes are looking at the realities of poverty when not so long ago they could get by with a little to spare.

They will not be looting the local stores for large TV’s, if only because they are difficult to manage with a zimmer frame or trolley. Nor will they be petrol bombing the local police. Nor will they be running around hurling bricks. Nor will the BBC or any other media be interested in their plight, still less the politicians.

But they are just as angry and just as bitter as any rioter.

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