Friday, November 19, 2010

Relax! Mortgage rates are at record lows!

Yes, it's truly amazing, but after all the Conservatives' desperate efforts to look as though they understand that some people are having a hard time of it - no quaffing champagne at the party conference, Camo's wife wearing Marks and Spencer dresses - some idiot still manages to put his foot in it.

This time it's Lord Young, who recklessly suggested that in the middle of the worst recession since 1931, in fact some people have 'never had it so good'. This, because if you still have a job and have a variable rate mortgage, your disposable income has gone up. This of course is true. In hard times, some people are better off. In theory I'm one of them. Never mind that the pile of bricks which secures my mortgage is worth rather less than I paid for it - I am indeed paying less for my mortgage than I was before the world financial system collapsed. Silver linings, eh?

Of course Lord Young is getting on a bit - in fact I wasn't even sure to be begin with that it was the same Lord Young Mrs Thatcher famously praised for 'bringing her solutions when others only brought her problems'. With rusty political reflexes he may have just made a misguided remark without realizing the likely consequences.

Or, alternatively, he may be a multimillionaire who, in a conversation with a Daily Telegraph journalist in a restaurant frequented by other millionaires, talked frankly about the world he inhabits. This is a world in which a recession means that your seven figure mortgage suddenly gets way cheaper. What's not to like?

This may sound like 'old-fashioned class envy', but I'm convinced that a government full of very rich men is not well placed to understand the society they are trying to govern. I predict disaster.