What Housing Shortage?

Listeners to the LBC ‘phone-in on Sunday 23rd January (afternoon programme) were doubtless delighted to hear “Bill of Balham”.

A lady rang in to complain that her daughter could not buy a flat in West Kensington because she had been priced out by “Arabs”. “This neighbourhood is fast becoming ‘Saudi Arabia'” she moaned.

Then it was “Bill’s” turn. In a quiet, flat expressionless tone and in a Cockney accent you could cut with a knife, he proceeded to demolish Madame West Kensington. ‘Housing shortage! What housing shortage?’ quoth he. It is estimated, says he, that there are between 40 and 50,000 hotel bedrooms empty in London to-night; and there are thousands sleeping rough.

‘It’s not shortage of houses, but shortage of money’ claims Bill. ‘Now’ says Bill (and this is what made his contribution) ‘the great majority will never have the money because they work for wages’. ‘Nothing but the abolition of the wages system can solve it’.

Actually, when asked by the interviewing broadcaster Bryn Jones, he added ‘I completely support the position of The Socialist Party of Great Britain. I’m not a member, I’ve never been to any of their meetings, but they’re absolutely right’.

‘But, says the interviewer, ‘you mean the abolition of capitalism’.

‘That’s right’ says Bill, ‘capitalism and the wages system are the same thing’.

Then he added ‘These SPGB people never have a chance to put their point of view, I believe they did have an hour once on your programme? L.B.C., which is probably where I heard them.

‘Now’, says Bryn Jones (the interviewer) ‘would it surprise if I say I entirely agree with you?’

‘Not at all’ says Bill, ‘because it’s right!’

However that may be, it certainly surprises us. Mr. Jones is so far removed from some of the boozy, incoherent oafs who have the impudence to pose as authorities on things they know nothing about, on radio phone-ins, as to be quite exceptional.


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