The Sunday Poast
Immigration, housing and how I learned to love the Blob.
Welcome to the now-occasional Sunday Poast, where I collect my work for other outlets, in case your eager eyes missed it. Let’s get into it.
First up I wrote for CapX on Kier Starmer’s disingenuous defence of the National Trust and civil society, which involved a brief history of the Blob and how Conservatives have failed to tackle its’ rise
This must have gone well, because Robert Jenrick lifted the conclusion almost word-for-word for a Telegraph piece. The poasting-to-policy pipeline continues to flow…
Many of these institutions are now run often by employees coming across from academia (the academy, as one anon put it, is the soil that sustains the Blob) who see their duty, not to the role they are entrusted with, but to social progress – and who consider their role subservient to that goal. The institution is therefore re-shaped to conform to contemporary social values; this is what drives the RNLI’s bond with Stonewall, and the National Trust’s embrace of revisionism to conform to today’s progressive values.
Starmer’s protest on behalf of a ‘civil society’ that promotes diversity of every kind except ideology is entirely disingenuous and offends the natural Tory instinct to reject the politicisation of institutions. But without the will to enforce the neutrality of these institutions, that once-noble principle now owes more to impotence than ideology.
As Pakistan, the top recipient of U.K. aid, refused to allow the deportation of two grooming gang leaders, I was in UnHerd asking; what’s the point of Britain’s ‘soft power’ if it can’t be used in the national interest?
A nebulous term of little practical usage in international relations (IR), soft power was assured to be the only IR concept that leaked into public usage. The concept isn't widely accepted within IR; there are schools of theory that don't just consider it ineffective but dismiss it as a total irrelevance on the grounds that nations only recognise two realities; economics and force.
Soft power is innately tied up with Francis Fukuyama’s 'The End of History' and the collapse of the bi-polar world; many American foreign policy experts conceitedly assumed the triumph of liberal democracy was final, that American would remain the perma-hegemon and that every McDonalds in a foreign country would act as an embassy.
I also wrote ‘how I learned to stop worrying and love the Blob’ for The Critic - where I’ll be making my print debut early this year - to write about Chris Rufo’s ‘New Right Activism’, and how that might transpose itself to tackling the Blob;
Britain has seen a gradual shift of power and money away from the political control of Ministers as a result of civil service reforms (and the decline of mass participation in politics, but I have not written about this yet), and the growing influence of what it refers to as “civil society”, the almost entirely astroturfed agglomeration of charities, institutions and NGOs that we know and despise as “the Blob”.
The problem of the last 13 years, as Rufo puts it, has been that “the radical Left ruthlessly advances through the institutions, and the Right meekly ratifies each encroachment under the rubric of “neutrality.” Conservatives have wasted 13 years in power allowing institutions to be weaponised against them without being prepared to dig in and defend — other than via a segment on Talk TV, if the issue is high-profile enough.
If conservatives are to make any headway in the War on Woke then we need structural analysis of the Blob (and fast) so we can be ready to roll back its frontiers when the time comes. Then — as they should have done for the last 13 years — deceptive, duplicitous and dishonest appeals to political neutrality must fall on deaf ears. Nature abhors a vacuum; power, being won, must be wielded. If we choose not to use it to our advantage, we must presume someone else will use it to theirs.
And finally, after a CPS briefing note revealed the scale at which immigration is fuelling housing demand I was in Cap X again, making the point that the idea that the housing crisis can only be solved through supply-side reform alone is as ludicrous as thinking we are just one more subsidy away from paradise - and that YIMBYs will have to start talking about immigration soon;
A new briefing from the Centre for Policy Studies has revealed the scale at which immigration is fuelling housing demand; it projects we need 515,000 new homes each year – more than 73% higher than the official target, and nearly three times as many as the 177,810 dwellings that were actually completed last year. Over the past decade, 1.34m fewer homes have been built than are needed to keep up with population growth.
Given that immigrants tend to stay in areas where ‘the biggest housing shortages are primarily concentrated’ – London and the South East – and that demand from additional migration now outstrips the demand from the existing population by over four times, it is growing increasingly hard for the Yimby lobby to argue that the supply side is the only way to ease Britain’s housing crisis. Reducing demand is essential too.
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