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Austin Allegro

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Everything posted by Austin Allegro

  1. 'The recovery' is now starting to sound like those joke signs in pubs that say 'free beer tomorrow' over the bar. It's becoming a semi-mythical event that is always just around the corner, and mustn't be 'threatened' in any way, but for some reason never arrives, like the Second Coming with religious cults.
  2. I think this is generally true. I know quite a few people who are like how you describe; if the conversation becomes political they will say something like 'I don't do politics' and move on to football, shopping, reality TV etc. Those who are 'political' often seem to be drones regurgitating Guardianista views about 'diversity', 'trans-gender issues' etc rather than anything that relates to ordinary peoples' lives. I wonder though whether living with parents indefinitely is more acceptable for millenials, because their parents aren't that different to them and will have the same attitudes, beliefs, love of gadgets, spending etc so there is less friction at home. This is the generation that says 'my kids are my best friends' etc. Whereas in times past, you had the generation gap and its attendant clashes (think of all the arguments between Alf Garnett and his daughter). Somebody pointed out that going to 'uni' these days is not the adventure it was 20-30 years ago, because a lot of the appeal was being able to drink, have sex etc; whereas many teenagers nowadays have been doing that since they were about 15, with the full consent of their parents!
  3. Yes I heard that and thought it was utterly bizarre. Just mindless, kneejerk propaganda, trying to put a positive spin on things. It's like announcing food shortages by saying its good news for all those of us trying to lose weight.
  4. At £1083 a month rent, if you put in three bunk beds for six people, rent would be £180 a month. Use a hot bed system for 12 people and it would only be £90 per person per month, which would be affordable for all but the poorest asylum seeker. What's not to like? Welcome to the land of opportunity!
  5. I love the way there's a tiny orange splodge around Brighton. No wonder they call it 'London on Sea.'!
  6. Yes...radiators, ten en-suite bathrooms, bland grey paint and laminate everywhere and those spotlight things in a false ceiling (the 2010s equivalent of Artex and swirly carpets).
  7. On the BBC news last night they featured this, showing two 'scshtoodents' complaining about it. They included the BBC box-ticker's wet dream of a disabled, black, rather camp sounding gentleman who was reading sociology. Of course, no analysis of whether there was any point in going to university was offered. Alternatives such as studying abroad, studying online or learning on the job were not even discussed. Also recently I attended an alumni meeting of my old university and the chancellor basically admitted it was an industry and they were targetting foreign students to keep the money coming in.
  8. Yes it will be interesting. In my opinion, BTL flourishes because the average Briton hasn't a clue about the stock market, but has a folk memory of people saying 'bricks and mortar lad, bricks and mortar!'. They don't realise that canny oldsters only invested in BTL for cash down - they didn't generally use leverage or bet their own homes on it.
  9. Good post. It appears to me that the brownfield sell-off won't result in cheaper houses. It will just mean more volume housebuilder homes at the same prices as before, except they will be on inferior land that the NIMBYs are less likely to object about.
  10. Possibly. But there's a confusion in the popular mindset between being a miser, and being frugal. Once you de-couple from the consumer mindset, you actually start to enjoy things like mending your 20 year old Volvo etc. You get quite a feeling of achievement and self reliance, which you don't get from being a slave to consumerist solutions. I'd rather spend a couple of hours mending my favourite shirt to get a couple of years' more wear out of it (while listening to self-help audiobooks on the computer) than buying a new one. The couple in this case look like they might go either way. On the one hand they do a lot of non-consumerist frugal stuff, but on the other they seem very bound up with making money through BTL, and a spreadsheet mentality.
  11. If they made themselves the first high street bank to actually pay some interest on peoples' savings, they could corner the market overnight!
  12. Welcome! My first thought is that this opens up all kinds of problems with libel if individuals are openly named and shamed. However, if it simply outlines the process required to 'shop' a dodgy landlord, it could be ok. If it was done as a consumer-watchdog site with something like 'ten things to check to make sure you landlord is legitimate' it could work. A quick google shows there isn't much on the web about this.
  13. But you can minimise those costs. It's only in recent years that it's become the norm for a single person to live in a flat (or even a house) by him or herself. Before loose lending came along, most single adults lived in lodgings with families, or as PGs (paying guests) in private hotels/clubs, for their entire working lives. If they were lucky they might get a council flat. If they saved up enough, they might have retired to a cottage in the country, but living in a house or flat all to themselves was never the norm. But in the last 20-30 years (pretty much since the 70s 'housing ladder' boom caused by inflation) it's become de rigeur to expect to live the cream-dream in overpriced, over-mortgaged 'luxury' flats etc which take up a huge chunk of income.
  14. Yes! The very good book 'Millionaire Next Door' points this out - that most businesses that make money are ones which offer something 'boring but necessary'. I work quite a lot with those types of businesses - grommit makers, staple makers, etc. They're usually based in dull magnolia coloured portakabins off the ring road somewhere. BUT the people that run them are by and large very clever, savvy business people who don't go on about 'passion', 'vision', 'journeys' etc - they just get the job done, and generally don't sp*nk the profits on Del-Boy self-aggrandisement.
  15. Yes. It would be like 'The Office' without the jokes!
  16. I think you're right, but I suspect the Beeb's not aware of that bias. They're more interested in making exciting telly that people will be willing to watch as they shovel spaghetti hoops into their mouths on Saturday teatime. A sensible, informed programme on entrepreneurship would be a ratings disaster, mainly because anybody who wants that can get far better information online. The idea of the entrepreneur as a dodgy wheeler-dealer is engrained in British culture anyway - that's probably why 'Minder' was such a success - the basic plot was 'honest but put-upon lacky (Terry) versus capitalist swindler boss (Arthur). In the USA the culture is much more admiring of the self-made and business in general.
  17. The 'what if everybody stopped being consumers' is one of the major debating points on Early Retirement forums. The usual answer, which I've seen in print since at least 1981, is 'they're not going to so stop worrying about it'. Whether it's morally right to profit from other people's consumerism while rejecting consumerism oneself, is another matter. Personally I don't have a problem with it because I think it's up to the individual as to what he or she spends money on. I was interested to see on telly last night a prog about nightmare tenants and BTL landlords. The whole thrust of the programme was about how difficult BTL is. Most of the landlords seemed to be leveraged, because they needed rent to pay the mortgage, but the tenants were in arrears and everything was stressful. So maybe at last a cultural change is happening?
  18. It's not the saving that's difficult - it's the rejection of the consumerist mindset that's the hardest part for most people. It wasn't so difficult to me as I have dour Scottish blood and was brought up on mending things, buying second hand etc even though we didn't really have to.
  19. Nice idea but I suspect it wouldn't work - isn't that what the 'hippy convoy' of the late 80s/early 90s tried to do? It ended with the famous 'battle of the beanfield' where the police smashed up their caravans and the largest peacetime mass arrest on record. I would imagine councils would treat someone who declared themselves to be a traveller after living in a house all their life, in much the same way as someone who declared themselves an asylum seeker after living in the UK all their life.
  20. I think it's more of an aspirational thing. Sort of like watching Downton Abbey only in real life. People like to imagine what it would be like to live in such a place, of course, with them as the lord or lady rather than the skivvy or gardener. I suspect there's also a romantic yearning for the kind of feudalistic, lady-bountiful wealth that these places represent. It was an ordered world where although the aristocracy were rich, they had obligations to those below them and it was a world of traditions and craftsmanship. Although you were dirt poor, you still had a connection with the lord of the manor based on more than just a master and servant relationship. I'm romanticising obviously - but I think in the back of their minds this is what some NT fans may be thinking. Whereas nowadays, the international super rich are beholden to nobody but themselves, and live in a closed environment unimaginable and unattainable to most people. Orwell writes about this in his book 'Coming Up for Air', about the decline of the traditional English village.
  21. IIRC this happened in an organised way in the 1930s, called the back to the land movement or something - I think Peacehaven in Sussex was something to do with it. However, the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 pretty much ended the concept. It's difficult enough to get planning permission for one home, let alone several, unless you are a volume housebuilder. A somewhat easier method would be to have joint ownership of a country 'pile' that is big enough to fit several families in it without requiring any major refurbishment. I would imagine the council would kick against this as well, but it would probably be easier to do than starting building from scratch.
  22. I was being somewhat hyperbolic, but perhaps it didn't come across well. My point was that older people in general don't need accommodation as much as younger people, so if NT 'thought outside the box' they could utilise their properties to provide accommodation in exchange for labour. I suspect though that there are probably all sorts of covenants, rules and regs etc preventing them doing this, even if they wanted to.
  23. I watched this but missed the first bit of his pitch. I didn't quite understand what the chap was proposing. Some sort of crowd-funding of BTLs? I was also distracted by his hair transplant.
  24. One solution would be to provide grace-and-favour apartments in NT properties rent free, in exchange for tour guide duties. It wouldn't attract oldies, most of whom own six BTLs anyway, but 'hard working families' might be interested.
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