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mrpleasant

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  1. That's an interesting point. Back in 2007, if you looked hard enough, there were tiny pockets of the press reporting that mortgages were getting harder to get and that Spanish property was looking peaky (I saw an article in The Times in 2006 on that subject), but the vast, vast majority had been brainwashed into believing property was the magic money tree of myth. I visited a friend who ran a tiny mortgage broker business with a friend at Christmas 2007 - a full five months after 'the crunch' and he seemed happily oblivious to the whole thing. I mean, seriously. The silent phone at work was just the Christmas slowdown. This time, we've had a decade of readjustment psychologically. Yes, houses go up, etc, but it's tempered now with a healthy dose of reality. Friends in the south east aren't nearly so excited about what their house is worth these days. It IS incredibly hard to see what this or any government can do about it if the collapse is dramatic, but the depressing effect on the economy of huge falls would be (will be) horrendous. A couple of years of deflation followed by massive inflation? Interesting times.
  2. Isn't it the NW who reverts to 'quarterly rise' headlines when MoM is down? I guess they've still got decades and centuries as a measure when YoY goes negative (horribly).
  3. I really, really think it's time to stop using the word 'market' to describe how property is bought and sold in the UK. F*** knows what it is, but a market it most definitely is not.
  4. Completely agree. I don't think we can blame Osborne for keeping the bubble inflated though the temptation is great and many on here were bitterly disappointed by his tactics post 2010. And there would be no point in me criticising the tunnel-visioned Labour supporters at work if I committed precisely the same folly in blaming only Labour for all our economic woes. There have been many times over the years when I've felt ashamed at my cynicism around politics, but the truth is more often than not events have proved me naive...
  5. I'm aware this thread has taken on a life of its own - and is all the more interesting for it - but I will clarify at risk of dragging the debate back several weeks: Yes, I left school at the age of 18 in 1977 and entered the workplace, but in menial, low-paid and mainly seasonal work for the following four years until an encounter with an old teacher set me on a path to further education (1981-86). Then it was back into the workplace as a teacher. I left teaching in 1991 to go into IT in the manufacturing sector. Not until then did I experience the full effects of the economic cycle and all the uncertainty that comes with it. Very unremarkable and not particularly representative of my 'tribe'. By then, of course, I was 'on the ladder' and although there were many sleepless nights, the roof over my head was, in retrospect, firmly in place. Lucky? Possibly, but at the time it was my neighbours who seemed lucky. Around fifteen years older than me and childless, they had retired from British Gas at 50 years old with astounding pensions and were fully into the dream - long-haul holidays every year, gadgets, ferry to France once or twice a year to fill the boot with wine, kitchen refits, you know the drill. Hard to believe I am in the same bracket, which technically I am. As someone above has pointed out, this forum began life during Brown's phoney boom which grew a housing bubble so monstrous it couldn't be punctured in the time-honoured fashion of simply stepping back and letting the market do its thing. We can debate who or what a boomer is for another 100 pages, but this is the nub of it. Bizarrely, the anti-boomer sentiment where I work appears to ignore this or perhaps is genuinely unaware of it. Because of the inconvenient truth that Labour were in charge?
  6. I wasn't living in Wales at the time, but it's safe to assume people here would still rather buy Satan a pint than her. Haven't looked at that red vs blue map that was all over the news the day after the election, but from memory South Wales is one of the biggest - if not the biggest - blocks of contiguous red seats in the entire UK now the North has turned somewhat mixed. The voters who don't directly remember Thatcher are the children of people who do. It's hard to describe the almost genetic-level hatred of her that abounds here unless you experience it. For many otherwise well-rounded individuals, literally ANY option is preferable to the Tories, anti-semitic Marxists included, and I'd go so far as to say that there's next to no chance of a reasoned debate on the subject. I'm not bringing it up, that's for sure.
  7. Love it! I live in Wales and now I can claim I'm a 'Jones' too! This actually feels right. It's annoying enough to feel blamed for the woes of the younger generation(s), but it's particularly irritating when you look back and find it hard to see the actual cushy times it's claimed you had. Now back to catching up on the rest of this thread...
  8. In a bookshop yesterday and happened to see the cover of this year's Private Eye annual with spoof headline "Fury, as fury erupts!". There's comedy potential even the feedback loop from hell.
  9. I'd go further - purely based on my own obviously limited experience - that it never crossed my mind I was 'taking advantage' of anything. Nor did I intend my potted autobiography to read as a hard luck story. It was what it was and when I started work I did what everyone was expected to do: get a job, pay bills, live within means. I'm not even sure it was drummed into me to live that way, it seemed to be the existence of every responsible person I knew. I had no foreign holidays, no flash new cars, I didn't even own a dishwasher until I was in my forties. This isn't a hard luck story, it's just how my personal maths worked out. The wider economic climate and the cost of putting a roof over your head at that time made it possible to take the steps I and millions like me took. I certainly have no guilt that I have somehow used the intervening years to shore up my position at the expense of the young - how? My kids are young. It is a source of sadness to me that they lack the opportunities to live relatively simply and put a roof over their heads in their twenties like I did. I'd also like to respond to the poster who commented on my thread title as crass. I apologise if it caused offence. I rather regretted it when I saw it in black and white. For clarity, the point I was making was that, without anyone around me knowing the first thing about my circumstances or values, I was made to feel responsible for all the social and economic woes many of them appear to believe will be solved by Corbyn, simply by being of a certain age. Pointing the finger at a sector of society and saying, "It's your fault" is obviously a temptation for any society experiencing pain.
  10. Brilliant! Thank you, everyone, for taking the time, even if you only put pen to paper (you know what I mean) to rant about my self-interested/ignorant/etc. position. It's all hugely useful in getting my perspective straighter. I will read and reread in the coming days so I have time to process everything. The one thing I absolutely cannot do is see myself as using the young as cash cattle. I'm still working, paying the bills (and tax), recycling far, far more methodically than my kids do - and letting them know it - and generally, I hope, not being a 'burden' on society. The circumstances created by world economics and uk politics are what they are and the only alternative to growing old is to die. I'm sure plenty of young wish I would, but I'm not sure I'll ever be able to see my life as the cause of their lost chances. I'm sickened by the opportunities they don't have that I did at their age, but as far as I can see that is a situation created by bankers and politicians and 'caring, sharing' Labour need to take a long, hard look at themselves. As for Greece, I had no idea they were doing so well. I guess good news is not news. As I hope I'd pointed out, my views are particularly polarised. The EU is not all good and all bad, it's just a balance thing. I'll be back to read more...
  11. Was that the 'Last person to leave turn the lights out' Sun headline year? It certainly feels extremely polarised, but I'm struggling to find faith strong enough in any of them to focus my mind. I've never not voted, but it's going to be tough to go out in the dark this time around.
  12. My goodness, it's been a long time. I dip in and out of these forums occasionally these days, but practically lived on here in from the mid to late noughties as Gordon's 'economic miracle' brought the economy to the brink of disaster. Now I need some sane words. I know I'll find them here, just like I did ten years and more ago. Firstly, I'm a boomer and I voted for Brexit. If you are offended and immediately know who I am, what my values are, who I will vote for on the 12th, etc. etc. then please leave now because you have nothing of value to say to me. I'm already judged. If you are still reading this, let me begin... I was born in Wallasey in 1959. Boomer credentials established. My father was in the merchant navy and hardly ever home. I don't think I even recognised him as my father until I was about five. My mother was mainly at home apart from a brief spell at a Cadbury's factory where she worked on the conveyor belt and one day had a meltdown so they sent her home and she never went back. I played outside with the neighbourhood kids, learnt to ride a bike (someone else's), thought catapults were the coolest things in the world (though the word 'cool' was unknown to me then). My mother wouldn't ever let me have one. I did have a Man From Uncle cap gun though. I liked and had access to a few books and enjoyed reading when I learned how to (we didn't have a TV). The only car in the neighbourhood was owned by the local taxi driver. I think I was happy. I wasn't aware of my father's drinking and the arguing. That came later. When I was eight my mother broke the news to me that we were 'moving' (?) to Gravesend in Kent. I was very excited until they explained 'moving' meant a new school. When we eventually got down there the kids laughed at my Scouse accent (the word 'bear' caused particular mirth) and I didn't know what to say when someone shouted 'Watcha' at me. These became the affluent times. My father was obviously earning good money as the skipper of a Fyffes banana boat, but it was still some time before we owned a car (a Hillman Imp) and I was becoming aware of the rows and the smell of booze on him. I recall doing homework by candlelight around this time because of the power cuts, but don't remember if my mother was ranting about the Labour Party at the time. If she did it went in one ear and out the other. It all fell apart when the oil crisis came and my father lost his job. My mother cut her losses and she took us (I have a younger sister) to Falmouth where she bought a guest house so she had her financial independence. The bank wouldn't lend her any money so she had to keep the place open all year round. In the winter I could sleep in the small room at the top of the house, but she had to let it in the summer so my sister and I lived in a caravan in the back garden. Any vestige of a Scouse accent had gone and I hadn't really acquired Estuary but the local kids thought I was American and that I must be posh, even though most of them were better dressed than I was. There was no room for a desk in the caravan so studying and writing essays was a bit of a challenge. I did stay on for the sixth form, but didn't do well at all. By the time I left school I hadn't seen my father for years, nor did I hear from him. I didn't give it a second thought. I didn't entertain the notion that I could go to university or college either. I got a Work Experience Programme job in a furniture shop in town. I earned £18 a week. I gave half to my mother in rent and used the rest for driving lessons, even though I had as much chance of buying a car as I did building a rocket and flying to the moon. The job was so boring my body began shutting down and I thought I had diabetes. I could barely climb the stairs in the morning. Fortunately a kindly admin lady realised what the problem was and told me hospital wasn't necessary. I then embarked on four years of casual work: waitering, cooking in a chip shop, cutting down Christmas trees, digging up spuds. I even did two weeks street sweeping for the council. The bin lorry guys had it made! Good money, finished by lunch time, riding in the lorry. Brilliant. I envied them. I had absolutely no direction, no plan, no motivation, no clue. One day, not long after my 21st birthday, I left a waitering job in Hampshire and was cycling to a station to head back to Falmouth for another summer in the chip shop and it dawned on me that everything I possessed was in panniers on the back of the bike. I had no passport, had never been on a plane. I didn't even have a bank account. Later that year I was walking home from a shift at the chip shop and a car pulled up. It was one of my old teachers. He wanted to know what the hell I was doing. He instructed me to get UCAS forms, pick a university and turn up at his house. I did as I was told and he took out his cheque book and gave me the entry fee. I didn't get in. Of course not, my A levels (2 grade Es) were crap. But later that year a younger friend said she had a spare set of forms for a little teacher training college in Cheltenham. I filled them in and, bloody hell, I got in! The first morning in my little student accommodation room I got up and sat at the desk. It was 7.00am and I realised for the first time in years I knew where I was going to be and there was a purpose to my existence. I could hardly believe my luck. A friend visited and I gave him money and asked if he would buy me a dictionary in town. When he got back I put it on the bookshelf and amazed myself at how important it made me feel. I still have that dictionary. After graduation I got a teaching job at an awful school in Eastbourne. It was only for a year to cover the RE teacher's absence as she was on sabbatical. (A couple of decades later it was in the news because a Maths teacher there ran off to France with s student.) It had bars on the ground floor windows to deter vandals. On my first day, the Deputy Head collected me from my bedsit and said all he asked was that I kept the kids contained for the duration of the lesson. I could have put the work in beforehand and got a better first school, but I knew teaching wasn't for me and I wasn't self-aware enough to have the sense. I did it for five more years elsewhere and in that time married my college girlfriend. She had got her second teaching job in Cardiff and, because she had a dog and didn't think anyone would let her rent, she borrowed £300 off an elderly aunt and used it as a deposit on a tiny two bed house on an estate. When we married she moved to where I was living (North Wales). She had no job to come to at first, but we were able to buy a run-down 1930s semi on my salary which we proceeded to decorate during holidays. We bought a second hand VW Polo which was the bees knees. If anyone had told me I was 'doing well under the Tories' I'd have stared at them in disbelief. Around 1990 I embarked on a distance learning course in computer programming and got a trainee programmer job in the South East. My wife managed to get a teaching job just in time so we could get a mortgage on a boxy little 3 bed house on a large development. It was a filthy dirty hovel. The estate agent had no key to the back door so when the dog needed a sh*t I lowered him out of the window and leaned out to pick him up when he'd finished until we had the money to fit a patio door. When my wife was pregnant with our second we move a couple of miles away to a larger 3 bed house in a nice cul-de-sac. It was a total wreck with a condemned boiler so any spare cash went on making the place habitable. I spent many a sleepless night worrying what would happen if I lost my job. (I did get made redundant twice on my journey, but always survived in the end.) Sometime in 2005 my wife commented that people on a forum she had stumbled across were saying a massive house price crash was coming. It sounded plausible because prices seemed crazy. In 2006 the first redundancy came. We got a good price for our place, but then we'd transformed it and built an extension. We hadn't had any foreign holidays and never ate out unless you count the occasional Burger King, but the kids didn't go without where it mattered. My wife had always wanted to go back to Cardiff (increasingly elderly and infirm parents) and our eldest had only just started secondary school. It was a now or never moment and the redundancy made it easier so we did it. I got a job in the IT department of a car parts factory. We were renting, looking at property on the market and arguing about whether the crash would ever come when one day I bought a paper which had 'Credit Crunch!' as a headline. It was August 2007. You know the rest. We eventually bought in 2012 because we were paying out a fortune in rent and it was depressing. The house was in an awful state and had been on the market on and off for years but was a nice size and in a quiet area. We've got it looking decent now, but the kids, now grown up, never did get to Disneyland. One day I hope they'll forgive us. All the while this was going on the EEC was transforming from a bunch of people shaking hands and agreeing on a free trade deal into the EU, a vast, strangely sinister organisation of huge unaudited wealth and power. One that can tell its member states what the minimum percentage of meat they should put in their sausages and which can suffocate entire economies in Southern Europe from the labyrinth of offices it maintains grandly in Brussels. I'd been living in Falmouth in '73 and remembered the men who lost their livelihoods in fishing almost overnight. I didn't much like the slow erosion of control membership entailed and when Cameron came back empty handed from an attempt at negotiating a few months before the referendum my distrust began to turn into anger. I voted, with some reluctance and unease, to leave when the time came. Whether it will turn out to be a good idea in the end I have absolutely no clue, but I guess there'll be winners and losers just like when we joined. I don't think of it, and never have, as a friendly institution that represents the breaking down of borders and the building of trust between nations. I heard about an elderly Greek dentist who took his own life rather than rummage in bins for food in his old age and the thought of the EU impassively turning its face away from that situation and the vast numbers of under 24s without hope of employment in those poorer member states left a bad taste. So suddenly I'm 60 and just discovered that people around me at work, who have never heard my story, have already judged me. I'm a boomer, I 'did well under the Tories'. I don't care about the poor and homeless because I've 'pulled the ladder up'. In all likelihood I'm probably a racist because I voted to leave (and don't want the immigrants from coming' over 'ere and takin' our jobs). From my experience, the caring, sharing Labour Party in the end crash the economy and that helps no one, but I should overlook this because if I don't vote for Corbyn I'm effectively saying I'm happy to watch homeless people dying the streets. I honestly had no idea I was this guy! So I'm asking you, am I? Is that who I am and I've been fooling myself all along? I'm a boomer and I voted for Brexit. Sorry.
  13. Remember when they used to put the word 'emergency' in front of interest rates of 0.5%? Ten years on and ***ked up is the new normal.
  14. Spoke to a friend over the holidays who has a BTL in the form of his mum's old council house, which he obviously bought at a knock-down price - because right to buy, intended to extend aspiration to the low-paid and disadvantaged, immediately became an opportunity for existing home owners to get into people farming. The same people live in that property, but now they pay him and not the council. But I digress. He talked about going travelling again and letting out his main residence once more rather than selling it and buying something cheaper because he didn't want to miss out on the capital gains, his area being a real life hotspot an' all. I pointed out that maybe those days were over, but he gently 'corrected' me by saying that what might pass for sound economic theory didn't factor in human greed. I keep visiting this site, looking for signs that The Great Comeuppance is just around the corner. Maybe 2018 will be the year...
  15. She's back - the overweight, self-styled property guru and her sidekick Phil. Saw an article on Kirstie Allsop over Christmas, which suggests she'll be back on TV in the New Year at some point. Couldn't bring myself to read it, but noticed a box-out near her photo with a potted biography detailing her qualifications to be a recognised business genius and all-round property expert. Basically, she bought a flat and later sold it for more. Then she bought a house and a little later sold it for more. Then she bought a bigger house and it's now worth more. And this woman thinks she's part of the solution.
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