Pandering to prejudice
It’s hard to express how profoundly depressed I am by the current state of politics in the UK. I mean, I try to avoid it, but I keep on hearing about it.
The BNP is a racist party. That’s bad. UKIP seem a bit racist. They may not actually be racists, but they certainly have policies that appeal to racists. The current government, on the other hand, running scared from mid-parliamentary-term council election results, actively develops policies specifically to attract the votes of racists and xenophobes, because it’s easier to pander to prejudice than to educate.
It’s disappointing because it reinforces the divisive rhetoric of the xenophobic fringe. It’s disappointing because the Conservatives really should know better. They do know better.
Thus, we get nonsense like this:
The Immigration Bill, introduced in the Queen’s Speech today, would require future private landlords to make simple checks on new tenants to make sure that they are entitled to be in this country. The government will ensure that UK nationals are not adversely affected and avoid red tape on honest landlords in the private rented sector.
The private rented sector in England is desperately in need of regulation. Letting agents are almost universally terrible. I’ve had some pretty awful experiences dealing with them, and I’d prefer never to go near one again (unless I’m armed with some kind of edged weapon or other means of removing the head or destroying the brain, I suppose).
There are a hundred useful laws that could be written to clean up the rotten business of residential lettings. The government does none of this. Instead, it chooses jingoistic nonsense for the UKIP-panic-inspired Queen’s Speech, forcing landlords to check the immigration status of tenants.
This is a country in which rogue slumlords let converted garages and walk-in-freezers at extortionate prices to desperate people. Do you think they’ll check the immigration status of their tenants/victims?
If this pointless requirement has any effect other than to give letting agents another excuse to tack another bullshit fee (common here, but illegal in Scotland!) onto the process of renting, I’ll eat my hat.