Mar 18 2013

SINGLE ENDS AND HOBBIT HOUSES

Murdo Ritchie places  the so-called ‘Bedroom Tax’ into the  wider economic and political context of housing provision today.

Inside a  Glasgow single end

Inside a Glasgow single end

When debating supporters of capitalism and capitalist markets I am told about the system’s greater efficiency in the use of natural resources. At this point, I ask my opponent if they have an indoor toilet. They smile at the bizarreness of the question. The answer is always yes. I then ask the obvious question, “Why are you not sitting on it?” Usually they consider me flippant or simply scoring a trivial debating point. But I always add that for decades houses in Scotland were built on the efficient use of natural resources with many houses sharing one toilet usually on the tenement landing. Economic efficiency was socially disgusting.

The single end was term for a one-room house that has largely ceased to exist. It is no longer as common as it once was. As a term, it described more than a kind of accommodation. It was a highly descriptive term of housing despair. The so-called bedroom tax is enthusiastically bringing its return. Some 94,000 Scots will overnight be plunged into rent arrears and forced to move. The single end is a sentence of punishment.

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Dec 11 2012

ANTI-WORKFARE PROTESTS IN LEITH AND GLASGOW

Susan Dorazio (RCN and IWW) has submitted these two pieces – Anti-Workfare protestors in Leith blockade and occupy Superdrug and British Heart Foundation

 

Protestors blockaded and occupied both British Heart Foundation and Superdrug in Edinburgh today Saturday 8 December, in opposition to their participation in the government’s workfare schemes.

A huge banner declaring IF YOU EXPLOIT US WE WILL SHUT YOU DOWN blocked the entrance to the BHF furniture store in Leith’s Kirkgate centre as demonstrators occupied the shop.  Impromptu speeches were given inside and out, explaining that although BHF had claimed to be “moving away” from workfare, they were still taking on new compulsory placements.

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