What goes around comes back around, though sometimes it can take time.
For example, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall I chanced upon the saddest man in the universe propping up a bar in beer cellar on the east side of the city.
He was fluent in German, Russian and English but as a former professor of Marxist studies he didn’t have much of a future and, with hindsight, sod all of a past. Hans’s glass wasn’t just half-empty – it was down to the dregs.
But with the world sinking into recession I’ve begun to wonder if Hans’s career might take off again, but not in Berlin, or Moscow but Washington DC.
This first occurred to me when I read somewhere that the bookshops of Islington and Greenwich Village were dusting off their copies of Das Kapital and doing a roaring trade with the chattering classes.
Now that house prices are going south, they’re coming to the conclusion that the fall of communism, as a verdict, had been premature.
They’re probably wrong but with Barack Obama in the US and our own PM planning great leaps forward through massive state intervention, my old friend Hans at least has a window of opportunity to put old soviet ideas back on the agenda.
By window I mean the time between the current euphoria and the next election when the retired and the dispossessed will have their say but it is interesting note that Russia’s Prime Minister and President in waiting has already voiced his verdict on our borrow and spend strategies.
Addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, Vladimir Putin declared: “Interference of the state, the belief in the omnipotence of the state, that is a reaction to market failures.
“There is a temptation to expand direct interference of the state in the economy. In the Soviet Union that became an absolute. We paid a very dear price for that.”
Someone else I thought had achieved the most useless job in the universe status was Labour Party biddy Margaret Beckett. I mean as housing minister in an economic downturn where did she have to go? Brown’s eco-towns are no longer affordable, less than 400 council homes were added to the housing stock last year and the PM’s target of three million new homes by 2020 is now an impossible dream.
Then last week, just when I was about to pen something based on this theme, Brown announced an initiative to rejuvenate the building industry with plans to build thousands of council houses. Hey presto Beckett has a real job again – well perhaps.
First of all legislation is required to free up the money that council’s need to build these new houses and then the local authorities have to acquire the expertise to start building again. And then there’s another little difficulty.
According to Jonathon Porritt, chairman of the government’s Sustainable Development Commission, couples who have more than two children are environmentally irresponsible.
The commission is about to publish a report asserting that the state must do more to control population growth – for green reasons – but where would that leave councils when it comes to prioritising eligibility for social housing?
Will three kids and you’re out be the new mantra, and where will this idea leave the single mums with seven children by five fathers? With the full force of the green fascists behind such an agenda they don’t stand a chance.
Perhaps it would be cheaper to forget the council house initiative and make Beckett patron saint of birth control – she could travel to China and see what a fine job they have done with it out there.