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Mister Can Do
It should be “Sir Can Do”. Soon it'll be “Lord Can Do” as Reg is headed for a peerage.
“We all felt empowered as soon as we walked in the room.”
It's easy to charm the pants off some people, although the thought of Ray Farley naked is scaring me. He's not the first to feel moist and important in the presence of “Lord This”, or “Baron That”.
Who is Ray Farley? He does not live in the Holyland. This perhaps makes it easier for him to call for more people to be imprisoned there. Only a handful of residents agree with him and we all know who they are. They're strangely absent from the public gaze these days. I dare say the media are sick of hearing from them. Recently the BBC had to edit Ray's gibberish because he seemed to be saying the universities had let their students down on St Patrick's Day. This is like David Farrell describing students as “victims” on the Nolan Show. After he subsequently announced Declan Boyle's address live on the air they quietly dropped him from their interviewee list.
What does “Sir Can Do” have to offer apart from “empowerment”? He cannot make the universities do anything, although he does want to set their fees sky-rocketing. This they welcome with the corporate equivalent of kicking your heels high in the air and your knickers flying. He's some charmer that guy. OK, not much to look at, but he “Can Do”.
Neither he nor Poor Wee Sammy can pass a law to stop adults drinking alcohol on private property. So that's the front garden thing fucked.
I'm not quite sure what a “verifiable term-time address for first-years” is supposed to achieve, but it sounds good and at least Ray can claim a victory as Chairman of somebody else's “Regeneration Association”. It's progress you see, like that thing with deckchairs on the Titanic.
Using vacant property in the city centre is actually a good idea. It's a little late for the Holyland, by at least a decade, but something has to be done to save all the other communities being targeted by landlords and universities. It is, however, impractical to vest then convert, demolish, rebuild, or whatever derelict shops, warehouses and offices. The hundreds of millions involved in such a project would be far better spent on housing for, you know, real people. Perhaps Mark Durkan can upend the sofa and see if he can shake another £400 million out of it to line the pockets of property developers. Reg would, perhaps, welcome that. He's all for the “Wealth Creators”. That such people create no wealth, but do soak up vast amounts of public money (see the antics of Brown and Obama) does not matter. “To him who hath” and all that.
Reg cannot oblige the universities to invest their ill gotten gains on city centre student housing. They'll politely tell him to fuck off and hurry up with the fees raise. He's unlikely to try it on.
So he wants to get all the “Stakeholders” together in a room to thrash out a solution. We've had this before and it's all horseshit. He cannot “de-HMO” South Belfast. Nor can any Stormont Minister. It is not within their gift to make any meaningful change to a housing policy invented elsewhere. Planning is seemingly out of control, but is servicing the interests of property developers, and this agenda comes from London. Blair, Brown, Thatcher; it's all the same; a bubble economy based on property and money speculation. All of them set out to obliterate Public Housing. And so the Housing Executive is not allowed to build. I see no one being allowed to change that policy. Instead, making families on the waiting list rent from private landlords is right up their street, and, for that matter, coming to a street near you. Our “Executive” are mere sock-puppets. This makes the whole “can do” thing an extremely cruel pantomime. Reg may have been shocked at the “war zone” and “intimidation” he witnessed on St Patrick's Day, but he can do nothing of any substance. He may have wondered why 25% of our undergraduates leave to study elsewhere. Now he has the answer, and no Ministerial trips to Scotland will entice them back.
Planning, doing their masters' bidding, are like a rooftop sniper picking off communities one by one; first the Holyland; then Stranmillis; then Lisburn Road; then Ballynafeigh; then Rosetta.
There it is in the South Belfast News. Planning have rubber stamped the rape of Rosetta. And who can stop them? Sammy? Arlene? Reg?
“Studentification” has blighted cities across the UK. Nowhere has suffered like South Belfast, and the Holyland is a nightmare that shocks every visitor from a university town in England. They cannot believe the barbarity. In England an answer has been proposed. Don't get your hopes up because it comes from the sinister coalition of universities and landlords. The hidden agenda is to trash huge swathes of the urban landscape and turn it into Landlordville. And lo the policy comes to Belfast.
The “solution” comes in the form of secondary tumours. Spread the cancer around the city, especially certain target areas. The 30% HMO cap guarantees that target communities will be destabilised and spiral downward fast. This serves landlords and universities and, being a “cap” throws a bone to the Useful Idiots who hang around the master's table seeking “empowerment” while South Belfast dies.