When will George Monbiot acquaint with the truth?

Readers may be familiar with The Guardian’s George Monbiot publishing a story two days ago in which he said: ‘Let’s take the housing fight to wealthy owners with empty spare rooms’. Monbiot says there is a ‘hidden truth about our housing crisis is that it is driven by under-occupation’.

By way of a solution Monbiot believes people who live in houses with spare bedrooms should be compelled by legislation to take in complete strangers, or pay more in tax:

‘I would also like to see an expansion of the Homeshare scheme, which could address several growing problems at once. Instead of paying rent, lodgers – who are vetted and checked by the charity that runs the project – help elderly homeowners with shopping, cleaning, cooking, gardening or driving. Typically they agree to spend 10 hours a week helping out, and to sleep in the house for at least six nights out of seven.

‘It needs to be researched, debated, fought over. It needs to turn political. I can understand why neither the government nor the opposition dares to think about it: none of the major parties wants to pick a fight with wealthy householders. So it’s up to us to give them no choice, by turning under-occupation into an issue they can’t avoid. It cannot be left to the market, as the market works for the rich.’

Never mind there are thousands of houses standing empty around the country (look at Salford as an example) he would rather further his class war on the ‘wealthy’, even if their house was inherited or bought for a lot less than it’s worth now. As you would expect the piece was lambasted by many as another example of supporters of big state meddling trying to exert control over the lives of others, such as this small selection here, here and here.  In typical fashion Monbiot, laughably describing himself as thick skinned, has reacted as if his dermis was thinner than a very fine cigarette paper:

Regular readers will know that I have a thick skin. In view of the response I get from the army of trolls and astroturfers who spend much of their time attacking me, I need it. But even by their usual standards of viciousness, the attacks have taken a particularly nasty turn over the past few months. Now a new meme is circulating: that I am a millionaire, living alone in a vast house like a reincarnation of Howard Hughes. I’m painfully aware that if you don’t address such myths, they quickly spread, and become established as facts. So I’m going to take an unusual and risky step, and lay out the extent of my wealth.

It won’t take very long. My only valuable asset is my house, which I bought in 2007 for £278,000. That’s very expensive by the standards of most countries, but not in the UK, where house-prices are ridiculous. In 2010, the average house price in this country was £246,000. Not all of it is mine: the bank owns part of it.

And no, I don’t live there by myself. I have a daughter and two lodgers, who occupy what would otherwise have been the spare rooms. There are no spare bedrooms in my house.

Amid the wailing and gnashing of teeth, Monbiot’s ‘thick skinned reaction’ about his house (above, courtesy of The Devil) reveals his inability to stop using highly selective details and spin like a top. Setting aside questions about what Monbiot earns in rent and what tax he pays on that income, he just can’t help himself. Monbiot tries to obfuscate the real worth of his house (£278,000) in the area he lives by saying that in 2010, the average house price in this country (the UK) was £246,000.

Monbiot’s pile is located in a country – Wales. In Machynlleth, Powys to be precise. If Monbiot was honest he would have linked to this BBC house price analysis instead of the one in his quote. His house is worth not just £32,000 more than the UK average, but a whopping £94,100 more than the Powys average. Puts a slightly different perspective on it, does it not? It is very expensive by Powys standards.

But there was no way he would put that into its proper context because it would make his argument all the more fatuous. No wonder we cannot trust anything he says, on this or climate change. Monbiot likes to say: ‘Tell people something they know already and they will thank you for it. Tell them something new and they will hate you for it.’ I can feel his loathing already… It’s like a badge of honour.

9 Responses to “When will George Monbiot acquaint with the truth?”

  1. 1 Pugwash 06/01/2011 at 6:51 pm

    What, no solar panels or wind generator!

  2. 2 Rereke Whakaaro 06/01/2011 at 8:08 pm

    There is also three years of inflation to take into account between the purchase date and the date quoted for “the average house price in this country”.

    I have no idea what that rate would have been, but I would bet dollars to donuts that it wasn’t negative!

  3. 3 The Maldives are not sinking 06/01/2011 at 8:36 pm

    I wonder if Socialist, Billy Bragg will be taking up Monbiot’s suggestion and offering out rooms in his clifftop mansion at Burton Bradstock, Dorset.

    I must say, that Billy Bragg’s house, pictured in this article, is very nice and very large.


  4. 4 Mac 07/01/2011 at 10:05 am

    Does the bank know that Monbiot is earning rent on his property?

  5. 5 Dead Dog Bounce 07/01/2011 at 10:48 am

    Rereke, you might be losing some dollars.

    UK house prices have at best stagnated over the past three years, although detached houses like the one pictured will have done better than average.

    Nice to know that Moobat bought at the top of the market though.

  6. 6 Manok 09/01/2011 at 7:44 am

    Well, seemingly he earns some more than the average Joe, but rich he ain’t. And if he hasn’t been able to rake in any savings since 2007, it just means he’s earning a nice London salary while living in the countryside.

  7. 7 stupiboy 10/01/2011 at 9:57 pm

    Has he declared the income from his lodgers to HMRC? Answers on the back of a recycled fag packet. I shall be writing to the Queen, wouldn’t mind a nice view of the Mall from my bedsit.

  8. 8 RebeccaOlesen 26/03/2013 at 10:42 am

    Answer: never.

    He is the epitome of liberal elitist fascist marixst hypocrisy. He’s an arrogant twat, self righteous prick who only sees the faults in others and demands the ability to force people to do what he wants, like the rich spoiled brat he is. I despise him.

  9. 9 RebeccaOlesen 26/03/2013 at 10:43 am

    Oh yeah, and I meant to say that if he is so worried about ‘carbon footprints’ then he should be living in a 2 room squat.

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