The Bluffer’s Guide to being a Housing Minister

Date: 06.06.2012

Patrick Mulrenan writes:

Housing ministers don’t last long, so it’s best not to invest much time learning about housing issues. A few tips below will help you thorough the purgatory of doing the job, before you are shuffled off into a more glamorous post.

1. You know that the solution to the housing shortage is to build more houses. But you can’t do this. So if asked why you’re not building enough homes, just say, “I have no intention of playing the numbers game”

2. Some problems are just too complicated. So rename them. Hence “poverty” becomes “social exclusion”

3. Put the phrase “mixed communities” in all your speeches.

4. If asked about benefit cuts, claim that you are doing this to be fair on “hardworking families”. Even if you know that many hardworking families have to claim benefits to make ends meet

5. Don’t bother to understand the benefits system. Only one person in the country really understands housing benefits. Unfortunately he was made redundant last week.

6. If you know you won’t achieve a housing target, call it an “aspiration”

7. Make sure you are seen to have the common touch. If an interviewer asks you a tricky question, say “I was talking to a pensioner in my constituency last week and she told me…”

8. Don’t try to make housing affordable. Most of your electors own their homes and want prices to go up, even if it means their children will live at home forever

9. If things get really tough, blame it all on the Euro-crisis

Patrick Mulrenan, course leader MA Housing and Inclusion, FdA Community Work