Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1077/30410
From The Socialist newspaper, 11 March 2020
Housing workers explain reality to idiot Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson, photo Chatham House/CC (Click to enlarge)
Jack Jeffrey, support worker for homeless people
I work at a homeless day centre in central London, supporting rough sleepers with severe mental health issues. In an attempt to distract attention from his continued mismanagement of floods, Boris Johnson decided he would visit us and announce increased funding for rough sleeping projects.
The format was odd, but not surprising, considering his desire to avoid speaking to the public. Instead of visiting the day centre he would speak to five pre-prepared clients and then a 15-minute conversation with five members of staff. I was one. There was no charm or preparation, just bluster and a complete disconnect from the lives of real people.
He swanned in with Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for housing. He boasted his plan to expand Housing First by 6,000 beds would "eradicate homelessness". However, when pressed that this didn't even match the 9,000 hostel beds lost since 2010, he had no reply.
He switched the conversation to increased funding for mental health provision. When I gave an example of a vulnerable client who had been unable to access treatment due to lack of beds, his face started to drop.
Again a change of topic, this time to drugs. In an attempt to dodge a question about the effect of local authority cuts on substance abuse treatment, he called for stricter laws.
One of my colleagues raised decriminalisation in Portugal. Incredibly his reply was "what happened in Portugal?"
When he heard that decriminalisation led to a significant drop in addiction and drug-related crimes, he turned confused to Robert Jenrick and asked: "secretary of state is that true?" Blushing he mumbled: "I think so prime minister".
He made some more poorly informed comments on social housing, then panicked and staggered off when someone said revoke Right to Buy.
Only his media team and the Evening Standard were present. The whole interaction passed unreported and will soon be forgotten.
At least it managed to confirm what I always expected - there is no intelligence or cunning plan, Boris Johnson really is just an idiot.
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In The Socialist 11 March 2020:
Coronavirus: Full NHS funding now
Coronavirus infects the world economy
Flybe collapse: nationalise to save jobs threatened by Covid-19 and downturn
Coronavirus: international cooperation needed, not capitalist competition
Supermarkets are ruled by profit - unions should control supply limits
For full pay during isolation: for public health as well as workers' wallets
Self-isolation patients speak: NHS facilities and advice not up to it
Italy on lockdown: lack of resources and democracy causes panic
South Korea shows capitalism has money to respond to coronavirus
Coronavirus news in brief
Domestic Violence bill: We still need to fight to save our services
News in brief
Postal workers mobilise to win strike reballot
Homerton Hospital workers fight for sick pay
Fighting to transform the union in my warehouse
Argos workers in Sainsbury's stores threatened with losing collective bargaining
Homeless charity workers to strike against intransigent management
Southampton trade unionists say "defend the right to strike!"
Strong support for PCS Broad Left Network
East London uni and bin worker strikes
How can Trump be ousted from the White House?
Campaigns and party news
Salford 'no-cuts' budget includes cuts and tax rises
Stoke council unions beat pay cuts - now let's stop all cuts
Is there an anti-cuts rebellion in Scotland?
Socialist Party joins International Women's Day protests
Housing workers explain reality to idiot Boris Johnson
Swansea: Ask anyone about state of services, you will hear the real story
Camarthenshire: Councillors' 'walk of shame'
Student occupation in support of striking workers
Selling the Socialist
Socialist Party executive committee positions
Greece-Turkey border refugee crisis
Women's and trans rights
Women's rights, trans rights and the labour movement
Film: Greed directed by Michael Winterbottom
Childcare - costly, inadequate and hard work
Book: Why you should be a trade unionist by Unite general secretary Len McCluskey
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