Exceptional Times Call For Exceptional Measures

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From top: Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Damien English TD at today’s the Housing Summit in the Custom House, Dublin; Tony Groves

There was an interesting development in how the Government has decided to handle (spin) the housing crisis this week.

Following a raw and at times brutal Morning Ireland interview with a homeless Secondary School student named ‘Amanda’, the Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, rather than feel ashamed decided he’d side with the poor girl.

Mr Murphy said:

“The piece that was broadcast this morning on Morning Ireland is probably one of the most important contributions to this debate that we’ve heard in the past number of months.

The bravery that they had this morning to come out and tell the country about their particular circumstance was very brave but very important for people to understand what these families are facing.”

The family tragedy compounded by a Minister who is calling this crisis a debate. The time for debating is long gone. It is time for action, real decisive action.

Campaigns like #MyNameIs have raised the consciousness of the general public and the sense that more must be done is palpable.

In reality we have the means to take much more ambitious steps than the planned 23,000 social housing homes by 2021.

More importantly, even with this limited plan, who will be held accountable should this target not be met? Given that only 22 of the 1,500 promised by next year have been completed to date, can we believe in any new plan? Where is the accountability?

The lack of accountability in Ireland undermines many facets of our society. But to just focus on housing we can identify the problem quite quickly.

Unlike many other European countries, including Belgium, France and the UK, housing is not a right in Ireland.

In Ireland, under the 1988 Housing Act, our citizens run into a verbal wall.

10.—(1) A housing authority may, subject to such regulations as may be made by the Minister under this section –
make arrangements, including financial arrangements, with a body approved of by the Minister for the purposes of section 5 for the provision by that body of accommodation for a homeless person,
provide a homeless person with such assistance, including financial assistance, as the authority consider appropriate, or
rent accommodation, arrange lodgings or contribute to the cost of such accommodation or lodgings for a homeless person.

2. A request for accommodation may be made to a housing authority by or on behalf of a homeless person.

The blocker in the system is a small word that covers all manner of excuses. The word is ‘may’; as in the housing authority may or it may not do a,b,c or d.

It is not compulsory, and if it is not compulsory then there is no accountability. If there’s no accountability then there’s no repercussions for missing targets. Until may becomes must and the power to act become a duty to act then nothing will change.

This crisis didn’t sneak up on us either. It is the result of decades of bad planning and even worse policy making. We have gone, progressively since the 1970’s, from State provision to a combination of NGO and Market provision.

Both are failing – for different reasons. The NGO solution is common – the UK for example has a similar situation, with the important distinction that the State in UK decanted housing stock progressively to the NGOs, thereby providing a balance sheet base from which the NGO’s could leverage collateral to fund future housing stock.

The NGO model is endemic in Irish Social policy – the same approach applies in Health, Disability Services and in the past in areas such as industrial schools.

Whatever about its origins – a pauper State seeking access to property and services from institutions such as the Church, it now represents either an abdication of responsibility or, worse, an adherence to Victorian attitudes to relative poverty and provision, in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.

Without diverting from the current crisis, this needs to be reassessed in all areas of Social policy.

Given the intolerable crisis we have today – 8,160 people homeless and nearly 3,000 children – anything less than “The State Will Provide” response from the Government will not suffice. Even if we are to only do so on a temporary basis until the crisis has abated.

There’s nothing in EU Law that forbids a country from acting to protect its citizens. Therefore it follows that there is nothing in EU Law (including the Debt to GDP rules) that can prevent the government from raising money to build social housing.

The “off balance sheet” argument is a red herring. They raised over €5bn to pay off the IMF. To not do the same for our citizens is an indictment of Right Wing slaves to the “free” market ideology. It is an indictment of us as a society and a country.

It is within our powers, as the 14th wealthiest country in the world, to build 10,000 social houses in the next 12-18 months. Any legislative roadblocks can and must be given the NAMA treatment.

Exceptional times call for exceptional measures.

If we can create NAMA overnight, ignoring legislative processes, to stop a Bank crisis and we refuse to do the same for our citizens then any plans from the Third Emergency Housing Summit are only window dressing.

The pressure is on, Fine Gael are rattled by claims that their ideological blindness to the less well off in our country have exacerbated this crisis.

Campaigns like #MyNameIs have embarrassed them and stung a Taoiseach obsessed with his image into action. This action must happen now and it must be on a scale that dwarfs the current 2021 plan.

Time is of the essence here. While things are bad they are about to get much worse. There’s 14,367 Buy To Let Mortgages at repossession stage.

There is no incentive or reason for the Vulture Funds that own these properties to rent them to the social housing/homeless part of the market. This will be like throwing petrol on a bonfire unless our government turns “may” into Must.

We have the means, the finance is available and the solutions are simple:

Make the provision of housing a right, at least until the crisis has abated.

Use the NAMA exceptionalist model to protect the citizens.

Commit to building 10,000 social houses in the next 12-18 months.

Make the Departments accountable and have repercussions for failure.

Incentivise/Legislate that the Vultures make their properties available to the Social Housing schemes.

Deliver.

Fine Gael are 84 years old today. The Taoiseach used this occasion to remind people that he wants “to build a Republic of Opportunity”.

Well Leo, it’s no good waiting for opportunity to knock when you don’t have a front door.

Tony Groves is a full-time financial consultant and part-time commentator. With over 18 years experience in the financial industry and a keen interest in politics, history and “being ornery”, he has published one book and writes regularly aTrickstersworld

123 thoughts on “Exceptional Times Call For Exceptional Measures

  1. b

    “The “off balance sheet” argument is a red herring. They raised over €5bn to pay off the IMF. To not do the same for our citizens is an indictment of Right Wing slaves to the “free” market ideology. It is an indictment of us as a society and a country.”

    unless commentators start to discuss real solutions rather that one sided snippets that mask what has really happened we might get closer to the solution

    to be clear. 5bln was raised to pay off the IMF, to refinance a debt at lower rates

    if you’re suggesting the state raise 5bln of new debt to deal with the crises, show your workings and don’t be a plophawk

    1. MKG985

      Yeah, cause money raised to pay down debt cannot be raised to finance house building. Did you even read the piece or are you okay with minding the debt rather than the homeless?

      1. b

        Raising new debt is completely different from refinancing debt. Its not that it cannot be done but if we suddenly had 5bln in cash the homeless issue still wouldn’t be solved overnight and we’d also need a whole new budget plan, new taxes, reduced spending to fund it.

        But let’s make a pithy point about paying off the IMF rather than helping citizens that Tony should know is not the transaction that happened this week.

        It plays to the crowd i suppose which was the point because anyone who points out the bull in the article doesn’t care about homeless…

        1. Owen C

          This isn’t a financing issue. There’s reasonably straight forward ways around it. I’m more concerned about the long term fiscal costs of building and maintaining 10,000 new social homes with no framework for managing them. Rents, repair, management costs, insurance, infrastructure etc all become annual recurring costs long after the builders are finished. Some costing on the long term fiscal impact of 10,000 social homes (and presumably many more thereafter) would be interesting to see.

          1. Clampers Outside!

            “All pay rent”…. em, I think you’ll find that DCC coffers are down on average €5m a year in unpaid rents. No one ever is evicted.

            I learnt this after a few years on an inner city Residents Association, and getting info direct from DCC members.

            I’m not saying they shouldn’t be provided, of course they should, and we should replenish social housing numbers.
            I’m just saying it’ll cost more than you suggest.

          2. Bookworm

            They also invariably destroy places they rent in RAS leaving mounds of garbage behind them like tinkers and smashing internal fittings and doors etc. No wonder when ” the state will provide”

  2. Andrew Brennan

    What’s not exceptional is Fine Gael in thrall to ‘The Market’ – funny how that ideology didn’t come into play during the so-called Celtic Tiget era when they lambasted Fianna Fáil over their – wait’ll ya read this – stranglehold on the money supply; Fine Gael actually described the ‘Celtic Tiger’ as a Celtic Snail !!!

    Then the crash happened and Fine Gael wanted the banks saved; their ideology was instead directed at the low-paid, the unemployed; lone-parents; the ill;

    Now we’re in the midst of a homelessness/ housing crisis and their natural cohort of supporters are raking it in and much of it from the public test – the landlord class. I kid you not

    Don’t hold your breath that they have your interests, your family, or your communities interests at heart!!!

  3. Owen C

    “It is within our powers, as the 14th wealthiest country in the world, to build 10,000 social houses in the next 12-18 months.”

    I’d guess you’d need 25,000 workers, employed on 50-100 large development sites, to do this, between now and early 2019. An entirely realistic scenario!

    Are people willing to support the building of social housing based on the following caveats:

    A lack of any joined up infrastructure plan with utilities, the road network and public transport etc?
    Reduction in building standards to allow for cheaper, smaller, faster built homes?
    Dissolution of planning regulations and people’s rights to object to (in their view) unsuitable developments?
    No adequate costing of the long term fiscal requirements to support this housing?

    Because without all of the above, there isn’t a hope in hell of getting 10,000 social houses built in the time frame involved? So at least be honest about what sort of developments we would get if we tried to actually do this. We can work on from there at least with everyone out in the open about what they are asking for.

      1. Owen C

        Yes, we built 93k houses, many of which turned out to be in the wrong places, not serviced by public transport, the required infrastructure (broadband, water, roads) or any sort of broader sustainable planning structure. Which is kinda my point. And even those developments would have been planned over multi-year periods.

        1. Owen C

          Also, the whole “oh you’re just using government spin…stop with the cheap bluster” stuff is terribly obvious deflection. I asked very important questions about whether people would be willing to drop current elements of the planning and development process. I note you decided not to answer those and go with the dull quips instead. Try harder.

          1. AnAccountant

            You didn’t ask important questions. You gave your own negative opinions on what is needed and asked if people agreed with them while implying that your opinions on what is needed are the only options.

          2. Owen C

            Negative opinions? Sorry for making you look at reality. Not everything is always rosy. A positive mental attitude will not build 10,000 social homes.

          3. AnAccountant

            Your opinions aren’t reality. And a positive attitude really will get things done. Actions come from thoughts.

          4. Owen C

            Tony said the time for debate (thoughts) was over, and it was time for action. I’m showing the problems in implementing that action. You want to ignore the fact that there are problems and just simply think more positively. You are delusional.

            Simple question – if we had to reduce planning standards and spatial development plans in order to get the housing built, would you agree to that?

          5. AnAccountant

            Oh well if *Tony Groves* said it…
            I’m not ignoring any problems. You are implying that there are problems that cannot be overcome. I am saying that you’re delusional.

          6. AnAccountant

            “if we had to reduce planning standards and spatial development plans in order to get the housing built, would you agree to that?”

            “Have” to. Why would we “have” to? Because developers said so?

          7. Owen C

            There are two issues here on the proposed level of output:

            1. How much capacity the construction sector has with the current process (we need to plan stuff out slowly properly)
            2. How much capacity the construction sector might have with a more flexible (less need to actually plan stuff out properly)

            It is impossible to deny that the second option would allow for greater capacity, correct? So I’m asking if that second option was the only one which allowed for the required capacity, would you accept that option? This isn’t a complex question, its fairly basic. Its really just about admitting what we are willing to allow in order to get new homes built.

          8. Owen C

            Did you see the word “if”? Why do you refuse to answer the question? The issue is that planning regulations slow down the process and make it more expensive. Both of these are central to actually building out 10,000 homes in a 12-18mth time frame.

          9. AnAccountant

            We don’t have to lower our standards to incentivise the private sector. Demand is incentive enough. We maintain our high standards and if developers in this country do not want to meet the massive demand out there within the parameters of high standards, a developer from a different country will only be delighted to come in and do it. It’s basic economics. If there is demand, someone *will* serve it.

          10. Owen C

            And yet despite the demand out there today from private sector buyers, the supply is not arriving! So why is that the case??

          11. Owen C

            Wait, which is it, the private sector will deliver the required demand or its too lazy and inefficient to do so? Make up your mind.

          12. AnAccountant

            Did we not *just* talk about bringing in foreign developers to meet the demand the lazy Irish won’t meet?

          13. Owen C

            You want to give an example of how and when this stopped a foreign developer from coming into Ireland?

          14. AnAccountant

            That question doesn’t make any sense. You’re aware that a developer needs permission to develop, right?

          15. Owen C

            So you think that foreign developers are being denied planning permissions by local authorities on account of domestic corruption? But only in the residential sector, presumably? Its quite the conspiracy story you have going on here. You should contact a journalist about it.

          16. AnAccountant

            I’m just answering your questions with speculative answers. Your position is still that we must give the private sector more discounts on our resources and allow them to build substandard homes to alleviate this crisis, is it?

          17. Owen C

            “I’m just answering your questions with speculative answers”

            So basically you’re making it all up? Ok, you can just leave it there.

          18. AnAccountant

            That’s not what speculative means. It’s pretty embarrassing that you’re using words you don’t know the meaning of when you’re clearly ticked off over someone criticising private developers. Is your position still that we, as a society, cannot provide homes to our children unless we give private developers more discounts on our resources and let them build dangerous, substandard homes?

          19. Owen C

            No, i quite specifically said we just can’t do it in the timeframe suggested.

            Also

            “That’s not what speculative means. It’s pretty embarrassing that you’re using words you don’t know the meaning of”

            speculative
            ˈspɛkjʊlətɪv/Submit
            adjective
            1.
            engaged in, expressing, or based on conjecture rather than knowledge.

            conjecture
            kənˈdʒɛktʃə/Submit
            noun
            1.
            an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information.

            So you were just making it up. Well, this is awkward.

          20. AnAccountant

            “an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information.”

            Incomplete information implies some information so no, not “making things up”. Mate. It’s Friday. Calm down.

          21. Owen C

            Look, lets clarify how this whole discussion progressed: you started by complaining about me having negative opinions and then said that we needed a positive attitude to get things done. Actions come from thoughts etc. People are delusional for thinking problems can’t be overcome. But they haven’t been overcome cos private sector is lazy. But private sector will overcome the problems. But the domestic private sector can’t and wont. So developers from another country will come in and fix the problem. Even though they haven’t previously. Corruption stopping them from doing so. Evidence? None needed, just speculation.

            You literally said everything above. Its a meandering mess of incoherent and rambling thought, buttressed with idle speculation filling in the enormous blanks that so obviously exist. It is nonsense masquerading as a plan.

          22. MoyestWithExcitement

            It’s not me, no. If it was me, I’d have pointed out that Owen was also speculating so he was mocking someone for doing the same thing he did. Which is *quite* funny. Nice to know you’re thinking of me though.

    1. AnAccountant

      “I’d guess you’d need 25,000 workers, employed on 50-100 large development sites, to do this, between now and early 2019. An entirely realistic scenario!”

      Why wouldn’t it be?

      1. Owen C

        because we currently employ 140k people in construction and probably built 7-8k new homes last year (if data reflected reality) and 15-18k this year. My 25k is a low ball number, and you’re talking about increasing the output of an entire sector by 50-75% vs this year and 125% vs last year. Do these seem like realistic scenarios when we are currently stuck in second gear?

        1. AnAccountant

          What it looks like you’re saying is that the private sector are lazy and inefficient so no point in aiming for better. Is that an accurate summation of your position?

          1. Owen C

            What im saying is that a huge proportion of the people required to build the homes would need to come from abroad (as they did in 2004-07). Further, the sites identified for development then were acquired over many years. This can not therefore happen overnight.

          2. AnAccountant

            “What im saying is that a huge proportion of the people required to build the homes would need to come from abroad”

            Sure, just like our health industry. This can be done, can’t it?

          3. Owen C

            Its not that we cant get some people from abroad, its the scale of the influx we can’t expect to arrive in the time frame involved. A more realistic scenario is trying to scale up by +25% rather than +100%.

          4. Clampers Outside!

            I believe it was you, AnAccountant, that first started calling the private sector lazy, not Owen C.

            Quick question for AnAccountant…. where you going to house these tens of thousands of temporary workers brought in to do the work in a year?

      2. Rob_G

        Try hiring one carpenter for a job in the next 6 months, then come back to me.

        Now, try hiring 1,000 carpenters.

        1. b

          what we need to do is attract another wave of skilled migrant labour to do all these jobs

          Now, where to house them?

        2. Owen C

          I have multiple stories of builders not even bothering to quote for requested work at the moment such is the level of activity. “Come back to me in three months” sorta thing. Huge amount of renovation work going on which is not fitting into the construction data (new home builds)

          1. b

            “AnAccountant
            September 8, 2017 at 3:19 pm
            “What im saying is that a huge proportion of the people required to build the homes would need to come from abroad”

            Sure, just like our health industry. This can be done, can’t it?”

            HSE can’t hire enough nurses at the moment despite campaigns to come home, which completed negates that point

          2. Pádraig Ó Raghaill

            That is false equivalence “b”
            For one the numpties instead of bringing in our sponsoring in from the EU tried to shoehorn people out of Australia as an example. Yeah, good luck with that and failed miserably. You are also talking health workers that are in demand everywhere and so many go to Canada and Australia due to being treated like the valuable people that they are.

    2. Empty homes

      We don’t even need to build that many houses, there are enough EmptyHomes around the country that could be fixed up far quicker and cheaper than thousands of new builds.

      It could also help the economy with extra taxes, more people working on them paying extra taxes. But all FG do is have a summit, like that is going to do anything. They are the worst and most devious government in my lifetime and a pox on all of them as far as I am concerned.

      1. Rob_G

        If FG tried to force all of the homeless people to live in the places where there are empty houses (which I think they should personally), there would be uproar.

        Homeless people want houses, but only within the county of Dublin, apparently.

        1. Owen C

          Only with the parts of the county of Dublin where they are most familiar with/originally from, actually.

          We could actually build 10,000 in the Athlone/Mullingar/Tullamore triangle (lots of land, lots of unemployment – Longford @ almost 20%) and it would actually make a lot of sense long term (decentralisation v2.0), but I think its fair assumption that lots of people would have a problem with this idea for a variety of reasons.

        2. Empty homes

          Sorry Rob I beg to differ. EmptyHomes is a new Twitter page and have had many photos of empty houses sent in. There are many EmptyHomes in Dublin too. Plus there are many homeless people around the country who are only too willing to move into the empty houses that are near them, obviously the privately owned houses they have no say on, but from memory a council estate in Mullingar had 22 boarded up houses that could be used and something very similar in rathangan.

          1. rotide

            Define ‘many’.

            Is there evidence that these homes are actually long term empty, or just people wandering past and snap a photo for twitter.

  4. Owen C

    Also, “14th wealthiest country” is a terribly inaccurate statement. We have the 14th highest GDP in the world. Notwithstanding the appropriateness or not of GDP for anything reality-based in Ireland, GDP does not actually measure wealth, it measures income. They are different things. They take no account of external debt, which as we are aware, we have quite a bit of.

      1. Owen C

        Well done Tony, people seek to engage with you and you respond with sarcastic jibes. Remember – this is all about you and your soapbox.

        1. Tony Groves

          Only you don’t engage Owen. You move from disproven point to disproven point. I’ve a day job. But feel free to drop into the Gravediggers some evening and teach me.
          Other than that, keep fighting the ‘good’ fight.

          1. Owen C

            What are the disproven points in my initial post above? I asked simple questions. If they are so easily disproven you could just answer them and put me in my place. But you didn’t both to answer, and yet apparently had enough free time from your day job to come in with the jibes. You are massive on rhetoric, but completely lacking in substance.

      2. rotide

        Your piece has been truly taken apart by someone who clearly knows what they are talking about.

        Time to revert to name calling.
        Surprised you haven’t called him a racist yet.

  5. A snowflake's chance in hell

    Excellent piece but of course it’s deliberate policy and badly needed

    We had far too many years of folks gaming the system and making a living by making illegitimate children to induct them into a lifetime of underclass and free gaffs

    Folks should go live in North Korea, or dare I say it, consider moving to Cavan or Donegal if they can’t make it in the big smoke. It’s not like we don’t need to have our rural communities revitalised by a generation of dolies.

  6. MKG985

    will yiz give over, half of you (robby ciano) would step over a homeless person if they were in yer way. Don’t let the fact some of us wouldn’t shouldn’t bother you.

  7. scottser

    The blocker in the system is a small word that covers all manner of excuses. The word is ‘may’; as in the housing authority may or it may not do a,b,c or d.

    that has been challenged in court tony. sdcc lost a case last year (?) regarding a woman who left a RAS tenancy here to go to the UK. it didn’t work out and when she came back she was refused emergency accommodation by sdcc on the basis that she wasn’t made homeless from their jurisdiction. the court intimated that the act interprets ‘may’ as ‘must’ and ‘should’ as opposed to a discretion on the part of the local authority.

    you could also point to sec (8) that states that if your circumstances change to the extent that you could be deemed not homeless – such as being offered housing – emergency accommodation can be withdrawn or refused. this again has been challenged through the courts to the extent that local authorities are scared of litigation on this point. there seems to be a lot of ‘opinion’ floating around on refusals and what local authorities should do about it but really, look at the court judgments if you want to see the full story.

  8. Andy

    Come on, you can do better than this.

    1. GDP / Capita is flow. Wealth is stock. As such, GDP / Capita is not a measure of Wealth, it is a measure of income. Income is not wealth.
    2. Refinancing €5bn of debt does not increase the overall amount of Debt. It has no impact on the “Balance sheet” or our Debt to GDP/GNP ratio.
    3. There are tons of things stopping the state building 10,000 homes within the next 18 months. Primarily the fact that it takes well over 2 years to build any reasonable sized development (100+ units) in Ireland. Never mind the time for surveying, designing, tendering for construction contracts, infrastructure build-out, utility connections etc.
    4. “Make the provision of housing a right” – for an article demanding action over words, this is contradictory. Making housing a right does nothing. Murder is illegal in Ireland yet it still happens. Putting something into a statute doesn’t actual make any difference on the ground.
    5. Demand/Legislate that Vultures make their properties available to social housing? Who are these vultures? What happens the existing tenants in these properties?

    Overall 2/10

    1. Owen C

      Cairn Homes have said it will take around 2 yrs for them to get builders on site for the RTE site they just bought, for example, given the process of getting a design team in place, designing it, applying for planning, getting planning, lining up workers and materials etc.

          1. Harry Molloy

            not being a smart arse or telling you what to do tone, but it seems to me from reading various online publications that it is seldom a good idea to engage in the comments sections. when you’re explaining you’re losing and all that. but I sincerely admire your openness!

          2. Tony Groves

            You’re right Harry, there is a mischievous side to me. But yep, it’s pointless engaging with silly games. I do think there’s room for comments, but the level of mendacity posing as opinion/critique here is disappointing. People are dying on the streets and the trolls are triumphant that I forgot to dot an i.

            Cheers all the same.
            TG

          3. b

            “anyone who points out the bull in your argument doesn’t care about the homeless”

            Said in my first post in reply to the article raising an error with the premise. But hey, I’m just a troll.

            Tony, if you don’t want your opinions discussed, don’t raise them for discussion

    2. Clampers Outside!

      The Vultures should be banned from operating in the housing sector like they have done in the UK, not pandered too as Tony appears to request. Get ’em out of the housing market and make em sell the stock altogether!

        1. Clampers Outside!

          My bad… I thought they had banned them in the UK. But apparently, the UK has banned them from operating in the poorest countries, not the UK itself…. they are banned from operating through the UK courts in the buying up of poor country debt.

          I was sure that they had banned them from the housing market in the UK. Link below…

          https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2010/apr/11/vulture-funds-banned-uk-courts

          I’ll get me coat, my mistake / misinterpretation… :/

    1. LW

      I’d hate to be hiring you to develop an app called Clampers Outside. Car still clamped, free lecture on the evils of feminism though

  9. :-Joe

    To make housing a right is more than reasonable to me.

    The establishment coalition for the elite is more than willing to ignore the poor and unfortunate so they need all the incentives possible. A good kick up ass is long over due for most of them.

    If we were to regularly review and be willing to modify the constitution and the law more often, we might get somewhere better that little bit faster.

    EU politicians working locally in their own countries no longer know what they are doing, let alone have the inclination or forsight to take responsibility and do anything without a lot of protest long after the problems have escalated.

    I wonder what the EU hierarchy thinks about all this….

    :-J

    1. scottser

      If you make housing a right then everyone gets a gaff at 18, even the children of the wealthy. Even Denis o’brien gets housing.

  10. Sheik Yahbouti

    Great stuff lads. I just love to hear 247 reasons why NOTHING CAN BE DONE and NOTHING CAN EVER CHANGE. You’ve made my weekend. Tony, why do you bother your ho-ill?

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Ah, ’tis yourself :-D. ‘Every single day? ‘ I think you mislead yourself. You’ve been well spotted by people other than me for a long time.

      1. It Won't Stand Up In Court

        It’s an amazing nursing home you’re living in there

        Normally they would put the dementia cases to bed before 8pm

      2. Sheik Yahbouti

        Hold on, where’s the post from ‘it won’t stand up in court’ ‘ (how many incarnations?) that I was replying to? It makes a nonsense of the reply. If there is regret about the unnecessary unpleasantness of that person’s comment it should be expressed.

  11. Baffled

    Tony’s seeming unwillingness to sensibly engage with evidence-based criticisms of his ramblings is very disappointing. Broadsheet’s editorial team should reflect on how this looks to its readership.

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