In this time of electoral focus I represent the nadir of political engagement. Not because I’m not interested in the governance of the country, the various party policies or the horrible inevitability of the next shower of bastards being just as bad and self-serving as the last. That’s not it at all. No, see, the problem is that I’m single, white, male and employed.
At this point some will no doubt have reached for their privilege checkers because, as we all know, complicated social issues are always best addressed with some trite millennial phrase that the witless can spout to seem intellectual and engaged – like those people who shout YOLO and think they’re expressing a somehow new concept that Carpe Diem doesn’t cover.
I know, OK? I’m aware of the manifold advantages that the accident of my birth has conveyed upon me. I’m also pretty certain that I’ll never be able to apologise enough for the random chance that is my existence to make some people happy and so I won’t bother. What I will do is gripe about the fact that, due to our vacuous and graspingly aspirational culture, everyone’s a property developer now. No one knows why they are, but people are seemingly consumed by the desire to ‘add value’ to their property as though living in it is some transient step on the ladder to an identical building where they can repeat the cycle.
Consequently, and quite aside from the national shortfall in affordable housing – with new builds typically being featureless shitboxes crammed cheek-by-jowl on postage stamp-sized plots – my options are few. There’s little in the way of bribes, I mean incentives … sorry, policies in any of the manifestos that are of any particular benefit – presumably because I already have all the advantages I need – and those houses that do hit the market are either overpriced courtesy of speculation or snapped up by some tit and split into a dozen shoeboxes for people who like having their bed in the kitchen.
There’s also the curious trend toward rents being in roughly the same ballpark as mortgages, with the same litany of mysterious fees – including council tax which, so far as I can tell, evaporates into the ether – and the question of why it’s ok for millions to pay someone else’s mortgage by-proxy when they can’t necessarily obtain one of their own.
Look, what I’m saying is that I hate my housemates and I’m stuck for the next twelve months. God damn it.