A man may save his soul on the rack, or in a concentration camp oi in a complete system of State slavery. But a society of common men and women cannot be expected to be fully responsible moral agents if they have no homes to own as their own and to love and cherish and improve.
On examination we find that the generality of the men and women, who plan for the common man a completely propertyless status, have themselves houses and estates. Some months ago a member of the late government whose watchword is "Fair shares for all" bought himself a nice house and estate for £18,000. An ordinary decent workman in a lifetime of work pays enough in rent to buy a house two or three times over, hut he will never get a house. Between the wars more and more men and women were buying themselves houses (and also motor-cars). That process is now almost impossible.
On the other hand hundreds of millions are being spent to house at work tens of thousands of men and women whose function is to control and forbid working men to build and own houses. We have, therefore, a self-perpetuating and extending system of insufficiency of houses. There is uncontrolled liberty of the controlling classes to control and forbid and make more difficult the natural right which Mr. Tickle affirms for a man to own his own home.
Tens of thousands of young people have to reckon with the fact that the waiting list gets longer, so that by the time their turn comes the hest years of their married life will be over, and with the decline in the purchasing power of money they may not he able to afford the rent of municipally controlled houses. They resolve, therefore. to have no children.
There are tens of thousands of men (and women) in this country who are able and enthusiastic to build their own houses. and their success would enthuse others in turn. With thousands of young couples living in cellars and attics and sheds and shacks and caravans, why should we not, in the scarcity of building material, turn to older methods of building with cob and pis? Such houses last for centuries and could have all the amenities of other houses. Men setting to build their own houses are just as creditworthy as any other class of the community, and banks should be compelled to grant the necessary credits (mere hook-keeping entries costing the banks nothing more) as to other reputable persons.
E. H. Strange.
Rushden, Nr. Buntingford, Herts.