Yesterday, Grant “Spiv” Shapps, MP for Welwyn Hatfield, lost his rag in no style at all over a report from the United Nations’ (UN) special rapporteur on adequate housing, and in the process demonstrated that he is unfit for, well, any office at all, and that you should not even consider buying a secondhand car from him, no matter how clean his sheepskin coat.
One careful owner, full service history ...
Raquel Rolnik, who is Brazilian, made a number of observations about the UK’s policies on housing, as one might expect, given her brief. But it was her call for the Government to reconsider its “bedroom tax”, aka “spare room subsidy”, that caused Shapps to throw the full set of toys out of his pram. He began his assault by claiming that Ms Rolnik “had not been invited by the Government”.
Sadly, this was yet another Shapps whopper, as Ms Rolnik’s report makes clear: “From 29 August to 11 September 2013, I undertook an official visit to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the invitation of the Government” [my emphasis]. Shapps then claimed that she didn’t meet ministers, and this too has not survived a little factual scrutiny.
“I have had the opportunity to meet with numerous Government officials, including some Ministers” recalls Ms Rolnik, and in any case, her agenda had been organised by the Government, so if Shapps wants to rant and froth at anyone for any perceived gaps in her schedule, he should direct his anger at his own colleagues, instead of firing off accusing letters to Ban Ki-moon.
In any case, the criticism Ms Rolnik made was merely a statement of the bleeding obvious: if you dock housing benefit from anyone with a spare room as a way of getting them to downsize and free up social housing for larger families, it’s stuff all use if there aren’t sufficient smaller properties for those affected to move into. Many have no option but to stay put and lose out.
And the snarking at Ms Rolnik hailing from Brazil – “a country that has 50 million in inadequate housing”, according to “Spiv” Shapps – is just lame. Had the rapporteur been from the USA, where millions live in grinding poverty, he wouldn’t have dared. In any case, he has no room to call anyone out, given his previous form, which included a highly suspect way of boosting his Twitter following (see HERE).
Look who's been up to his old tricks
Moreover, although the number of Twitter feeds Shapps follows had remained fairly static recently, he managed to spare the time in the past week to follow more than 150 new accounts per day over a six-day period, which suggests that old habits are being revisited. If Grant Shapps wants to complain about questionable practices, he could do worse than start with Himself Personally Now.
And stop trying to sell the UN Secretary General another of his dodgy motahs.