Monday, 6 August 2007

A Blessing in Disguise

There is a general lament in Britain about the lack of housing affordability, but having now witnessed a country where property is still (just about) affordable to younger people I hope Britain stays as it is. Knowing that you have little hope of being able to buy a house has turned people to regard their youth as a great fin-de-siecle rort of resigned abandonment. There is something of the raw liberation of Wiemar about this decadence before the deluge, albeit on a more innocuous level.

In Australia by contrast, as soon as the teenage years are over the Australian dream of a plot of land enters the brain and as the years pass it grows and grows, rotting away any joie de vivre like a personality cancer. Money and mortgages are all anyone ever thinks about. They claw after more and more cash with a deranged obsession, like grotesque characters from a second rate parody of Thatcherism, forcing themselves to work with the flu and always finding reason to stay back (Australia works more unpaid overtime than anyone else). Of course however much you have there's always someone on more to bitch about, and so every pay rise saps away a little more humanity and replaces it with envy and hatred. Gradually life become measured out entirely in payment installments and how much you are earning, or, more crucially, how much you aren't.

I am not suggesting that money is a bad thing per se, my upbringing was not affluent enough to allow that indulgence, but to place it at the centre of one's whole being is truly sick. If you have money it should be enjoyed frivilously, not fetished. The fixation of some people here could not be any more perverse if they tried to fuck an ATM.

On the plus side I just read a tabloid scare story about house prices going higher than ever, so maybe there is still hope. Throw away your 1950s dreams Australia, the party is just beginning...

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