"Just as being comfortable in one's skin is a most secure feeling, so the same kind of safety and settledness is produced within us when we are snuggly wrapped up at home in front of the fire with a plate of biscuits on one's knee and a drink at one's side as we listen to the pelting rain outside frantically knock at the window and hear the wild wind send its roar through the tree tops. There is no place like home and there is simply no pleasure like the comforts of one's home.
The ache for home lives in all of us. It is a safe place where we can go and not be answerable to another or questioned by any. I have met many single women of middle age and beyond, who though they never married, declared that they are so comfortable with their own company in their own home now that they wouldn't risk losing what freedom they possess by having the intrusion of another into their daily routine; especially a smelly man whose unmentionable sounds are unwelcomed by any lady of the house. One spinster colleague who I worked with in the Huddersfield Probation Office once told me, 'When you live alone, Bill, the companionship you have is never too cold for comfort and is always acceptable; and what you do and the way you do it is always to your liking.'
Despite the many advances and the overall improvements to the nation's living standards since the end of the Second World War, the one obvious area we severely fall behind in today (whichever political party is in power), is in the amount and quality of our housing stock for families who need a house and who will never be able to buy their own home. When we build a mere fraction of newer homes each year than the country needs, we are undoubtedly in the midst of a 'housing crisis.' When the totality of new houses built annually number fewer than the number of new homeless arrivals to our shores, the housing crisis inexorably worsens!
As to the homeless who cannot even find any manner of roof over their heads for the night, they have to sleep on park benches covered by sheets of cardboard, beneath arches, in shop doorways, under tunnels and even in large waste disposal bins. What safety and feelings of comfort will they know when the cold air bites and the pouring rain soaks?
It was Confusius who said, 'The state of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.' Where is there an ounce of integrity in any Prime Minister of the day who allows the nation's housing stock to worsen year after year? When Prime Ministers raised in fine dwellings are too smooth in their daily dealings to worry about those citizens sleeping rough, as Hamlet might say, 'Something is rotten in the State of Denmark.'
Every year since the end of the Second World War, all Prime Ministers have pledged to greatly improve the nation's housing stock by their end of office and with a few exceptions in the 50s and 60s, all have failed. I doubt if there will be any significant positive change during the years ahead. Do I respect them I hear you ask? In all truth, I wouldn't share my last biscuit with any of them." William Forde: February 15th, 2016.