Top 10 posts of 2015

Before everyone’s attention turns to 2016 there’s still just time to reflect on the year that’s gone. Here are my top 10 posts of 2015 on this blog.

It’s the time of year that everyone with a WordPress blog gets their stats for the year (full report here if you’re interested). My best read posts were:

  1. 10 things you may not know about the Beveridge report
  2. Work hard, do the right thing – and get screwed
  3. Revealing the real Rachman
  4. Have the Tories lost the plot?
  5. The bedroom tax: only fair to private tenants?
  6. The man with a plan who won’t tell us what it is
  7. Rachman, rogues and renting
  8. ‘Here’s how to build a home owning Britain’
  9. Reconstructing Speenhamland
  10. The final countdown.

This time last year I resolved to write more posts exclusively for this blog (most posts were originally done for Inside Housing then re-posted here). I failed miserably in this but will repeat the resolution for 2016 and hope to write more here.

As last year, my top post was actually written in 2012. My blog to mark the 70th anniversary of the Beveridge report seems to have accidentally hit a Google sweetspot and it still gets hundreds of views per month.

Three more old posts also make the list. No 3 and No 7 show our enduring fascination with Rachman and Rachmanism at a time when the rise of private renting seems unstoppable. No 5 was written as a quick riposte to ministers who claimed the bedroom tax was the same as Labour had already introduced for the private rented sector. Until May there seemed a good chance both the policy and the post would quietly disappear. Unfortunately, despite more cuts in benefits in the pipeline, both are still very much with us.

My best read post written this year ( No 2) came directly after the Summer Budget and George Osborne’s decision to make huge cuts in tax credits. It seemed incomprehensible to me at the time that he would target the very strivers his party claimed to champion at the election and eventually he was saved from himself by the House of Lords. Though the cuts have been delayed not abandoned, imagine what the headlines would have been over the Christmas period without the u-turn.

Several other posts covered similar territory, from No 6 on the Conservative refusal to spell out the cuts before the election to No 10 on my 10 worst housing policies in the manifestos. Needless to say, more than half of them are now being implemented. No 9 looked at in-work benefits from a historical perspective, looking back to the debate over the Speenhamland system for supporting agricultural wages.

Finally, No 4 shows that it was me not the Tories who had lost the plot. On my narrower point about their election tactics, it turns out that Sir Lynton Crosby was a genius after all.  My wider point about a housing policy that’s leading nowhere still stands.

If you have been, thanks very much for reading. That’s it from me in 2015. Best wishes for a great 2016.

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