“… we should move expeditiously but not in a stampede..”

So said the 15 times re-elected Republican senator, Henry Hyde.  Judicious words, as one would expect,or at least hope from someone who chaired the Judiciary Committee and the International Relations Committee at the time of 9/11. Considered and measured behaviour has been in short supply over the past few days, whereby everyone’s favoured course of action has been to err on the side of hysteria as opposed to caution.  Word of the week has been ‘stampede’ (Scrabble value 13 if you are interested), which has been bandied about at a gallop. As we approached 1 March, the press breathlessly told everyone that there was a stampede to get property sales completed before the stamp duty changes kicked in and the buy to let world ended the following day (obviously). Countrywide has now reported that there was a stampede of people aiming to complete before 1 April.  For those of you who may be interested, (at least try and pretend that you care…) completions were up 17% on the equivalent period in 2015.

The press continued with their favourite word this past weekend as according to various reports, the Labour Party were involved in their very own stampede (no, not the one on 8 May last year when everyone tried to distance themselves from having had anything to do with Ed M), to condemn David Cameron.  It has been widely, if begrudgingly acknowledged that he has not broken any laws, but is guilty of being rich.  As one commentator described it, 50% of the people say that he is rich and well done, whilst the other 50% are saying that he is rich so therefore automatically qualifies for getting the sack.

Cheshire & Co experienced Cwmbran’s own version of the Calgary Stampede this weekend and it had nothing to do with tax returns and offshore trusts and everything to do with a bath. Bear with me on this one.  We look after a property where the tenants have had a few problems with the rent (finding it) but the landlord has been very understanding and has allowed them to pay off the arrears monthly.  On Friday, the tenant reported a bow in the kitchen ceiling because the lavatory above was leaking and, “had been for some time”, which they had not chosen to report “some time” ago. We arranged to visit the property the next day-Saturday- at 0900hrs.  Upon reaching the office the following morning, I discovered that our answering service had had a nervous breakdown as a result of innumerable increasingly hysterical and irate messages informing us that the said ceiling had now collapsed.  We immediately went to the property and established that the leak had actually originated from the bath where the tenant had decided to take off the side panel, “some time ago” but had chosen not to replace it for practical, plumbing or aesthetic purposes.  As we set to rectifying the situation, our and the contractors’ efforts were somewhat impeded by the stampede-bigger than the cast of extras in any John Wayne film- of family, friends, some one that they met in Alicante ten years ago and the neighbour that they loathe, who were all demanding that the tenants were put up in the Celtic Manor, had an entire new bathroom suite fitted and/or were given a new house to live in (and potentially flood).  I would point out that the tenants themselves were very happy with the arrangements made.

I did note with a wry smile that none of these concerned, stampeding citizens who were morally outraged at the circumstances that their friends/family members found themselves in were on the scene or beating a path to our door to help them with the repeated, late monthly rental payments.  Nor had they stampeded to help with the alleged leak in the bathroom.  They did though continually refer to the rich landlord who was making money out of people who could not afford to buy a house.  This would be the same landlord who was allowing the tenants to discharge the arrears month by month when he was wholly within his rights to show them the door.

Rather appropriately as I listen to PMQ’s and the teeth-sucking, hand-wringing of Jeremy’s lot, I rather think that -as with many things-Winston Churchill was spot on when he said, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery”. But not the sharing of the necessary equipment to replace a bath panel.