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  1. Disasters can also be averted, which is why the rigorous approach after Ronan Point was the correct response.
  2. Empathy is an uncomfortable force in politics.
  3. The homeless often feel invisible, allowed to plummet through widening holes in the social safety net, then hidden in doorways from which people avert their eyes.
  4. Whenever rent controls or increased tenants’ rights are raised, naysayers wail that doing so will cause landlords to flee the rental market. Firstly, that is a canard: if a landlord charges £1000 for a room, and you tell him from now on he can only charge £900, he won’t decide to instead earn nothing.
  5. Conservatives have always embraced the idea of grammar schools — that giving a top tier education to bright children from working class backgrounds provides them with the opportunities their middle class counterparts take for granted.
  6. Faith is about offering emotional and practical help to your neighbours while expecting nothing in return: you do so simply because you think it’s needed.
  7. The impact of punitive government measures is long-lasting and widens inequality and social discord.
  8. Almost all the people I’ve met in temporary accommodation fell behind with their rent because of benefit cuts, or found their landlord was no longer willing to keep them on since their income had been frozen.
  9. I’ve read enough dreary campus novels to know more than I ever wanted to about the punctured Oxbridge academic psyche, and feel as if I’ve been through a mid-life crisis dozens of times, purely because I’ve foolishly grabbed a paperback by an author I’ve vaguely heard of.
  10. Council housing works because it pays for itself relatively quickly: the rent paid by tenants covers the building costs in the long term, and eventually makes a profit for the local authority, which continues to invest in the local area. The money continues to circulate within the community rather than simply boosting the profits of landlords.
  11. Focusing on the gifted always leaves people behind, and portrays working-class people as a repellent hinterland that ‘gifted’ and ‘talented’ children need rescuing from.
  12. If Freemasons won’t be completely open about their membership, should we not say that in all cases membership is incompatible with public service? Asking public servants to either confirm they are not a member of a masonic organisation or to be open when they are won’t fully excise the backroom deals or the stench of privilege.
  13. Making it compulsory to show identification before voting risks compromising a basic human right by creating further barriers for people who may no longer have an acceptable form of ID, thanks to the often unpredictable and chaotic lifestyle homelessness can cause.
  14. Children are more perceptive than we give them credit for: the poorest kids know their place as surely as the wealthiest children are aware of their station.
  15. I was one of the few journalists who was quite pro-Corbyn from the beginning.
  16. In one of my secondary schools, the single kindest thing I remember was a teacher who quietly offered to wash the uniform of a friend who was being hounded by children saying he ‘stank’: his mother was unemployed and couldn’t always afford to take his clothes to the launderette.
  17. Reading is a pleasure, yes, but not without effort: choosing to read novels purely because they mirror your own experience is stultifying.
  18. Human life is fragile, and the threat posed to individuals in politics cannot be overlooked.
  19. Codes and signals are as important as explicit messages, and the two are linked. The bore pressing someone to tell them ‘where they’re really from’ will see themselves as different to the aggressive stranger barking at someone to ‘get back to their own country,’ but the subconscious, if not explicit, message is the same.
  20. If Theresa May is a white woman who is very well-educated and very wealthy, she’s more likely to act in the interests of, say, a very wealthy white man than she is a working class poor black or immigrant woman.



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