Enrique Peña Nieto is not a name on the tips of many tongues in the UK. But if David Cameron was looking for a parallel predicament with which to compare notes then he could do worse than cosy up to the Mexican president for moral support.
Both men face immense challenges to the very economic DNA of the nations they govern. Nieto’s battleground is the war on drug -trafficking, Cameron’s is the British housing market.
At first glance there appears to be little synergy between the hierarchy of Mexico’s brutal drug-cartels and the magnolia-walled environs of a UK suburban estate agent – but both are about to see the bedrock of their respective industries whipped from beneath their feet.
In Mexico, with the drug war death-toll pushing 120,000, people have tired of the cartels’ violence and the govt’s inadequacies and have begun to take the law into their own hands – seizing land, assets and power locally and regionally both from the gangs and the govt.
In the UK, the shift has been far more subtle but no less seismic.
Within 10 years 90% of under-35s in Britain will no longer be able to afford to buy their own home. That is the finding of the highly respected Resolution Foundation and is the central screaming theme of their report which landed on David Cameron’s desk this week. This means the very cultural bedrock of the UK economy is now under threat solely because of affordability. Their findings also show that it now takes a modest income household 22 years to raise the money needed for a typical first-time buyers deposit. Is it any wonder so many young people have abandoned the notion of home ownership and resigned themselves to a lifetime of renting. By driving the desire of demand and disregarding the failures of supply, the housing industry has disregarded the economic rules of engagement and created their own monster – and we all know how that panned out for Frankenstein.
This affordability issue effectively means an Englishman’s home is now no longer his castle – and is more likely to be his shed. So what’s to be done?
One of Enrique Nieto’s leading drugs enforcement officers recently stated that finding a drug-lord cartel leader is like finding a vaccine – you effectively eliminate the problem with one single injection as you would a debilitating disease.
What if Crowdfunding is our vaccine that ensures affordability and gives the Englishman his castle back?Maybe Cameron should pack a sombrero with haste and take Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as his holiday reading.