Plaid Cymru housing spokesman Rhodri Glyn Thomas's call for action over the housing crisis in Wales, exemplified by the phenomenon of about 26,000 empty homes, may seem a problem peculiar to that country.
Wales certainly has specific challenges in providing homes for its population, not least the tendency of people from wealthier parts of Britain to buy property in beautiful rural areas.
This prices local people out of the housing market and can also affect the viability of Welsh-language communities, although many incomers choose to learn Welsh.
People have an absolute right to move around Britain and it would be wrong to blame them for economic problems associated with housing in Wales, Cornwall, the Lake District or other locations where wage levels are low and property prices rising.
The reason behind the mismatch is politicians' inability to look beyond the supremacy of markets to formulate economic policy.
Governments are loth to intervene in markets as though this were a mortal sin even though the negative effects of unrestrained markets are easily seen.
The Westminster consensus to leave provision of homes to market forces has put additional pressure on what remains of council housing and thrown millions of poor people into the clutches of grasping private landlords.
In little over a month, the Tory-led government will impose regulations to strip claimants, whether in work or not, of 14 per cent of housing benefit if they are adjudged to have an "underoccupied" bedroom.
The penalty for having two such bedrooms would rise to 25 per cent, leaving tenants facing a forced transfer or eviction for non-payment of rent.
Chancellor George Osborne and well-heeled Tory commentator Dominic Lawson see no problem with this situation, even seeking to pass it off as social fairness.
They are more taken with the plight of people unfortunate enough to be living in properties worth over £2 million after Labour leader Ed Miliband announced that he favoured a tax on such homes to pay for restoration of the 10p tax band.
Osborne claims that this would mean having "to send inspectors round the country valuing all the homes, not just the homes worth over £2 million but those worth less."
Why this should be necessary he doesn't say, any more than he explains how much bureaucracy would be entailed in identifying all the "underoccupied" bedrooms.
Lawson reverts to Thatcher-era mythology about the problem for a "little old lady" living in a "home above a certain value" being able to pay her tax.
No such sentiment attaches to people - little or large, woman or man - who have lived for decades in their homes and face eviction after the death of their partner or when their children leave home.
In any event, councils don't have enough one-bedroom homes to accommodate all these "underoccupiers," proving that the conservative coalition's main concern is undermining council tenants' right of tenure.
Housing remains fundamental to many of the social divisions in Britain today and will be so until it is treated as an essential service.
Homes, whether publicly or privately owned, should not be permitted to remain empty for nine-tenths of the year.
Westminster, Cardiff and Edinburgh should have the powers and the finance to tackle the failings of the housing market, raise finance from those who have grown rich through speculation and build or upgrade enough homes to house everyone.