Housing & Popular Capitalism

Thatcher’s legacy

Chris Price

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Photo by Andre Taissin on Unsplash

Many people are unaware that Thatcher’s first term was a miserable failure. If it wasn’t for the Falklands War she could have found herself out on her ear because her monetarist policies were like the Emperor’s new clothes. The well known campaign phrase “Labour Isn’t working”, referring to the million unemployed under Labour, was dwarfed by the 3 million under the Tories, not to mention the wholesale destruction of the UK’s manufacturing base.

The two messages that underscored her premiership were that the unions were too powerful and the government had too much money. As the unions used their power to fight for workers’ rights and living wages and the government squandered its taxes on universal health care and social housing, its not difficult to figure out who was actually asking for unions to be neutered and for government cash and assets to be shared out.

So Thatcher hog tied the unions and sold the family silver at bargain basement prices, ostensibly to ordinary people. Its no surprise that the corporations circled like foxes round a hen coup and took the shares off our hands with offers we couldn’t refuse. It was similar with council houses, with tenants buying their own homes only to sell them on to private landlords, those landlords effectively replacing councils, with higher rents and poorer service. At the same time the return from the sales went direct to the treasury meaning councils had no money to replace their stock.

So we have a growing housing crisis manufactured by the woman Liz Truss cosplays. I’m a member of TACU (Lancaster & Morecambe Tenants & Community Union). We are here to fight for tenants rights, to take on landlords and campaign for social housing. What landlords and developers see as investment opportunities are our homes. A home fit to live in is a human right, not a privilege. Enough is enough.

This was written for a speech on the October 1st Enough is Enough demo in Lancaster. I’ve been limited to 2 minutes.

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Chris Price

Singer, musician, writer, artist and thinker struggling to make sense of our dangerously dysfunctional society but infatuated with Morecambe Bay & it’s sunsets