Monday, May 14, 2007

Meet the new Thatcher?

According to Gordon Brown, the big problem with Thatcher is she didn’t go far enough in promoting private home ownership.

Gordon Brown speaking on Sunday AM: “A home-owning, asset-owning, wealth-owning democracy is what would be in the interests of our country because everybody would have a stake in the country. The problem is that even with the great ambitions of the 1950s or the 1980s, they did not succeed in widening the scope for home ownership to large numbers of people who want it

So according to Brown, Thatcher failed becasue her great ambition of promoting home ownership during the 1980s, (acheived by banning councils from building new council houses, and forcing them to sell off their existing stock at a loss under "right to buy" legislation) was not ambitious enough.

How out of touch this is with the reality of the housing crisis for working people. House prices are so high that people simply cannot afford to buy, and many who do own their own houses struggle with huge debt. The answer is not promoting more home ownership, but a massive expansion of council housing, at affordable rents. It seems despite rumours circulating that Gordon Brown would increase council housing, in fact his priority is promoting even higher levels of private house ownership, and even more debt, with associated problems of stress and worry: expansion of social housing is mentioned only as an afterthought.

Assett owning is also code for share ownership. A clear sign that New Labour under Brown will be more of the same: PFI, privatisation, the rich getting richer and worship of the idea that greed is good.

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