Nick Clegg is right – council housing would have encouraged people to vote Labour

Nick Clegg has made the claims in the run-up to publication of his autobiography [Image: Getty].

Nick Clegg has made the claims in the run-up to publication of his political memoir [Image: Getty].

It’s a sure-fire way of getting people to vote Labour – but right-wing New Labour MPs never took the opportunity and now the party is paying for it.

This Writer has often entertained the belief that the best way a Labour government could have boosted its own support would have been to build council housing – in Conservative constituencies.

Think about it. A great many constituencies are held by Tories with a majority of only a few hundred or a few thousand. What happens to that majority if a few thousand people move into newly-built council (or at least social) housing there?

The Tories understand this. It’s why they are pushing up the price of housing so poorer people cannot afford to stay in Conservative-held constituencies.

Jeremy Corbyn understands it too. That’s why he is promising rent caps and a new generation of social housing that will end this ‘social cleansing’, under a Labour government headed by him.

And now we see that Nick Clegg gets it, too. What a shame he kept his head down and let the Tories do almost anything they wanted during the five years of the Coalition government.

David Cameron and George Osborne refused to build more council houses because it would “create Labour voters”, Nick Clegg has revealed.

He said either Cameron or Osborne – “I honestly can’t remember whom” – told him: “I don’t understand why you keep going on about the need for more social housing – it just creates Labour voters.”

Mr Clegg went on: “They saw housing as a petri dish for voters. Unbelievable.”

Source: David Cameron and George Osborne wouldn’t build council houses because it would ‘create Labour voters’ – Mirror Online

Clegg – who has gone down in history as one of the most hate UK politicians of recent years because of his many betrayals of voters, most particularly over tuition fees, has also said David Cameron and George Osborne were particularly keen to slash benefits to the bone because they believed that was what their target voters wanted.

Isn’t it interesting that this is also what ‘New’ Labour MPs seemed to think they should do, in order to get the kind of voters they wanted?

It would have been far better to ignore this tiny minority of the electorate and concentrate on the millions Labour had haemorrhaged by following mean-spirited right-wing policies but for some reason this went out of fashion until Mr Corbyn arrived.

It certainly explains the centre-left Labour leader’s current popularity.

Nick Clegg has accused the former chancellor George Osborne of casually cutting the benefits of the poorest people in society because he believed taking the austerity axe to welfare would boost Conservative popularity.

“Welfare for Osborne was just a bottomless pit of savings, and it didn’t really matter what the human consequences were, because focus groups had shown that the voters they wanted to appeal to were very anti-welfare, and therefore there was almost no limit to those anti-welfare prejudices,” he told the Guardian.

Source: Clegg: Osborne casually cut welfare for poorest to boost Tory popularity | Politics | The Guardian


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7 thoughts on “Nick Clegg is right – council housing would have encouraged people to vote Labour

  1. Neilth

    All well and good but Cleggs point is that there are enough people who see social housing tenants as scrounges to make it worthwhile victimising the poor and that there is an electoral payoff in encouraging uncaring selfishness in the population. This has been Tory policy since the 80s when Thatcherism encouraged the loadsamoney attitudes and talked about the undeserving poor and the underclass. Patrick Minford who was One of the architects of Thatcherism and crawled out of the woodwork again supporting Brexit was particularly vicious in his attacks on the welfare state. He was then working in Liverpool University I think but now I am ashamed to say he is at Cardiff Uni. Living off public money?

  2. mohandeer

    Labour right wingers must have realised this also. They were so unwilling to be associated with the social housing “lot” they quite deliberately acted against them.
    Is that because we of the social housing “lot” are all ingrates and beneath them? If myself and millions of others could have a say regarding this kind of snobbery the right wingers could shove their ministerial prospects where the sun don’t shine.
    Nick Clegg stands to make money out of his memoirs, it is all the more galling then, that he would wait till now to make the observations he has done rather than proffer them in the run up to 2015 GE. Tim Farron and co. have done even more damage to their image by attacking Corbyn and by asssociation, the millions who support him, even though many LibDems are far more centrist than the hard right of Labour’s 172 MP’s. What a dirty job being a politician is, how on earth has JC after all these years, not been infected with the same grotesquely self serving inclinations and attitudes?

  3. LarrySemmins

    As someone who has been in construction for over 40yrs this was very noticeable,you could see the crash coming. Even if Blair and co had done something as simple as stopping forced self employment it would of helped but oh no they knew exactly what they were doing and the consequences.

  4. Tim

    Labour during the thirteen year period of reign under Blair and Brown built less council housing than Cameron did in five years I believe I’m right in saying – and Cameron’s government built next to no council housing whatsoever.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      The only figures I have are for social housing, which might include housing association homes. The figures suggest around 223,000 houses during the Labour period, and around 125,000 during the Cameron years up to 2014. I’m not excusing New Labour – it’s a rubbish total, despite being more than you thought.

      1. Tim

        Yep. But I thought the article was specifically concerned with council housing. And don’t forget the in the run up to the 1997 election Labour promised to allow councils to use revenue received from council house sales to build more council housing – I remember John Prescott toured the country publicising it – and then broke it’s promise as soon as Blair was elected Prime Minister. Plus Labour championed selling off council housing stock to housing associations and even in some cases private landlords using the same bent voting system for tenants (where every abstention was counted as a vote for transfer of housing stock away from the council to a new landlord) and arms length management organisations (ALMO) rather than councils to manage council housing stock which also caused difficulties locally.

        Labour’s record on social housing was an absolute disgrace, let’s make no bones about it: using your figures Labour built roughly 223,000/13 ≃ 17,000 units per year compared to the Tory record of 125,000/4 ≃ 31,000 units per year. When you think about Tory aversion to social housing this is a terrible indictment of Labour’s conduct under Blair and Brown.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        The article was indeed about council housing. That’s why I made clear in my reply to you that the figures available to me were for social housing, which may include HA dwellings. It is, therefore, redundant of you to use that as a criticism against me.
        Nice to see you giving New Labour some appropriate criticism. Notice that the Tor is have made the same promise and failed to deliver on it.

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