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Proletarian issue 16 (February 2007)
Letter: Arthur Scargill and council housing
“And it is our duty, therefore, if we wish to remain socialism, to go down lower and deeper, to the real masses.” (V I Lenin, Imperialism and the Split in the Socialist Movement)

Your article, ‘A comment on housing’ (Dec 06/Jan 07 issue) was a revelation to me. Fancy old Arthur saying, more or less, that “council housing was no longer a working-class issue as they’ve all bought their own houses now” . What subjectivism! Arthur has made it and has a couple of nice homes, one in the Barbican, but what about the miners and ex-miners he represents as President of the NUM?

It is not true that only “the old, the almost old and the downright unlucky live ‘on the council’ any more”. Many old and almost old took the opportunity of Thatcher’s ‘right to buy’ when they were not so old. Their relatives are looking forward to a nice windfall when they die. But, at current prices, working-class council tenants cannot afford to buy even with the ‘right to buy’ discount. Nothing is being built which is really affordable, particularly when there are a few interest rate hikes.

What with the Decent Homes Standard and the Welfare Reform Bill, millions of working-class council tenants are looking forward to substantial rent increases. As for the dreaded ‘right to buy’ homeowners, they are nearly all leaseholders an are being faced with immediate bills of up to £50,000 each for Decent Homes refurbishment.

As for “the downright unlucky” , aren’t they just what Lenin meant when he advised us to go down “lower and deeper” ?

Yours fraternally

Ivor Kenna
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