The War on Social Housing – on the Centenary of the Addison Act That Launched the Creation of Large-Scale Council Housing

31.7.19

The unnecessary destruction of Robin Hood Gardens Estate in Poplar, in east London, March 2018, to make way for a new private development, Blackwall Reach (Photo: Andy Worthington).

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Today, July 31, is the centenary of the first Housing and Town Planning Act (widely known as the Addison Act), which was introduced by the Liberal politician Christopher Addison, as part of David Lloyd George’s coalition government following the First World War, to provide Britain’s first major council housing programme, as John Boughton, the author of Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing, explained in an article published yesterday in the Guardian.

Boughton explained how, when Addison “introduced his flagship housing bill to the House of Commons in April 1919”, he spoke of its “utmost importance, from the point of view not only of the physical wellbeing of our people, but of our social stability and industrial content.”

“As we celebrate the centenary of council housing”, Boughton noted, “this sentiment is not lost in the context of the current housing crisis. From the rise in expensive, precarious and often poor-quality private renting to the dwindling dream of home-ownership, it is fuelling discontent. This escalating crisis means that increasing numbers of people are now forced to deal with the painful consequences of the country’s inability to provide such a basic human need — a stable, affordable home.”

Philanthropists had been creating social housing since the 1840s, beginning with Model Dwellings Companies (privately run companies that sought a return for investors while providing affordable housing for the working class), and the Peabody Donation Fund (now Peabody), founded by the London-based US banker George Peabody, whose aim was to “ameliorate the condition of the poor and needy of this great metropolis, and to promote their comfort and happiness”, and whose first project, on Commercial Street in Spitalfields, opened in 1864.

The first council-built housing was created in Liverpool in 1869, and in 1890, as Boughton put it, a Housing Act “established the legislative powers and machinery of state” for the expansion of council housing. He added, however, that “only around 24,000 council homes were built nationally before 1914.”

In contrast, as he described it, the 1919 Addison Act was “a housing revolution”, and while Addison’s motives were commendable, it must be noted that it took the horrors of the First World War —and the housing plight of those who survived it — for the British establishment as a whole to embrace the need for a major programme of genuinely affordable housing.

As he proceeded to explain, “It required not only that all local authorities conduct a survey of housing needs — within just three months — but that they actively prepare plans to meet them. Beyond what could be raised locally by a penny on the rates, the cost of building these new homes was to be met entirely by the Treasury. The act also insisted on high-quality housing, taking its cue from the wartime Tudor Walters Report, which had recommended ‘cottage homes’ with front and back gardens, bathrooms and pantries at no more than 12 to the acre.”

“Unfortunately”, as Boughton proceeded to explain, “in a post-war era of materials and labour shortages, construction costs were unprecedentedly high — at around £1,000 per house, up to three times the cost of pre-war production — and his programme fell victim to public spending cuts. Just 176,000 homes had been built in England and Wales of the 500,000 Lloyd George had promised”, and “Addison resigned from both the government and the Liberal party in protest”, later joining the Labour Party, where he served under Ramsay MacDonald, and became Leader of the House of Lords during Clement Attlee’s extraordinary post-WWII government.

Following Addison’s resignation, there was a revival of council-built housing via other housing acts in the 1920s, although, as Boughton noted, “the houses were typically smaller and plainer than those envisaged in 1919.” In the 1930s, when the Labour politician Herbert Morrison undertook a visionary expansion of council housing in London as the leader of the London County Council (LCC), further housing bills, which particularly took aim at slum clearances — and introduced rent rebates — also addressed what Boughton described as “one serious deficiency in Addison’s reforms – that their relatively high rents excluded the slum population most in need of rehousing.”

The horror of another war — the Second World War — and, again, the plight of returning soldiers paved the way for the British establishment to once more accept the need for another major programme of genuinely affordable housing, as part of the astonishing post-war government led by Clement Attlee, which also established the NHS and consolidated the welfare state.

From then until 1979, when Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister and set about destroying council housing — through her ‘Right to Buy’ policy, cutting funding for maintenance, and introducing an absolute prohibition on councils spending money from the sale of homes to build new council housing — council housing was promoted by both Labour and Conservative governments, ensuring that, for most of the preceding 60 years, after the 1919 Addison Act, there was, as Boughton put it, “a broad cross-party consensus that accepted the necessity of state intervention to build the homes the country needed.”

As Boughton also explained, “One common factor underlay both eras of reform” — under Addison and Nye Bevan — “and it provides the single constant in the long history of what is now referred to as ‘social’ housing: that is the inability of the free market and the unwillingness of the private sector to provide decent, affordable housing to those in greatest need.”

40 years on from the start of Margaret Thatcher’s assault on social housing, Britain’s housing crisis has become nothing short of a disaster. Thatcher presided over a housing bubble, but also a subsequent crash, when numerous homeowners were caught in a negative equity trap. The market remained cool throughout John Major’s premiership, but when Tony Blair became Prime Minister in 1997, ending 18 years of Tory rule, it didn’t take long for another colossal housing bubble to develop — one that continues to plague us today, with house prices at an all-time high, private rents unfettered and out of control, and social housing still chronically undermined. Blair failed to roll back Thatcher’s ‘Right to Buy’ project, and also failed to establish the need for a major social homebuilding programme, and, throughout London, and across the country, Labour councils persistently failed to defend council housing, instead launching estate demolition programmes with private developers that have drastically reduced the numbers of social homes available.

Since 2010, the Tories have only added fuel to this blazing fire of inequality, slashing subsidies for social homebuilding and encouraging housing associations — like Peabody — to lose touch with their founders’ aims by becoming, essentially, private developers with a sideline in social housing. Moreover, when Boris Johnson was London’s Mayor, he set ‘affordable’ rents at 80% of market rents (as opposed to social rents at around 30% of market rents), and this injustice has, typically, not been adequately addressed by the Labour Party, or by the major housing associations. Since replacing Johnson in 2016, Sadiq Khan has set up a sliding scale of allegedly ‘affordable’ rents, all of which are considerably more expensive than social rents — ‘London Affordable Rent’ (over 60% higher for a two-bedroom flat), and ‘London Living Rent’ (over 130% higher).

For more information, see my articles, The Eviction of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden and the Mainstream Media’s Inadequacy in Reporting Stories About “Social Homes” and “Affordable Rents”, Video: I Discuss the Tidemill Eviction, the Broken ‘Regeneration’ Industry and Sadiq Khan’s Stealthy Elimination of Social Rents, as well as Shame on Peabody: Calling on the Former Philanthropic Social Housing Provider to Abandon Its Plans to Destroy the Old Tidemill Garden and Social Housing in Deptford and A Radical Proposal to Save the Old Tidemill Garden and Reginald House in Deptford: Use Besson Street, an Empty Site in New Cross.

The result of the last 40 years of politicians eroding social housing and doing nothing to rein in greed in the housing market is akin to another war, but this time a cannibalistic war waged by British citizens on their less well-off fellow citizens, as those with mortgages taken out before the bubble have seen insane returns on their original investments, and, at the same time, absolutely no legislation exists to prevent those who take out ‘buy to let’ mortgages from exploiting their tenants as much as they wish, while those fortunate enough to live in properties at social rent — myself included — are part of an ever-diminishing minority, and, since 2010, have lived in fear that the Tories will pass legislation intended to fully exterminate social housing, or, if they live on a council estate, that Labour councillors will vote to demolish their homes.

It’s time for the war to end, and for housing to be reinstated as one of three pillars of the welfare state, along with health and education.

Note: If you’re interested in doing something to mark 100 years since the Addison Act, please sign Shelter’s petition calling for the government to build more social housing, and watch George Clarke’s excellent Channel 4 documentary, ‘George Clarke’s Council House Scandal’, which was broadcast this evening, and in which George called on the government to build 100,000 council homes a year, and to suspend ‘Right to Buy.’ An article by George, entitled, ‘We don’t just need more council houses — we need the very best in space and ecological standards’, is here.

* * * * *

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and see the latest photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (click on the following for Amazon in the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from seven years of bike rides around the 120 postcodes of the capital.

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of a new documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and he also set up ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’ as a focal point for resistance to estate destruction and the loss of community space in his home borough in south east London. For two months, from August to October 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody. Although the garden was violently evicted by bailiffs on October 29, 2018, and the trees were cut down on February 27, 2019, the resistance continues.

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, The Complete Guantánamo Files, the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

30 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, a resounding defence of social housing on the centenary of the 1919 Addison Act, which established for the first time a major programme of council housing in the UK, one that was repeated after the Second World War, and lasted until Margaret Thatcher began dismantling it, via ‘Right to Buy’, in 1979.

    Both major programmes began after two wars – the First World War and the Second World War – whereas now the war taking place is being waged on the poorer members of society by their – our – fellow citizens, central and local government, homebuilders and housing associations.

    As I state at the conclusion of my article, “It’s time for the war to end, and for housing to be reinstated as one of three pillars of the welfare state, along with health and education.”

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Do check out ‘George Clarke’s Council House Scandal’ if you can. It was a powerful programme, and George also launched his campaign urging the government to build 100,000 council homes a year: https://www.channel4.com/programmes/george-clarkes-council-house-scandal

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    George also launched a petition, which already has over 9,000 signatures: https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-commit-to-building-100-000-new-council-houses-every-year-for-30-years

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted a link to the petition on Facebook, I wrote:

    After watching ‘George Clarke’s Council House Scandal’ last night, in which he presented an impassioned plea for a massive social homebuilding program to address the UK’s scandalous housing crisis, I’m asking you to please sign his petition calling for the government to commit to building 100,000 genuinely affordable council homes a year for the next 30 years, and also to suspend ‘Right to Buy’, following the lead of Scotland and Wales. Over 15,000 people have already signed the petition, so please sign it and share it like crazy!

    The crisis began 40 years ago when Margaret Thatcher introduced her ‘Right to Buy’ policy, and, crucially, prohibited councils from building any new council homes, and it has become a nightmare for millions of people as successive governments have prioritised the existence of an unfettered housing bubble, driving up house prices, and encouraging a fundamentally opportunistic private rental market, in which rents are swallowing up a shamefully high proportion of people’s incomes, while the number of homes for social rent (generally at 25%-30% of market rents) continues to decline.

    What George didn’t address last night is the disgraceful estate demolition programme, largely led by Labour councils, in which we are continuing to lose council homes at an alarming rate, as cash-strapped councils, often indulging in a thinly-veiled enthusiasm for socially cleansing poorer residents out of their boroughs, work with private developers and the big housing associations (who have largely turned into private developers with a sideline in social housing) to replace council homes at social rents with a mixture of homes for private sale and “affordable” rents that are actually 60% to 130% higher than social rents.

    The entire racket that is Britain’s social housing policy needs to be stopped, and re-established on a basis that prioritises people’s needs – and environmental concerns – above profiteering. Estate demolitions are environmentally insane (which is becoming increasingly clear as the scale of the global climate emergency unfolds), and current homebuilding policy guarantees disproportionate profits for developers and contractors for the bland, isolated, identikit “units” they are building everywhere, ignoring radical, low-cost, low-impact alternatives that offer exciting possibilities for a fairer and more inspiring future if the political will existed to prioritise a new way of thinking.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Simon Elmer wrote:

    I don’t think it was the horrors of the Great War that motivated the Addison Act. The British ruling class has never baulked at sending hundreds of thousands of workers to their deaths. I think it was more the results of the medical examinations of the working class soldiers the British ruling class sent to their deaths, which showed the British worker to be malnourished, stunted in growth and with a poor immune system due not only to a poor diet but to cramped and insanitary housing conditions. If His Majesty was to keep the flag flying over the British Empire his soldiers needed to be up to the job. Also, when the working class returned to the UK after five years of unprecedented brutality to find they were facing the same system of exploitation that drove them to the carnage there was widespread political uprisings, not only in the UK but in Ireland too, where the Civil War started. The quickest way to crush a revolutionary British worker was with the same troops and tanks and ships used to crush the Bosch, as Churchill demonstrated with aplomb; but buying them off with improved housing and setting them in opposition to the Irish was the long-term plan. A similar political situation was faced after the Second World War when millions of armed men returned looking for a better life than the poverty and economic depression of the interwar period. This was addressed by the new Labour government, who undertook its historical role of fobbing off the will to change to a properly socialist society with the creation of the welfare state under an unchanged capitalist economy and reduced but extent imperialist interests in what was left of the Empire.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Good point about fears of civil unrest, Simon – especially after the Russian revolution. And after WWII, of course, returning soldiers started a mass squatting movement!

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    David Bloor wrote:

    Great article Andy.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, David. Good to hear from you.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Anita In-Deptford wrote:

    Yes, great article. Very informative! Thanks Andy.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    🙂 Anita!

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    George’s pétition now has over 100,000 signatures. Please keep signing and sharing! https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-commit-to-building-100-000-new-council-houses-every-year-for-30-years
    On its own it won’t obviously effect a political sea change, but George is clearly angling to create a movement for change, and needs all the encouragement we can give him. Next week (Wed Aug 7, 9pm, Channel 4) he’s going to be building homes on a plot of land he secured – in Bristol, I think – which will hopefully keep awareness of the housing scandal very much alive.
    Please also check out the website for ‘Council House Scandal’: https://www.councilhousescandal.co.uk

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Claire Hellish wrote:

    Remember “George Clarke’s 12 Point Plan*? It was part of the ‘good estate regeneration’ practice advocated by the Dept for Communities and Local Government but was later quietly dropped.
    The “Estate Regeneration Prospectus” for 2015/6 from the Dept of Communities and Local Government says that: “Whilst we recognise that transformational estate regeneration may require some demolition of existing homes, this will need to be clearly justified. We would expect landlords to first consider options to upgrade and refurbish existing homes, in consultation with residents, in line with George Clarke’s 12 point plan”:
    2/ The DCLG also used to say in 2015/6 that support for such a big increase in density is supposed to be given by the incumbent residents:
    The Department for Communities and Local Government guidance for local authorities applying for estate regeneration funding (including the GLA)
    http://bit.ly/1QfwCgI
    “Community engagement – an indication of the level of community support, and what sort of consultation has been undertaken, and with whom. How accountable are community representatives in any such process? Is there a robust community management structure in place? Is there support for increasing densities (since this will often underpin scheme viability)? It is important to stress that before agreeing to support a scheme we will wish to be confident of wide local support.”
    * George Clarke’s 12 point plan.
    1. Refurbishing and upgrading existing homes should always be the first and preferred option rather than demolition.
    2. Demolition of existing homes should always be the last option after all forms of market testing and options for refurbishment are exhausted.
    3. Proper community consultation is required for any existing homes regeneration programme. The questions in a consultation should clearly consider all of the options openly and fairly and not directly or indirectly give preference to one option over another.
    4. If, following an open and transparent community consultation process and after rigorous market testing for refurbishment, demolition is still the preferred choice of the community then tenants/owners should be moved to new ‘like for like’ properties. No one should be placed in temporary accommodation.
    5. If owners/tenants are moved to a new property they should suffer no net financial loss or any increase in rent, other than what they would expect as a reasonable increase if they remained in their existing home and in line with inflation. Any significant financial increase in rent from a housing association is to be subsidised by the HA or local authority and not the owner/tenant.
    6. Areas should not be systematically ‘wound down’ which is a process that destroys communities and reduces house prices in the area. If Homeowners or tenants choose to move they should be moved in large clusters at the same time (entire street by street) and if homes are to be demolished they are to be emptied and demolished as quickly as possible to make way for new development.
    7. Homes should not be emptied at all until full planning permission has been fully approved for demolition and new build development in advance (with majority support from the local community) and all funding for the new development is fully secured with a clear timetable for delivery.
    8. If an area of existing housing requires improvement or redevelopment then a ‘mixed and balanced’ urban design scheme should be considered where existing properties are retained and improved while being mixed with appropriate new build development.
    9. Local Authorities and Housing Associations should promote and encourage alternative methods of project procurement for the refurbishment of empty homes such as Homesteading, Co-operatives and Sweat Equity schemes. These are community-based schemes that encourage community involvement while providing better value for money.
    10. Displaced occupiers should be given a ‘right to return’ following the completion of a housing renewal programme. In practice this means giving first refusal to new or refurbished houses at the same price as the compensation paid to the occupier when they were displaced.
    11. Where a regeneration scheme is withdrawn or partly withdrawn prior to demolition. Owners should be given first refusal to have their home back. The property should be offered at the same price as the compensation they received minus any compensation due for remedial work to return the property to the condition it was in prior to sale.
    12. Where properties decanted for renewal schemes are left empty for more than six months, they must be openly offered for temporary accommodation in a safe and habitable state.
    https://www.ehnetwork.org.uk/newsitem/george-clarkes-manifesto-change

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks very much for this, Claire.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Damien Morrison wrote:

    There are millions of people in this country who will never ever have a secure home now we will forever be trapped in rental hell damm the tories and damm labour to hell

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, damn the lot of them, Damien. 40 years of contempt from all of them.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Graham Seaton wrote:

    Hi Andy, I watched George Clarke’s documentary and thought it was excellent. I grew up in the Borough of Redbridge and saw those awful Council ‘Units’ he was speaking of whilst visiting my mum recently. My mum’s 87 this year and she still lives in the council house where we lived in Gants Hill from 1972. My parents did buy it in the eighties but she only finished paying for it a couple of years ago and my sister had to help her pay off the loan. If not for my Mum getting council housing we would have been on the streets back then. The Tories are hideous, they’re creating government run ghettos.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Great to hear from you, Graham, and thanks for your memories and appraisal of the situation. Sadly, Labour are no better – and the big housing associations are no longer friends of the people, either. As with so many aspects of modern life – the environment, for example – it’s why we need grass-roots mobilisation to bring down the political status quo.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Tony Sleep wrote:

    I think the political status quo is currently engineering its own demise. UK has set itself up for indefinite recession with no obvious way out. As living costs rise, and incomes don’t, mortgage payments and rents will become ever more unaffordable. Foreign investment will no longer see UK as a safe bet. All those speculative luxury flats that replaced old council estates after clearances, then sold off plan in Asia and Moscow are going to turn into a liability that nobody wants nor can afford. And the current wheeze of subsidising a small number of social and (un-)affordable rents and sales by from sales at full market price simply won’t work in shrinking pounds.
    In other words there is an enormous housing crash coming which will end the current model of asset investment mattering more than homes. It will hit everyone: tenants, property owners who hoped to downsize and live off a pension; BTL landlords, will find few tenants able to afford to pay rents they need to charge; construction companies, developers, and banks will all get caught short. The IMF and others have been warning that UK property was 30-40% overvalued for well over a decade.
    While this might seem great news for all those under-40’s unable to afford to rent or buy, precarious incomes will make borrowing near impossible, and no commercial developer will build new homes that they cannot sell or let.
    It’s all very well ignoring housing crisis while it only affects the lowest economic deciles as collateral damage of market forces, but what happens when it’s half or more of the population? I see no choice but large scale council house building.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    That looks like an accurate assessment, Tony. Thanks for your thoughts.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Tony Gosling wrote:

    I calculated that between 1920 & 1980 around SIX MILLION council homes were built Andy. What’s your estimate please?

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    I’ve been having a bit of an online search, Tony, but I can’t turn up any comprehensive figures anywhere. It’s going to take some more dedicated research!

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Tony Sleep wrote:

    The 1930’s programme of slum clearance and estate building produced around 700,000 new council homes, with a total of ~1m in the 1919-1938 period.
    There’s a pretty good graph for the mix of social and private housebuilding from 1946 on, here
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-14380936
    The numbers were phenomenal compared to today, with 150-250,000 council homes being built most years for 2 decades.
    However! It doesn’t mention that 500,000 of the council homes built in the immediate postwar period were pre-fabs, with intended lifespan of just 10 years. Quite a lot more council housing was system built designs intended to last just 60 years. And by the mid-1960’s tower blocks were being flung up that would have to be demolished within 20 years.

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Tony. I went down a rabbit hole for about an hour last night trying to answer Tony Gosling’s question, but couldn’t find a definitive answer, although lots of graphs partially told the story.
    From John Boughton’s research, it seems that 24,000 council homes were built before 1914, and 176,000 were built in the 20s after the Addison Act.
    In the 30s, apparently, 700,000 new council homes were built, in the period that involved large-scale slum clearances, and Herbert Morrison’s tenure as head of the LCC, and after the Second World War, as you note, between 150,000 and 250,000 council homes a year were built by Labour and Conservative governments, with the largest number in one year being 245,160 homes under the Tories in 1953. There’s a useful ITV article here, noting that, “Between [1949] and 1978, the total number of new council homes completed each year in the UK never fell below 100,000”: https://www.itv.com/news/2018-09-19/key-events-in-history-of-uk-council-housing/

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    Damien Morrison wrote:

    I’m starting to feel a bit Andy warhol.. I WOULD BE SO MUCH EASIER… not to care, Andy and I have been in conversation for 10 years now and we’ve both said repeatedly man needs to do this this this and this for peace for love for the environment for each other we may as well have said nothing from yesterday’s mass killing to Boris to the greed the chaos the environment unfortunately my view of humanity is at its lowest point and I like to think of myself as a humanitarian.. I would so much love to not care despite all our technology humans are the stupidest they’ve ever been I don’t know wot the answer is at the moment and wouldn’t it be a change to be reporting good news.. But we’re in crazy times

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Pam Arnold wrote:

    why did we become such an uncaring society, I was brought up in a caring one..even with all its flaws but the state CARED and I am here today writing to you instead of buried 6 feet under, a social victim.

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    Damien Morrison wrote:

    Pam I think we are all exhausted by all this politics the turmoil and fearful of where we could be going.. Hence my silly statement it would be so much easier not to care

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    Ah, the curse of consciousness, Damien. But I really wouldn’t want to be the kind of unthinking consumer our wretched society has been encouraging the creation of over the last 40 years. A depoliticised life is an empty life.

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    It’s truly depressing how flint-heartedness has been encouraged by successive governments from Thatcher onwards, Pam. So many people’s lives have been improved by having access to secure and genuinely affordable social housing – including mine!

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    Pam Arnold wrote:

    mine too..its a no brainer, you have to help those in a capitalist society who cannot even entertain four walls around them, I am going back to my council flat next weekend to look around and remind myself how lucky we were

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    That sounds like it will be an inpiring visit, Pam. I do think that those in power in the UK are now engaged in a cannibalistic war on their own people – which also includes acting as pimps for corporate and individual foreign investors. In the 1930s, Henry Miller wrote that, while Europe was regularly bled by wars, the US cannibalistically devoured its own people. Now, as we’ve spent decades engaged in foreign wars, largely hidden from the people, it turns out that we too are being cannibalistically devoured by our own leaders.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer (The State of London).
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