By Michael Rosen
“Councils have ‘maximised their assets’ by selling what is not theirs to dispose of
Vauxhall Manor has been turned into flats. In the 1980s, when I asked a councillor why a school in Hackney was being sold off, he told me Margaret Thatcher had instructed the council to “maximise their assets”. The birth rate was going down, the school wasn’t full, and the council could maintain services by flogging off underused premises. When some of us said this was short-sighted, that these places belonged to us, that with a bit of creative thought they could be used for everyone and, anyway, who could say if the birthrate wouldn’t go up again, we were told we were being unrealistic.
In fact, behind these sell-offs was an ideology. The Tories then as now thought public property, funded publicly, used by the public, bred Labour voters.”