THE BLOG
26/10/2015 06:07 GMT | Updated 24/10/2016 06:12 BST

Harold Macmillan Built Our House

Harold Macmillan built our house, on the instructions of Winston Churchill. It was 1951, there was a housing shortage and the 1950 Conservative party conference had committed to target of 300,000 homes a year. Their manifesto, in opposition, began "Housing is the first of the Social Services......"

Macmillan was a military man, an ex Grenadier Guard who served in the 1st World War and was wounded at the Somme. In the 2nd World War he served in the Ministry of Supply and worked with Beaverbrook to organise production of armoured vehicles.

This was a generation who knew that setting targets and making speeches was not enough to make things happen. Production, supply lines, labour forces, these were also needed to win wars and also to build the homes that we needed.

Macmillan made sure brickworks were at full production, he organised supplies of softwood from abroad and he divided the country into ten regions, each with it's own targets. He realised that public housing, Council Houses as we all knew them, was the most efficient way to build homes quickly for the people who needed them.

Churchill said that the task would either make or break him, and added that, "Every humble home will bless your name if you succeed".

Our home did just that. It was a three bedroom semi with a large garden in which our Dad was able to plant vegetables to help feed our family. The rooms were spacious and there was a bathroom and a WC - not to be taken for granted in those days.

Contrast this with the lamentable performance of the current Conservative Government. Compare Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan with David Cameron and Brandon Lewis. We have the fine words, but where are the actions? These are not men whose very lives have depended upon lines of supply being ever present and who have taken part in running the war of their lives in which our very existence was threatened, unless we produced aircraft, tanks and food.

Current "Housing Policy" (if indeed it merits this title) seems to consist of destroying Social Housing for ideological reasons whilst expecting weakened Housing Associations to build homes to replace those flogged off into the "Buy To Let" market.

It's perfectly plain that this current bunch of Tory ministers believes that anyone who isn't capable of owning their own home is simply "not up to it". The simple mathematics of £9 an hour and its relationship to £250,000 "Starter Homes" seems beyond them. Did they not teach Maths at Eton? The cutting of Tax Credits to finance cuts in inheritance tax rather give the game away though, we are all expected to have inherited wealth to finance our house purchases. And so, the rich get richer whilst the poor continue to rent.

This is a new savage Tory party, a world away from Churchill (who always regarded himself as a Liberal really) and Macmillan. It is a party that thinks fine words are enough, whilst the market makes their chums richer - as it always will. This is a party driven by right wing ideology, cloaked in left wing rhetoric and we must hold it to account as our housing crisis deepens, as it surely will.