Socialist Worker

Rich man with palace hates council housing

Issue No. 1793

'I don't know what social housing means. What does affordable mean?'
Prince Philip

Prince Philip thinks councils should not provide housing. The very idea of social housing stumps him. 'Social housing? I don't know what you mean by that,' he told the Inside Housing magazine last week. The notion of affordable housing seems equally alien to the royal parasite: 'What does affordable mean? It doesn't really mean very much.'

Perhaps it doesn't when you are married to one of the world's richest women, and pocket tens of thousands of pounds of public money each year without ever doing a day's work. Philip knows a lot about houses. He and his family own quite a few. Windsor Castle, Balmoral in Scotland and Sandringham in Norfolk are just some of their boltholes.

Then there is his London home, Buckingham Palace. Public sector workers in the capital can hardly afford to rent a broom cupboard. There are no such worries for Philip. His London home has 10,000 windows, three miles of carpet, 1,000 clocks, 10,000 pieces of furniture and a staggering 690 rooms.

It comes complete with 230 full time servants too. Sitting in one of those 690 rooms last week he declared, 'Is council housing really necessary? I would ask whether it's an appropriate activity for a local authority to provide housing at all.'

Then he added, 'It would be better to have a specialised housing association that provides for the sort of people who can't afford normal housing.' There is one group of people who agree with Philip. They sit around Tony Blair's cabinet table in 10 Downing Street.

New Labour want to get rid of all council housing in Britain in the next ten years by handing council homes to private companies like housing associations. Almost 200,000 council tenants in Glasgow and Birmingham are in the process of voting in ballots on whether to allow this privatisation to go ahead. Campaigners are out urging tenants to vote no and defend the social, affordable housing that Prince Philip thinks is not for 'normal' people.

The Socialist Alliance is the only party that will be standing in May's council elections on a clear platform of total opposition to all council house privatisation.

If you agree with Prince Philip then vote New Labour on 2 May. If you don't then vote Socialist Alliance. Better still, phone 020 7791 3138 and help the socialist election campaign.

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Article information

Wed 27 Mar 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1793
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