X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

Should this man accept a £75,000 ‘bribe’ from George Osborne?

25 July 2013

9:35 AM

25 July 2013

9:35 AM

Meet Maurice Mcleod. He’s a proper leftie, who has lived in council accommodation all his life. He pays rent for it — about £480 a month for his rather down-at-heel one-bedroom flat in Tooting. Yet due to the London property bubble it is now valued at £150,000 and if he wants to buy it he can claim a £75,000 discount thanks to George Osborne’s enhanced right-to-buy. On a bad month, Maurice says his net assets dip below £750, so he could be worth £75,000 overnight – just by taking Osborne’s (borrowed) shilling. He has written about his dilemma in the new Spectator, out today.

Maurice loathes right-to-buy, seeing it as a divisive Tory policy that has torn the heart out of council estates that were intended for the whole community rather than to enclose the poor. Furthermore, he loathes the whole rationale behind it: that a man ought to ‘move on’ in life buy buying ever-bigger houses in ever-leafier areas. What’s wrong with us as a society, he says, where we can’t judge our success by other metrics? He loathes the way that Osborne described property ownership as a basic human aspiration: what does that say about the Germans, who mostly rent? Is it humanity they lack, or aspiration? Or could Osborne be preaching a very peculiar materialistic gospel, which ought to be viewed with a mixture of bafflement and repugnance?

[Alt-Text]


Maurice joins us for our podcast this week, and when I put to him that – principles aside – he could be worth £75,000 by Christmas. What would he do with that cash? He replied that his worth is not defined by his property portfolio. A noble way to see the world, without doubt. But as he says in the piece, principles are worthless until they are tested. His are being tested: if he sells out, he’ll fetch a very handsome price. The freak economic conditions of the London bubble and QE-era of low rates mean he might never again have a chance to bag £75,000 which – by his maths – is a sum he has zero chance of ever acquiring through work. The Tory devil, in the form of George Osborne, has come to tempt Maurice in his fiscal desert. Will he succumb?

I’d say so. Helen Lewis from the New Statesman, a fellow leftie, says so too: you can use a system while hating it, she says. It need not be selling out. I’d say that Maurice ought to reluctantly accept the world has moved on: perhaps council houses should not have become places where only the poor live. But that’s the situation now, and there’s a long list of people wanting a house. Maurice reads Coffee House (he wrote about the London riots for us) and I’m sure will take CoffeeHousers advice to heart. So what do we advise him to do? Comfort himself with the purity of his leftist penury – or take Osborne’s £75,000 and curse the capitalist system while he does so?

PODCAST is below – Maurice is about 18 mins in. You can subscribe through iTunes to have it delivered to your computer every week, or listen with the embedded player below:

The View from 22 — 25 July 2013. Length: 30:12


Download | iTunes | RSS

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close