Arthur Scargill, the former miners’ union boss, tried to buy his London council flat under his enemy Margaret Thatcher’s right-to-buy scheme, it has been reported.

Tee hee.

Mr Scargill claimed that had he succeeded in buying the council flat he would have transferred its ownership to the union, handing over an expensive asset,

Yeah, right….

23 thoughts on “Snigger”

  1. “Singger”? No, I howled with laughter when I read the report!If I weren’t on the Tube, I’d probably be ROTFLMAO! Especially when you come to the comments by Chris Kitchen.

    Seriously? It took dear Chris TEN years to realise that Scargill was nothing but a “capitalist”?

  2. Scargill’s Barbican council flat? How’d the hell Scargill get a Barbican council flat?
    A moment to explain.
    Back when the Barbican was under construction, workers in the City were asked if they were interested in accommodation. They were to be ‘prioritised’. Being one of those workers & living in a lousy, overpriced bedsit in the Cromwell Rd I was both eligible & interested. Went to a meeting where we were shown details of the project. Put my name down for a high altitude, single bed flat. I think I recall paying some sum, £10 or so as registration fee. Small now, but considerable at the time. Time went by. Foundations were laid & buildings began to rise. The odd letter arrived asking confirmation, one still wished to be included amongst the new residents & describing progress. Then ceased. No Barbican flat was ever forthcoming.
    So how the F####NG HELL did a F####NG MINER from F####NG YORKSHIRE ace me out of a Barbican flat?
    Given that I would have exercised RTB back in the ’80s I must be out half a million quid, not counting the exorbitant private sector rents I paid for years..
    This morning I am far from a happy bunny.

  3. Maybe this is apocryphal, but didn’t AS also favour Saville Row tailoring and Jays? Or was it those big old Rovers?

  4. Julia, I once saw BC sitting on the platform at Leytonstone (I think), early on a summer’s evening. It’s at a stage where the line bifurcates, so you have to wait at the fork for the right train. Except BC wasn’t moving. He was watching the trains go by, as I slyly watched him. After a few minutes, it dawned on me: he was surveying his realm.

  5. If memory serves, Shakespeare Tower is all 3 or 4 bedders. And £34,000 a year on a Corporation let would be a bit on the high side for a 3 bed.
    AS hole, now he’s divorced and retired, doesn’t need that much space.

  6. @ bis
    There were no high-altitude single-bedroom flats, which may explain why you didn’t get one. But there were some fifth- and sixth-floor one bedroom flats, for which there was a very long waiting list.
    As to why they stopped writing to you, the answer is probably bureaucratic incompetence. There are two individuals of whom I have been able to say “I have no evidence that he has ever got anything right” – one of these worked in the Barbican lettings office.
    In the late 70s demand for renting expensive flats in the City plummeted as Wilson’s pay policy imposed fairly vicious cuts in real incomes on salaried workers and Shakespeare Tower was completed when there was a shortfall of demand so the Barbican lettings office, while maintaining its refusal to let to companies, agreed to let a three-bedroom flat to the NUM as a London pied-a-terre for Scargill. Nominally it was let to Scargill but the NUM paid the rent and service charges (which jointly exceeded my salary at that time) .
    Less than half-a-million, allowing for the service charges in Barbican being higher than private rents in outer London (yes I do mean just the service charge), but probably more than quarter of a million.

  7. @john
    5th or 6th floor was probably it. The “architect’s impression” no doubt had the dome of St Pauls figuring prominently in the window.& I can remember the tasteful late 60s furnishings dressed it.
    As for “waiting list”. That was the very first “opening day for the project” launch thingy. And I didn’t go to look & think. I had my registration nailed withing 10 minutes of arriving. So any “waiting lists” should have my name right near the top. If they were oversubscribed, why the sales pitch?
    I’ve always ground the teeth a bit when some prominent a*hole is described as having “a Barbican apartment”. But Arthur F####NG Scargill is the F####NG limit!
    If I remember rightly, the rent was £14 p/w. I had to beg for a pay rise in anticipation of being able to afford it.

  8. @John
    On that service charge thing, I don’t doubt it.
    A friend owns a flat in a council high rise in Camden. Her SC’s are almost the same as the council charges rents to its remaining tenants. And the astronomical refurbishment supplement they demanded. I arranged an independent estimate from a contractor & what was being demanded from the owners would pay for the entire block.

    Barbican, by the way, was billed as “City Homes for City Workers”. Nothing about expensive executive flats.

  9. On a related note, despite being monumentally ugly (as a result of architectural choices), the Barbican hasn’t degenerated into vile squalor like many other estates nearby. Why is this?

  10. @ bis
    I can’t answer either “why?” (apart from bureaucratic incompetence, of course). Could it be that your face/accent didn’t fit? There was a lot more snobbery among the Corporation bureaucrats than among the Aldermen and Common Councillors.
    £14 pw for rent alone sounds about right but you would have needed to show gross pay of at least four times rent plus service charge. The horrendous cost over-runs due to sabotage by communists (no, that it isn’t a Daily Wail fiction, it is documented and one of the big contractors quit the site paying £millions in penalties rather than carry on) put renting flats designed for ordinary working people far out of reach of ordinary working people.

  11. Mr Scargill claimed that had he succeeded in buying the council flat he would have transferred its ownership to the union, handing over an expensive asset,

    Yeah, right….

    Having lived on the edge of a Yorkshire mining area when Scargill was at the height (depth?) of his powers I saw rather more of him than the average person did nationally. My guess is that he would have transferred the ownership to the union with great public fanfare and maximum embarrassment of the Government.

    I’d also expect there to be a secret covenant on the deal that meant he and his heirs (family, not union bosses) would live on a peppercorn rent with the union picking up all the running costs.

  12. @John
    I can’t think of anything would have barred me.
    Whatever income statement would have been required could have been provided. The guy who suggested going after an apartment was a long standing City tenant. Our general office manager. Service charges? Wrong accent? This was supposed to be a “homes for workers” project. Not pads for zecs. If I’d have thought I needed a bit of “influence” I’d have made a quick call & dropped more “influence” on them, they’d know what to do with. It wasn’t supposed to be like that. i was more concerned, not being of the inky fingered ones, might have made me ineligible.

  13. @ bis
    Then presumably just incompetence. I asked for a Type 21 (smallest 2-bed): put on waiting list; chased up; some time later offered type 31 which (a) didn’t want, (b) couldn’t afford – said “No, I want type 21”. Shortly afterwards they said look at this type 21 – which had been sitting empty since completion more than six months earlier.

  14. OOI, how much?
    On reflection, maybe i should have chased it. But those days one sort of assumed things in the City worked. Most things did.

    But I still can’t work out how a YORKSHIRE F####NG MINER qualified for London council housing. On what grounds? Promising not to keep coal in the bath or a pigeon loft on the balcony?

  15. @ bis
    Early mid-70s £21 pw plus fairly modest service charge – the latter shot up in late ’70s
    “But those days one sort of assumed things in the City worked. Most things did” Agreed.
    Barbican was the only unsubsidised council estate in the country so you didn’t have to qualify. Under the original plan City workers like yourself were supposed to get priority – after the prices went out of reach of the ordinary worker anyone with character references and enough income to pay the rent x4 could apply (there were a couple of Scottish lairds in Cromwell Tower and at least one ambassador).

  16. Thanx john
    I’m seriously minded to demand my £10 back. With interest since ’69 should amount to a fair bit.

  17. Oh come on. I’m still waiting for a book I ordered from one of the country’s more distinguished bookshops in 1967. Things like that happen.

  18. The key, of course, is that Scargill failed in this little venture. Entirely appropriate (and unsurprising), given the totality of his life’s work.

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