Well, law’s the same for Arfur as the rest of us

Arthur Scargill the hypocrite: Militant leader of the miners shamelessly uses Thatcher’s right-to-buy law to snap up his own £2million flat at half price

Bad taste of course but……

34 thoughts on “Well, law’s the same for Arfur as the rest of us”

  1. This irks.
    Back when the Barbican was being built I, like a lot of others, were invited to apply for one of the proposed flats. Glossy brochure & I seem to remember a visit to a show flat they’d completed. And I’m pretty sure I coughed up a deposit to secure my application.
    These flats were supposed to be for people who worked in the City – our office was at the end of London Wall, so I could watch my new home going up through the window.
    Even got a couple of letters reporting progress & requesting confirmation I was still interested.
    And then……..nada. All went quiet. No communications. Still watching those desirable residences nearing completion, though. Looking forward to my one bed high rise with the big picture window.
    Come to think of it, I’m still looking forward to it. I’ve certainly never been told my application’s been rejected Had my deposit returned.
    So HTF did the NUM get their hands on one? Or all those other famous & well heeled tossers? Scargill you cunt. That’s my flat you’ve got there. Watch your back in those windy precincts, Arfur. This cockney’s minded to pop over & collect some Yuppie Tax.

  2. @ Rob
    Shakespeare Tower was completed in 1976 when a lot of the better-off workers in the City were feeling badly squeezed and couldn’t afford to rent a luxury flat so several applicants who had reserved flats dropped out. The NUM were rolling in it after two 35% pay rises in successive years – meaning miners’ pay had risen by over 80% – and paid for Scargill to rent one of the flats standing empty. It wasn’t nominally the NUM’s flat, Scargill was nominally the tenant.

  3. Like Marx playing the stock market.

    Still, Scargill’s got form for stuff like this: bespoke suits and a Jag at the time of the miners’ strike.

    Bob Crowe was another. Salary of £135k but kept his council flat. Cos he was a workibg man, see?

  4. @John77
    These weren’t luxury flats. Unless you’re calling 14 quid a week luxury rents. Which was the rent I was told I’d be paying.
    Back then, rentals around the City were low end. The movers & shakers all lived west in Westminster & Ken & Chelsea. Or commuted in from their big houses in the country.
    I can remember the Barbican site, from when I was a kid. When you could stand in Old Street & get a clear sight of St Pauls. Nothing there but bomb sites & the remains of terrace housing. Which is what the Barbican was supposed to be replacing. City homes for City workers.
    Don’t remember any lack of interest amongst City workers. This one would have preferred it to a bedsit in the Gloucester Road

  5. Yes they were given on need. The need was what someone decided – and a family was more in need than a single man but either could get a council flat. The restrictions became a lot harder in the 90s, even in the 80s it was relatively easy in many areas to get a council flat in time.
    If one union had a word with another and they had a word with a member… ?

  6. “Ok, but aren’t council flats allocated on need? Why would Scargill have been given a council flat?”

    I’m not sure the City was exactly a “council” back then. (Is it now?) Hardly anyone lived there. So allocation on residents’ need would have been on about 350 people..

  7. Its a problem for Labour types..they get rich and then get hated for it.

    Drive around council estates and you will see brand new cars in driveways and signs of obvious wealth and its a dead cert some of them voted Labour.

    Maybe the tory gestapo could go around door to door and cleanse the council estates of socialitsts who aren’t living in the poverty they should be.

  8. @ bis (i)
    The Shakespeare Tower ones were luxury flats (at least by my standards) – the bedsits in Breton House and John Trundle weren’t.
    Did that £14/week include the service charge? If not, sounds about right for a bedsit or small one-bedroom – the smallest two-bed was £21/week in 1974/5 before inflation took off.
    @ bis (ii)
    There is another answer – the Barbican was the only council-owned estate in Britain where the tenants were not subsidised by the ratepayers, so lettings were made on what appeared to the management to be a commercial basis.

  9. “The Shakespeare Tower ones were luxury flats (at least by my standards”

    Then the Corp of London were taking a considerable flyer on that one. Back when this was in the planning stage WtF would want one? There was nothing in the City. The pubs all closed at 7 o’clock. No restaurants, no amenities, no night life, nothing.
    Like being marooned in Dagenham. And not much around the City. To the East it was “possibly bears” as far as Chelmsford. Islington was a scruffy shit-hole & the West didn’t become inhabitable ’til Charring Cross Road. There were rumours there was human life sarf of the River, but difficult to discern through the fog.

  10. Scargill doesn’t believe in the market economy and is not paying market price. Where is the inconsistency?

    Incidentally, wasn’t the whole point of the great RTB giveaway to get labour voters out for the tories?

  11. @Wickie Wubbleway

    Yes; when a union functionary exploits his position and his mates in the system to vastly enrich himself at the expense of union members and the taxpayer, that is exactly the same as a guy on a council estate who earns enough to buy himself a decent car.

  12. “Its a problem for Labour types..they get rich and then get hated for it.”

    Well, quite fitting really as they tend to “hate the rich” themselves.

  13. The Barbican is iconic and brilliantly located, but the flats are small. The kitchens are usually a galley, and some of the layouts are weird. A friend has a two-bed over three floors which is very cool, but the master bedroom is two floors away from the (tiny) bathroom; the terrace is only accessible from the master. The flats do not sell for as much as they might because some of the buildings are not well-built.

    It was experimental, speculative, futuristic and wonderful for it; but nobody would build it now…

  14. As a foolish youth in the early 70s I saw the Barbican used as location for the Jon Pertwee Doctor Who story “Frontier in Space” standing in for Earth in the 25th Century.

    I thought it looked futuristic and cool and wandered all over the City of London trying to find the bastard place. I only had one afternoon to spare and never did find it.

    I suspect it has lost its futuristic edge by now. Now being a fair degree nearer the 25th Century than then.

  15. @ bis
    Milton Court was finished several years before they started building Shakespeare Tower, so they knew there was demand from people like me who were being killed by commuting or finished work after the tube shut down (e.g. Fleet Street before they moved out) for the small flats and for Scottish lairds/captains of industry for luxury flats in Cromwell Tower before they built Shakespeare so it wasn’t as big a flyer as you imagine. Late night pubs and restaurants weren’t that important if you worked N hours a day and went home to sleep.

  16. @ Blue Eyes
    The split-level flats in Ben Jonson House are a bit weird but most flats are well-designed and the galley kitchens get an awful lot into a small space [great for bachelors, bit tight if you have two people in the kitchen at the same time].
    The worst design error was spending £millions on corrugating the concrete facade with hammer drills thinking that they would avoid stain marks (they didn’t). The underfloor heating system was brilliant in theory but the price of oil went up by six times in the ten years between the time they finished the first flats and the last ones and then trebled again in the next five years (when middle-class salaries were virtually frozen by government diktat).

  17. The Barbican walkways are a godsend. I walk the last mile to work from west to east, and most of it is spent blissfully on them in peace, far from the madding crowd. You used to be able to get as far as the back of Moorgate but that bit has now been knocked down.

  18. I met Scargill several times back in the 80s when I was working for a consultancy employed by the Coalfields Communities Campaign. He struck me as an irascible egotist, bordering on a paranoid sociopath. Initially charming, he was prone to wild rages. We couldn’t get any useful information from him. His stalinist head of research, Steve Bundred, went on to head the Audit Commission, and is doubtless still sucking on the state’s teats.

  19. Martin

    Up to a point. Scargill could inspire his miners with his rhetoric, but I got the impression that those who worked with and for him found him, er, difficult.

  20. As to Scargill’s wealth, he was ever one for believing that nothing was too good for the vanguard of the working class – particularly, the aristocracy of the workers, the coal miners. From early on, he had large house overlooking the Peak District….The rest is history.

  21. Rob>

    “You used to be able to get as far as the back of Moorgate but that bit has now been knocked down.”

    It has? When? It can’t be that long since I was last going that way regularly.

  22. Bloke in North Dorset

    Orwell was really unfair to pigs when he used them as a metaphor* for the likes of Scargill.

    *Not quite the right word, but you know what I mean

  23. Basically the highwalk areas at the SE corner of the estate have been largely blocked off or knocked down. (

    The bits outside the main Barbican block itself I mean, not around the flats themselves. There was a little commercial complex with a pub, and a yacht broker IIRC, which was derelict for ages apart from from the highwalk and roof level gardens)

    There is a bunch of building work going on; a new office block, another ‘Heron’ branded tower, crossrail etc.

    I think many of the access routes are going to largely open up again as the building is completed, though with more conventional pathways in many cases!

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