TRASHING NARRATVE Trashing of characters of council tenants since 1997 to justify the destruction of their homes excludes millions of citizens from a fair share of UK wealth

19 October 2019


Council Housing started by providing security, freedom and an inside loo but since 1997 Prime Ministers have embarked on a policy of  trashing the characters of council tenants to justify the destruction of their homes. Tony Blair sought to transform Britain's most run-down areas saying the only answer for some of the worst sink estates could be demolition. Cameron slated council residents who live behind ‘padlocked and chained-up doors’ where ‘poor parenting, addiction and mental health problems’ are ‘entrenching poverty in Britain. In effect UK government deems around 10% its citizens, the poorest tenants, not worthy of a decent home, with truly affordable rent in a secure community or a fair share of the UK's wealth. The poorest are made even poorer. An ongoing oppression approaching a crime against humanity.  

I have been advised to check the sources of the otherwise useful blog from Architects for Social Housing (ASH). For example this is not true. "The adjacent Northumberland Park estate and its 1,417 homes has since been demolished to make way for the new football stadium".  I go to Church every Sunday in Northumberland Park and the council estate is still standing. 


The trashing of the characters of benefit claimants from 2010, to justify the shredding of their social security, continues to exclude millions of UK citizens from a fair share in the wealth of the sixth largest economy in the world. The trashing narrative has also been used to justify the demolition of council housing and the destruction of the tenants communities.   

I need to preface the rest of this blog about a blog as follows. My stepfather was in the Special Operations Executive (it became the SAS)  in WWII. He was parachuted into France to support the French Resistances movement. The occupying army heard that he and his colleagues had been hidden by a village community. The army destroyed the village and anyone who had not escaped. The "criminal" villagers had broken the laws that governed the occupying army. That was obviously not a good reason for demolishing their homes. I know the village was rebuilt after the war and the surviving villagers returned to live there. My stepfather was invited back for the 50th anniversary.  

I until I read the ASH blog I had not understood the extent to which a narrative of trashing the characters of council house tenants had informed the demolition and regeneration policies of Blair and Cameron. 

Claire Kober

She was the Leader of Haringey Council at the time of its regeneration policy. She used the trashing narrative in The Guardian 20th January 2017,"The Northumberland Park estate in north Tottenham...already endures levels of unemployment, crime and appalling poor health which no family should have to endure. I’m not going to accept that either." That was not included in ASH's blog. 

David Cameron 

ASH report, "... announced the Estate Regeneration National Strategy. This began with his declaration that 100 council estates in England and Wales would be demolished. In justifying this decision Cameron drew heavily on the reports by Policy Exchange, the IPPR and Savills. Describing council housing as ‘sink estates’ — the term made popular by Blair — Cameron went on to paint a picture of ‘bleak, high-rise buildings’, ‘concrete slabs dropped from on high’, ‘brutal high-rise towers and dark alleyways’ that are ‘a gift to criminals and drug dealers’. ...council residents live behind ‘padlocked and chained-up doors’ where ‘poor parenting, addiction and mental health problems’ are ‘entrenching poverty in Britain — isolating and entrapping many of our families and communities’, all with the result that ‘decades of neglect have led to gangs, ghettos and anti-social behaviour.’ Finally, Cameron drew the long-expected connection between council estates and the Tottenham riots:

‘The riots of 2011 didn’t emerge from within terraced streets or low-rise apartment buildings. As spatial analysis of the riots has shown, the rioters came overwhelmingly from these post-war estates. Almost three-quarters of those convicted lived within them. That’s not a coincidence.’

It seems that Cameron was inspired by Tony Blair who was inspired by Maggie Thatcher

Tony Blair 

ASH report "Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair delivered his inaugural speech on the Aylesbury estate in Southwark, South London. At the time it seemed like an odd choice, but in retrospect this is widely seen as initiating the current phase of the estate regeneration programme. Describing the Aylesbury as an example of a ‘sink estate’",  

I have checked Blair's use of "sink estate" and found it on this quote from The Independent of 16th September 1998. 

THE PRIME Minister unveiled an £800m, 20-year campaign to transform Britain's most run-down areas yesterday, saying the only answer for some of the worst sink estates could be demolition.

Launching a report which estimates there are up to 4,000 such areas, Tony Blair said the poverty and fear in some communities "shames us as a nation". He attacked previous governments for putting too much emphasis on improving buildings rather than the lives of the people living in crime- ridden blackspots.


The good health and wellbeing of all UK citizens in or out of work must now become a national priority.

Taxpayers Against Poverty


No citizen without an affordable home and an
adequate income in work or unemployment.