My book, Municipal Dreams: the Rise and Fall of Council Housing, will be published by Verso in April 2018.
Municipal Dreams celebrates the efforts and achievements of our early municipal reformers.
These men and women dreamed of a better world. But this was a dream built in bricks and mortar; an idealism rooted in the practical power of the local state to transform lives and raise the condition of the people.
I believe that the legacy of our early municipal reformers is unjustly neglected and often unfairly maligned. This is a modest attempt to record their story and set that record straight.
But I’m not naive. There were failures and missteps as well as successes. Mistakes are made, real-world limitations intervene, times change – the road to a better future is never easy. But at least that road was taken – however falteringly – and a better, fairer future striven for.
This isn’t a crudely party political blog but, at a time when the local state and directly provided public services are under unprecedented attack, the lessons of the past seem relevant. In other words, this is not an exercise in nostalgia but a reminder that it doesn’t have to be this way.
In practical terms, I aim to add a new entry every week or so. These entries are not intended to be a record of only metropolitan politics: if there’s a London bias that reflects only my location and my access to archives.
I would welcome comments, suggestions and assistance in adding to this record of municipal dreams wherever they were dreamed and however they took shape.
You’ll find a little more about my background and interests in this interview on the UnstablePraxis website.