The needs of the many

Originally posted on November 2 on Inside Edge 2, my blog for Inside Housing

How English housing policy arrived from Vulcan via Wales.

I’ve recently been putting together the 100th issue of Welsh Housing Quarterly. The 25-year history of the magazine is closely bound up with the story of Welsh devolution, a distant prospect when it was first published in 1990 but a developing process that led eventually to the first-ever Welsh Housing Act last year. But there was one period early on that has a very contemporary relevance for England as it prepares for the second reading debate on the Housing Bill on Monday and the spending review later this month.

In May 1993 Wales got a new secretary of state who seemed to come from a distant planet. The Conservative MP John Redwood was an intellectual Thatcherite with an appearance that prompted sketch writer Matthew Parris to come up with a comparison that has stuck ever since: ‘a new creature, half human, half Vulcan, brother of the brilliant, cold-blooded Spock’.

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