In 1973 I bought a house in Richmond Road, Dalston, in the socialist borough of Hackney, East London, for which I paid the magnificent sum of £6500. (Six thousand five hundred pounds). People tried to warn us off, saying that Hackney Council had designs on the pretty area of Victorian houses known as Mapledene and indeed they did have, intending to bulldoze it en bloc, maybe two hundred properties if not more and replace the houses with council flats, but we formed the Mapledene Residents Association and fought them off. You will never win against a council, people said, councils always win, but in this instance they didn’t and Mapledene still exists, I should think much to the horror of the socialist borough of Hackney who wanted to take it over and build council flats because, to the left-wing mindset, gentrification was setting in with the middle classes like us buying property there. Of course one has to ask if they did their sums proper like with this grandiose scheme which would have included (a) compulsory purchase, (b) demolition, and (c) building, at what cost? Well I see that the house we paid £6500 for thirty-five years ago is today back on the market at £899,950 (I won’t even bother putting that in words) because, if this isn’t cloud-cuckoo land I wonder what is! When Jeremy Nightingale, following our example, bought his house in Eleanor Road, Hackney for £139000 we thought he was totally out of his mind. Presumably that house is now worth somewhere in the region of £650-700000.
Talking of the left-wing mindset I remember when we approached Hackney Council to possibly sponsor us in putting on Champagne Charlie in the borough, possibly for old people’s homes – whoops! elderly facilities – etc., and Chris, talking to some girl on the telephone said the show was professional and excellent, the reply he got was “We don’t believe in excellence, excellence is elitist.” End of call. It’s really hard to credit but then political correctness started to go stark raving mad some time ago so there it is. Our friend Ray Peters who lives in Richmond Road and who must by now be sitting on a small fortune retired early from teaching because PC had come thundering into Islington (another socialist borough) school at such a rate he couldn’t take it any longer. GBS and The Fabians must be turning in their graves to think of what it has all become. Thank that mythical old god George W. is always in communication with that it hasn’t come to Greece – yet. But don’t count your chickens.