David Boyle has just completed the Boyle Review on Barriers to Choice in public services for the Treasury and Cabinet Office. He is a former Lib Dem parliamentary candidate. His book Broke: who killed the middle classes? is published later this month.
You don’t have to be a Conservative to want a ‘property-owning democracy’, though many Conservatives do
The phrase was popularised by Anthony Eden at a conference speech in 1946 and became increasingly associated with conservatism, with a Big C and a small c. It was also the heart of what Margaret Thatcher believed.
When, in the autumn of 1979, the group of policy-makers around Geoffrey Howe and Nigel Lawson met at the party conference to discuss ending exchange controls, they were unsure whether she would back them.
But they were absolutely sure of one thing – that she had an absolute commitment to home-owners and to the middle classes.
So looking back three decades, there is a paradox about the legacy of those years and the decisions taken since. The middle classes felt better as their sat on homes worth increasingly large sums – but what about the new generation?