The case for requisitioning property for the people of Kensington

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I was phoned by the PM programme on Radio 4 at 4.40pm this afternoon and asked what I thought about requisitioning property for the people of North Kensington to live in following the Grenfell Tower fire.

I should add, this is not a subject I usually talk about but in a few minutes, and off the cuff, I clearly persuaded the producer that I was the right person to debate it on air at 5.45. So, I set off for BBC Cambridge and whilst waiting with headphones on bashed out this note to develop my thinking:

I was up against Andrew Lilico, an economist with the profoundly neoliberal Institute for Economic Affairs.

I was given the chance to talk first and made the point that what we were discussing was at the core of the politics of Grenfell Tower: do people or property come first. Of course I offered a balanced view.

Lilico used words like 'hard left' and 'people have housing benefits' and managed, quite extraordinarily, to make Theresa May sound like a model of compassionate empathy. I had to do little more than let him implode whilst being reasonable.

You can listen from about 49 minutes here.