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Friday, 23 June 2017

Jimmy Reid on tower blocks as 'filing cabinets'

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, I'd say that we need to look again not just at the matter of the 'cladding' materials used, but moreover at the nature of people's living conditions,

Heed the words of the late Scottish trade unionist and Communist Jimmy Reid in his 1972 inauguration speech as Rector of Glasgow University:

"Everything that is proposed from the establishment seems almost calculated to minimise the role of the people, to miniaturise man [sic]. I can understand how attractive this prospect must be to those at the top. Those of us who refuse to be pawns in their power game can be picked up by their bureaucratic tweezers and dropped in a filing cabinet under 'M' for malcontent or maladjusted. When you think of some of the high flats around us, it can hardly be an accident that they are as near as one could get to an architectural representation of a filing cabinet.

"If modern technology requires greater and larger productive units, let's make our wealth-producing resources and potential subject to public control and to social accountability. Let's gear or society to social need, not personal greed. Given such creative re-orientation of society, there is no doubt in my mind that in a few years we could eradicate in our country the scourge of poverty, the underprivileged, slums, and insecurity...."(1)

Also from Glasgow is Matt McGinn's 'Jeely Piece Song' aka 'Height Starvation Song'.(2)


For more of how things could and should be, there is a Taxpayers Against Poverty series of blog posts about solutions to the UK's housing crisis.(3)

Blog post by Dude Swheatie of Kwug


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