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Russell Kane's Right to Buy

Russell Kane traces his success back to the day his dad bought his council house in Enfield in the 1980s. Now, he wrestles with the policy which allowed that to happen.

The comedian Russell Kane traces his success back to the day his Dad bought his council house in Enfield in the 80s. Now, in 2019, he wrestles with the impact of the Thatcher policy which allowed that to happen – Right to Buy.

Russell’s family lived in an end of terrace, which meant a bigger garden, and the potential for an extension. His Dad built pillars onto the entrance of the house and, in his most audacious of moves, hand-dug a 21-foot swimming pool.

The house became known as “The Castle” to their disgruntled neighbours, and Russell started to feel different. He felt he could strive for more and he thinks it was the trigger for the events which led him to university, and beyond.

In all the debate about housing and the Right to Buy policy, Russell thinks that the social impact on families like his has been forgotten. But he also feels like the drawbridge was pulled up behind him – as if his family’s luck was potentially to the detriment of others. The social housing in Enfield was depleted, and his community divided between those with the extensions and the fancy entrances, and those without. Here, he tries to reconcile his feelings about a policy which changed the lives of working class communities across Britain – for better, or for worse?

Featuring the architect of Right to Buy – Lord Heseltine, sociologist Lisa McKenzie, and Russell’s mum Julie.

Produced in Bristol by Polly Weston.

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29 minutes

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