Few images are more seared in the Tory consciousness than that of Margaret Thatcher handing over the keys to people who had brought their council house under ‘right to buy’. The image seemed to sum up the aspirational appeal of Thatcherism.
I suspect that there’ll be a slight homage to these images when Cameron meets some of those that the government’s ‘Help to Buy’ scheme is helping onto the housing ladder tomorrow. Number 10 wants to show that the full scheme, which has only been running for a month, is already being used by a large number of people.
The economics behind ‘Help to Buy’ might make many on the right nervous; even some Cabinet ministers are worried about it stoking another housing bubble. But, as I say in the Mail on Sunday, Tory critics of the scheme are biting their tongues because they know how politically potent it could be for the party. First, it does show that the party is on the side of those who want to get on. Second, it creates more property-owners—and those who own, rather than rent, are significantly more likely to vote Tory.