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New Left Review I/10, July-August 1961

Ioan Davies

Red Flag Flying High

labour lost control of the St. Pancras Council in the borough elections of May 1959. In October Lena Jeger lost to Johnson-Smith in the Holborn and St. Pancras (south) constituency. For people to whom St. Pancras is something of a Socialist ikon the defeats were shattering, perhaps the final nail in the coffin of British Socialism. To rub in the salt came the housing crisis and the introduction of a particularly reactionary rents policy by the Tory Council. But St. Pancras seemed to revive again: tenants’ associations, demonstrations, barricades. The militancy of the borough Socialists was traditional—but this switch from retreat to advance, from administrative anarchy to direct action, was perplexing. Exactly what type of borough was this? Granted that a rents policy based on differentials and geared to the government’s campaign against council houses was unpopular—but why, of the 16 Metropolitan boroughs operating such schemes, should St. Pancras blow up?

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Ioan Davies, ‘Red Flag Flying High’, NLR I/10: £3

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