The Spectator

Barometer | 16 April 2015

Plus: What Viv Nicholson’s spending spree would cost today, and where the right to buy is used most

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Out of tune

The use of a song, ‘Love Natural’ by the Crystal Fighters, at the launch of the Labour manifesto backfired when the band’s drummer urged people to vote Green instead. Some other campaign songs whose writers disowned the campaign:

— Ronald Reagan used ‘Born in the USA’ by Bruce Springsteen for his re-election campaign against Springsteen’s wishes.

— In 2008, Barack Obama was asked to stop using ‘Soul Man’ by Sam Moore.

— In the same year Jackson Browne sued the Ohio Republican party for using his ‘Running on Empty’ for John McCain’s election campaign.

— The Conservatives in 2005 used ‘Everybody’s Changing’ by the band Keane at rallies, though drummer Richard Hughes said he would not be voting for the party.

Spending time

Viv Nicholson, who declared that she was going to ‘spend, spend, spend’ after her husband won £152,300, 18s 8d on the pools in 1961, died aged 79. Going by the Retail Prices Index the win would be worth £2.7m today. But how much would the things they bought now be worth?

— A ranch-style bungalow in village of Garforth (£11,000 in 1961). Similar property now for sale at £850,000.

— Sending three children to boarding school. Average cost now £28,506 a year per child, according to the Independent Schools Council: £85,518 a year in total.

— A new pink Chevrolet, followed by a top of the range Jaguar and new car every six months. New Corvettes now cost £69,810. A Jaguar XJ costs from £56,870. So, two new cars a year would cost approximately £130,000.

— Viv also bought 18 dresses from Harrods, which might now cost £1,000 each, and the couple took luxury holidays in Las Vegas and LA, which might now cost £10,000 each.

Who will buy?

The Conservative manifesto promised that all 1.3 million housing association tenants would enjoy the right-to-buy. In 2013/14, where did council tenants most and least enthusiastically exercise the right to buy?

Local authority

No. of sales

Birmingham

559

Leeds

468

Sandwell

274

Southwark

271

Sheffield

255

At least 11 local authority areas, including Blackburn with Darwen, Warrington, Oldham, Rochdale, Watford and Mole Valley, registered no sales.