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Sins of the grandfathers

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As ever, the Spectator offers a voice of reason over L'affaire Mandelson. It's all the fault of his grandfather Herbert Morrison, whose boast to the Tories of 'we'll build you out of London' led to policies which reduced the housing stock available to middle-class occupations such as cabinet ministers and inflated the prices of the remainder. Hence £500,000 homes in drab Notting Hill. Strangely enough, I find no mention of this in a 50-year-old biography of Morrison which has recently come into my possession: written before the Festival of Britain, it singles out the rebuilding of Waterloo Bridge in the face of conservationist opposition as his greatest architectural achievement. But, given the fuss over Mr Mandelson's suits, the most prophetic comment comes from Lord Beaverbrook (Jonathan Aitken's grandad). 'Morrison is like a presentation clock. He is very handsome, but he is never quite right.'

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