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The Essex clearances

The real Essex man is misunderstood. He was once a pioneer, the government bulldozed his dreams

By Derek Beaven   November 2001

Suddenly, in the 1980s, there was “Essex man,” with his dog and opinions. More, there was “Basildon man,” the walking swingometer-the instant Thatcherite who determined elections. And in the recent Labour landslide there was still an Essex story. What’s going on? Did some miasma rise up 20 years ago from the Essex marshes that made working people want to bite the party that fed them? And Basildon in particular-one of the ring of new towns around the capital, part of the brilliant solution to the devastation of the Blitz and the clearance of the East End slums-surely Basildon should have…

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