Eddie Izzard does a Russell Brand – but what's he campaigning against?

The comedian waves the magic publicity wand

For anyone campaigning on an issue, having a celebrity supporter can help grasp the spotlight like nothing else.

Eddie Izzard, famous for his stand up, cross-dressing and running an eye-watering 43 marathons in 51 days, has lent his celebrity status to social housing tenants in Chelsea.

Affinity Sutton, the owner of the William Sutton Estate, plans to demolish the buildings and rebuild the site with fewer low-rent homes, selling 100 of them to private buyers.

The site in Chelsea currently has 462 low-rent flats, but the plans mean about half of the floorspace will be turned into private housing.

Izzard said the proposals go against what was originally planned for the housing estate, and amounted to “social cleansing”. William Sutton, a philanthropist, left £1.5m (a lot of money back in the 1900s) to the trust, which is now in the hands of Affinity Sutton.

A Labour Party campaigner, Izzard’s reasons for helping residents fight eviction is clear.

“If you look at America, the super-rich – that’s happing there, in the UK and around the world – that is a dangerous thing, with the separation of people who have learnt to make a ton of money, and everyone else struggling around,” he said in an interview with the Guardian.

“The separation of the rich and the poor … does feel like it is happening here and it can be stopped with the right legislation and encouragement for people to keep social housing and not squeeze people out on low incomes.

“We will lose our vibrancy. The city is going to be emptying out and lots of houses will be empty.”

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Readers' comments (6)

  • Michael Smith

    Well said Eddie. You're a star. Keep up the good work.
    There should also be the built in provision that any private housing cannot be sublet. The housing market is increasingly being dominated by huge rental portfolios that push up prices and making it impossible for any individuals to get onto the property ladder.

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  • "does a Russel Brand"?? whats that supposed to mean? Speaks his mind I suppose.... He's absolutely right on this - segregating society can only end up in greater conflict

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  • Just because your subscribers are in business doesn't mean that we're all right wing scumbags. Making money doesn't need to be at the expense of the less fortunate

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  • Anonymous

    eddie izzard is grandstanding, that's all.
    has he seen the plans that affinity Sutton has drawn up for the estate?
    has he spoken to residents, i.e. affinity Sutton's tenants, not random people passing by?
    has he investigated how much work affinity Sutton has carried out with their residents?
    has he even seen the appalling state of the flats on the estate and how they do not and cannot be made to meet acceptable standards?

    he is just speaking out of ignorance and jumping on a bandwagon to further his attempts to become mayor of London.

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  • @Richard - Don't think he is doing a Russell Brand - Brand is just a self serving idiot - I have at least some respect for Izzard and the campaign does have some merit.

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  • Anonymous

    @ Brian - I agree. Eddie is a genuine, intelligent and pretty humble guy. Russell Brand on the other hand thinks he's the messiah.

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