Taking a long view of housing construction and it is hard not to be struck by the modest levels of construction since 1980.
Whether it is Labour or Conservative, neither party felt inclined to increase the quantity of housing. Since Thatcher was elected in 1979, on average just 200,000 new homes were built each year. Over a thirty year period, this restriction of supply pushed house prices up, and made middle class home owners very wealthy at the expense of younger, non-property owning workers.
There is a popular myth that suggests that the town and country planning act of 1947 made it difficult for construction firms to increase their housing completions. Data from the 1950-60s suggest that the planning act wasn't an insurmountable problem. If the government were determined enough, it could push through large scale housing construction.
Over the last week, the UK electorate drifted away in huge numbers from the traditional governing parties. It was mostly working class voters that defected. It would be a bit of a stretch to argue that the lack of housing construction was behind this defection. Nevertheless, the data does reveal something about the priorities of both parties.
Both Labour and Conservative chased the middle class home-owning vote, who were easily appeased so long as property prices were rising. This also explains why Brown and Darling hijacked the Bank of England, paving the way to zero interest rates and massive government guarantees designed to revive mortgage activity. In the UK, house prices determine economic policy priorities. Jobs, inflation, fiscal sustainability all come a poor second.
Working class voters may not be aware of long term housing construction trends. Nevertheless, they see enough to understand the true nature of both parties. It is therefore any wonder that traditional Labour voters should abandon Brown when they see him pump in around 90 percent of GDP to save the bankers, while at the same time allow the Birmingham van maker - LDV - go bust for the want of a few million quid. They also know that Cameron would do the same thing.
Last week's elections told Westminster that working class voters feel cheated and betrayed by both Labour and Conservative. They have come to understand that a vote for either of them is a wasted vote.