Not being a Labour member myself (though my heart is with them, I can’t commit to a party that irresponsible about our habitat) I sent a delegate to the Labour mayoral candidate hustings in Hainault (cradle of London politics) this evening.
Ken talked about his achievement as former mayor, particularly the buses, evening up policing in the wards to make it more like the 1950s, and obtaining funding for council housing. He advocated economic links with China – no caveats. Hardly mentioned the environment. He also talked about vocational training. He counted former factory sites twice – once for building homes on and another time for rebuilding factories on. Apparently he was very credible, unless you know he accepts money from the Iranian government’s Press TV and have seen Martin Bright’s sorry tale of corruption – which is why we need to keep these things in mind, alongside the deal he made with the now President-for-life of Venezuela accept discounted oil from a developing country, the cuddling of extreme right Muslims, and how he fought for the non-doms to live in London tax free. He’s a populist, and no democrat. London would just be his bauble again. I don’t want to return to those days.
Oona illustrated her vision for community participation with Tower Hamlets story of a Bangladeshi woman who had never been involved with social enterprise before, but started a successful fruit and veg collective on her estate. She talked about her achievements as MP including protecting workers’ terms and conditions, for which she brokered a deal between the TUC and CBI. She also changed the rules around right-to-buy after in Tower Hamlets they were given £50m on regenerating an estate, but right-to-buy ate into it. She has plans for transport, comparing London to Africa where it is easy to get between the parts that the colonial powers used to want to get to; she wants it to be easier to get across London, and not just in and out. She wants to recalibrate the economy to balance out financial capital with social capital (social enterprise, like the veg collective). She talked about using the buying power of the GLA to get businesses to do things – so clauses into contracts to encourage equal pay by favouring businesses with better pay equality.
Apparently they were civil and courteous to each other. Oona closed with a bit of advice: vote for the candidate who can beat Boris.
Well, I reckon she needs to get her campaign in gear so she gets a chance to do that.