New website marks Paul Reynolds’ bid to become our London Mayoral candidate

At present the Lib Dems are focused on the May 7 General Election.  Me included.  I am a parliamentary candidate in West Ham, London, and spending my spare time helping London MPs retain their seats.

Immediately after the May General Election, however, the London Region Party will start the process of selecting its candidate for the May 2016 Mayor of London election. The Party achieved 4% of the vote last time, in 2012, and this time will need to be prepared to do things a little differently to significantly improve on the result.

Thus, the London Party leadership, activists and general members should ideally have some information on the approach of potential candidates before the start of the selection process two months from now.

Therefore I have set out in a website – www.THEfuture.london – some ideas about the causes of London’s main problems (as perceived by the public), and how they can be addressed for the long term. The website will be updated frequently between now and May 2016.

In doing so I have had to take into account existing national and London-Region policy, and make some assumptions about the political climate in May 2016. I have had to make some ‘informed guesses’ about how the problems facing London will look to the public, a year after the General Election. The reform priorities of Londoners inevitably will change over the next 14 months, so the website is focused on May 2016 rather than now.

The analyses of problems, and the related reform proposals, refer to London’s economy, transport, housing, police and environmental issues. These are the main areas where the Mayor and London Assembly have most influence. The legislation gives only limited powers over these areas; indeed much less power than the public think…….neither Ken nor Boris were exactly the type to admit they had very little actual power.

Therefore the ideas in the website include those related to devolution of power from Whitehall mandarins.

In Scotland a significant part of the population sees Whitehall as an obstacle to reform and progress.  Whilst more and more in London people see Central Government the same way, the public demand for devolution in London is muted by comparison to Scotland.

There are of course many reasons, but one key cause is that although the Whitehall system of funding and micro-management is very costly and inefficient, the extent to which Central Government is a barrier to problem-solving in London is not fully known by the public.

The ideas in  THEfuture.London  are vigorously focused on the worsening crises that threaten London’s future status as a global centre, and as one of the engines of the UK economy. The proposals, or reforms like them, raise the question of the extent to which Whitehall wishes to continue to stand between London and its future.

With strong and innovative ideas emerging to fix ‘The London Problem’ for the longer term, will Whitehall stand in the way ?

It is hard to predict the potential for devolution to London and an end to Whitehall micro-management.

However with ‘post-devolution’ success in the future, in economic development, transport, housing reform, police and environmental improvements, one can easily see how London as a region could also take responsibility for health, tertiary education, welfare and economic regulation in the future.

I hope you enjoy visiting THEfuture.London website. Some ideas are very long-term, a little outlandish, and designed to be eye-catching. Others more practical and shorter term. However, one cannot run through this website without thinking of the need to devolve power from Whitehall.

You may not agree with every proposal, but you will most likely agree on the need for realistic innovations, and agree that a catastrophe awaits London if the sclerotic way it is now run, continues.

 

* Paul Reynolds works with multilateral organisations as an independent adviser on international relations, economics, and senior governance. He is an elected member of FIRC and an Executive member of Liberal International (British Group).

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3 Comments

  • According to this website —
    We are told that Paul ….”–Having left school at 13, his first job in London was as a meat trader on Smithfield Market for 3 years, starting work every morning at 4am and travelling to Southall every day for 930am to work at another company office until late.
    He has known extreme poverty, has suffered in childhood from malnutrition, experienced drug-gang-related violence and has had teenage friends die from drug overdoses.”

    Can anyone tell us when it was last legal to leave school at 13 ?
    Was there not a minimum age to be a meat trader at Smithfield ?
    Starting work at 4am in one job and then starting another at 9.30 amd working until “late” — does that indicate a 16 hour working day?

    These are not rhetorical questions — I would be really interested to know the answers.

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