Tag Archives: greater london assembly

London’s democracy isn’t perfect: City Hall needs electoral reform

There’s a massive gulf between where our democracy is and where it should be. Time and time again, First Past the Post distorts the link between seats and votes in the House of Commons while the House of Lords makes a mockery of the notion that we have a representative democracy. Not to mention the stark reality that our political system is far too centralised – despite almost 25 years of devolution.

Of course, we’ve made some great steps forward. The devolved parliaments and assemblies, as well as the introduction of Proportional Representation for Scottish councils, are great achievements of modern politics – all positive, progressive Liberal Democrat wins alongside Labour.

Yet there’s much more to be done to build a better democracy. Instead of championing further democratic upgrades, the Conservatives are taking this country backwards. The introduction of voter ID checks for all the wrong reasons and the abolition of the Supplementary Vote for mayoral elections are two huge missteps.

We need big and radical overhauls like PR, a democratic upper chamber and a written codified constitution. But we also need reforms in less urgent but still important areas.

London faces another election this May. Our party has a real opportunity to grow in the capital, both by winning more assembly seats and beating the Greens back into fourth place.

Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon last year rightly championed the case for further devolution in London and across the UK. Devolving powers away from Westminster is the right move to empower citizens and ultimately strengthen our democracy.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 4 Comments

Hina Bokhari writes…Cargo bikes are an important tool towards cleaner air

Over the last few months, a heated debate has been taking place over the expansion of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) to outer London.

While this debate has continued to rage, we shouldn’t forget there are other ways in which we can reduce air pollution in London and other towns and cities across the UK.

One of the most interesting, but least reported methods for reducing air pollution in our cities is the use of cargo bikes.

Cargo bikes are bicycles that allow you to carry cargo (or heavy loads) easily, with electrically assisted models being able to carry loads of up to 250kg. The goal of their use in London has been to move freight and delivery transport away from polluting road vehicles and towards a more sustainable, clean air friendly and congestion free model – in many ways adapting the model pioneered by food delivery companies like Deliveroo for much larger goods.

This is important because freight vehicles (large goods vehicles and heavy goods vehicles), make up 17% of total miles in London, but have a disproportionate impact on emissions and air quality. This amounts to a quarter of the total carbon emissions from transport, and around a third of the total nitrogen oxides and particulate matter from road transport.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 13 Comments
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