I care a great deal about London government, in fact in many ways I care more about the institution than the political leanings of whoever happens to be Mayor at any one time.
For me, one of the great tragedies of the Greater London Authority is its relative invisibility in the lives of most Londoners. Unlike the LCC and GLC there are no badges which proclaim its interest in this public building this fire station or that housing estate
Is the official LONDON logo really to be the last word on civic branding in the capital? What a depressing thought.
Lacking the eduction and housing provider remit of London’s last government means the Authority has little daily impact on most people’s lives. Yes, most Londoner’s know the Mayor runs the buses and the tubes but in a post devolution world it makes no sense for Ministers (often non-London MPs) to make decisions on London services and devolved government in London would mean a lot more if the Mayor’s powers interacted more with the services Londoners used.
There’s no reason the Mayor couldn’t serve as the regulator of London’s schools and hospitals, acting both as the upholder of standards but also a cheerleader for service provision in the capital.
When the next set of changes to the GLA are finally made we should hope they’ll see the axing of the non-position of Minister for London. A couple of years ago I was told no-one kept details of how many hours the part-time Minister actually spent carrying out London duties because they were too few to count, which seems to prove its pointlessness.
I’ve upset a few people with my refusal to join the near-mandatory hailing of Barack Obama’s election as The Best Thing Ever. It’s great the US has new, saner leadership but why are we encouraging young black people to look to abroad for their inspiration rather than highlighting the achievements of prominent black people in this country?
There’s a sort of 1997/Diana feeling at the moment where people are almost afraid to dissent, but I’m tired of being told how Obama’s election shows how much more progressive America is than the UK.
There’s no reason at all to presume the British public would have any issues voting for a party lead by someone who was black. Thirty four years ago the British electorate voted for someone who didn’t look like every other PM who’d gone before and it’s taken the US this long to catch up. Yes, that’s a cause for celebration but let’s not forget our own history in this area.
The real test of America’s real progressiveness isn’t whether they elected a Democrat after 8 disastrous years of Republican leadership but whether, at the end of Obama’s tenure, the country has addressed the deep issues which see 3,000 of every 100,000 African American males in jail or whether gay and lesbian Americans can live settled, married lives without politicians and the courts giving in to the crazy brigade.