Yesterday I announced that I want to stand for the London Assembly. This is just the beginning of a long process – I am currently campaigning for the seletion as a Labour candidate – but this campaign offers Labour members the opportunity to get involved and voice their opinions on the future of our capital city.
I am standing because I am ready to shake things up. If I were fortunate enough to be elected to City Hall, I would be the youngest member in the history of the Assembly. I’m standing to voice the frustration and anger of all of those who are sick to death of politicians who say one thing and then do another.
Fundamentally, my candidacy is an experiment. I’m standing to see if we can change politics. Over the next few months I am planning on reaching out across London to see what Labour members want from their elected officials. And then I am going to push for that at City Hall. It sounds like a simple exercise, but for some reason, this basic task seems too much for some politicians.
My main message in this election process is that we have to bring an end to the reckless levels of inequality that we see across London. It impacts absolutely every area of life in the city. We have a situation where ordinary Londoners – who go out to work every day and do everything asked of them – create the wealth of our city, but do not get a share of it. Instead, the richest and the most powerful scoop up that wealth and share it amongst a few. I believe in a London for the many, but we are only going to achieve that if we address the huge imbalance of wealth and power in our city.
That’s no easy task. But it is entirely achievable if we have candidates and elected officials who are determined to answer that challenge. Every issue that Londoners face comes back to the fact that we live in one of the most unequal cities in the world. From housing, to fire and safety provision, to healthcare provision, to crime and security and a host of other policy areas, Londoners are forced to play the postcode lottery to get by.
The Conservatives have crippled local councils to the point where many have lost over 60 per cent of central government funding. In London it has been the poorest boroughs which have suffered the most. In turn, those councils have cut services that the poorest rely on the most. Under the Tories, ordinary Londoners have been told to get up and do their bit but expect absolutely nothing in return.
I believe that is completely unacceptable. And I think a majority of Londoners are with me on that. I’m standing because it is time that ordinary Londoners had an ordinary Londoner on their side. I hope Labour members across the city will join me in shaking up the system. We can’t wait any longer.