“East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,” Rudyard Kipling once famously said. Well, when it comes to London Kipling was wrong.
We are two Labour MPs, elected years apart, to represent two very different London constituencies: Ealing Southall in the West and Illford North in the East.
But what divides us is nothing like as powerful as what unites us. We both got in to politics to fight for fairness, social justice and equality.
The same goes for the communities we got in to politics to represent. Of course there are a wide range of issues and concerns, but underneath it all our constituents want the same things – the same things as any Londoner. An end to the housing crisis, world class affordable transport, and real opportunity to fulfil their potential.
That’s Tessa Jowell’s One London vision – and that’s why we are supporting her to be the next Mayor of London. She can deliver the change that London needs – that’s why we are calling on every generation in the Labour Party, young and old, to support her as well.
We live in a city united in its diversity. 300 languages, 9 million people but every single one a Londoner ambitious to see themselves and their families get on, and do well.
Yet, whilst London can be the best city in the world, it needs to change. We face an inequality crisis – not just of wealth, but of opportunity too.
Too many Londoners live in poverty, too many can’t make ends meet no matter how hard they work, and far too many feel that they haven’t got an equal chance to succeed – and they are right, and that cannot go on. So London needs someone who can deliver that change.
From Sure Start to the Olympics, Tessa has delivered for London before and she can do so again. She’s got the ideas to build One London and she can win.
Her Homes for Londoners plan to solve the housing crisis and get London building again is exactly the sort of fresh thinking our city needs. Innovative help for first time buyers to get on the housing ladder without unaffordable deposits and tough new plans to ensure fairness for renters are exactly the plans Labour should be making.
And her new proposals to restore Sure Start to its founding principles and give every child, every chance to succeed will make a real difference all over London.
We know there is plenty more to come, and what’s great about Tessa is that she doesn’t just make speeches – she gets results. She’s developing a real blueprint for change.
But the big lesson for Labour of the last month – and the last five years, and the next five years – is that you can’t do anything if you don’t win elections.
On May 7 we were both elected on a night Labour was defeated. Even here in London we failed to win in places like Hendon and Finchley – in spite of the fantastic candidates and activists we have across our city. Labour lost because the British people did not believe we offered a future that they could support and believe in.
If the Labour Party is to win again we have to start winning new people over to our cause – especially people who voted for the Conservatives this time. After all at the last Mayoral election more than 51% eventually chose the Tories over Labour – if we can’t win some of those people over we can’t win.
The Labour Party cannot help anyone unless we secure the power to do so. But we know Tessa can do it She can win over people from all walks of life, all backgrounds. We’ve both seen the reaction she gets walking round London – real affection.
It takes a special kind of person to bring East and West London together. It will take a special person to bind our city back together and build One London where we all share in our city’s success. Tessa is that person. That’s why we want to see her in City Hall.