What can the Liberal Democrat party do for Newham Borough?
That’s a fair question to ask when you consider that our borough is a Labour stronghold with an entrenched political system that has been making things work as long as anyone can remember.
But that’s just the point, things aren’t really working in Newham to the degree they should.
You wouldn’t think that with the barrage of publicity and propaganda that comes out of the Mayor’s office on a daily basis.
But if you look closely at this borough, you will see a political machine that is far better at self-promotion than they are at delivering quality services.
Despite all the press releases, our affordable housing needs aren’t being met effectively. Urban planning is running amok with a toxic asphalt plant being planned by a residential area. The same is true with local economic development with small businesses struggling to survive and unable to find suitable premises.
Why can’t Labour manage Newham more effectively?
One reason is that the Mayor is focused on two things, neither of which involves the citizens of Newham. His every move is aimed at strengthening or expanding his patronage network. The recent reorganization of his office, as well as his naming of the company directors involved with the redevelopment of the Boleyn Grounds, are all about consolidating his power.
At the same, his propensity for self-aggrandizement is amazing. He is always in the local paper and even has his own magazine – an initiative he decided to continue in the face of budget cuts. He even went so far as to use the podium at a recent community awards event to remind everyone of his accomplishments – a rather tasteless display according to some who were in attendance.
So what are the Liberal Democrats doing about this? Well first of all we have a reputation as a party that knows how to manage things, how to do things right without regard for political patronage.
Our candidate for West Ham constituency in the June 8th 2017 general election, Paul Reynolds has been battling against TFL in his campaign to get step less access to tube stations. He is also working on security issues such as the overcrowding on match day at West Ham games and whether the local mosques are being given the proper protection.
These are very localized efforts, but efforts that are important to everyone involved.
As we gain a bigger foothold in Newham, we will use our expertise to do more and more.
And oh by the way, we are the only party that is fighting Brexit and will continue to fight Brexit.