Here’s something of a strange story coming out of South London this evening:
Labour Councillors in Lambeth and Southwark have announced plans to work together to cut costs and protect frontline services if Labour wins control of both Councils in elections due this May.
Cllr Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council, and Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark’s Labour Councillors, will offer residents better value for money by sharing management costs and merging some services across both councils.
The old adage goes that Southwark Council only exists to make Lambeth Council look half-decent. The proposed political pact seems even more of a marriage of inconvenience than the LibDem and Tories love in over at Lambeth Town Hall.
Despite the geographical similarities, the two boroughs are politically at different cycles. After four years of power, @LambethLabour would no doubt be looking to continue the Nu Labour project that has been put in place in Lambeth.
Southwark meanwhile has taken a different political direction under the LibDems. A Labour win would mean that the Nu Labour project over the border is playing catch up with their colleagues in Lambeth.
And here’s a thought…
What if Labour regain control of Southwark, and lose control of Lambeth? Or even if both boroughs are under control of the LibDems after May 6th? Would a marriage of inconvenience still exist in opposition?
Talk of cross border alliances is of course being driven by cuts. The big financial axe is going to come swinging across all of South London, irrespective of who holds the power.
Forming an alliance is an imaginative idea to help solve what will no doubt be a deep-rooted financial problem for the next administration in Lambeth. We need solutions, but I’m voting on May 6th for a Lambeth administration. I don’t want decisions to be bussed in on the No. 436 from across the borough boundary.
And what of the much mooted (by @LambethLabour) John Lewis form of local government? Is the Petri dish going to be extended out to the good folk in Southwark, should both boroughs be flying the Red Flag on May 7th?
Sharing political resources sounds like just another attempt at shifting accountability and responsibility.
It’s not called a local election for nothing.