Borough Business as Usual

The results have been counted (and re-counted,) the twaddle has been tweeted and the epic story (steady) of how my little hyperlocal patch in South London became the centre of the universe Lambeth has been told.

Time to move on.

Now we need progress and implementation. The Lambeth electorate has made its intentions perfectly clear: A massive 43% in favour of @LambethLabour has handed @cllrstevereed‘s party 44 seats – an increase of five from 2006.

@LambethLibDems lost two seats, returning fifteen councillors with 28% of the vote. The Tories in Lambeth have been blown out of the borough. Four seats is barely enough to form a group, despite a plausible 19% share of the vote.

So with a mandate to govern given – over to you Nu Labour to implement your manifesto.

Before the desk space is allocated at Lambeth Town Hall next week, Sunday sees a key meeting for the Nu Labour group. Returning old hands will be introducing some of the bright young things to the way of Nu Labour in Lambeth.

The group is holding its first post-election internal meeting. With @cllrstevereed confirming his intention to oversee the manifesto, it would be a brave (and politically foolish) young pup to mount a leadership bid.

Forty-four seats is massive. @cllrstevereed has to be congratulated in retaining political power in a consecutive election, something that has not happened in Lambeth in over a generation.

The continuity of administration also provides the opportunity to build upon the Nu Labour agenda. Many of the @LambethLabour councillors are of the opinion that they are only halfway trough the Nu Labour project.

This may bring optimism to anyone within the borough involved in education or community safety; Lambeth Living tenants and leisure users in the borough, may want to consider the implications of that massive 44% share of the vote.

With the council now coming out of purdah, one would hope that one of the first political moves from the @LambethLabour administration will be to finally invite the public into the promised consultation regarding the mutualisation of local politics.

A White Paper has already been drawn up for this at cabinet level. Being able to see exactly what we (steady) have voted for, albeit *after* the election, can only open up the democratic process.

Another contender for discussion at the first cabinet meeting (probably not *too* much discussion, mind…) will be Streatham Hub. December 2012 remains the date for which the delayed project has been pledged to be completed by.

Holding up this process will be the backlash against plonking a temporary ice rink right in the centre of Streatham Common. @LambethLabour has managed to unite a broad coalition of South London groups, not in support of its policies – but against them.

In a slight change from the previous party line, @cllrstevereed confirmed in the early hours of Saturday morning that “other options” are now being considered to locate the temporary rink.

This is a significant change from the position stated at the final cabinet meeting of the old administration in March. The twelve other unnamed locations for the rink were ruled out, and the Common was where the temporary rink was coming to.

Not so now, it would seem…

Lambeth Living tenants won’t like to hear it, but the huge @LambethLabour win has given Nu Labour some time to play around with on the housing front. Cabinet has stated that incoming Lambeth Living Head, Keith Hill, has one year to turn around the failing ALMO.

Cabinet will then make an internal decision in twelve months time as to the future of council stock within the borough. In a move similar to the phrasing of the original ALMO ballot paper, critics are weary of the wording simply stating “improvement.”

How do you quantify *any* improvement in a public service? Are we talking about the complete refurbishment of the properties that have so far failed to see any of the funding promised? Or maybe if a light bulb gets changed in a stairwell, this is then seen as an “improvement,” and the ALMO experiment continues to ferment?

This will all be for cabinet to decide.

Ah yes, cabinet…

Coming back to the internal @LambethLabour meeting later this weekend, and the party will elect new members to serve in the cabinet. It is good to know that at least some form of democratic decisions are carried out within Nu Labour at the highest level.

I can’t see any change to be honest. I wouldn’t go as far as saying moving the deckchairs around on the Titanic, but it will be the same players, in perhaps different roles, who will be putting in their claims for a £40k cabinet position at the end of the financial year.

The very decent Councillor Heywood deserves something better than leisure. Likewise Councillor Nosegbe would relish (and thrive) in a full time cabinet position involving young people.

Councillor McHugh is the only previous deputy cabinet member who stood down at the election. With @mayoroflambeth coming towards the end of his civic year, Councillor Wellbelove’s promotion to cabinet would be an incredibly popular choice, both inside, and outside of Lambeth Town Hall.

As for what is left of the opposition?

I hope Councillor Lumsden stays on as the opposition @LambethLibDems leader. Local democracy in Lambeth would take a turn for the worse if we mimicked the national model of leader’s stepping down if they lose an election.

Councillor Lumsden knows his patch, not to mention the agenda of his political rivals. He is more than capable of holding @LambethLabour to account over the next four years, in making sure that the finer details pledged in the manifesto are actually implemented.

You can’t argue against the massive majority that @LambethLabour now has in Lambeth (although the means as to how it was achieved are debatable.) The Nu Labour project has the mandate to continue.

Time to fix those houses, build those swimming pools and *maybe* explain what exactly is meant by a cooperative form of local government.

2 thoughts on “Borough Business as Usual

  1. From your election night tweets it seems Lumsden is going to be challenged for leadership of the Lib Dem group by Steve Bradley? Or is that red bull induced bravado?

  2. @Magnus seems less likely now that the wider picture has emerged. The reduction in @LambethLibDem seats wasn’t a response to the local campaign, but more a consequence of a strong Labour turn out for Chuka and Hoey being transferred locally.

    Cllr Lumsden knows his stuff and is rather decent at cornering the Nu Labour cabinet when it comes out with twaddle. Cllr Bradley will have his day, just not right now…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *