Tony Devenish is a member of the London Assembly.
The quick ending of our leadership race and the chaos Labour (and UKIP) are facing means that even ConHome readers may not have taken the time to read Theresa May’s Birmingham campaign launch speech.
This is a shame because within her speech are the very real challenges we face as a country. The speech mirrors many of the symptoms my articulate Central London constituents raise with me, as their newly elected Greater London Assembly Member.
My favourite line from her speech was:
“I am going to make sure that the motives of the Government will never be in any doubt.’ But to combat the cynics may I suggest we do need to make progress on how many parts of the state which interface most with the public still (often) treat the public.”
My postbag is awash with complaints about HM Revenue and Customs or Transport for London showing deafness to public criticism. Small business still seems too often to be treated as ‘the enemy’ by HMRC. Londoners face a new Night Tube: great news, but as our new PM understands, practical implementation (of any policy) is all.
On the adage ”all politics is local”, and devolution is the direction of travel for Government, I hope the new London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, will learn from our Prime Minister and practice her straight-talking practical approach to politics. Khan has already broken a number of his election promises, from his commitment to build 50,000 affordable homes a year, to a travel fares freeze. He denies the latter, but even 80 per cent of the residents’ of the Labour heartlands, Borough of Newham, disbelieve him.
Khan is far more sane than the national Labour Leadership but seems to have forgotten he’s already been elected . He spends more of his time campaigning, rather than running London. I fear he will start to look like the 1997 or 2010 model of politician in contrast to the serious statesmanship of Theresa May.
My top postbag issue is the death of the ”upper end of the property chain”. Stamp Duty has stopped even the most affluent families from moving home unless caused by death or divorce. May, like all politicians, is committed to building more homes but what we used to call ‘stealth tax’ on homes is truly self-defeating. George Osborne’s policy inheritance will inevitably act as a brake on the all the goodwill a new PM (and London Mayor) has, unless reversed.