Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Tubes, parties and budgets

The Lib Dem manifesto for London has been published and finally I no longer need to tap my nose whenever anyone has asked me what was in it.

There are some really good things in it and I'm pleased that some of my points were taken onboard.

The proposal to extend tube hours till 2am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings is a brilliant idea and should help demonstrate the Lib Dems are the 'young peoples' party - now all they have to do if they really want it is get off the sofa and vote!

And I'm pleased to see the original suggestion to support a broad programme of cultural events from the city's diverse communities struck a chord; there was a danger in the early drafts that the usual suspects - the Irish and Asians - would hoover up all the attention. I'm pleased that my intervention at regional conference about the need to pay attention to smaller groups - specifically the Latin Americans - was expressly noted.

I think my comment that if the London-based Irish should have a St Patrick's Day parade, then why not a Carnaval event with the Brazilian community? I think the image cheered many of the delegates and the explicit reference to the various Latin American communities made their way in.

And finally although many people will not notice it, Simon is now committed to the 'Londoner's Choice', whereby the public will be able to decide how £1m should be spent betweenthreee projects proposed by the Assembly.

Perhaps it's the policy wonk in me, but I can only muster two cheers for this policy. It's doesn't deliver what I want in its entirety - that of participatory budgeting which is carried out in Porto Alegre and other Brazilian cities - but at least it's a start. And now it's been committed to, it can be tailored and improved upon in later documents.

What do you think of the manifesto and its policies? Let me know.

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