James,you started the 3 threads.....
You are clearly putting your ideological and political aspirations ahead of the majority of your constituents - you did it with the CPZ, you did it with your canvassing of Melbourne Grove when the Dulwich Village changes were proposed and you are doing it now with the Covid closure of said roads. We are all but a stepping stone in your political career - you seem more interested in keeping the Labour paymasters happy than the people you represent.....expand your echo chamber and you will hear that people want you to do more to represent your community against things like the DV road changes as they will have huge impact on us in East Dulwich - but no, you tow the party line and lobby for them even though the majority of your constituents don't want them.
And for the benefit of those who haven't read the blog here are the things you are most proud of in your two years representing Goose Green ward - all very admirable but not a lot there to inspire confidence that you are doing much for the people who voted for you. And with that, m'lud, the prosecution rests their case.....
1) Amplifying the grassroots
Change comes from below, not from committee rooms. I see my role as giving progressive campaigns a voice in the Council. After voting against Delanceyís plans for the Elephant and Castle - with its lack of social homes and support for local traders - I have worked with campaigners trying to get a better deal. When Sisters Uncut pointed out that a Home Office immigration officer was working from Southwark Council, I worked with them, the Law Centre and local party members to kick them out.
2) Members shaping the council
When it comes to local government, party members often feel shut out. In my first year, I was Secretary of the Labour Group of councillors. In that role, I tried to bridge the divide by liaising with branch secretaries and putting membersí motions on the Groupís agenda. More recently I campaigned with party members and fellow councillors for an all-members hustings and member-participation in the vote for the new Leader of Southwark Council. We were successful with the former but not the latter. (This has since been postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic.)
3) Supporting trade union struggles
Weíre called the Labour Party for a reason - the workersí movement is central to everything we do. As a councillor, I have always tried to support trade union campaigns and disputes, from joining picket lines like at the PictureHouse to challenging the Royal Mail on the closure of our sorting office. On a number of occasions, I have aligned council policy with campaigns by Unite, Unison, GMB, TSSA, RMT, and NEU.
4) Engaging with the community
I pledged to meet every state school in the ward during my first six months. Since then, weíve worked together on a number of projects, from road safety to social inclusion. During the coronavirus pandemic, Cllr Maggie Browning and I have hosted a fortnightly coordinating meeting between East Dulwichís mutual aid groups. These groups show Goose Green at its best: caring, generous and committed to supporting the local community.
Finally, I cannot mention community engagement without bringing up the East Dulwich CPZ. This divided opinion in the community and there was no solution which would have satisfied everyone. Nonetheless, Iím proud of the work we did to bridge the divide and carve out a proposal that most people could live with.
5) Getting the work done
Itís the four points above that really motivate me. But much of the work of a councillor is unseen. Itís not enough to do the campaigns if the day-to-day work is neglected. Iíve not missed a council meeting in the last year, my record on casework is one of the highest in the borough, and Iíve submitted the most Council Assembly motions of any councillor.