17 August 2018

Kingston Lib Dems lose a councillor

Today saw the departure of one of Kingston's 39 Lib Dem councillors.  More here - but it doesn't make good reading for the current leadership who are political pygmies in comparison with earlier Lib Dem leaders of the Royal Borough.

I moved to Kingston in the 1990s when the party was a bastion of liberal and radical thought.  I was mentored by people like John Tilley and Roger Hayes - campaigners who understood and developed community politics and made it relevant to the well heeled, middle class streets of Kingston, Richmond and Surbiton.

People like John and Roger and the recently sadly departed Brian Bennett - who got 70% of the vote in white working class Chessington by being openly liberal - knew how to both explain the reality of ever increasing centralisation of government (particularly under Labour) but still be creative and radical in local administration.  They introduced neighbourhoods - devolving budgets and opening up decisions to local people - bringing government closer to those it affected most and continuing the radical tradition of the sadly maligned Tower Hamlet Liberals, Eric Flounders and Peter Hughes.

The current administration's pledge to plant 500 trees is a pale shadow of this radical tradition.

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