For me, being a Liberal Democrat is about empowering individuals, giving everyone the chance to realise their potential, working collectively to protect the most vulnerable in our communities, and being open and tolerant.
This is the first time I’ve been a candidate, having joined the Liberal Democrats after the 2015 General Election, to become part of a movement to keep alive those core values of liberalism and social democracy in our community.
The most exhilarating thing about campaigning in this election has been working with a group of candidates who share those values so passionately; be it on special education needs, mental health, environmental issues, libraries, women’s rights, affordable housing for all, and so many other issues.
Early on we hit upon the idea of ‘Rethinking Lambeth’ as a theme for our campaign, looking at innovative solutions as a way to bring about change for Lambeth. In difficult times we need bold ideas to make our borough work for everyone.
Our key manifesto commitments to the people of Lambeth are:
• We will be absolutely committed to affordable housing for all, driving policy and scrutinising decisions; we want to put a stop to estate demolition without ballots - as in places like Cressingham Gardens and Central Hill - hold developers to their promises on social housing, and take action againstbad landlords.
• We will protect our green spaces from commercial exploitation; it is vital that our parks thrive, which could include sustainable events, and we will always put the needs of park users first.
• We will make Lambeth a truly green, liveable borough; by working with Council providers, cafes and businesses to reduce single-use plastics and takeaway coffee cups, campaigning for an electric car-charging point on every street, and making streets cleaner and safer.
• We will bring an end to Lambeth Council’s waste; making sure your money is spent accountably and for your benefit, not wasted on more projects like the Town Hall, setting-up property companies, or sky high salaries.
• We believe, like Liberal Democrats across London, that there needs to be more money for community policing.
• Stronger democracy in Lambeth. No more of Labour’s one-party monopoly, with real debate and opposition scrutiny keeping the Council honest; we will listen to your views, represent you, work with other parties, and give power to communities.
One fact: In my ward, Thurlow Park - which many would describe as ‘leafly’ - one in four children are growing up in poverty. In nearby Coldharbour it’s nearly one in two. That is unacceptable. I want to change those stats. Because they are not just stats. This is about thousands of lives, families and futures.
I believe that a council with a strong Liberal Democrat presence could rethink Lambeth in a way that will transform lives. A Lambeth for more than the few or even the many, but for all.
Lambeth is a wonderfully diverse and talented borough. I hope people will find our manifesto positive and inspiring.