Two weeks ago Southwark Labour launched its' manifesto for the local election campaign. You can read it here. I think we've got a full programme for the next 4 years, with many good ideas for sorting out some of the big problems for Southwark. I was particularly pleased to see that Labour's national manifesto published yesterday included a commitment to provide free healthy school meals - echoing our own local pledge to introduce free healthy school meals for all of our primary school pupils.
But I have been baffled by the absence of any manifesto or ideas from the Lib Dems who run the Council. Three weeks before they are asking people to support them in the local elections I have yet to see a leaflet which says what they will do, rather than what Labour won't do! After 8 years in power you would have thought that they would want to take pride in any achievements and set out their agenda for the next 4 years. But try though I might I can find nothing, anywhere!
Perhaps it is because we have the worst run council in London (that's official - don't just take my word for it!), the third worst council tax collection in the country, the sixth worst recycling record in England and a housing department which has been condemned by the Audit Commission that the Lib Dems are avoiding talking about their record. But to have no ideas for the future is just pathetic. I have to say it is consistent with everything which senior officers have told me over the past two years - that the Council's political executive have provided absolutely no leadership.
It is great to have good 'pavement politicians', people who will stand up for your street, but you also need people in charge of the Council who have a strategy and a vision for where our borough should be. Labour has such a strategy and vision, and at the moment we seem to be the only party which does. We don't just want power for the sake of it, or to share out the special responsibility allowances. We want power so that we can make Southwark a better place to live, and create a future which is fair for all in our borough.