On this the final day of 2016 we take a moment to look back upon the year, and begin to ponder the 12 months ahead.
The political bit:
2016 will undeniably go down in the Walsh family annals as a year of both Highs and Lows… from the triumphant wins of Sadiq Khan to the bitter blow that is Brexit, and whilst we might collectively agree and hope for a better 2017, the runes are not looking in our favour. So we are faced with a choice: to stand and lament the actions of an omni-shambles Tory Government, or take action. I choose the latter. We need an electable, well organised Labour Party, and we need to start winning again. We’ve just three and a bit years until the 2020 General election where WE MUST, for the sake of everything good & British (The NHS; Human, Civil & Workers Rights alongside salvaging Britain’s role in the World post-Brexit) be the Party that forms the next British Government.
The local bit:
Fiscally, for Lewisham the challenges and fallout from Tories in power mean ‘£1 in every three cut’, and its the Tory aspiration to increase that to ‘£1 in every two’ by 2020. We are a ‘low income, high needs borough’ (We’re not Westminster Kensington or Chelsea, with their huge business income and affluent populations, were pretty much their diametric opposite) the perverse cutting of Local Government funding, to no longer give additional support to poorer areas is reaching crunch point, we’re scrimping and saving, but still local Government is starving.
2017, despite its challenges will have opportunities too, we’ll be developing a new #Catford Town Plan which I’m delighted to be involved with, living in and representing your community is a true honour – Catford/Rushey Green is a beautiful place that has just been ‘under-tended’, the new plans will hopefully revitalise and rejuvenate – it’s all very exciting!
Alongside this, I’ve been asked to continue my work from Scrutiny Committee and to now sit on a Poverty Task force for Lewisham, made up in part by some great British charities and ‘think-tanks’ in this area.
Lewisham’s LGBT Forum is also finally taking shape, I’ve commissioned a piece of research into several key areas of Lewisham LGBT Life that will be reporting back in late January, but ahead of LGBT History Month. Stay tuned.
Campaigning for the Bakerloo Line Extension, and ensuring it reaches to the South of the Borough, will be a key area of work for 2017, with a side project of lobbying for the DLR to be turned 24 hour from May 2021.
It just leaves me to say a big thank you to all my family, friends and supporters for all the kindness patience and support you’ve given me over the last year, it is upon the backs of this love and support I can find the time, energy and strength to do what I can, but without you well… 🤷🏽♀️
Stay safe, Happy New Year and see you soon.
Cllr James-J Walsh