I went to the London Councils annual conference at the Guildhall in London on Saturday. It is a very good conference, and I recommend it to all London Councillors.
It startedwith an introduction from Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe, the 'day-mayor' to Boris Johnson's 'night-mayer'. He did a very good speech, talking about the Olympics and the riots. Boris then spoke. He didn't really say anything, he never does. He doesn't seem to know very much really. He had one good line though, he congratulated us on coming, as the turnout here far exceeded the PCC elections on Thursday!
In the first plenary session, I went to a talk on housing. It was interesting, but we need to make sure people understand that we have existing issues like school places, transport, amenity spaces etc. which need to be addressed alongside new housing. Unfortunately, There is a degree of resistance by some to sensible solutions. One Tory Councillor for Merton asked why we don't build more housing in Scotland to sort out London's housing needs.
Lunch was good, I had a nice lamb and risotto dish first, then went to another line and claimed a salmon and risotto dish. Very nice chocolate mousse too. Poor Richard Cornelius was given his desert by Alison Cornelius, and she seemed to have given him these multi-coloured things called "fruit". Whoever heard such like?! Sadly the desert was on one line, so I couldn't sneak back for seconds like I had on the mains.
After lunch, a talk on adult social care. Less interesting discussion, though there was a strong riposte to the "graph of doom". Barry Rawlings and I helpfully pointed Alison Cornelius out to everyone else. Primary care is more and more important to get right.
Finally a talk about the political changes in London. This is what I live for, statistical data on politics. Swings, changes, data, graphics and insight. I was in heaven. There was one funny bit when they said the GLA had previously only seen the Brent and Harrow seat change hands, and that this time Ealing and Hillingdon and "Barnet and Coleman" had changed hads- cue guffawing from just about everyone there.
They looked at Council by elections since 2010, and yours truly got a mention, as my 16.6% swing is apparently the largest recorded in London since then. I did take a bow. Honourable mention for Andreas Ioannidis (who was sadly not in the room at the time) as one of only two seats that had changed hands in the 22 London By-elections since 2010.
I had a good time there, saw some good old friends and colleagues, learnt a lot and picked up some good advice. I know David Shepherd hates the City of London Corporation, but the Guildhall is some place, with a beautiful art gallery and big neo-gothic halls. Nowhere to have a drink though.