I consider myself very lucky to be party of a leadership team that has time and again demonstrated its ability to think outside the box and find solutions to the city’s twin problems of increasing expectations and reducing central government funding.
However this shouldn’t be a significant surprise as ideas and creativity are part of the DNA of the city and we ought to expect that level of innovation and collaboration to permeate political thinking as it does the rest of our economy and lives.
Over recent weeks I have had the enormous pleasure of observing the selection process of Labour’s next team of candidates across the city for the 2019 elections and I’m proud to report that the results have been genuinely exciting.
Our team of candidates have strong experience of community safety, housing, transport, children’s services, schools, social care, culture, our environment and many other topics. Consequently the solutions that potential candidates have been exploring as part of the process have covered a broad range of the council’s responsibilities and key areas of delivery.
They are full of ideas and along with our thousands of members across the city we will be refining those great ideas into a manifesto to demonstrate our ongoing ambition to protect our city from the worst impacts of Tory austerity and to build a city where all feel safe and our shared future looks bright.
Of course every political candidate and party in 2019 will no doubt say the same and will seek to assure residents of their competency and vision. Surely every election should be able to be described as a battle of ideas, reputation and hope. It’s so much better to be able to debate a strong vision for the city than to engage in name calling or to ape the worst depths of international political discourse – however tempting that route may be to some.
I am hopeful that in a city where ideas are so valued that those who stand for election will take the best route to electoral success and choose to make policy and not personality the key factor over the next nine months. Otherwise there’s a strong chance that even I, as an eternal optimist, might get thoroughly bored by low-grade low-value bickering.
Daniel Yates is the Labour leader of Brighton & Hove City Council.