LCC Conference and the 2014 Borough Elections

LCC began to get ready to take loveLondon-GoDutch to the next level on Saturday with a conference focusing on the Borough Elections in 2014.  Estimates on attendance varied between 80 and 120, and I am happy to say Croydon was well represented with three members in attendance.  First of all, a big thank you to all the staff and volunteers who organised it, as it really was a fantastic, thought-provoking event.

A number of themes crept up repeatedly throughout the day, with much advice and guidelines forming for how borough groups need to operate.  Engage and work with the council, target highway engineers and council officers as well as councillors, use imagery to capture imagination and utilize social media to achieve our aims. This was fantastically reassuring for us as this is exactly what we’ve been doing over the past few months. We need to continue to ramp up our efforts in these areas and we’ll soon start to see big changes benefiting cyclists in Croydon.

There was also a big final announcement made at the conference.  LCC Trustee and transport expert Christian Wolmar has decided to run for the Labour nominee for London Mayor in 2016.  This is fantastic news, not only would we have an informed, committed and passionate cyclist running things from the top, but we would have a mayor in London who actually knows something about what he is doing and not just how to elected.  2016 seems a long way away but I am very excited for it, watching Christian’s race for the labour mayoral candidacy and hopefully the mayoralty will be a thrill.

LCC HQ were using the event to push a concise message to the borough groups about the local elections. LoveLondon-GoDutch made cycling one of the key issues for the incoming mayor in 2012, and now they want to make it the central issue in the local elections.  LCC’s goal is to make sure every potential candidate in the borough elections is made to think about cycling and make it a key part of their election bid.  This isn’t going to be possible without a massive effort from the local borough campaigning groups.

So what does all this mean for the Croydon Cycling Campaign?  It’s going to mean a lot of hard work from a lot of people. There are seventy seats for local councillors in Croydon.  Assuming a candidate for each from labour, conservative, liberal democrat and green, that’s at least 280 emails to write plus candidates from other minor parties. We have to do this in addition to all the other streams of activity we have in progress spread amongst our very limited activist core.  The only thing we do have is time, as the 2014 borough elections will not take place for almost 2 years. We need to be ready for when they come around. The best way to meet this challenge is going to be to have a bigger, more active letter-writing group.  We will utilise social media as a means to get more people involved, and use our forum to share our letters and encourage each other.  Hopefully then, come 2014, we will be in a strong enough position to meet the LCCs challenge head on.