I've just been researching progress with the London Living Wage for a letter I'm drafting to Stuart Fraser, newly elected chair of the City of London Corporation's Policy and Resources committee. (In any other local authority he would be the Leader). The Corporation's chief executive thinks its would compromise the City's 'independence' to formally become a London Living wage employer. This is surprising given that London's elected Mayor Boris Johnson has already embraced the London Living Wage developed by trade unionists and the apolitical community-based organisation, London Citizens.
I approached Ken Livingstone during his ill-fated attempt to win a third term as elected Mayor to ask why he wasn't making more of this issue to win support in London. After all it was adopted as London Labour Policy at its Bienniel Conference nearly two years ago. "The trouble is, none of the Labour controlled boroughs have followed suit", he told me.
We have got to get real about this issue. If Tory-controlled Ealing Council can adopt the London Living Wage in key contracts, what are London Labour-controlled councils waiting for?
Everyone is being affected by rising living costs outside government control, not just those in employment, Labour has a responsibility to everyone on low and middle incomes. This should be the campaigning issue to rally the Party, not the personal ambitions of over-inflated egos in Cabinet.
To trump the Tories, Labour is going to need to raise the stakes by getting busy setting out its plans, not just for a living wage, for a living income town-by-town, city-by-city, region-by region pdq, and in tandem rebuilding the Party from the grassroots.