Today we had the pleasure of visiting London’s city hall. After speaking with one of the employees, I was intrigued to learn that the city hall itself was designed by the same man who designed the gherkin building across the Thames.
Inside with its sweeping hallways we joined in on an assembly between the OPDC (otherwise known as the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation) and the London assembly themselves who were made up of labor, conservative and other groups. During our hour long engagement, we were able to witness first hand the intense back and forth between assembly members and speakers in regards to their questions and concerns.
During the meeting, the topic of affordable housing, equal opportunity of apprenticeships and location affordability and accessibility were very thoroughly discussed. During our time watching the assembly it was interesting to see how the members constantly and consistently made notes and did research during the discussions instead of seemingly memorizing everything they wanted to know which goes to show their continuous engagement.
A small protest also took place during our viewing which although disruptive in nature, did show the passion of some groups towards the issues they find to be of more importance.
After the meeting we met with assembly member Onkar sahota who was the first labor candidate to represent Ealing and Hillingson. During our meeting, Mr. Sahota explained his background of being a doctor and as such sought to enter politics through the medical and public health perspective. Because of this, he continuously practices medicine to further stay in touch with his patients and therefore community.
To Mr. Sahota he believed in the middle government/regional route of politics because according to him it allowed for a person to still be in close contact with their community while engaging with the seemingly unreachable government branches. Mr. Sahota was proud of being able to turn a previously Tory area to Labour and also repressing over 600,000 people while his constituents represented a fewer amount.
Later on we were also visited by Mustafa Field OBE who is the director of faiths forum. During his presentation, Mr. Field explained the concept of globalization and how cities are able to induce big changes that would otherwise seemingly go unnoticed in the bigger scheme of things. It was in cities that communities are better able to come together and advocate/act upon the things they wanted implemented in their respective area rather than going through the ladder of a federal institution.
For example in the United States civil rights movements, federal change came after the implementation of voting and civil rights by individual cities and states. The ripple effect can be the an effective representation of this idea as it goes on to the show that a seemingly small step in one city can in fact go on to motivate and inspire surrounding areas.