The Olympic and Paralympic Games have been a huge success and demonstrated what can be achieved by the public and private sectors working together to a common purpose. There were problems along the way, from which we need to learn. The G4S security guard fiasco was an embarrassing and expensive mess. But it should have taught us a clear lesson - if we didn't already know it - you cannot totally transfer a public responsibility to the private sector.
Ticketing was also a problem. The system used was confusing and led to people who could afford to bid for more events and increased their chances of getting tickets. Meanwhile those who only bid for one were mostly left disappointed. A fairer system could have been devised, and should be for future events, making sure that a scarce resource is shared as widely as possible. Overall the games were a tremendously positive event. The games were a reflection of much that is good about Britain and London, and a great showcase to the world (and ourselves) of what we can achieve.
The opening ceremony reflected a modern Britain as far removed from Cameron's 'broken Britain' rhetoric as it's possible to get. Can we show a similar game change, pardon the pun, with the legacy?
To my mind, this is the greatest challenge of all. On the one hand, they were billed as the 'legacy games'. We said we would use them, among other things, as a down-payment on the future of the east end of London. But on the other, with a programme of cuts and a government that has given up even pretending that 'we're all in this together' I fear that the East End will be sold short.
As the Assembly Member for City & East London I see both the wealth of the financial district and the deep disadvantage of some of the most excluded communities in Britain. I believe that the potential of all my constituents can be unlocked, but it needs a programme of continuing investment, individual mentoring, family support and physical investment for this to happen. When I worked with our previous Mayor - the Olympics will I think be eventually recognised as his greatest achievement - this was what we had in mind. We always believed that such a legacy was a 'win-win' for London and Britain. A more productive East End would be a greater creator of wealth and would pay back the investment. So we agreed legacy objectives. Our job now as Londoners is to deliver on those.
The main block to delivering these promises will be a failure of political leadership once the media spotlight moves away and as the government's cuts programme continues to bite. We must not let the government or Mayor of London forget their obligations, which were clearly set out in the bid and which they accepted. There are two key strands to this: housing and other physical improvements for local communities, and developing the potential of local people.
The continued pressure on housing is a problem that stretches across South-east England and is at its most acute in London. We have already seen private sector rents rise by 12% in the past year alone - the average in London is now £1,200 per month, and the East End is not immune. We need a mixture of housing investment - new homes for people in need, with a mixture of tenures and levels of affordability - and better regulation of the private rented market. The government's ruinous policy to introduce 'affordable' rents for social housing at 80% of the local market rate will make matters even worse. Rent increases are creating the risk that the 'Kosovo type ethnic cleansing' Mayor Boris Johnson pledged to oppose, will after all become the signature legacy of his Olympics. We must make sure he has the insight and resolve to prevent that from happening.
In parallel, we need to invest in maintaining the network of support and skills training that was created to support the Games. By working comprehensively with people and their individual problems, whether health, skills, confidence, language, childcare or anything else, we can dissolve those islands of economic inactivity and exclusion that still exist in East London. In doing so we will find such latent energy that we will wonder why we didn't think of it before.
Politicians from all parties have made countless promises about the Olympics and how they will benefit Britain, London and in particular the East End. Too often promises are made in the run up to an event and then quietly forgotten and dropped afterwards. My constituents in east London, and I would argue the rest of you, simply cannot afford for us to renege on this.
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