Now the local elections are over, another hurdle for the council's People Friendly Streets programme has passed. The results show residents are overwhelmingly in favour of the council's plan to implement these schemes across the borough. Comparing the results with the 2018 local elections, the combined vote share of the pro LTN parties of Labour and the Greens stayed level at 77%. In Highbury where the largest and most controversial scheme was introduced, the Greens saw two new councillors to join Caroline Russell as the opposition party. It's clear that voters either really liked these schemes or thought there were more important issues to be concerned with.
I'm so grateful for Rowena and her colleagues in their strong leadership and courage in the face of some quite appalling behaviour from some individuals, including verbal and online abuse, and vandalism. Local campaigners have borne some of the brunt of this vitriol, such as the bizarre Putinesque comments made by Conservative candidate David Corigall, when he insinuated our campaign was a move towards national socialism (more commonly known as Nazism).
In the end, the opposition to these schemes has failed and now it's time for us to move on and work together, starting with the engagement and design process for Barnsbury and St Mary's, that Rowena Champion promised would kick off as soon as the local elections were over. As Greta Thunburg eloquently remarked,
the climate and ecological crisis is beyond party politics. And our main enemy right now is not our political opponents. Our main enemy now is physics.
We are currently in a race against time to eliminate our use of fossil fuels. Providing safe infrastructure for people to move about freely by foot or by bicycle is one of the proven ways this can be achieved.
Finally, it's worth noting that Islington is one of several councils leading the way in this country in active transport policy. If the council are bold in their implementation of the People Friendly Streets, not only will they serve the people of this fantastic borough, they will also crucially set a shining example for other councils across the UK to follow. Let's get cracking!