Last evening, I was invited to City Hall in The Queen’s Walk – home of the Greater London Authority – to attend the annual Conservative Group reception. On a warm and beautiful summer’s evening, the event was held on the ninth storey of the building, with a balcony that looked out across South East London and the River Thames.
The room was packed with members of the London Assembly, journalists and supporters, most of whom were eager to hear Mayor Boris Johnson. He certainly didn’t disappoint, and in his usual diffident manner delivered a funny but powerful and politically incisive resume of his last year’s administration – including the imminent “death of the bendy bus”!
But I had gone along in the hope of meeting Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes. I had first been introduced to Richard seven years earlier in 2002, when I met with him as Equalities Champion to ask his advice on our equality and diversity work in Kent. Richard made a huge amount of sense, and I shamelessly plagiarised his thoughts back at KCC to great effect.
With his trademark generosity, Richard promised to send me his new equalities policy. As I left the reception and made my way home, I wondered what KCC would be like if it had a headquarters like City Hall!