Utopia is a fictional, perfect place, but when I think about what I want to see London become it’s not far-fetched and fantastical – it’s real and within touching distance.
London has often seemed a kind of utopia for people searching for a better life – from elsewhere in the UK and from other countries too. London is a great city, and know it can never be perfect, but its greatness has always rested in its people and – right now – those in control seem to be set on repelling and driving away the very thing that makes it great: the hopeful and the young.
Want somewhere decent and warm to live? A good start in life and a job with secure hours and a liveable wage? To breathe air that doesn’t stunt your lung development? How about affordable education? I’m afraid now, in our city, wanting these things almost feels utopian – that’s how far out of reach they are for most of our young people.
So while my personal Utopian vision is literally perfect, with secure homes for all, good food and fresh air, cycling more common than driving, and an oyster card that never runs out of juice, my real vision for London is more achievable.
I say let’s look upwards to the inspiring campaign groups and citizen activists challenging the current Mayor, their local councils and the Government’s injustices on housing, policing, jobs, the environment and public space. And if we’re politicians, let’s look around us for those in all parties that share our goals – politics can be exciting if people leave the horse race behind and talk about ideas instead of tribal concerns.
By working together and helping a growing movement use its voice, those of us with a different, more utopian vision can not only take City Hall but give it back to the people as well.
Sian Berry will be taking part in Utopia on the evening of Wednesday 19th August – get your tickets here.