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Bright Blue, the independent think tank for liberal conservatism, has today published the latest edition of its magazine Centre Write, entitled Digital disruption?”. This magazine explores the positive and negative effects of technology on our public services, economy and environment, as well as an interview with the independent candidate for Mayor of London, Rory Stewart OBE.

In his interview, Rory Stewart OBE claims that the main political parties “have produced manifestos that have turned against London.”

Stewart claims that “although it feels unfashionable to say it, I think if you step back and look objectively at where the need and opportunity is in Britain, London is the first.”

He argues that other London Mayoral candidates will “have to go into this election tied to manifestos, leaders and policies which are all about prioritising northern England. The reason I’m proud to be running as an Independent is that I can speak for London; I don’t need to buy into all of that stuff.”

Rory Stewart believes London is suffering from:

  • Not enough tree planting and green walls to absorb pollution
  • Not enough policy focus from the current Mayor on air pollution on the Underground
  • Not enough resources to analyse crime data properly, identify crime hotspots and put adequate resources into those hotspots
  • Not enough attention from national political parties on London’s needs, with no mention of Crossrail 2 in the Conservative Party Manifesto

In his interview, Rory Stewart OBE said:

“We went too far in thinking about Brexit in terms of grand values, and not enough in terms of details. I blew up my political career on this issue… I’m saddened that even now, people try to frame it purely in terms of values rather than sweating the details.”

“Social media was not set up as a political tool; it was set up as a lifestyle tool. And that means that politics is drawn in a very strange direction… It makes politics ever more broad-brush, generic, emotive. It’s the final development of the removal of the word ‘how’ from politics; everything is about the ‘what’.”

On the Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, Rory Stewart OBE said:

“He was good at sunny optimism, I’m much better at sweating the details… I think you win battles by studying the terrain and the details; he thinks you win battles by grand optimistic speeches.”

In his article for Centre Write, Matt Warman MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:

“We must examine how to increase the supply of good quality housing stock, while not burdening local authorities or housing associations, and ensuring developers stick to promises and crack on with new build completions.”

“My solution would be for planning permission to be sought before public land is sold for the type of residential development which the area requires, according to demand and factors such as the density of the local population.”

“I would insert a clause in rental agreements which would give any tenant who continuously occupies one of these properties on previously public land for ten years without break the right to buy at the market value at time of occupation.”

Damian Collins MP, former Chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, wrote for Centre Write calling for a fundamental overhaul of the way we regulate social media:

“A small community radio station with a few thousand listeners requires a license from the media regulator Ofcom, but a social media channel with millions of individual subscribers does not… For most people today, these rules are about as relevant as the Corn Laws.”

“That’s why I want us to act now to make the big tech companies more responsible, in law for the content that is served to users on their platform. They should have a legal duty of care overseen by a regulator that has the power to investigate and act against those companies when things go wrong.”

This edition of Bright Blue’s Centre Write magazine also includes contributions from David Simmonds CBE MP, Nir Eyal, Daniel Korski CBE, and many more.