CamdenNewJournal

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Ex Camden councillor John Mills would be a great addition to Labour’s Brexit team

10 August, 2017

John Mills: ‘could be of great benefit to the Labour team’

• “ONE thing is certain,” a friend texted on election day, “If Theresa May’s incompetent Tories get their mandate, the last person to leave the UK will have no need to turn out the lights. There won’t be any.”

Thankfully the pundits and pollsters were wrong. Against all odds there is now the possibility of a Labour government, committed to proper Labour policies.

Faced with this new reality Jeremy Corbyn has begun the preparation and started to broaden his shadow team. One highly qualified and experienced politician he should consider turned up in the pages of the New Journal during the campaign.

Two days after the publication of the Labour Manifesto, John Mills wrote a very positive, reasoned, supportive, piece that also correctly predicted the result of the upcoming election (The Labour manifesto may not be a winner this time, but long term…, May 19). There are several other pertinent reasons as to why Mr Mills is ideally suited to a role in Mr Corbyn’s team.

The Labour leader champions radical measures for rehousing the victims of the Grenfell fire. Mr Mills has been there, done that.

In the 1970s as chair of housing at Camden, he was responsible for the largest municipalisation housing programme in the UK. Thousands of badly maintained, overcrowded, slum, and neglected dwellings were compulsorily purchased then renovated to a high standard.

At the heart of this achievement was the co-operation he fostered between young activists in the CPO campaign and the likes of Terry Hargrave and his Central Camden Tenants and Residents Association.

They identified the worst housing, who the owners were, as well as tenants with the greatest need. All this assisted the Town Hall bureaucracy to obtain the information required to make an outstanding success of an ambitious programme.

The election of Margaret Thatcher killed the programme, but Mr Mills continued to play a leading role at the council and on numerous other high profile public bodies for many years and remains highly active in various forums to the present day.

Around the same time as the municipalisation programme, and side by side with his public sector work, Mr Mills began to hone his entrepreneurial skills, going on to build JML – a global consumer goods company that operates out of 68 countries and has been rated one of the top 150 companies in Europe.

Mr Mills knows the global economy and how it works. He is a recognised economist and has published numerous books advocating radical changes to Britain’s economic and trade policies, including the building of a high-wage economy as an alternative to austerity.

Mr Mills could be of great benefit to the Labour team. He is not an MP – but Mr Corbyn has already crossed this bridge by his appointment of Shami Chakrabarti as shadow attorney general. Mr Mills should be put into the Lords and from there into the shadow team, perhaps as one of the Brexit team. That would certainly shake up David Davis and his complacent Tory colleagues.

DON RYAN, Hadley Street, NW1

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