Opinion: Politics in London just got interesting

We all have our least favourite TLAs (three-letter abbreviations), but some should never have been created in the first place.

Take the ALG, or Association of London Government, as it was until recently called.  Not only was this body constantly confused with the LGA (Local Government Association) and GLA (Greater London Authority), but it also shared its abbreviation with the Adult Learning Grant programme, Americans for Limited Government - and Algiers' main airport.  The association has now been rebranded London Councils.

Then there was the ugly combination of letters that was LTUC, which stood for the dull-sounding London Transport Users' Committee, now rebranded London TravelWatch - instantly more purposeful-sounding and like the watchdog it is supposed to be.

Even Mayor Ken Livingstone has got in on the act, with London Overground - a clever inversion of the name with which we are all familiar to create a brand for a commuter rail network intended to encircle the capital.

What makes these rebrands interesting, though, is not just their play on words - it's the politics that lies behind them. Once the Tories had gained control of 14 boroughs in May's local elections, they naturally assumed control of the old ALG and installed a Conservative as chair, as well as putting Tories in other key posts. So when the ALG declared it was going to be rebranded, it came as no surprise.  This organis­ation is going somewhere, it said.  This organis­ation is going to shake things up a bit - perhaps even start to take on the Mayor and his left-wing powerbase. 

Similarly, London Overground is being positioned as a serious attempt by the Mayor and Transport for London to take on all the other rail brands out there and show them how things should be done. I suspect that London TravelWatch is also beefing up its act. 

It seems that organisations in the capital are now keener than ever to make the word ‘London' an explicit part of their brand. 

As another review of local government looms, this surely shows one thing: that regionalisation in London has worked.

Luke Blair is a director of London Communications Agency

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in