Brent politicans and community figures reveal their New Year’s resolution

Personal and political targets over the next 12 months

The Times asked Brent’s prominent politicians and community figures for their thoughts on the new year. While no one can predict with certainty what the next 12 months will bring, we can be sure that council and party leaders will be at the forefront of decisions shaping our lives in 2012.

Here is a selection of their messages, both personal and political.

Councillor Ann John, leader of Brent Council: “My new year’s resolution is to continue to protect the most vulnerable people in Brent from the whirlwind of cuts imposed by the coalition government and to make Brent one of the best London boroughs in which to live, work and play.

“I also want to ensure that 2012 is a year of celebration, as our wonderful diverse community is an Olympic borough and we will also be celebrating 60 glorious years of Her Majesty’s reign.”

Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden and Deputy Bishop of London:: “I won’t be making any resolutions – they’re too easily broken.

“But I do have some new year wishes – that our society will break free from its fixation with “celebrity” culture, which only leads us to envy, greed and living our lives through others; that our young men will discover that “respect” is about finding what is good in who we are in ourselves, not about false swagger, guns and knives; that people who need them will find jobs and housing; and that all people will look for the deeper meanings of life, finding peace and fulfilment in knowing themselves loved by God and freed to love and care for their neighbours.”

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Cllr Paul Lorber, Brent’s Liberal Democrat leader: “Our campaigns with local people to save libraries, improve the local environment, support community festivals and many more will continue in 2012.

“The inspirational library campaign has shown the positive spirit of local people, giving up their time to work with others for a common good. I know that there are many tens of thousands of people across Brent who already volunteer their time to support their neighbours or a local cause. I hope that each person in Brent makes one of their New Year resolutions the giving of a bit of their time to support a local campaign or a good cause.

“Not only will this help the well-being of our community, it will also give the person a justified warm glow of personal achievement and satisfaction.”

Navin Shah, London Assembly member for Brent and Harrow: “My New Year’s resolution is to fight a successful election in 2012 and be part of the team that brings down fares for Londoners.

“Fares have become unaffordable and TfL’s �206million surplus should be used to ease the financial pressure for the people who need it.

“It’s important that we save Londoners money where we can. I want to see a safer, fairer and equal London and to continue my work with our richly diverse communities in Brent and Harrow. I wish you all a happy, prosperous and safe new year.”

Cllr Suresh Kansagra, leader of the Brent Conservative group: ‘‘2011 has been a significant year for our library campaigners who have valiantly fought the closures of six of our cherished libraries, a campaign that will continue into 2012.

“We can also look forward to the year ahead with excitement at the prospect of the Olympic Games returning to London for the first time since 1948.”

Martin Francis, spokesman for the Green Party in Brent: “In 2012 Caroline Lucas and our London MEP, Jean Lambert, will be continuing their efforts to promote a peaceful settlement in the Middle East. We will oppose new, costly and dangerous British military interventions in Iran and Somalia.

“As the recession bites, we need to spend taxpayers’ money wisely in investing in the future through education and training, and the building of a green economy based on fairness.

This year has proved the truth of the old adage, ‘You don’t know what you have lost until it’s gone’, and we must make sure we lose no more of the services that hold our community together.

“Attending the forthcoming area community forums, which will be discussing Brent’s 2012-13 budget, is a vital first step in positive involvement.

“The forthcoming London elections offer an opportunity for you to do something really positive by voting for Green candidates in the Assembly and mayoral elections.

“We already have two highly effective AMs and Dr Shahrar Ali will hoping to join them representing Brent and Harrow. Jenny Jones will be offering a genuine alternative to the predictable Boris and Ken Punch and Judy show.”

Barry Gardiner, Labour MP for Brent North: “The economic indicators suggest 2012 is going to be a difficult year for all, with the economy heading back into recession and youth unemployment reaching record levels.

“I will be working with local businesses and with the council to bring new jobs and prosperity to Brent.

“That way, hopes for a prosperous 2012 may come true.”