I had a very interesting conversation with a Jewish friend yesterday. The subject of Brian Coleman's run for the GLA in May came up. He told me about a rather interesting conversation he'd had regarding Colemans campaign. As he has previously supported the Conservative party financially, it was suggested that he may like to help out. Now my friend is no friend of Brian Coleman. He replied that there is no way he could possibly support Brian Coleman. The response came back "Brian is a staunch supporter of our community. If his campaign is not successful, it may have serious consequences for Boris in the mayoral election. We all know what a Livingstone mayoralty means, so it is vital that we support Brian to the hilt".
My friend responded that he would open his wallet on the day they deselect Brian Coleman. He also suggested that if it is so important for the community to keep Ken out (which he heartily agrees with), that Coleman should fall on his sword for the "good of the community". Andrew Dismore knows that Brian Coleman is his biggest assett. Both Andrew and Ken are praying that the Tories keep him as he's a liability. Private conversations with local Labour activists tell me that they think the Coleman factor is worth at least 10% to their campaign. As to the financial side, I doubt it will hurt the Tory campaign too much. Some of their supporters have very deep pockets. They will make up any shortfall. When I stood against the Conservatives in Mill Hill last May, certain wealthy locals gave huge donations for my rivals campaign. They did this despite the cast iron knowledge that I would stand up for the green belt far more strongly than my Tory Candidates, I was promoting a pro small business parking policy for Barnet, that I work tirelessly to try and ensure that Barnet Council is run openly and transparently and that I was born and raised in Mill Hill and care passionately about the area. Of course it's their cash, so they can do what they like with it, but I have taken a grim satisfaction in hearing how fed up they are with the policies their cash ensured could be implemented.
The one thing I learned last May is that cash talks. Whilst we campaigned tirelessly on the doorstep, spent hours ensuring we got our message out that we cared about Mill Hill, the Tories had cash, printed thousands of glossy leaflets, paid for them to be delivered. These leaflets were full of porkies, such as the one that the Lib Dems were planning a huge football stadium for Kentish Town FC (average crowd 30), for Copthall Stadium. They also said they were bringing in business friendly parking charges.
That is Brian Colemans magic bullet. He has the big money in Barnet behind him and his cronies. As the mayoral and GLA election draws closer, we'll see more glossy brochures and more people will get telephone calls from people they don't know telling them all manner of old crap, which they will bitterly regret listening to, if they fall for it.
In the run up to last May's council elections, we campaigned tirelessly for a better parking policy for Barnet High Streets. This was supported by the Federation of Small Business. In light of what the Tories have done, you probably wouldn't be surprised how many people have told me they bitterly regret their decision to vote Tory. Brian Coleman may have the expensive silver bullet to kill Dismore's GLA campaign. He still has to make sure that they hit Dismore's campaign in the heart to kill it.