Thursday, 19 January 2012

Westminster has listened, why can't Barnet? Updated

Boris listens to Barnet residents deride Brian Colemans parking scheme
The news on BBC London this morning is that Westmintser Council has "listened to the views of residents and business" and scrapped its outrageous plans for punitive parking charges at Evenings and Weekends, designed solely to fleece people and fill the councils coffers. The local businesses of Westminster knew this would be bell of doom for them. Local Churches also complained, asking why parishioners should be penalised. Residents were livid. Crafty old Boris, the Mayor of London, spotted the opportunity to garner a few votes and brush up his image and pressurised the  Council to listen. Not only did they listen, they crumbled.

In Barnet we have a slightly different situation. The man who introduced the charges is Boris's trusted wing man, Brian Coleman. Whilst the Westminster Tories who snuck in the charges were at arms length, Coleman is a key member of the Boris Team. Sadly for Boris, everyone in Barnet knows that Brian isn't a team player. At Tuesdays BorisBash, Brian Coleman did everything in his power to prevent local residents raising the issue of parking. It appears from conversations that this policy came unstuck. At the end of the meeting, Boris had a chat with the "Save Barnets High Streets" protestors.They gave him a t-shirt. Boris isn't stupid, so he will have realised that the protestors were largely core Conservatives. These are the people who fill the party coffers, do the donkey work campaigning and turn up without fail to vote. If there is anyone Boris should represent it is them.

Now he has a dilemma. Does he turn his ire on Barnet and risk undermining Brian Colemans GLA campaign, or does he back his wingman and say "Barnet is a special case, they need the cash, Westminster doesn't". I suspect that Boris is shrewd enough to know that whatever he does, he haas to do it now. If the parking mess can be sorted out now, then Coleman has three months to rebuild his reputation and re-engage with local business.

What Boris (and Brian) must realise is that however much the local business owners may be natural Conservatives, if local business decide that local Conservatives don't support them, they will vote with their feet. Westminster Conservatives have woken up to this fact, the only question in Barnet is whether the local Conservatives will wake up now, or will it be when Brian Coleman loses in the GLA elections in May? One way or another, they will.

Update : 15/11/2012 -
It seems that the W. anchor effect of Brian Coleman is starting to weigh down on the Boris Campaign. Time to dump him - - Ken Livingstone has unexpectedly overtaken Boris in the polls

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