Monday, 7 May 2012

What now for the Barnet Conservatives?

The King (of bling) is dead, long live the King.

As we all know, Brian Coleman has been sacked by the people of Barnet form his job at the GLA. Sadly the only real effect from this is that he will be £53,000 a year worse off. The GLA has no power and has no responsibility for anything. The power Coleman execises is tyhrough his role as Chair of the London Fire and Emergency Planning committee, which is a job given to him by Boris. He is also on the North West London regional Waste Authority, again a Boris goody. It is up to Boris whether he wishes to keep Coleman in these roles, but he doesn't have to. It will be a good test of just how in touch Boris is with his core support to see how he jumps.

In Barnet, at present Brian Coleman is still in the cabinet and still in charge of Parking. It is pretty clear what Barnet thinks of Coleman. What is not so certain is what the Leader of the Council thinks of the opinion of the people of Barnet. By any measure, Coleman should be dumped. Keeping him is a slap in the face to the people of Barnet. The thing is, even if he goes, then what happens to his polices? These were the things that turned people against Coleman. the huge difference between the number of votes for Coleman and the Tory list, shows that people don't blame the Tories as such, just Coleman. This will change if he's replaced by a hapless lackey, who simply carries on.

The only option for Richard Cornelius, unless he wishes to commit Political Hari Kiri is to sack Coleman and wind back the parking policies. Has he got the cojones to do this? I sincerely hope so, but I doubt it. He should also look further. The man who implemented and developed the policies is Council CEO, Mr Quarter of a Million Quid a year Nick Walkley. Walkley is the real power in Barnet, he's been paid a kings ransom by the taxpayer, but all he has done is transform the Council into a laughing stock.

Richard Cornelius has some decisions to make. I believe these are easy decisions, because the impact of not doing them is crystal clear. The only reason that he could possibly refrain from taking them is moral cowardice. Leadership can be difficult, it can be painful. If you don't want to show Leadership, walk away and let someone take over who does. Barnet awaits.

1 comment:

baarnett said...

Just a speculative comment, for 2014.

It is possible Richard Cornelius will wield the political knife into Brian Coleman, and Brian then remains a Barnet councillor, but with no power or influence, and with just the Barnet allowance to keep him ticking over. He would be a sort of Red Dwarf star of the political world, burnt out, all energy gone. (That cosmology isn't quite right.)

After all, Brian would not be the only Barnet councillor in that position, would he?

Supposing that doesn't happen, though. Brian will not go quietly, and Richard has never shown any backbone, anyway. (DCMD predicts Richard will not be Council Leader by the time of the 2014 election, anyway.)

There seems little chance the Conservative Party will deselect Brian, so 2014 might be a case when a "Conservative Independent", or a "Barnet Residents" candidate could topple him, particularly if Labour and Lib Dems decided only to put up two candidates each, implying their supporters should cast their third vote for Mr/Ms Independent.

Since power might shift in 2014, an "Independent" might have to agree (on their honour) to always abstain on major council budget votes, if there was going to be a chance of fewer 'other-party' candidates against him/her.

That's all a bit complicated, but let's see what happens to Richard and his management of the Conservative Group in the immediate future, before speculating much more.