Be warned, if like Princess Kate, you've recently been up the duff and out has popped your little treasure, your pride and joy, then he or she may be in for a nasty shock. The poor little darling might just get a great big kiss from a politician doing the rounds. You see its coming up to that time in the electoral cycle where they come out and meet the stinky old public. There was a tweet on Councillor Robert Rams feed with a nice picture of some Tories doing the rounds in Chipping Barnet. If you click here, you'll see a nice picture of aspiring chinless wonders and wizened old councillors about to do the rounds - https://twitter.com/CllrRobertRams/status/361436179436011521/photo/1 - in the middle is Big tess Velliers, the local MP and Northern Ireland secretary. With the Council elections under a year away, all three Parties are marshalling their resources, trying to persuade you they really do care and have been slaving away on your behalf.
You will at some point get a knock. They will ask whether they can count on your vote. If you get a visit from the Blue Rosette Brigade in Barnet you may wish to ask them a few questions. I'd suggest that even if you love them and would never vote for another party, you do. Why? Because you won't see them again for four years and regardless of how much you love them, they have done a lot of things which they never mentioned in the manifesto last time. So here's the questions I'd suggest you put to them.
1. In the last manifesto, no mention was made of the abolition of Pay and Display parking. Why did you not tell us about this policy? Why was there never any consultation?
2. In the last manifesto, no mention was made of the plans to increase the cost of CPZ parking vouchers from £40 to £100 a year and a similar rise in the cost of day permits. There was no consultation. Why was this policy concealed and not mentioned in your manifesto?
3. The High Court has ruled that the unpopular parking charges are illegal. Do you believe that the the Council should break the law to raise revenue from residents?
4. In the last manifesto, no mention was made of the One Barnet Outsourcing program. Over £12 million has been spent on this and it is held up in court. The judge deemed that the council had breached its statuatory duty to consult. If the program has the benefits that the Council claims, why has it all been done in secret?
5. In the last manifesto, no mention was made of the One Barnet Program. The Council has awarded nearly a billion pounds worth of business to Capita, despite a string fo high profile outsourcing failures by the company. No Barnet Councillor has satisfactorily explained how the Council can have any faith in the process. Why should we?
6. Conservative Councillors have spent years criticising the previous Labour regime for awarding an aoutsourcing contract to Catalyst. The company sued Barnet and won £8 to cover profits it didn't make. The company is being taken to court following the death of a vulnerable resident. Despite all this, the council has re-awarded the contract to Catalyst. How could this have happened?
7. In the last manifesto, no mention was made of the Councils hostility to Barnet Football Club. The council has driven the team out of Barnet and to Harrow. Why does the Council not value a successful team?
8. In the last manifesto, no mention was made of plans to build a 10,000 seat Rugby stadium at Copthall. The Conservatives claimed the Lib Dems planned a football stand on the site for 50 fans of Kentish Town FC, claiming this was a major development. How come they think a stand for 10,000 fans is not a problem, whilst a stand for 50 is?
9. In the last manifesto, the Conservative Party claimed it would bring prudent financial management to Barnet. When bloggers exposed the Metpro scandal, costing Barnet hundreds of thousands of pounds, and asking for an independent investigation, the local Conservative Party closed ranks and blocked the proposal. Why?
10. Councillor Brian Coleman, violently assaulted a woman in broad daylight, outside her business in Finchley. The Local Conservative party prevaricated to such a degree about his suspension, that the national party had to step in. No one from the Barnet Conservatives has yet apologised to Helen Michael for this awful lapse of judgement or the subsequent whispering campaign against her by certain Conservative Councillors. Why?
11. In the last manifesto, no mention was made of plans for Tory Councillors to award themselves a pay hike. This was their first action after the 2010 election. How could they do such a thing, in a time of economic hardship?
If I were a Conservative, I would find it hard to see any future for the local party until this sort of behaviour is sorted out. Sadly they seem to be getting worse, not better. It is all very well to come knocking on the door, but when it comes down to it, can you believe a word they will tell you?