In May we have council elections. Now I am not a Conservative voter, but I am often asked who are the good Tories, who I wouldn't mind seeing back in the Council chamber next year. I've also been asked whioch ones I think we'd be best shot of.
So here's the Conservative councillors which I think have made some sort of contribution in Barnet in the last four years and why.
Lisa Rutter - Chipping Barnet. Lisa has been a stalwart support of the youth music projects which my business has sponsored over the last four years. Always friendly and polite and a genuinely nice person.
Kate Salinger - Coppetts. Deserves a lot of credit for her stance as the only Conservative to stand up against the Tories greedy allowance hike when re-elected in 2010. Geniuinely nice to boot.
Sury Khatri - Mill Hill. Sury was one of three Tories who beat me in the Council elections in 2010. When the result was announced, I shook all of their hands and asked that they do as good a job as they could in representing Mill Hill. Sadly Brian Schama has been prevented by circumstances from being too active in the last year and is standing down. Sury however has far surpassed my expectations and has proven himself to be a first class councillor.
David Longstaffe - High Barnet. When councillor Brian Coleman disgraced himself by assaulting Helen Michael, David came down to make sure that Helen was OK and expressed his personal disgust at Colemans behaviour. He is a decent chap who has a sense of humour.
Robert Rams - East Barnet. Has a long history in Barnet of being less than straightforward. Got caught out tweeting that he was at Mill Hill Library when he wasn't (I was around the corner and nipped straight in to see him). Boasted he'd ended my blogging career in 2008, when the Barnet Times removed my blog following my expose of how Barnet Council had made a video featuring an anti semite making anti semitic statements on You Tube. We exposed his latest efforts as Porkiemeister in chief yesterday http://barneteye.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/a-fisk-of-biggest-porkie-ever-told-in.html - He has recently started a new blog all about American Wrestling. We hope he has far more time to dedicate to this blog after the election.
Reuben Thompstone - Golders Green. The Cabinet member responsible for the Mapledown disabled school funding cut. During questioning by councillor Jack Cohen, he admitted he didn't read the consultation submissions from parents, staff and carers. When asked why, he claimed that he didn't want his judgement to be swayed. One has to ask, what is the point of consultation if the person who makes the decision deliberately doesn't read the results. In effect, Mr Thompstone wasted everyones time. As far as I am concerned, for this admission alone, he has to go. Let us not forget that Thompstone is one of the Tories who voted himself a payrise as his first act of office. He doesn't even pretend to do the work that the allowance as a cabinet member should pay for. The man is a waste of space. As if this isn't bad enough, he had the audacity to complain to the local paper about their coverage of the Mapledown scandal. Here is what he said (and our comments) http://barneteye.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/mapledown-school-open-letter-from.html
Councillor John Hart - Mill Hill. When I say ugly I don't mean in the physical sense. For an octogenarian, John is actually quite dapper. I actually quite like him on a personal level as he's quite entertaining. He has however got the most extreme right wing Thatcherite views of anyone in the council, possibly anyone in Barnet. At the Mapledown Scrutiny meeting, Hart stated that the parents of disabled children were simply "looking for a handout". I'm sorry to say that for such a comment, he simply has to go.
Tom Davey - Hale. Mr Davey has shown that he has ugly views and keeps obnoxious company. He was caught out on facebook making the most vile comments about the disabled, black people, benefit recipients and even his own girlfriend - http://barneteye.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/time-for-councillor-tom-davey-to-resign.html - his justifation was that this was pub banter with his mates. The fact Mr Davey seems to think his mates would find comments about hitting his girlfriend funny says it all. I was raised in a house where we believed that people who hit women were the scum of the earth. I may be old school but I think anyone who can make a joke out of beating up his girlfriend is very immature and should not be in public office until he has grown up.
Councillor Brian Gordon - Edgware. Mr Gordon was another Tory who didn't vote to send the Mapledown budget cut back to the CRC. His comments during the meeting betrayed a complete lack of compassion for hard pressed parents. Mr Gordon has a long history of all manner of faux pas. He has previously found himself in the spotlight for blacking up and doing a very poor impersonation of Nelson Mandela. Perhaps the worst feature of Mr Gordons personality is his cowardly nature. He is currently a councillor in Hale Ward, but has taken the chicken run to Edgware ( a safe Tory ward, unlike Hale, which is marginal). If he actually added anything to the council, one may concede he desereved a safe run, but as far as we are concerned, a man who simply cannot understand why the Mapledown cut was a mistake and who shows no compassion for the parents of some of Barnets most disabled youngsters really should not be in public life.
Do you know who your local councillor is? You can find out here http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1
The point I am trying to make is that all parties have people in them that are bad and that are good. Whilst we decide who to vote for mainly on party lines, maybe we should also consider the person behind the rosette. I believe that being a councillor is an important job and a good councillor is a real asset to the local community. In Mill Hill we have a very interesting situation. We have three candidates who I know well and are standing for parties I am not inclined to vote for. George Jones is standing for UKIP. George has been a Mill Hill resident for many years. He is a former next door neighbour of my sister in law and is a thoroughly decent chap. I don't agree with UKIP, but George has been involved in all manner of local campaigns over many years. If he were elected I have no doubt he'd be a hard working councillor and he'd do his best for the locality.
Jeremy Davies is a Lib Dem candidate and was a councillor from 1994 until 2010. He was an excellent councillor and persuaded me to stand for the party in the 2010 council election. I left the Lib Dems after the coalition government enacted the massive hike in Student loans. There are many coalition policies which make it impossible for me to endorse the National Lib Dems. I think it is very likely I will vote for Jeremy in the local elections.
As I mentioned above, Sury Khatri has been an excellent councillor. I am tempted to cast a vote for him, simply because the local Tories have need for a sane voice and I know him to be the sanest, most intelligent and most thoughtfull of the Tories.
I haven't completely made my mind up yet. Let's just say these are my current thoughts.