Monday, 12 May 2014

The inquest begins into the Tory Car Crash wraparound - Tories behaving oddly

So  I was out yesterday for my usual walk around Mill Hill and I bumped into one of our friendly Conservative activists, taking a cheeky break from action. As with most of them, a bit of friendly banter ensued. They then raised the subject of the wraparound advertising feature on the Edgware and Mill Hill Press. Now I've used the same method to advertise my business, so I know  that the four page wraparound costs several thousand pounds. These days, the art of a decent political leaflet is to try and engage peoples attention, before they throw them in the bin. A striking picture of a something which catches peoples eye are a virtual must. If people pick up the paper and start reading it because the subject matter is interesting and engaging, then you have got value for money. This is what I had poked thru my door.

As you can see, it isn't exactly striking is it. It isn't even nicely laid out. No graphics, nothing. I suppose if you are a staunch Tory and you want cheering up, then it is rather nice, or if your budgie has IBS it is rather useful, but ask yourself this. Would you bother to read it? Have the thousands of pounds worth of advertising budget been well spent. It says "vote for your Barnet Conservative candidates" My Tory friend told me "A couple of people have said 'we don't live in Barnet, we live in Mill Hill' so what are they on about?"

Even more interesting is the back page

It is a list of questions to ask Labour Candidates. Now the Tories have scored two spectacular own goals here. Just suppose they got their wish and voters actually bothered to read it, they've picked questions that anyone who knows Barnet and is a vaguely competent Labour Candidate could immediately turn to their advantage. Here is what Labour will respond

Q1 . Why did Council Tax double under the last Labour Government.

A1.  The Labour Government didn't set Council Tax, the Council did and the biggest rises were made by the Tories in the first two years when they were in power, despite being elected on a tax cutting agenda.

Q2. When Labour last controlled the Council and had spent the reserves, why did the Government step in and threaten to take over services?

A2. When Labour left power in 2002, Council Debt was £38 Million. It is now, in total over £800 million, including all liabilities. The Tories have embarked on a debt funded spree, which we'll be paying off for decades.

Q3.  Why did Labour fail to build any affordable housing at all when they last ran the council and why have they opposed many of the Conservative home building schemes without saying where and how they would build any?

A3. (putting aside the awful grammar) Labour started most of the schemes the Tories refer to. Large scale schemes take years to get off the ground. The Tories opposed them in opposition and only agreed to them when officers explained the realities of the housing crisis. The schemes Labour have opposed are on the grounds that they are sub standard or only provide luxury flats for the very wealthy. Some schemes have also threatened the Green Belt.

Q4. how can Labour plan to spend £100,00 on commissions, which will see them outsource policy making?

A4.  The Tories have  hired dozens of consultants who all earn over £100,000 a year to draw up the One Barnet scheme. The commission Labour talk about is to improve fairness and justice in Barnet and will improve the quality of life of Barnet residents. Why didn't the Tories say what the commission actually was (I think you can guess, can't you?).

Q5. Why have neighbouring Labour Boroughs hiked rents for social housing tenants and made the Poorest tenants pay more council tax?

A5. This question has a two part answer. They have put up rents because the Tory Government has a policy of cutting funding to councils as part of the austerity program. The Tories in Barnet have given large Council tax cuts to the very richest people in Barnet, whilst cutting grants to organisations such as Mapledown Special School. For the average Barnet voter, the Council tax cut is 3p a day. It is much greater for those residents who live in a mansion.

Q6. Why did Labour run authorities not take the tough decisions when they should have done and are now having to slash services and sack thousands of employees?

A6. As we saw with the Mapledown Special school cut and Your Choice Barnet, many services have been slashed. As to the sacking of employees, hundreds of Barnet jobs have been lost and jobs sent to other parts of the UK under One Barnet Outsourcing.

Q7. How do Labour plan to fund their parking pledges?

A6. They will cut the number of council committees, resulting in major savings of allowances for senior councillors, some of whom get thousands of pounds for chairing committees that sit only once or twice a year. They will also cut other waste that the Torie shave introduced.


These are the answers Labour are giving to anyone who has actually bothered to read the wraparound. The Tories got the paper out several weeks before the election, giving Labour canvassers in marginal wards ample time to get across to the voters just how misleading the list is. Had this gone out the week before, it may possibly have duped a few people, but many voters are angry to see something so misleading on the doorstep.

My Tory friend went so far as to describe the wraparound as a car crash. It has wasted thousands of pounds and will either line cat litter trays or give Labour a chance to show the Tory spin up for what it is. If you are going to make highly dodgy statements, you don't give your opponents time to get a strong ripost in before the election.

Of course we couldn't possibly comment. It does seem to have the hallmark writing style of Councillor Robert Rams, who first came to promenance as Brian Colemans press man at the GLA.

He has been madly tweeting it, so I guess he's a likely source

May 11
Thanks to most residents in have received our manifesto (just front page shown here)

Talking of strange behaviour, thanks to Councillor Robert Rams for drawing our attention to this truly bizarre letter from his Colleage Barry Evangeli in the Standard

Nice to see my fellow ward Councillor in the tonight!

Glad to see that Mr Evangeli is getting some time off from the campaign !

Its all good fun, isn't it !

1 comment:

John Sullivan said...

I find it amazing that I was chastise some months ago for referring the the local Cornelius Conservatives political machine as the " Lie machine ".

My personal experiences of Cornelius and his crew along with council officers recruited by them, to front the hate campaign against the disabled and those reliant on benefits for genuine reasons, or council services of any kind.

Teaches me that Cornelius and his crew appear to be incapable of telling the truth on any issue.

The wraparound you refer to has about as much truth in it as the claim prior to the signing of the One Barnet Contract with Capita. That Capita were going to invest, not loan lend do a cheap deal or any other format, but invest £15 million in IT and systems. However " The Truth " is that Barnet taxpayers were made to fund that investment before the ink on the contract was dry. Now that was a very expensive £16 million pound "PORKY PIE ", as we have all learned to our cost.