This is recognised and perhaps the best endorsement any Barnet Conservative can get is the endorsement of The Barnet Eye blog. Those who have locked horns with us over the years, such as Brian Coleman and Robert Rams have found, to their cost, that the electorate has no time for fakes and phonies. Those who have had our endorsement have prospered, such as Richard Cornelius, who we supported in his bid for leadership of the Conservative group six years ago. It may surprise readers that we have offered our support and endorsement to Tory councillors, but in a grown up world, you have to deal with realities. The Barnet Tories have a huge majority in the council chamber in Barnet and nothing good will happen unless there is a sensible dialog with sensible, grown up people. We endorsed Richard Cornelius as we believed he was the best choice on offer at the time. He had come to the council chamber as a result of a campaign to save Totteridge Library and had spoken of the need for Libraries on many occasion. Although we believe that the reorganisation of libraries has been a disaster, Richard proudly boasts that Barnet is one of very few councils not to actually shut libraries. He has also been a champion of the West London Orbital Railway, which is a project this blog totally supports. Richard has never hid from the public and even appeared at a Q&A session hosted by The Barnet Alliance for Public services and appeared in two documentary films produced by independent director Charles Honderick, which were highly critical of council policies. This is not to say that we don't have many fundamental disagreements with Richard, but if you had to choose a Barnet Tory as leader in 2012, he was clearly the best choice.
For many years, this blog awarded the title of "Barnet's most sensible Tory" to David Miller AKA Don't Call Me Dave. David wrote the influential "Not The Barnet Times" blog. David was an implacable opponent of the Mike Freer/Lynn Hillan/Brian Coleman axis, that caused so much damage to Barnet politics. David was a former chair of Chipping Barnet Conservatives. When Richard Cornelius rose to power and ousted the Freerites from control (his main opponent Mark Shooter was backed by Brian Coleman), David largely stopped blogging and moved to Essex.
|Cllr Alex Prager - Barnet's most sensible Tory|
This certainly flagged up Cllr Prager as sensible. We also follow his twitter posts, it is here that we get a proper insight into what he is all about. Unlike many of his colleagues, he embraces the medium and is keen to engage with residents to sort out issues. This tweet was almost unique from a Barnet Tory.
If you live in @WestHendon you should always feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding any local issues you’re having, especially over the winter.— Cllr Alex Prager (@AAPrager) December 22, 2018
Merry #Christmas 🎄 pic.twitter.com/LUVXQZMumi
He has also shown a great fondness for libraries (sorry couldn't resist this)
His sensibleness has to some degree been recognised with his appointment as small business champion for Barnet
Proud to confirm my selection as @BarnetCouncil's #SmallBusiness Champion. Looking forward to work with council officers to improve Barnet's offering to local businesses and support this integral part of our economy. Aiming to make #Barnet the most welcoming borough for #smallbiz pic.twitter.com/zYBm2kGs4c— Cllr Alex Prager (@AAPrager) December 18, 2018
He has used Twitter to demonstrate that he doesn't see people with a different viewpoint who attend council meetings as the enemy
Thanks to all who showed up for the #audit meeting at @BarnetCouncil last night. It’s our job as audit committee to scrutinise the process & officers, but important for the public to show up and have a say - many valuable issues were raised.— Cllr Alex Prager (@AAPrager) November 23, 2018
He is also onside with us, using his maiden council speech to talk about air quality, a subject we've been quite vocal about in our regular "environment Monday" blogs
My maiden speech tonight – 1st ever @WestHendon @Conservatives to speak in the @barnetcouncil chamber. Highlighted #London #Mayor @SadiqKhan’s failures in running this great city & need to reduce NO2 emissions to benefit #Barnet residents by improving @TFL esp the @NorthernLine. pic.twitter.com/RpUIMMRSbK— Cllr Alex Prager (@AAPrager) October 30, 2018
Perhaps the thing that finally tipped me to choose Cllr Prager as the new holder of the title "Barnets most sensible Tory" was a tweet this morning having a dig at me. I like people who stick up for their mates. I thought it was a very good comeback. I enjoy a bit of banter on Twitter and so I look forward to a few jousts. But the point is a serious one. Cllr Prager has the wherewithal to give a decent comeback, without being rude, offensive or obnoxious.
It would be the easiest thing in the world to pretend that all of the members of political parties other than your own are monsters, stupid, misguided etc. I believe that most people who join parties and serve as candidates and councillors are decent people and if they belong to another party, simply have different views. I don't believe they seek to do harm. We badly need sensible Tories, Labour and dare I say it Lib Dems in Barnet to work for local people. I write this blog for the same reason I believe that Councillor Prager is a councillor. It is because I love the area. He seems to have his heart set on doing the right thing for the people that elected him, to be open, honest and accessible. I wrote this blog, because I think it is important that people recognise these qualities. As someone who runs a business, one question I ask myself when I look at councillors (this is something I'd urge all residents to do at elections, rather than voting tribally) "would I employ this person in my company". Sadly there are only nine councillors out of 63 who pass this test (although to be fair, some of the new intake I am not acquainted with fully). My criteria are intelligent, honest, hard working, savvy with social media ( a prerequisite in this day and age), prepared to challenge decisions, good with people and someone you would feel happy to represent you in public. Sadly Councillors who tweet frantically the week before elections then disappear completely till the next election need not apply.Yup, guys that care enough about the borough to be representing it on New Years Day. How dare they— Cllr Alex Prager (@AAPrager) January 4, 2019