Several locals have asked me whether I will be supporting Helene Richman's candidacy for the Lib Dems in the West Hendon By Election. The answer is unreservedly yes. There are many reasons, but I'd like to go on record and explain why. Some people have asked why I am supporting a former Conservative Councillor, as I hope all decent West Hendon locals will, especially those who previously voted for her as a Conservative
1. She was a staunch supporter of the campaign to Save The Midland Hotel from the bulldozers and get it listed as an asset of community value. She came down to an event I'd organised and made a fantastic speech. As best I can recall, she's the only Barnet Councillor to publicly come out and support such a campaign of any party. She did a few months after an election so was not simply out a few weeks before the election to harvest votes.
2. She is an asset to Barnet council as she is highly intelligent, a Barrister by trade and she speaks her mind. I don't always agree with her, but I respect the fact that she stands her ground. I suspect that when she was first elected, the Tory leadership of Barnet Council used her to say a few things they wanted to say but were to scared to say themselves. My sister is a Barrister and one of the things you have to do as part of the job is say things to people that they don't like. I'd much rather have people who I knew where I stood with. Political parties are better for being reasonably broadly based. Having heard what both Conservative and Labour members have said about other members of their party on many occasions and heard the porkies both parties have come out with to mislead the public over the years, it is good to hear someone say what they think, even if you disagree with them. Fair play for her in sticking in her ward and giving it a go. I've always had a degree of disdain for councillors who took the chicken run.
3. I've been told privately by Barnet Conservative councillors that she was unfairly treated by the group. The accusations against her were unsustainable and she has the support of several local Rabbi's which really tells you everything you need to know.
4. As we've seen over the weekend, the Conservative Party is a bastion of misogyny. Is it any surprise that a strong and driven female councillor was undermined when she didn't sit back and toe the line set by a far less capable leader.
Anyone who reads this blog, knows I speak my mind. Whatever happens in the election in May, I believe we need the strongest and best candidates to win. I don't think there are too many stronger than Helene and I think Barnet Council needs such people.