If you regularly read my blog, that probably means that you give a s*** about our community. If you give a s*** about our community, I'm sure you'll know there is an election on Thursday. Have you made your mind up who you are voting for? More to the point, have you decided what you are voting for?
About fifteen years ago, having been a Labour supporter, I had a mini crisis. I realised that I was treating voting like supporting a football team. If your team starts playing badly and has a rubbish manager, you stick by them. However, if you support a political party and the manager is rubbish and the team don't earn their keep, it is more than a sob in the beer on a Saturday night. People suffer and the country goes downhill. I realised that I was supporting a party that had ceased to represent my views. The only redeeming feature was that they were a bit better than the opposition. Then I looked at issues like the Iraq war, the treatment of refugees in Sangatte and the fact that they had allowed the banks to crash the economy through deregulation and I sadly concluded I could no longer support them. I'm not asking you to agree with my choices and decisions, just explaining why I stopped supporting the Labour party.
I vowed that in future, I'd give my support to the party I had the best chance of delivering what I wanted to see a government or council do. Someone asked me if this meant I could ever support the Conservative Party. I thought long and hard and I realised that yes, in some circumstances I might. If it was a choice between them and the BNP I would. I hope I never have to make such a choice, but many people in France, who would never support a figure like Macron in normal times did just that. It is a grown up and sensible decision.
But that is not the choice facing us on Thursday. On Thursday, we are voting in the Council elections. Unlike most Council elections, this one may influence national politics. A huge swing against the Conservatives is likely to trigger a leadership change, as Tory MP's panic. Reading the runes, I believe most Tories are simply debating the best time to knife Boris and who may replace him. A certain lack of enthusiasm for the other options is the biggest obstacle to "Operaton put down Big Dog".
But lets put all of that aside. You are voting for a local council. A vote for your MP, makes little difference to your daily life. A vote for different parties in Barnet Council would have a huge impact. The Tories have been in power for twenty years. They have a track record. Who would you trust to tell you how they've done? The man who I'd most trust to pass an impartial opinion is Mr John Dix, AKA Mr Reasonable. John is Independent. He write a blog that presents the facts, based on the councils own reports. He is well respected by all. I have suggested that he should be co-opted on to the Barnet Council Audit Committee. Almost a dozen local Tory Councillors have told me that privately they agree. But it will never happen under the current administration.
John has written an 'end of term report on the Conservatives administration. Please read this before you vote.
John finishes off by saying "So when you are thinking about which way to vote on Thursday, ask yourself if you want another four years of the same or whether you think there is a better way to run Barnet. Whatever way you vote just please make sure you use your vote, as it will be the only way to show your views and to get politicians to listen for the next four years."
There are plenty of things wrong with the Council, many will be extremely difficult to fix. Some not so difficult. As a candidate for the Lib Dems in Mill Hill, who have a very real chance of winning on Thursday, people ask me what we'd do differently. There are many things, but I thought I'd give an example of one thing that's been raised on the doorstep. I laid out our plan to sort out the plague of potholes
Whether or not you agree with me or my approach, please make sure your decision is informed and based on the facts. If like me, you think the Barnet Conservatives have failed the Borough, use the opportunity to enact change. If you've read Mr Reasonable's blog and still conclude they've done a marvellous job, then by all means, reward them with your vote.
Please though, could you do one thing for me? I don't ask too much. Just make sure any friends and neighbours who may have mentioned that they are undecided have the opportunity to read John Dix's blog before they vote. I'd love anyone who wants to see change in Mill Hill giving me their support. If you do, for the next four years you will have a constant commentary on what the Council is up to. I believe in openness and transparancy and having written this blog for 14 years, I will not stop if I get elected. I will make sure Barnet Council taxpayers know what is going on and why decisions have been made. For me, it would be a privelige and I will seek to repay the faith of everyone who has supported me.