Friday, 13 August 2010
Allowancegate : Barnet Eye victory - Councillor Mark Shooter challenges Hillan for Leadership of Barnet Tories
Hendon ward Councillor Mark Shooter, today announced a challenge to the Leadership of Barnet Council. Whilst Councillor Shooter initially voted for the rise, he has clearly thought about it and seen sense. The Barnet Eye is proud to say that we have played a part in his decision, by keeping the story rolling and helping Ex Councillor Dan Hope launch "The Barnet Declaration" which Councillor Shooter appears to have adopted.
Given that I am not and never have been a Conservative and it is possible that in a narrow party political way, keeping a fatally damaged Lynne Hillan may be good for the opposition, it would be easy for this blog to stand back and say "they are all the same old Tories, they are all just as bad as each other".
I can't do that. It would be completely dishonest and would not be in the best interests of the people who live in my home town.
The Tories have a large majority and are in charge at a time of extreme challenges in public finance. Lynne Hillan championed the destruction of the sheltered housing warden network. She has shown herself time and time again to be a callous operator who cares nothing for the most vulnerable members of society. She didn't have to champion the destruction of sheltered housing, she didn't have to champion the huge rises in allowances for herself and her cronies. We saw both sides of her in these two actions and they are not pleasant. Having campaigned every single day for a month for a change to this policy, it would be hypocritical and dishonest to miss the opportunity to kill it dead in its tracks.
Mark Shooters letter to his fellow Tories is reproduced left (click on this for a readable version). Shooter cites the following reasons for standing.
• The appalling way Cllr Kate Salinger was treated following her conscience driven abstention. We should not need to use bullying tactics to control people.
• The attempts to limit discussions at the residents’ forums, which I entirely disagree with as I believe it undermines democracy.
• The recent statements of senior politicians who are doggedly trying to convince the public that they are worth their pay increases despite criticism from our central government colleagues and in the face of an enormous public outcry. From private discussions, I know that I am not the only Conservative Councillor to feel very alarmed and I believe that I have the support of a significant number of my colleagues in taking this stand.
I don't expect Mark Shooter to be the answer to all of my dreams for Barnet. I just think he'll be significantly less bad for us all. The Lynne Hillan regime have let the people of Barnet down badly. They have united just about everyone against them and they now have caused an open revolt within their own councillors. As I'm not a Tory, I don't have a vote and Hillan would probably use my endorsement against Mark Shooter, I'm not going to say anything else apart from this. Nothing would be better for Barnet than for Lynne Hillan to get the sack. I wish Mark Shooter the very best of luck. Given the record of the rest of Barnets Tory councillors he's going to need it.
The fact that the campaign, spearheaded by the Barnet Eye has made one Conservative Councillor see sense is a huge victory. If another 18 of them can be persuaded, it will be a great day indeed for the citizens, because it is their pressure which has made this happen.