The best thing about running a music studio is that you never know who is going to walk in the door. It turns out that one of my customers knows Mr Mark Shooter of old, long before he even thought about becoming a councillor, from the days when Mr Shooters priority was making cash. I won't say how or where from, but he gave me a unique insight into what current Council Leader Lynne Hillan is up against.
Unlike just about every other Barnet Councillor, Mark Shooter is seriously rich. He made his money in a high risk area of the financial services market. Whilst the majority of commentators and newspaper articles give the impression that Mr Shooter is a new kid on the block, this isn't really the full picture. Like most political parties, being seriously wealthy opens doors that simply having been a councillor for Totteridge doesn't. Serious dosh opens doors that just being one of a few thousand smallfry councillors doesn't. Party grandees are always looking for such people and there is a long history of the people at the top courting such figures. Whilst the likes of Finchley MP Mike Freer scrabble around to get the party to buy him a 20 year old camper van for "monthly advice surgeries", the Mark Shooters of this world move in different circles. It is no secret that the Conservative Party isn't exactly flush with cash at the moment and rich guys who are interested in the party are few and far between. I asked my new found friend whether Mark Shooter is the type of bloke who would actually use his "influence and contacts" to further his career. The answer was telling "He'd certainly do it if he really wants the job and felt he had to". Which leads to the second question "Does he want the job".
The answer to this was a bit more complicated "It depends how much the lot in charge have pissed him off. The press suggested he's a stalking horse for someone else, but that really isn't Marks style". This leads us to the third question "Do you think he'll win?" The answer to this was also quite interesting "If he's serious about it, really wants to, I'm pretty sure he will". The final observation was most telling "You don't make the sort of money Mark has made by backing lost causes and picking losers"
I've emailed Mark Shooter a couple of times at the Council and am yet to receive a reply to my questions. In the unlikely event that he gets back in touch, I'll most certainly ask him if he's serious and if he's planning to splash the cash. In the meantime I'm starting to think I might mosey on down to Ladbrokes and see if they'll take a little flutter.