Whilst Coleman was on the scene, Barnet had a Bogeyman. When he departed, Councillor Robert Rams did his very best to step up to the job, but he is just not a Brian Coleman. He may shut libraries, he may mislead local residents on a regular basis, but at the end of the day, everyone knows he's a thin skinned wuss, who simply can't take it. This tweet is a classic example - https://twitter.com/CllrRobertRams/status/282233615436365824 - Can you imagine Brian Coleman tweeting such a message? If you attack public services, you will not endear yourself to the local populace. If you don't like a Christmas card, sling it in the bin. Of course what Robert is trying to do is paint the library campaigners as "nasty people" and get public sympathy. Sadly he fails to reaslise that such tweets have the reverse effect. His mates will ask "Robert, why did they do this?" and if he tells the truth, they will probably think "you had that coming". If he tells a porkie and they bother to google him at any point, they will probably think "you had that coming and you are a bit shifty". If Robert had said "I got an obscene Christmas card from the Friern Library supporters, Oh how I laughed", he would be seen as man enough for the job, and they probably wouldn't bother sending any more. Given that Robert is a senior member of the Tory GLA office, you'd think he'd have twigged this.
Then we have Richard Cornelius, the leader of Barnet Council. The more I see Richard, the more he reminds me of the current Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Both are in the drivers seat, but neither are driving the car. Richard never ever gives the impression of being in control, but he is a nice chap and no one wants to kick him. I don't for a minute believe he is stupid enopugh to really believe the figures which have been quoted as savings for One Barnet. I just believe that he lacks the gumption to face down the Officers and Consultants. I suspect he knows that the Tories will lose in 2014, so he's quite happy to enjoy the status as Leader and all the pomp which goes with it. I suspect he also knows that One Barnet will unravel under a Labour administration when they get in. The Tories no doubt hope that they can blame Labour locally for the nightmare they have created and get back in come 2018. I suspect that following the Brunswick Park byelection, they know the game is up. They may as well leave the most poison chalice they can for the incoming Labour regime.
The only flaw in the cunning plan is that as most of them are local residents, they will pay through the teeth for this. As their laisse fair attitude to governance is a matter of public record, thanks to bloggers, I doubt they will get away with it.
So as we roll into 2013, we get ever nearer the election. 2013 is the year when we need to build the momentum to demonstrate that the local Conservatives cannot get away with what they are doing. I stood for council in 2010. I gave myself six months, this was not long enough. To kick out this administration, the work must start now. Many people have asked me if I will stand in 2014 for council. I am undecided. If I believe I could make a difference, I may put my name in the frame in some way. I am not convinced. I cannot stand for the Lib Dems, given their part in the coalition. The local Conservatives are off the scale and I am banned from being a member of Labour. As such, I'd have to stand as an Independent. This would mean that even if I was elected I would be marginalised and ignored by whoever was in power. That doesn't really bother me, but unless someone could demonstrate that I could actually earn my keep in the role, what is the point? I've had about 25 offers of support from people who would come out and help and I feel bad ruling the concept out completely. It is a quandry.
Whatever happens I will play a role, even if it is only as an independent blogger. My slogan for 2013 is the old MC5 refrain "Kick Out The Jams"
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