Tuesday 14 April 2015

Matthew Offord Vs Mike Freer - The split at the heart of the local Tories

We have a  rather odd situation in Barnet. Back in 2009 Mike Freer Mp was the leader of the Council and Matthew Offord was his deputy. I hadn't realised it at the time, but the two were "The Odd couple" of Barnet politics. I sort of assumed they were joined at the hip, how wrong could I have been.

 A tweet yesterday reminded me of this. Kelly Wilson tweeted a message posted by the "coalition for marriage".

No show at Hustings & now automatic support to and . What planet is on?

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 Now I hadn't really heard of the coalition for marriage and when I saw the tweet, I assumed that they were disgusted at Offords stance against Same Sex Marriage. However it turns out that the Coalition for Marriage are not a Coalition for Marriage. They are actually a coalition against marriage, where people are of the same sex. They do not like it when two people of the same sex decide to tie the knot.  Now I am married to someone who is not the same sex as me. That was my choice, which I was completely free to make. We didn't seek anyone elses approval and what we do in private is our business. Whether we go to our bedroom and play tiddly winks, watch football on the telly or other things which are none of your business, well that is our business. We've had our moments, but I think for both of us marriage has been good. We've supported each other when our parents died, in illness and through other disappointments. I can't, in all honesty see what right I've got to deny another human being the right to do the same. Of course there are biblical objections to same sex relationships. There are also biblical objections to eating shellfish, on pain of death. We've moved on. Right wing Christian organisations are militantly against same sex marriage, but Jesus said "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" on matters of morality. So I keep all my stones in my pocket when I see someone who makes different choices to me.

As for Mike Freer, another tweet shows he takes a completely different stand on the subject to his former deputy.

Congrats! Tory MP @mikefreermp and partner Angelo convert their civil partnership to marriage

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Apparently Offords stance has caused major tensions in their relationship and the two campaigns have virtually no cooperation at all in local matters. Word reaches the Barnet Eye that privately Freer thinks Offord is a complete idiot and has little to do with him, although publicly hios view is that Offord is entitled to his opinion. Either way "The Odd Couple" have not had an amicable parting of the ways.

I must confess I feel a little bit of sympathy for Freer in this matter. He was supportive of Offord, who was not a spectacularly successful deputy and he feels that Offord has not exactly repaid this in the nicest way. We assume that when Offord was working with Freer and Freer was his boss, he kept his views rather quiet on the matter.

The Conservative Party is a broad church and clearly it does accomodate people with all manner of views. I would rather hope that whatever happens with Mike Freer, no one uses his private life as a reason not to vote for him. I do however take a slightly different view with Matthew Offord. A man who clearly keeps his mouth shut when it's convenient and is keen to discriminate against a sizeable portion of the electorate and even his colleagues and friends, in my mind is a man who really doesn't deserve to be sent back to Westminster.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let us not forget that Cllr Offord was responsible for a £11-million overspend by Barnet Council, on the replacement Aerodrome Road railway bridge in Colindale.