I’m splitting my vote for change in Barnet (Council)

In Barnet it is indeed time for change. The Labour group have not been an effective opposition on the Council and Barnet is, largely, a Conservative suburban borough but the Conservative administration here really do need a kick up the backside. Quite apart from fiascos such as losing £18 mn of tax payers’ money in Icelandic banks, the last few years can be characterised simply in this way: a bunch of councillors elected by the more affluent ares protecting their precious ‘suburban character’ whilst dumping unwanted new developments in the poorer parts. There’s also a general attitude problem as you can see from one or two blogs as well as a debacle over sheltered housing where vulnerable pensioners had to take their own Council to court (and won!)

I live in the Cricklewood part of Golders Green ward. We’ve seen the loss of Hendon Football Club because of the Council’s bloody-mindedness in selling metropolitan open land to developers (who have now left the site derelict as they’ve run out of cash). We’ve seen an unpopular £4.5 bn regeneration scheme for Brent Cross Cricklewood dumped on us despite local opposition.

As a cycling campaigner the current administration are also problematic for me. They do not see cycling a serious form transport in London, have actively removed cycle stands from town centres, have no regard for cyclists in road junction design (even where as it Staples Corner, it conflicts with the Conservative Mayor of London’s plans for cycle ‘superhighways’). Certain councillors have a policy of deleting emails from cyclists without reading them. Certainly I’ve found that if I complain about a pot hole as a motorist I get a speedy response, if I complain about a pot hole as a cyclist I get ignored. The outgoing Leader of the Council, Mike Freer, even told me on my radio show that he thought commuting by bicycle in London was basically “too dangerous” and that there was “nothing that could be done” to make it safer.

Golders Green ward is safely Tory-held as a result of the 2/3 of voters who live on the other side of the A41. Consequently Cricklewood gets neglected. Of our 3 incumbent Tory councillors I’ve only ever seen one locally – he seemed to genuinely campaign for local people but recently went AWOL in Australia (whilst continuing to draw expenses!). The other two are father and son, the sonfather having been a councillor for a very long time but I’ve never seen him here (he’s also the Cabinet Member for Planning…). So I’ll be voting for change in this ward. As it’s a safe seat I’ll be hedging my bets to maximise the chance of at least one Tory being ousted. My three votes will be going to Dorothy Badrick (Residents’ Association and long standing local campaigner), David Robinson (Labour, hard-working agent for our outgoing MP who I’m sure will be an excellent candidate) and Weng Leong Ang (Lib Dem, another active local campaigner!).

Elsewhere in the Borough I encourage others to vote for genuinely good hard-working councillors where they exist, and tactically for change otherwise, especially in the key marginal wards.

2 Responses to “I’m splitting my vote for change in Barnet (Council)”


  • Mustafa

    It is the son, Dean Cohen, who is the new boy. Melvin Cohen is the father who has been on the council for years and is in charge of planning.

    I agree that the less affluent parts of the borough have been abandoned. The Brent Cross plans are simply insane. I used to have great respect for Melvin but for him to have allowed this scheme to go through under his watch is simply unforgivable.

    ReplyReply
  • @Don’t Call Me Dave: You’re absolutely right about Melvin being the long-serving one. Not sure why I mixed them up – must have been tired/rushed when writing the original post. Corrected now and thanks for pointing out the error.

    ReplyReply

Leave a Reply