Like many people in the UK - and probably even in America - I had never heard of Alaskan State Governor Sarah Palin until a few days ago. Now she is in all the papers and quite likely to become the next Vice President of the U.S.A.
No sooner had her nomination been announced, than her opponents tried to trash her reputation by publicising that her unmarried teenage daughter was pregnant. Of course, this would never happen in Barnet where our enlightened leaders show such tolerance of those with whom they disagree.
Governor Palin’s subsequent speech to the Republican convention simply blew her opponents out of the water. She talked about vetoing $500 million of unnecessary state spending whereas in Barnet we spent £1.4 million on near obsolete computers and a further £28,000 to put them into storage because they weren’t all needed. We spent £14,000 buying wide screen televisions for chief officers.
Sarah Palin cancelled the vanity construction project dubbed “The Bridge To Nowhere” to save taxpayers money whereas in Barnet, our Bridge To Aerodrome Road is over budget - reportedly to the tune of £4 million. The Cabinet Member for Resources responsible for this fiasco (Mike Freer) doesn’t want to us to know how much more of our money is needed to finish the work and has buried the cost in a secret report. So much for an open and honest Administration.
Governor Palin sold the private jet bought by her predecessor. “I got rid of a few things in the Governor's office that I didn't believe our citizens should have to pay for," she said. "That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay."
Compare that to Frequent Flyer Freer who spent almost £3,000 of taxpayers money on a business class ticket to San Francisco to attend a management training course claming he needed to fly luxury class “because you get a place to work and it allows you to arrive fresh and ready to go straight into the classroom” - even though his flight was on a Saturday and the course didn’t start until the Monday.
Until now, I had not been particularly impressed with Senator McCain’s election campaign. However, his choice of running mate was inspired and might prove to be the catalyst to ensure a Republican victory in November.
If not, Governor Palin, who is already being dubbed as America’s Margaret Thatcher, would be very welcome to move to Barnet.
What a pity that the council is completely bereft of inspirational Thatcherites to take over from Mike Freer when he steps down in May.