Thursday 29 May 2014

Told you so!

How ironic that in the week when three new Labour councillors take up their seats in Underhill ward, Barnet Football Club chairman Tony Kleanthous announces that he plans to sell the old Underhill stadium.

Lest anyone has forgotten, it was the last Labour Administration, propped up by the LibDems, which secretly approved the sale of Underhill in 2002 for a price of just £10,000. The High Court subsequently ruled that the council had acted unlawfully, and even though the Judge called one of Barnet F.C.’s directors an “unreliable witness”, he was powerless to reverse the decision.

Due to the incompetence of the council’s legal department, errors in the sale contract meant that Mr Kleanthous was free to sell the land after 10 years to whoever he wanted, for whatever price he could get, without have to share one penny with the taxpayers of Barnet.

Mr Kleanthous was forever moaning about the council not supporting the club – something Harrow Council has now discovered for itself.  But this was nothing more than bluster. The sale of Underhill will return a very handsome profit on the purchase price.

For years, Don’t Call Me Dave told anyone who would listen (and a good many who would not) that Mr Kleanthous would find an excuse to sell the land just as soon as the contract allowed him to do so, without having to share the proceeds with the hard pressed taxpayers of Barnet, whose land was sold from under their feet without their knowledge or consent. And, lo, it has come to pass.

This sorry saga is a useful reminder as to why Labour should never be trusted with high office again.

Sunday 25 May 2014

Farewell Mr Tambourgreedy

There has been much rejoicing amongst the left and right following Brian Coleman’s defeat at the hands of the electorate this week. Don’t Call Me Dave admits that he was surprised at the extent of the thrashing Coleman received, but the power of the people should never be underestimated. Coleman had survived many scandals in the past, but clearly assaulting a woman crossed a line which even his most ardent supporters could not condone.

Many years ago, when Brian Coleman was plotting the downfall of the late Victor Lyon, he told DCMD “In order to rebuild, you must first destroy.” The removal of Andreas Tambourides is therefore far more significant than Coleman’s defeat if the Conservatives want to win back the seats they have just lost.

Following the Conservative victory in 2006, the council group was effectively hijacked by the gang of four – Mike Freer, Lynne Hillan, Brian Coleman and Andreas Tambourides as their enforcer. Mike Freer subsequently went off to become a one term MP in Finchley; Lynne Hillan departed for the great council chamber in the sky and Brian Coleman punched his way into the history books. Even after the allowances scandal of 2010, Tambourides trousered bucket loads of taxpayers money for doing bugger all. He claimed tens of thousands of Pounds for legal expenses even though council officers said his claim was excessive (a view shared by a Tory barrister councillor). His greed was matched only by his ego.

Brunswick Park should be a rock solid Conservative ward. In 2006, the Conservatives won with a clear 2,000 majority over Labour. By 2010, the Conservative majority had fallen to 1,500 - but still substantial for a council ward. Following Lynne Hillan’s death in 2012, her seat was lost to Labour in the by-election. The fact that Tambourides has now lost his seat as well, whilst Tory Lisa Rutter held hers, proves that the public have simply had enough of the old guard and their bullying ways.

DCMD does not wish to speak ill of the dead, but Lynne Hillan and her cohorts inflicted serious damage on the Conservative name in Barnet. The Tories have retained power by the skin of their teeth. There can be no doubt that they are now drinking in the last chance saloon. It is time for the local associations to reassert their authority over errant councillors, clear out all the dead wood and start promoting sensible Conservative policies. Councillors (and ex councillors) with their snouts in the trough should be under no illusion that their time has passed.

And as we bid Mr Tambourgreedy a fond farewell, here is a reminder from 2009 of his arrogance and contempt for the rules the rest of us have to live by (if an advert appears, click on the ‘x’ in the top right hand corner to get rid of it).


Saturday 24 May 2014

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

In one of the closest election contests of recent times, the Conservatives have narrowly retained control of Barnet council. The current state of the parties is Conservative 32 seats, Labour 27, LibDem 1. Labour’s tally is expected to rise to 30 after the Colindale election due next month. This will leave the Conservatives with a majority of just 1 seat.

Given the swing to Labour across London, the blame for their failure to win Barnet rests solely with their Leader Alison Moore who must now surely fall on her sword given that this is her second successive defeat at the polls (third if you count her general Election defeat to Mike Freer).

Labour correctly identified East Barnet and Underhill as target seats and won both wards. They picked up an additional seat in Brunswick Park by ousting Andreas Tambourgreedy – one of the worst troughers in the last administration. They also unseated Kate Salinger in Coppetts ward, which was never going to be an easy seat for the Tories to hold.

In Hale, which used to be a split ward, Labour picked up only one seat, when this should have been a target ward if they wanted to win outright control. Instead, they adopted an insane policy of targeting the LibDem ward of Childs Hill. The LibDems  have spent years building up their support base in this area and all Labour’s efforts achieved was to split the anti-Conservative vote which allowed the Tories to take two seats and secure a majority.

If Labour had left well alone, the LibDems would have retained all three seats, resulting in a final composition of 30 Conservative, 30 Labour and 3 LibDem councillors. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise that the LibDems would have jumped into bed with Labour to force the Tories out, as they did in 1994 and 1998.

Alison Moore must accept full responsibility for this catastrophic error of judgement. If she has any honour, she will resign and join Mr & Mrs Tambourides, who will both now be forced to go and find a real job instead of sponging off the taxpayers of Barnet.