The Battle of Barnet was a decisive moment in the War of the Roses. We're hoping what was true in 1471 is true now.
Like the rest of London, here in Barnet the local and general elections are being held on May 6th. Conservatives are fighting to retain control of the council, and also take the borough's 3 Parliamentary seats. It's a straight Conservative-Labour fight for the council and constituencies, but we do have the odd Liberal Democrat controlled ward we hope to win.
On the council we have 37 councillors to Labour's 20 and the Liberal Democrats six.
We won control of Barnet Council back in 2002, taking over from a Labour/Lib Dem coalition that had squandered the reserves and virtually bankrupted the authority. It's taken years to build them back up to a
healthy level, and turn around departments that were performing so badly they were in danger of being taken over by central government. Barnet has gone from having several schools in special measures to none, and now has some of the best education results in the country. We've bitter local experience of what happens when Labour and the Lib Dems get together to run things – poor performance and high taxes.
If re-elected we plan to implement our Future Shape proposals, what the media have dubbed 'easyCouncil'. Our opponents have predictably tried to portray this as making people pay twice for the same service, but this is a misrepresentation. Driving everything we do is a commitment to provide better services for less money. We believe we can do this by all parts of the local public sector working together as one, giving residents much greater control over their own services and intervening much earlier with those families with complex, and therefore expensive, problems.
For the General Election in our borough we have Chipping Barnet, held by Shadow Transport Secretary Theresa Villiers. We are hoping Mike Freer takes back Margaret Thatcher's old seat, although on different
boundaries, of Finchley and Golders Green. This seat is number 1 on the target seat list – with the Labour incumbent standing down and Mike running an excellent campaign we have high hopes of him being
successful. The constituency of Hendon is more challenging, but at number 63 on the target seat list it is within reach. Our candidate Matthew Offord locks horns with the Labour MP Andrew Dismore who took
the seat in 1997. Matthew has been running an excellent street-based campaign which hopefully will overturn Labour's slender majority of 3,005.