During the first World War, my grandfather was in the Royal Field Artillery. At one time in 1915/16 he was stationed at a spot right on the front line, not far from the little town of Laventie and the neighbouring Aubers. Funnily enough, a short step away, directly on the other side of the front line position, well within firing range, was an enemy bunker. Skulking inside this enemy bunker was one Corporal A. Hitler, then serving with a Bavarian regiment. If only, if only, one of my grandpa's shells had landed a few inches further to the left or right, just think how the course of history would have changed, and how many lives might have been saved? An opportunity missed, you have to agree.
I thought about this last night when I was sitting doodling in the Cabinet meeting described in the previous blog. It occurred to me that at least three of the local troublemaking bloggers were seated in the same small area of the room, and if Lynne Hillan had thought things through she could have availed herself of the opportunity to get someone to saw through the light fitting hanging over our heads, and make things so much easier for herself and her hapless bunch of wreckers on the council ...
Life is full of opportunities, of course, and it is usually the choice of the individual which will decide whether these possibilities are used for the better, or wasted. Sometimes it is a matter of chance. Tonight, at the wonderful piece of development potential that used to be our Town Hall, there is an opportunity to change the course of history for the better here in Broken Barnet, as the trembling Tory councillors gather together to vote in the long awaited leadership contest.
In Mrs Angry's inbox last night arrived a copy of an open letter from the sadly missed daddy of all Barnet bloggers, the reformed and rehabilitated former Tory, and now hero of the Broken Barnet proletariat, Comrade David Miller, the artist formerly known as 'Don't Call me Dave'.
He has written a letter to all Tory councillors, entitled 'The Wisdom of Brian Coleman' (It's longer than the title might lead you to suspect).
Many years ago when I was Chairman of Chipping Barnet Conservative Association, I dared to criticise the first of Lynne Hillan's failed attempts to become leader of the council.
Cllr Coleman saw me walking in the street and stopped his car for a quiet chat (this was in the days before his driving ban when taxpayers subsequently had to provide him with taxis). Speaking in the understated manner that we have all come to know and love, and with only the very slightest finger gesticulation, our Brian told me clearly and unequivocally: "In order to rebuild, you must first destroy".
Like Hovis, the words of Brian Coleman are as good for you today as they have always been.
As you embark on yet another leadership election, ask yourself this. Are you happy that, save for one notable exception, you have brought the Conservative Party into disrepute? Do you think loyal party members will be impressed that you have reduced Barnet Council to a laughing stock?
It is no good blaming inexperience or alleged bullying tactics employed by certain individuals. You are grown adutls, not children, and you are all quite capable of thinkning for yourself. You know the difference between right and wrong and even if you had only been a councillor for five minutes, you knew that the decision to hike allowances for Lynne Hillan and her cronies was morally wrong and indefensible, yet you voted for it anyway.
You have let down the public who elected you to office, as well as all the hard working volunteer members of your associations who gave their time and money freely to support your campaign.
Unless you want to see the Conservatives wiped out in 2014 along with your own political ambitions, you have to do what Brian Coleman said all those years ago. Destroy the old and rebuild.
David Miller "
Can't really better that, but I will add that by coincidence an answer arrived yesterday to the letter Mrs Angry sent to Lady Warsi, Chair of the Tory Party, making, at some length, many remarks similar to those of Mr Miller. Her aide commented that they were of course, deeply appreciative of Mrs Angry's helpful comments, and had even 'taken on board' what she said, but concluded that ultimately it must be 'a matter for the democratically elected council in question'. Hmm. Democracy: remember how that works, you Tory councillors of Broken Barnet?
Step out of the bunker, and prove it.