The Barnet rumour mill has it that Mr Toad recently made an irate phone call (his speciality of course) to the editor of the Barnet Times. The rumour goes that he was incandescent with rage over the amount of (entirely justified) coverage given to the newly-formed Residents' Association of Barnet party (RAB) - which is fielding independent candidates for local election across the borough. Clearly, he is a nervous man.
Keen watchers of Barnet politics will remember that during the last London elections, the Labour candidate for Barnet and Camden never once made it to Barnet (or was there a single, pathetic visit to Brent Cross?). Either way, its indicative of Labours lack of appetite for a fight in what they view as a safe, Conservative seat. Its no wonder that independent opposition is springing up. The RAB candidates seem to have largely been involved in local campaigns on behalf of the communities they live in - working for their communites on some of Barnet's most contentious planning decisions, notably Brent Cross and New Barnet. They know first hand the massive dissatisfaction with what must be the UK's most complacent Conservative council. Suddenly, the incumbents are up against locally-connected, well-organised people who are up for the fight.
Here then, in full, is RAB's most recent blog:
Many Barnet residents were, and remain, deeply unhappy about the way in which Barnet Council is run. Amongst many of the concerns expressed is the character and integrity of those who were elected to represent residents in the one organisation that effects all our daily lives; and is paid for from our taxes
Set out below are the seven key principles that should apply to all aspects of public life as set down by the Committee for Standards in Public Life.
Now when reading them please consider and think very carefully. Do you believe that the Barnet Councillors seeking re-election have lived up to these standards in both the letter and the spirit of the principles over the past four years?
If you do, then vote with a clear conscience that your selection will, at the very least, be qualified for continuing public life.
If not; then surely you must vote for the people who will not only live up to these standards but embrace them wholeheartedly and unequivocally. The independent candidates supported by The Residents' Association of Barnet candidates, are these people.
THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES OF PUBLIC LIFE
SELFLESSNESS - Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends.
INTEGRITY - Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their official duties.
OBJECTIVITY - In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits, holders of public office should make choices on merit.
ACCOUNTABILITY - Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
OPENNESS -Holders of public office should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.
HONESTY - Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
LEADERSHIP - Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by leadership and example.
I look forward to my irate phone call :-)