With Barnet's Tories to vote on the leadership contest tonight, here is an open letter, published in full, from their former Chairman:
Many years ago, when I was Chairman of Chipping Barnet Conservative Association, I dared to criticise Brian Coleman who was supporting 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 adults, not children, and you are all quite capable of thinking 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.