Through doing this work I had to look up the emails for all of Barnet's 63 councillors. There were people in that list I've never heard of, and that is as it should be. Only the electors of Underhill ward, to take one example, need to know that they are represented by Rowan Turner, Anita Campbell and Andrew Strongolou (you did know that, didn't you?).
The anonymous, largely unsung heroes and heroines of local representative democracy don't do it for the glory, the fun or even, thankfully, the money (though they can claim £9,500 basic allowance each year, and most do).
They do it, I imagine, from a sense of duty, in the first place to their political party, but also to the community in which they live. Very few of them do it as a step on a political career ladder...
When I sent out the letter to councillors regarding the MetPro audit I didn't expect much comeback immediately but I did get a few out of office replies, one of them from Brian Coleman. It said:
Thank you for your e mail . As I receive a significant number of e mails only Council Officers and residents of Totterdige Ward will receive a replyLots of thank you's in there, you'll note. That's good, but why restrict himself only to replying to ward or GLA constituents? Coleman is a member of Barnet council's Cabinet, taking a large allowance for doing that job. When can we prevail on him to consider issues that concern the council as a whole such as the MetPro audit undoubtedly is?
I will deal with your e mail if you are a Totteridge resident and have included your full address. If you a constituent and wish to contact me on London Assembly Buisness please e mail my office at City Hall on firstname.lastname@example.org again including your full address.
If Coleman is struggling to fulfill all his roles properly, drop one of them. Don't be too proud, Coleman, we all have to learn our limits. You've clearly exceeded yours.