What is the very minimum you would expect Barnet Council to do to commemorate any brave men and women who die serving our country in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Falklands or any other post WWII conflict?
I don't know about you, but I'd expect to see their names be honoured on our local war memorials. They have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and we owe them a huge debt. It seems that the jobsworths at Barnet Council have a different idea of the priorities. Whilst trips to the South of France for property development conferences is "value for money" for the taxpayer, commemorating our war dead isn't. Read this extract from a Council report which details the circumstances when a dead soldiers name can be added to a war memorial :-
http://committeepapers.barnet.gov.uk/democracy/reports/reportdetail.asp?ReportID=8979 - This report needed the attention of 7 named council officers to prepare. The report must have cost hundreds of pounds to put together, just to sanction two hours work for a stonemason.What person within Barnet Council do you think has responsibility for signing off work to add names of fallen soldiers to war memorials? The Leader? The Mayor of Barnet? Well the answer shocked me. It was the commercial director.
This is Council Leader Lynne Hillans Easycouncil gone bonkers. It is there in black and white. No one from any conflict after WWII and then only if the Council doesn't have to pay and there will be no increase in maintenance costs. Who says so? The Commercial Director. Well I take a different viewpoint. I think that there is nothing more important than honouring those who give their life for us. I think that the Council should properly maintan and update every war memorial. If they fill up, they should add a tasteful plaque nearby or some other suitable memorial. I think Schoolchildren should attend remembrance day services as part of the national curriculum and also attend unveilings of new names. I think this might educate them in the concept of sacrifice and public service. I think it would raise standards of behaviour and make children realise that our servicemen really give a lot for us. There are many places where Barnet Council has wasted a fortune. They will buy maintenance contracts for unused laptop computers in storage, but won't pay maintenance for new war memorials. They will put tellies on the desks of council officers, but not memorials up for dead soldiers in Afghanistan. They will happily use our public contribution (ie Council Tax) to fund seven officers to write this report, but they won't fund two hours of a stonemasons time to add the names in it to the war memorial.
Some days Barnet Council really make me feel sick. Should I get elected to Barnet Council in May I will make the reversal of this crass policy my no 1 priority and I'll arrange a march on the town hall to publicise it. I rather hope they see sense before then.
***** 11.45 am update *****
I got a couple of emails within minutes of posting this blog from ex-servicemen. They both asked the question "Why wait till May to have a march on the Town Hall" Having thought this through, I completely agree with them and unless the Council PUBLICLY reverses this policy, I will be working to organise a march ASAP. I've never seen such an angry response about a story and that is saying something. Barnet Council have really got this wrong