If you read todays local Edgware and Mill Hill Press newspaper, you will see for yourself just how much of a difference the Barnet bloggers are making.
On the front page, we have the news that Barnet Council have suspended three employees, pending an investigation into allegations that they have set up a company to provide financial services to schools in the Borough, whilst still working for the Council ! This story was broken by the famous five local Bloggers (see sidebar for details). This is the third major scandal in less than a year to have emerged as a result of investigations by local bloggers. Last year, Councillor Daniel Thomas tried to brand the bloggers as wasters of Council money, after the council racked up huge costs, whilst trying to avoid answering Freedom of Information requests. They even reported Mr Mustard, on of the five, to the ICO in a (failed) attempt to close him down. To what end? To stop him uncovering scandals like this?
If you then turn over, you will see my ugly mug on page three (fortunately for all concerned, not in the pose for which page 3 became famous). I'm there with my big, ugly mouth taped up, demonstrating how the Stalinist tendency at Barnet Council attempted to stop me asking a question to the cabinet about poor use of English in Council reports. As this was in the news section of the paper, it doesn't say whether they agree with my campaign to try and get the Council to properly draft documents. They do however give their opinion on page 8 of the paper.
They say :-
"For Mr Tichborne, the Council and its officers were not treating this grave issue with the respect it deserved and his literary criticism should have reached the cabinet uncensored."
As a dyslexic, I find it quite ironic that I, of all people should be lecturing people on use of English. What is even more bizarre is that someone at the Council thought it would be a good idea to try and censor me. As a result, they end up looking ridiculous in the paper.
The bottom line is that A CONSERVATIVE COUNCIL has put someone in charge of libraries (Councillor Robert Rams) who issued a report which was virtually unreadable, due to poor use of English (he admitted this under questioning in cabinet by me on Monday). Not only that, but he made it quite clear that on his watch, releasing incomprehensible reports is ok and he's quite happy that four of his officers also failed to properly review the document (despite having signed it off).
If I was the Leader of the Council, I'd be extremely worried that my Libraries supremo was clearly totally unconcerned with literacy in Barnet. Rams has tried to make out that "because the only criticism is with grammar in the report, we've won the argument". He neglected to mention the fact that there were 28 questions from members of the public, all criticising different aspects of his policy. Not only can the poor boy not spell, he can't add up either.
As Councillor Rams was saying this, Councillor Richard Cornelius, looked at him with a look which mixed disdain with pity. It reminded me of Captain Mainwaring in Dads Army, after Pike exclaimed something betraying his niave world view. All we needed was Councillor Cornelius to exclaim "stupid boy" and the picture would have been complete.