Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Friern Barnet Library lives to fight another day

I've just returned from Friern Barnet Library. What a morning. We were down at Finchley Court earlier for the eviction hearing for Barnet Council in their attempt to evict the local groups which are now running the Peoples library. We had a top gun judge. He walked in and it was clear from the first second that he sat dowbn, he was none too impressed with the Council case. The council had asked for a half hour hearing. It was clear that the case could last a day or even two days. Judges have better things to do than preside over pointless hearings. 

He outlined a timetable and stated that the council must give the opeople who they are trying to evict "full disclosure". What this means is that when the Council say they haven't been in negotiations, they have to prove it. It also means that they will have to disclose the deeds to the site, which may well hold a little problem. It also means that the Peoples library will be open until Xmas.

The Council had used the argument that the occupiers had no case whatsoever and should be summiraly dismissed. The judge commented that it was clear that there was a case and it should be heard in full court. He had the air of a man mildly irritated thata  Council could prepare such a slapdash argument. 

I know a couple of judges (not particularly well, but well enough to have shared a few boozy evenings with). Their job is to impart the law with credibility and common sense. When a case is presented which lacks these issues, it discredits the law. The subtext of what the Judge was saying to Barnet Council was "If you want a possession order, you have to present a very credible case, because the eyes of the world are on us and if we apply the law badly, it will reflect badly on the legal profession".

The judge also made sure all accredited press had their passes checked. He knew that National papers were represented. Whatever is written about the procedings, I am pretty sure it will reflect well on the learned judge and his wisdom. Councillor Daniel Thomas, the cabinet member responsible for the commercial portfolio was in attendence, hoping to make a triumphant victory speech in front of the camaras as the judge administered the death sentence for the library. The Barnet Eye introduced him to the 40 odd people in attendence and suggested a round of applause for the Deputy Leader of Barnet Council. Everyone duly obliged. Mr Thomas was clearly taken aback by this good natured response. When it became clear that the judge was not going to give him the photo opportunity he craved, our gracious deputy leader legged it. He departed the room with Tirza Waisel, the Leader of Barnet Alliance for Public Services. One of the assembled journalists asked if she was his partner. As Tirza came back in after about 30 seconds, I hadn't stopped laughing by the time the question was answered. For me that was the cherry on the cake of a rather good morning. 

After the hearing, a group of us adjourned to the Library for a cup of tea. A German TV crew arrived as well as a team from the Guardian (keep an eye on Saturdays edition) including Robert Booth and a photographer. My fellow bloggers Mrs Angry and Citizen Barnet also attended. Robert seemed fascinated by the sheer bonkersness of Barnet politics. Every seemingly innocuous question opened up a whole dismal catalog of intrigue and broken promises. All of this whilst children played, old ladies dropped off books and elderly ladies sipped tea and ate biscuits. People dropped in and out, borrowing books. I hadn't been to the library for three weeks. In that time, the shelves had filled up. It is quite amazing to see the transformation. 

The tragedy is that the Cabinet member for libraries, Robert Rams, hasn't been down  to Friern to see what is going on. If he had, I suspect he may change his opinion. It really isn't too late. Maybe he should come down with Councillor Thomas. Rather inexplicably and completely unrelated to the Tirza incident, one of the Ladies of the left in Barnet Politics confessed that she thought Councillor Thomas is rather handsome, if a little dim. Maybe he's in the wrong job and should consider a career as a male model. I'd suggest he specialises in non speaking parts. With his charisma, he'd excel at those. 


Mrs Angry said...

Poor Tirza.

Mrs Angry would like to make it absolutely 100% clear that it was not her who expressed a shameful, girly admiration for Cllr John Thomas' alleged good looks. Eh? Mrs Angry warns the person in question that she will never ever let her forget her foolish admission. Ever.

baarnett said...

" was not her who expressed a shameful, girly admiration"

Shouldn't that be "she"?

Vicki Morris aka Citizen Barnet said...

And Sachin Rajput! Hahaha!

Vicki Morris aka Citizen Barnet said...

Sorry, it's been a long day and it's not over yet, not by a long chalk.

Carmen Johnson said...

thanks this

tw said...

Rather shocked that anyone should think I can be a partner of this kid...
(and no, I don't take it as a compliment, I am quite pleased with being almost able to join the Barnet 55+ Forum).

So, for the record: I left the room with Dan Thomas when I learned he is leaving, in order to invite him personally to the BAPS organised public meeting on 8th of November (7 pm Greek Cypriot Centre North Finchley).