Friday, 4 January 2013

Time for Councillor Robert Rams to wake up and smell the coffee

There is a rather odd report on the Barnet Times website

According to the report "Libraries portfolio holder Councillor Robert Rams said he was “disappointed” in the group’s decision to appeal given the council’s “generosity” in agreeing to hold talks."

Sadly, the reporter Chris Hewitt, who attended the full court hearing, didn't report that this offer was one of the considerations made by Judge Pearl in the "balancing act" when she made the possession order. I do wonder if the Council had stated they would enforce the order immediately, whether she would have granted the order?

What especially irritates me about this report is the continual referral to the campaign to keep the library open as squatters. Judge Pearl acknowledged that the occupation was a legitimate protest. This is quite different to an illegal squat. As Chris Hewitt was at the court for the entire proceedings, he will know this.

As I read the report, I mused about the circumstances of the closure of my blog on the Barnet Times website. The then editor Phil Crowther mentioned on several occasions that the Council had threatened to take their advertising spend elsewhere. He made it quite clear to me that such considerations were important in local newspapers. Of course I'm sure the Times these days displays complete editorial independence and would tell Councillors Rams and Cornelius where to get off should such pressure be brought again.

By the way, for readers not familiar with the story. At the time, Councillor Robert Rams was Brian Colemans press officer at the GLA (before Coleman got booted out). He reportedly told other Conservative Councillors, when my blog was shut down at the Barnet Times website that he'd "ended my blogging career". That went well didn't it Robert. At the time I was far and away the most popular blogger on the Barnet Times getting 100-200 hits a day. I now get ten times that on the Barnet Eye. 

Robert Rams really ought to wake up and smell the coffee. If he thinks that the people of Barnet will have forgotten what he's done in 15 months time, he is happily deluded.

1 comment:

Jaybird said...

My understanding was that for technical legal reasons the judge could not order the possession order to be deferred in order to negotiate a licence, so it was not part of her judgement, however the matter was agreed and dealt with by way of an undertaking. Had thee offer not been made it is conceivable that the balance of the judgement would have been different.

It is a little difficult to see how a building which is acknowledged to be a community asset under the Localism Act 2011 would be better standing empty for 18 months. Councillor Rams should be grateful that local people have made this offer to help the council