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Sunday, 2 June 2013
A question for Robert Rams
I was doing some well needed maintenance on my garden pond this morning, taking advantage of the beautiful sunshine. As I dredged up decomposing leaves, dragonfly larvae, tadpoles, newts, frogs, duckweed and algae, my thoughts inexplicably turned to Councillor Robert Rams. Many of the readers of the Barnet Eye blog will know Councillor Rams through his efforts to shut down Friern Barnet library. This blog salutes the stirling work Councillor Rams did in uniting the whole of the Barnet community against the Councils daft proposals. I started thinking about a twitter post placed by Councillor Rams last month.
Councillor Rams is a volunteer for the Jewish Lads and Girls brigade. This is one aspect of Councillor Rams life that I think is an excellent use of his time. I had a trawl through the councillor declarations and I certainly wish more councillors would volunteer for charitable organisations. It is creditable and it is mutually beneficial for both the individual concerned and the organisation. I always try and support the Mayor of Barnets charity appeal in some way, either by donation, attending events or both. I may be old fashioned, but I do believe councillors should all be involved in the community.
Anyway, as I pondered the charitable destination of my fellow bloggers donation, I wondered what Robert Rams tells the JLGB about his work as a councillor. I started to ponder what Mr Rams tells them about the attitude of Barnet Council to the issue of anti semitism. Now I for one consider anti semitism to be just as loathesom and disgusting as any other form of discrimination. I believe that councils should have a zero tolerance policy towards such behaviour. Newer readers of this blog, ones who don't know the origin of how I started writing a blog on the blogspot site, will be unfamiliar with the rather bizarre story of how it all started. I used to write a blog on the Hendon Times website. This blog was one of the most well read features on the site. I put the same vigour and energy into that blog as I do to this blog. At the time, the disgraced convicted criminal Barnet councillor, Brian Coleman was a member of the GLA. Councillor Robert Rams was his press liaison officer at the GLA (that is a taxpayer funded political role). Mr Coleman was not a fan of what I had to say on my blog. One of my readers alerted me to a Youtube video that had been uploaded by Barnet Council. This video featured a member of the public spouting anti semitic views. The person who read the blog was Jewish and had objected to the video and had contacted the council to have the video removed. The council had refused. When I'd checked the facts, I wrote a blog exposing the fact that the Council had promoted fascist views on its own website and demanding that the video was immediately removed.
What happened next may shock readers. Did members of the council rally round and back my stance? No, they did not. They demanded that the Hendon Times dismiss me as a blogger for making an outrageous slur against the council. The Times meekly responded by sacking me. Now I have heard all manner of gossip and hearsay about what actually happened. I have heard all manner of stories about certain councillors being rather pleased that my blog ceased on the Hendon Times. I have even heard stories of certain councillors celebrating the end of my blogging career, for trying to get an anti semitic video removed.
As press secretary to Brian Coleman, Robert Rams had regular conversations with the Hendon Times. The question is simple. Did Robert Rams support the stance I took against the Council? I call on Robert Rams to state what his views on the incident were and what his role in the whole sorry episode was. If he suported my stance, why has he never said so publicly? If he didn't then he should explain why not. Whatever I may or may not think of Councillor Rams, I would back him to the hilt should he ever start a campaign against any form of discrimination. It is high time he put the record straight. The then editor of the Hendon Times gave me a version of events and I would like to know from the worthy councillor if this ties up with his own recollections.
Happily for all concerned, my career as a blogger did not end and I will continue to oppose fascism and any other form of discrimination here. Who knows, one day Councillor Rams may be pleased I am? It strikes me that in the current climate, with the BNP and EDF seeking to make political capital from the Woolwich murder, there is certainly work to do, even here in Barnet. It would be nice to put that particular running sore to bed.