Friday, 7 June 2013

Barnet and Capita -One marriage that anything but gay !

Flintstones. Meet the Flintstones.
They're the modern stone age family.
From the town of Bedrock,
They're a page right out of history.

Let's ride with the family down the street.
Through the courtesy of Fred's two feet.

When you're with the Flintstones
you'll have a yabba dabba doo time.
A dabba doo time.
You'll have a gay old time.


I used to love the Flintsones when I was a kid. Of all the cartoons, it was undoubtedly the best. Unlike most other cartoons, the stars had all manner of depth to their characters. Fred was a regular working guy, who used to like doing regular guy things. He worked in a quarry. He liked drinking and playing tenpin bowling. He liked cars and having a good time. His best friend Barney Rubble was married to Betty. They couldn't have kids. Fred was seemingly on a mission to be lazy and enjoy himself. Although Wilma was constantly infurated by Freds bad behaviour and laziness, she knew Fred was a great laugh. That was why she put up with him.  I have always aspired to be Fred Flintstone. It struck me that Fred and Wilma had the ideal marriage. They bickered but they were happy. Last night, I watched a couple of episodes of the Flintstones on line. As I listened to the theme tune, I was reminded how the use of the word Gay has changed. since I was a boy.

Back in 1967, if someone had said someone had a gay marriage, you'd have thought of Fred and Wilma and their antics (at least I would have). Fast forward to 2013 and the hot topic is gay marriage. At least it is in some circles. Personally, I don't really care about the issue, one way or another, I think it is an issue for the individuals concerned. I'm not gay, so I don't feel at all qualified to tell people who are how to live their lives.  There is a marriage that I do care about quite a lot though. I suspect it will prove to be anything but a gay marriage (in the Flinstone sense of the word). I'm talking about the proposed marriage between Barnet Council and Capita. There are rumours doing the rounds that Barnet Council intend to sign a contract with Capta before the appeal by Maria Nash is heard. This would certainly be a rather large two fingers up at the judiciary and would be a very stupid move. In my limited experience of Courtrooms, judges do not like people who seemingly have contempt for them. 

When I watch the old Flintstones episodes now, I am rather struck by the contempt in the shows for the simple pleasures in which Fred delights. The bosses are totally disconnected from the workers. It struck me that Bedrock isn't so different from Barnet Council in this respect. There are the bosses and there are the plebs. The plebs have simple pleasures and simple lives whilst the plutocratic bosses hold the people who graft in deep contempt. With the One Barnet program, we've seen complete disdain for all but a chosen few consultants in the ivory towers of North London Business park.

If Barnet do sign up on the dotted line, what will this marriage be like. I ask myself whether it will be like the marriage of a friend of mine back in the 1980's. He was a bit naive and inexperienced and started a relationship with a woman which many of his friends found totally bemusing. The most disturbing aspect was the fact that whilst he was lovestruck, she would slag him off terribly behind his back. As soon as he came within earshot a whole different persona overtook her. To our amazement (and against a few peoples advice), they married and had children. One day, he awoke to find that she'd left and he was left to bring up his children up on his own. She'd cleaned out the bank account and disappeared. Her parting note simply said "I find our life boring and I'm off to have some fun. Don't try getting any money off me or I'll take the kids away and you'll never see them". In the case of Capita, the relationship is all about making as much money as possible from the Barnet taxpayer. If the dosh doesn't arrive, who will be left holding the baby.

Like the consultants destroying quality Council services, currently provided by award winning in house teams, the sneering classes looked down their noses at the likes of Fred and Wilma. The truth is the likes of Fred and Wilma  paid their way, did their job and raised their kids. When we look at examples of outsourcings,  they resemble one sided, dysfunctional marriages. Getting rid of in house teams is like selling your flat and signing a contract with a supplier with a contractor with a record of failure is like moving in with a serial adulterer. How often do we hear the line "I'd leave if I had somewhere to go" and "I thought that they'd change when they got married". Perhaps the most telling line of all was when my friend said "I was left to bring up the children, with no money and no support. I just couldn't believe someone could be so deceitful after all we'd been through". Sadly for us friends who watched the train crash from start to finish, the only surprise was it took so long. The thing which troubles me is despite spending five years writing blogs trying to persuade Barnet Council to see sense, it will be me (and you if you are a Barnet taxpayer) who picks up the tab, if this rather ungay marriage ends up in the divorce court.

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