Regular readers of the blog will know that last week, we launched the Barnet Community Choir. We asked for members of the public to attend a recording session at Mill Hill Music Complex recording studio to help sing a reworked version of "Sixteen Tons" by Tenessee Earl Ford. I must say, I was absolutely delighted with the response. We had 19 people turn up for the session and we even had Boz Boorer, internationally famous musical director for Morrissey turn up to act as our MD! It was a great day. Many of the choir had never set foot in a recording studio before and were unfamiliar with the song. Local disabled campaigner, John Sullivan took the lead vocals and Boz even played the slap bass on the track, bring his double bass from West Hampstead in his mini !
The recordings sound absolutely brilliant and I will spend the week editing the video footage for the official launch. Many thanks to all who participated. The song highlights the challenges facing many people as a result of the transformation of Barnet into Capitaville. Mrs Angry very kindly penned this preface to explain
2013 was the year when democracy in the London Borough of Barnet was outsourced, and we watched our local council services being handed over to profiteering private company Capita, surrendering direct control of almost every council function to our new masters for the next ten or even fifteen years.
This Christmas will be particularly hard for hundreds of staff members who now face redundancy while their posts are filled by low paid Capita workers as far away as Blackburn, and Belfast.
Barnet Tories refused to consider keeping these services in-house, and preserve local jobs because they said we needed a multi million capital investment from Capita. We now know that Barnet is covering the cost of investment, to the tune of £16 million - and the argument for outsourcing is itself redundant.
A legal challenge to One Barnet in the High Court found that Barnet had failed to consult residents on their view of privatisation: the challenge itself failed because it was deemed to have been made too late, but the moral victory was ours, and we will fight on.
We already know what the future holds for the residents of this borough, as the impact of privatisation makes itself felt: the warning is written in the story of Your Choice Barnet, the company set up by the council in order to make profit from the delivery of care to disabled residents.
As predicted, the disastrously inept business model is collapsing, and requires a £1 million bail out by the council to keep it going and save the face of local Tory councillors ideologically committed to the ideal of introducing the market into every area of the public sector, while vulnerable residents are left with rapidly declining standards of service, distressed by the threatened loss of continuity of care, and at greater risk of harm from the loss of skilled staff.
This is how we are living now, in Capitaville: we don't like it very much, and we intend to tell everyone why with this song.