Sunday, 23 March 2014

The seven deadly sins of the Barnet Conservatives

In May 2010, the people of the London Borough of Barnet elected a Conservative administration. Many things have happened since then. I was recently asked whether I thought they deserved reelection. I said no and when asked why, I said "They have committed seven deadly sins which should convince any sensible person that they were unelectable".

The Barnet Eye believes that this administration is guilty of all these sins, in a way that is detrimental to every citizen of Barnet.

Gluttony - Allowance hike
Wrath - Pay and display parking fiasco
Lust - Metpro fiasco
Envy - Cuts to disabled services
Pride - CPZ Parking hike cock up
Greed - 20p Tax cut paid for with stealth tax & huge council debt
Sloth - Outsourcing and ruining services

To elaborate

1. Allowance hike. The first action of the Conservative cabinet on regaining the council in 2010 was to vote through a huge payrise for themselves. This was completely immoral and unjustified. It blew a hole in the idea that we are all in it together. The one Tory who opposed the policy, Kate Salinger was ritually stripped of all responsibility in a public humiliation. This is a prime example of the sin of gluttony and the need of the administration to trouser as much dosh as possible.

2. Pay and Display parking fiasco. Barnet Tories abolished pay and display parking overnight, with no consultation. This wrought havoc on local high streets forcing many small businesses (ironically many owned by Tory voting small businessmen) out of business. Pay by phone was imposed with scant regards to the needs of local people. There was a huge backlash in 2012 with the electorate kicking out Brian Coleman, the Tory GLA rep and architect of the policy. As a result there has been a limited amount of back tracking, with credit card operated machines being brought back for pay and display. The cock up is estimated as costing the council £1.5 million. Wrath - This wrathful policy of Brian Coleman, laid waste to the High Streets which he seemingly despised.

3. The Metpro fiasco. Local bloggers uncovered the Metpro scandal, where a firm with the council contract for security did not have proper licences and were charged with looking after vulnerable people in council care. The council revealed that it had paid invoices that illegally didn't have proper VAT details. Bloggers called for an independent inquiry. We got a cover up. It did however emerge that Metpro had been paid 30% over the going rate. The Metpro Scandal was caused by the lustful desires of senior councillors to have a "Sexy" security service. Metpro staff used intimidating black unifroms, complete with pepper sprays, High powered vehicles, dressed up to look like pseudo police cars and large men with snarling attitudes to deal with members of the public. Councillors looked on with smug satisfaction as Metpro barked orders at members of the public.

4. Cuts to disabled services. Whilst the Tories had no problem putting up their own allowances, they have taken a different view with savage cuts to the adult social care budget. Disabled people have lost transport services, access to day centres and in some cases brutal cuts to their care packages. Sadly those without voice are the first to be targetted in uncaring Barnet. The cuts to disabled services were born in the politics of envy of the Barnet Tory party. There is a disgusting view that the disabled get "something for nothing" because they are not in a position to pay in.  They are viewed by ruling Tories as a privileged class, to be attacked and forced to the margins. When Brian Coleman was part of the Tory Cabinet, he referred to "These People" and asked why they were entitled to "special treatment" with regards to travel.

5.CPZ Parking hike cock up. The council imposed a huge increase in pay and display charges in 2011. The CPZ campaign lead by David Attfield launched a judicial challenge and had the policy struck out as illegal. All residents of CPZ areas are entitled to a full refund. This has blown a huge hole in the council budget. Despite acting illegally, the council required people to apply for the money they'd illegally asked for. Thousands of residents still haven't got their own cash back. The CPZ case was a prime example of the dangers of Pride in local politicians. It was clear to everyone that David Attfield was right and the Tories were wrong. Rather than simply backing down, they went to court and lost. This cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of legal fees.

6. The Tories flagship policy is to cut average council tax bills by 3p a day. At the same time they have run up huge debts, as shown by the councils own accounts. They have imposed stealth taxes such as the parking charge hike and burial charges to fund the insignificant cut in tax. They are also launching further assaults on the care packages of local disabled people. Is it a moral policy to rob the well off to kick the most vulnerable? This 3p a day is an absurd attempt to bribe the electorate into re--electing them. I hope this greedy ploy will fail.

7. The council has handed over huge swathes of service provision to companies such as Capita. They now run everything from Cemetaries to Call Centres, with a brief to maximise profits. Earlier this week, we showed how the councils own papers show that services such as provision of services to underperforming school age children have been thrown into chaos by these ideolgical outsourcing schemes. Sloth - Barnet Council Leader, Richard Cornelius admitted he hadn't even read the huge One Barnet contracts prior to signing them. None of the cabinet did (or said they did). They are guilty of SLOTH on a grand scale.

These are the seven deadly sins of the Barnet Tories. I have yet to meet anyone who can justify any of these policies. Some Tories say "We need to outsource to save money and improve services. The Your Choice Barnet experience shows that services are ruined and then extra charges, not in the business case are heaped on the taxpayer. Barnet Council have a track record of failing to manage contractors. All of the savings they claim in business cases are pie in the sky. They've never allowed an independent audit of their figures and all inconvenient costs are simply ignored (such as the tens of millions spent on consultants). The Tories attack dog supporters claim all opposition is run by Trades Unionists simply seeking to protect their pay packets.They ignore the fact that I have never belonged to a Trades Union and I run my own business. Unlike many Barnet Tories, I can read a balance sheet, I know how to run a company and I understand the need to manage contractors effectively. My opposition is purely based on being a Barnet resident who cares about our Borough and doesn't want to see it ruined by incompetent buffoons.  The Leader of the Council signed contracts for hundreds of millions of pounds worth of business, without even reading them. Perhaps the most perverse thing Barnet did, was at a time when they needed a strong legal department, to manage contracts, they outsourced legal to Harrow Council, who use Capita for service provision. There are many reasons why the Barnet Tories need to be replaced in the Town Hall. If any knock on your door ask them about there seven deadly sins and ask how they can claim to be competent, when they've made so many cock ups.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought Metpro was 50% over the going rate! That means it creamed off nearly 0.5-million pounds.

It also accompanied Councillor Finn in his Mayoral limo on council events, in convoy. Mrs Angry has the photo on her blog.