What sort of a place do we live in? We live in a place where the residents value the cost of a weekly cup of coffee above the rights of disabled people to have a decent quality of life. We live in a place where we are happy to see our neighbours kicked out of jobs at the council, so we can save the cost of a bag of crisps and a pint. We elect politicians who think beating women up is fine, acting as landlords with scant regards for the rights of tenants or the public purse is just "normal business practices". We elect politicians who are supposedly on the left but think that the privatisation of public services is just fine and can see no other way. We elect politicians who close libraries and museums and leave the buildings to go to rack and ruin. We let our A&E units close, we let politiicians run our NHS services into the ground. We let our loved ones who have cancer die due to "waiting lists"
And what about our children? We build on the playing fields where they should be keeping fit. We rip out the traffic calming measures that prevent road accidents and give priority to cars over everything, young pedestrians, bikes and even their pet pussycats crossing the road. We allow their education to become a political football, whilst mortgaging their future with "student loans". We sacrifice their childhood fun at the alter of "national curriculum", OFSTED inspections and results, squeezing the last ounce of joy from their youth.
We allow sink estates to proliferate, where the "underclass" are left to rot, whilst the rich erect security gates and employ dodgy security private firms to keep the riff raff out. We allow rich property developers to to nibble away at the green belt, making millions, whilst the rest of us get stymied at putting much needed extensions and loft conversions up.
Our dead have been sold off wholesale to Capita, who see cemetry management as a way of getting into the theme park business, and the feelings of bereaved relatives comes second to profits for privateers.
We have a culture where hard working small business owners are driven to the wall by bureacracy, dodgy banking practices, unsympathetic parking regimes and worst of all smug, patronising politicians, whilst large conglomerates are given copper bottomed contracts, with guaranteed profits, by our local authority, where they can sue the council if they don't make enough for the shareholders, and the contracts are still renewed.
We live in a suburb where we are ripped off by truly appalling private rail operators, who put profits before customer services, won't provide access for the disabled and do everything possible to extract very last penny from the poor mugs who use the services. Even worse our local MP is the chair of the relevant Parliamentary committee, but rather than using this to improve rail services, acts as an apologist for the very rail company that makes his constituents daily commute a misery.
I could go on, but I think you probably get the drift. The point is that if you look at the number of people who actually bother to vote in Barnet, you soon realise that the cause of all of this is apathy. If a burglar came in and assaulted your invalid mum, what would you do? The sad truth is that if you don't vote you are letting politicians cut the care budget for someone else's mum, which will mean far more misery than someone stealing in in the night and nicking mummies pocket money.
Until the people of the London Borough of Barnet wake up to the fact that it is not enough to moan in their beer. If you are unhappy with what is happening, you have to stand up and be counted. The truth of the situation is that we have a Tory Party which cares not for morality or the law. I don't just make this up, the Leader Richard Cornelius has had two opportinities to show his mettle, with both Brian Coleman and Hugh Rayner and both times he's let us down. The Labour Party are actually even worse. The Leader Alison Moore snipes at the Tories but offers no alternative at all. She is useless and a disgrace. She even agrees with the Tories on outsourcing of adult services to the failed Your Choice Barnet group. The Lib Dems have imploded as a result of the coalition. UKIP have shown themselves to be a damp squib in London. The Greens have shown that they have no popular mandate in Barnet, no support and no effective organisation. They say you get the politicians you deserve, so we must be a complete shower!
Over that last few years in Barnet, I believe the only effective public voices of sanity and decency have been the Barnet bloggers. Most of the facts above are largely only known due to the efforts of bloggers. One has to ask what is the point of blogging if no one gives a sh*t? In my case the answer is because I was raised with Catholic guilt, so whilst I don't go to confession, I do rant here. This is my penance. What is yours? Wake up to the harsh truth about your friends, neighbours and yourself and if you have the bottle, leave a comment and tell me.