Monday, 31 March 2014

Barnet Council offers you the chance to win £25,000 simply by paying your Council Tax

I kid you not. Barnet Council is offering residents the chance to win £25,000 in a draw of people paying their tax by Direct Debit, full details here

Barnet have a history of gambling. Former Council Leader, now Finchley MP Mike Freer gambled with £27.4 million of council money, investing it in high risk accounts in dodgy Icelandic Banks that had had well document credit warnings, to gain high interest rates. Freer had actually borrowed the money on lower interest rates.

The current Leader of Barnet Council has gone one step further and taken a Billion Pound Gamble with the huge One Barnet outsourcing contracts. These contracts take running of council services and many local jobs out of Barnet to far flung call and operations centres. Hundreds of local jobs have been lost. Barnet Taxpayers even gave the winner, Capita, a £16 million bung towards new systems, despite telling residents before the signing that the services were being outsourced so that Capita could invest in the systems and save Barnet money! The contracts are a gamble because one in four public sector outsourcing contracts have gone wrong.

It seems to the Barnet Eye that the Tories may have a gambling problem. Their latest punt is on a 3p a day tax cut for residents just before Council elections. They are hoping that this bribe to the public wins them another four years in office. After the last election in 2010, the first act of the Tory cabinet was to award themselves huge payrises. We wonder what surprises they have in store for us this time.

Now don't get me wrong, I like a flutter (with my own money of course) and the plan to get higher usage of direct debits is actually a very sensible aspiration. If I win the £25 grand I'll be more than happy and won't be complaining. I see this as a sensible way to promote a money saving service. I would urge all Barnet residents to sign up for direct debit, as this is a better way to pay and will save the council money and lower all our tax bills. So unlike Iceland, One Barnet and the Tax cut it is a case where some good may come of the scheme. As it is a free draw and all council tax payers are entered, it is not even a gamble for us In the truest sense of the word.

 My only concern is that given our lords and masters predilection for a bit of a flutter it will tempt them into thinking that they can make all manner of unpopular policies work by having a prize draw. Maybe we'll have a situation where everyone who gets a parking ticket in Barnet will be given the chance to win £25,000. Or if everyone who is kept waiting in A&E at Barnet General for more than four hours will get a free National Lottery Scratch card. With our current council, nothing would surprise me, apart from them doing their jobs properly. It is interesting to note that Barnet had the most pothole complaint in London last year which demonstrates how the most basic things are simply not being done, whilst crackpot schemes abound.

Why I hate Mothers Day

Yesterday was mothers day. It is is one of my least favourite days. My mum died 7 years ago and it just reminds me of loss and grief. I dont buy into false sentimentality. I just find it a sad depressing annual experience. For all of you who stiill have mumsI hope you enjoyed it but leave us orphas in peace. We should have the right to say we are not playing and be left alone. For many of us the endless commmercials just add tothe hurt

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Barnet Council and the debt time bomb waiting to explode in your wallet

In May there is a council election in Barnet. At stake is who runs the council for the next four years. Historically, most residents of London Boroughs have had little engagement with their local councils. It was just expected that Councils would do what we expect of them, such as provide school places, look after elderly, infirm and handicapped people, fix potholes in the road, collect our rubbish with the minimum of fuss, manage planning applications for the local good and run parking regimes which protect local residents and businesses.

Sadly in recent years all of this has become highly politicised. This is because some local authorities have decided that there are votes to be had in cutting council tax. There are only three ways an efficiently run Council tax can be cut. These are

1. Go into debt.
2. Cut Services.
3. Increase charges (ie Stealth taxes like parking charges and planning charges)

So what has happened in Barnet Council since the Conservatives won the council in 2002? In 2002, Council debt was £38 Million. The Conservatives claimed this was dangerously high and immediately passed a budget that lead to a huge hike in Council Tax. According to the latest accounts in 2013, the net liabilities has risen to over £707 million. It isn't getting better, in 2012 it was £674 million. If you don't believe me have a look at them yourselves (check page six for these figures)

Worryingly, the net assets of the council have declined from £620 million in 2012 to £595 million in 1 year as well. So debt has spiralled up by £34 million ( only £3 million less than the total of £37 million that the Tories claimed was unsustainable in 2002, whilst losing £25 million worth of assets.

With this huge spiralling of debt and depreciation of assets, can you honestly say the Council are managing your money well?

So that is one way they've kept council tax down, but as we all know, sooner or later debts have to be paid. Have you reaped the benefits of this £679 million pound spending spree?

Then we have service cuts. Well since I started this blog, we've had cuts to sheltered housing wardens, which make the elderly and infirm vulnerable. We've had cuts to the transport services for disabled people. We've had huge scaling back of daycentre provision and we've had cuts to personal care packages. The council have been clever and have done this by outsourcing the contracts and hiding behind "contract arrangements" with these provisioners of service as an excuse.

Then there are the stealth taxes. In Barnet the worst of these is the way parking enforcement is used as a cash cow. The parking meter and the yellow line was invented to "improve traffic flow and parking space utilisation" in busy areas. Since 2012, the Conservative administration have milked this cash cow for all its worth. To escape the blame they outsourced parking control to NSL in 2011. Targets are now set for ticketing and you end up paying. There are yellow lines in some rather odd places in Barnet and restrictions in place at some rather odd times. All of these catch unsuspecting motorists.

I've monitored the council account since I started blogging in 2008. Every year the debt goes up, services are cut more and new stealth taxes are sprung on us. Every year I have conversations with local Tories where they start by saying I'm exaggerating. I then refer them to the councils own accounts. Then they say that "it would be worse under Labour". I say to them "Labour wouldn't have spent tens of millions on consultants to outsource and wouldn't have transferred assets to the private sector" to which they say "but then they would cost more". I then point out that the Conservatives refused to do a "public sector comparator" to prove this, when they were doing the One Barnet Outsourcing. I asked why they would not do this if they believed the case was proven.

I asked a senior member of the Barnet Council administration if he believed that the current level of debt was sustainable. He said yes. I asked how he could say this. He said "I've seen nothing to suggest otherwise". I asked how the council would ever pay the debt and he said "it is all being managed". But the point is that it isn't being managed. It is increasing and the asset base is shrinking. On this debt there is interest payments. At the moment, the interest rates are low. Should they rise, what happens to the debt? The stark answer is that when rates rise, we will have to pay a lot more council tax.

The stark truth is that the Barnet Conservatives have sleepwalked in, placed a timebomb under our finances and don't even know what they've done. None of them have said "is a tax cut responsible when debt is spiralling out of control". It is clear to me that the Conservatives need to be kicked out of power, for no other reason than to get some fresh blood in their ranks, who do not act like Ostriches with their heads in the sand when problems come along. If you are a Tory, you should do the local party a  favour and vote out this bunch of incompetents, to clear the way for some new blood who might actually deal with this time bomb before it blows up in all our wallets. You may think that a different administration would be less careful with your cash or your council tax may be a few pennies higher, but the truth is that this timebomb is entirely of the Conservatives own making. There is no prospect of it getting fixed until the people who caused the problem have been kicked out.

Friday, 28 March 2014

The Friday Joke and ten ways to tell there is an election coming

Guess what? There is an election in the offing. Here are ten tell tale signs to look out for

1. Politicians in ill fitting suits suddenly appear in pictures in the press planting trees -  - those of us who've dug holes for a living will note the lack of ability to hold a shovel properly

2. MP's who've been invisible for the past four years start popping up in pictures at schools 

3. MP's pop up in the press taking credit for decisions they had no role in

4. Tax cuts are announced for the first time in years

5. Smiling councillors you've never seen before suddenly start doling out 'community awards' to Grannies and young children.

6.Councillors you've never seen in daylight start appearing concerned about the local health service, doling out small grants

7. Leaflets start arriving containing all manner of misleading information

8. Councillors suddenly become concerned about all sorts of petty bureaucratic charges, announcing they've suddenly been abolished’s%20party%20time%20as%20fee%20is%20axed

9. MP's suddenly get terribly concerned about the local jobless

10. Councillors you've never heard of before suddenly start pretending truly appalling stats about education figures are marvellous so a story which says "Thousands of local schoolchildren are not getting a suitable school place" Becomes "Seven out of 10 win place at first-choice secondary school" with a picture of a smiling councillor.

You may or you may not think all of that is starting to make democracy a bit of a joke. If you don't the here is this Fridays joke !

   'Viagra' is  now available
in tea bags.
It doesn't enhance your sexual performance
but it does stop your biscuit going soft.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

The library that lived and who saved it? A joint post by the Barnet Bloggers.

Labour Councillor Pauline Coakley Webb opens Friern Barnet Community Library
Barnet Conservative candidates in Coppetts Ward have been distributing an election leaflet claiming the credit for saving Friern Barnet library.

This indefensible attempt to rewrite history is something that cannot go unchallenged.

The Barnet bloggers have followed (and been part of) the story of Friern Barnet in detail, from the moment in 2010 when Councillor Robert Rams launched the strategic library review, making ludicrous suggestions about the possibilities of ‘pop-up’ libraries in Tesco, and Starbucks.

We supported the raising of a petition, gaining over 7,000 signatures, and the lobbying of council meetings, and councillor surgeries. This gave the Tories pause for thought and they relented from their initial plans.

When the review was announced, only two libraries were marked for closure: Hampstead Garden Suburb and Friern Barnet. As Hampstead Garden Suburb was in a staunchly Tory ward, it took little pressure from influential local resident groups for the council to grant a reprieve, and happily agree to subsidise the small branch library in this most affluent area of the borough. This left Friern Barnet library, in a largely Labour voting ward, as the sole victim of Councillor Rams’ axe. 

Community campaigners were invited to draw up plans to keep the library open. As later events were to demonstrate, this was a crafty ruse by councillors and senior officers, which meant the campaigners were working on plans in the period where they could have instigated a judicial review. Such time wasting slammed the door on legal remedy. It seemed clear to all involved that the council had acted in bad faith and the invitation to draw up proposals were never a serious proposition.

In April 2012, the council closed the library at short notice. A symbolic occupation of the building by residents took place, to register the sense of injustice felt by the local community. The same afternoon, valuers arrived to assess the building for future development. The library was boarded up, emptied of books, and left to stand until a plan of sale had been made.
The marvellous Keith Martin
The closure of Friern Barnet, as some have forgotten, was justified by Tory members on the basis of a new library to be created in the Arts Depot at North Finchley. This plan came to nothing.

Along with many other supporters and activists, Barnet bloggers were at the forefront of the campaign to reopen Friern Barnet library, helping to launch the People’s ‘pop-up’ library, not in Tesco, or Starbucks, but on the village green next to the building, beneath the cherry trees. It was an act of defiance from local residents and campaigners in response to the removal of a much loved local community centre, and it received an astonishing outpouring of support.

The pop-up library received donations of hundreds of books and kept the protest alive throughout the weeks that followed. The BBC One show came to film the event, the first of a wave of media interest in the issue.

Despite this clear evidence that there was enormous support for the library, Councillor Robert Rams and his colleagues continued to ignore the local community.

Through the summer of 2012, residents came down every Saturday, come rain or shine to swap books on the lawn. As we approached autumn, and weather conditions worsened, it looked as if the Peoples library may become unsustainable: but in September 2012, the Occupy movement took over the Library and the People’s Library moved back into its rightful home.

How did Robert Rams and the rest of the Tories react to this demonstration of "Big Society"? They refused to engage with the local residents, although ironically they were more at ease discussing terms of occupation with Phoenix and his collective of squatters who had re-opened the library on behalf of the community.

Within weeks, the library shelves were full and the library was back in business.

Council officers were despatched to meetings to see if a compromise could be reached, but the elected representatives of the Tory Party ignored residents, and refused to attend talks. The council then launched eviction proceedings against the people of Barnet, who were simply using a public asset in the way it was intended.

Despite spiralling costs, the Tories persisted in the war against their own citizens. When the case finally came to court - supported by legal assistance organised by Labour party councillors - it lasted 2 days. 
Barrister and Labour candidate for Finchley & Golders Green, Sarah Sackman, who represented the occupiers in court (at the microphone)
The council had originally claimed it was a simple possession case and asked for ten minutes. It was clear to all that despite the judge finding in favour of the council, there were strong grounds for an appeal. The judge herself brokered a deal whereby Occupy would hand over the keys to the community and the library would continue. The council had won the battle but lost the war. 

The sad truth is that there is no happy ending.

Does anyone trust the council after their previous tactics? It would appear to be a mistake to do so. The election leaflet implies that the library was saved by the ‘fervent campaign’ within the Conservative party fought by Councillor Kate Salinger. In fact any success was entirely due to the fervent campaigning of local residents, and the occupation of the premises: and the library has not been saved. It still faces an uncertain future.

Barnet Council simply offered the re-named Friern Barnet Community Library a two year lease, to park the problem until after the election. 
Time stands still in Friern Barnet library, September 2012
The Council has refused to fund a full time librarian. The Council has refused to allow the Library to access the council book stock. There are even allegations of other Barnet Libraries refusing to allow posters promoting events at FBCL. Most worrying of all, there is no long term lease, and Councillor Daniel Thomas, the deputy leader, has merely guaranteed that the building will not be sold in the next four years. What happens then? And even if the building is not sold, for how long will the community library be allowed to remain?

In truth the local community has preserved the building, and filled it full of books, which is a stunning achievement. It is a wonderful community enterprise, a victory of resistance against injustice, but it is not a public library.

Barnet’s Tory councillors have been outmanoeuvred by residents in their move to close the library and sell the beautiful, eighty year old building for redevelopment as a supermarket or flats. But it is only a temporary victory.

To ensure this library and every other publicly owned property controlled by this council remains in our hands and does not become the target of a ruthless agenda of sale and development, the only course of action is clear: use your vote wisely on May 22nd, and do not return this Tory administration to power – or we will all live to regret it.

John Dix
Derek Dishman
Theresa Musgrove
Roger Tichborne 
proud and happy library members

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Guest Blog - Barnet Council declares war on the disabled by John Sullivan

By John Sullivan,

I read this article in the Times this and wept If you are of the Leader of Barnet Council,  Councillor Richard Cornelius mindset and one of his ardent followers  who support what he says in this article then wear your badge with pride. Because pride comes before a fall, and I look forward to watching you fall into disgrace swallowed up by your perverse envy and greed, your grabbing at a couple of pence per day cut in your council tax no matter the damage it inflicts on the disabled the vulnerable and others.

It is not to late for you to challenge the claims of Cornelius wherein he in effect implies that the majority of the residents of Barnet do not give a tuppeny feck about the disabled, and support the cutting of support services in order to provide you with less than the price of a cup of coffee per week.
The Cornelius council hate campaign against disabled people has been raging for the past few years devastating cuts have been made to support services for handicapped adults and their support workers incomes, with more planned if he gets back into power, and now this pernicious sick minded soulless  man has started on the disabled kids. What sort of pernicious sick minded envious ideologue can possibly believe that the majority of Barnet residents are as sick minded as him and his fellow councillors, what is it that drives this perverse envy of the disabled this shameful attack on those that cannot fight back.

My own daughter attended Mapledown school back in the day when even a Tory administration treated disabled people and children with compassion and warmth, I remember mixing with Tory councillors at open days and on one occasion a sports day I organised, but they were a different breed of Tory. The Les Pym's of the then Tory administration would be turning in their graves to witness the evil being bestowed on disabled people and children in Barnet, by the vindictive sick minded Cornelius and his cronies at the town hall.

It has long been obvious that Cornelius and his gang have the Lady Porter mentality at heart, their campaign of ethnic cleansing continues at a pace and every harsh act of evil permitted within the law is being foisted on the disabled the sick and the poor to force them out of Barnet with an enthusiasm and glee that exposes a very dark side to their mindset. But the Owen Paterson(former Conservative Councilor who claimed disabled people should be gullotined for their own good) mentality has only shown its ugly head over the past four or five years, when Cornelius and co have  actively  without thought consideration or consultation set about destroying support services for disabled adults that he and his gang have managed to keep hidden, or got away with lying about what they are doing by claiming they have meaningfully consulted with all affected parties, when in fact no such consultations have taken place.

But now we have it in bold print in the Times newspaper, thank you Times group reporter Chris Hewett for finally doing what a local paper is supposed to do and tell it as it is with no frills and escape route for local councillors. How in the name of everything that is holy can Cornelius claim to be striking a balance, how can giving Barnet residents an electioneering few pennies a week cut in their council tax compare with the unimaginable devastation these cuts will bestow upon these innocent children and their families. What sick minded pervert can possibly consider a cup of coffee a month for some balances out against the destruction of the lives of others, the man is sick he is unwell  his comments are in no way those of a rational balanced human being.

 His Owen Patterson mentality has overtaken his rational, because I for one do not and will never believe that the majority of Barnet residents support this act of evil at Mapledown school and the misery it will bring the pupils and their families.

What is even worse Cornelius and his crew do not base their activities on the outcome of meaningful consultation because they do not consult, they have refused to consult with the Your Choice Barnet families whilst destroying the support services for adults with a learning difficulty, and I have no doubt they have in no way meaningfully consulted with the families and parents of Mapledown pupils.
As the parent of a fifty year old disabled daughter I know how important these support services and clubs are to both the students and the parents, the respite they afford the family carers and parents are invaluable no vital, it allows them to build up their energy levels to cope when their children come home. 

Can I ask you to try to place yourself in the position of these Mapledown family carers, the impact these cuts will have will absolutely destroy their lives. Can you imagine yourself dealing with a disabled child 24/7 day after day, night after night, month after month, year after year with little or no support from your fellow man your local community or local council. Have you any idea how tough a task it is when you received the support of your local community as we did in the past, that is now made a thousand times worse by the contempt shown towards you by this vicious and pernicious council leader and his crew of councillors. can you for one second understand the devastation these parents and family carers must be feeling, knowing the leader of their local council places a few pennies a day for the haves in front of their quality of life and that of their disabled child. let me tell you from my own 50 years of experience at the coal face I cannot imagine the horror these families are feeling, they have been effectively abandoned by their community , how debilitating and soul destroying a feeling must that be, even I cannot imagine what horror they are going through. 

Decent parents love their children unconditionally no matter the level of disability life has presented their child with, and I believe they have a reasonable right to expect support in their endeavours from their community, for me that is a human right and the responsibility of a decent humane society, a society Cornelius and co are determined to destroy. So how in the name of decency and humanity can Cornelius claim this is striking a balance, there is no way this act of evil this shameful act of perverse envy can in any way be described as striking a balance, when any rational human being can see no such balance exists. Let us not forget that Councillor Cornelius was one of the crew who's first act on taking power in 2010 was to vote themselves a payrise.

These Mapledown folk and Your Choice Barnet folk are nor benefit scroungers. They are unfortunate souls born with serious disabilities that they never chose to be born with. The fact that Cornelius and his bunch of sick councillors place these chronically disabled children and adults in the same category as benefit scroungers exposes a fatal flaw in their makeup. They are so blinded by ideology dogma, greed and envy, they cannot differentiate between the minority scrounging off the system, and those that have the human right to be  afforded a decent quality of life in front of tax cut electioneering gimmicks.
This is a shameful act of evil delivered with glee from this pernicious and sick Barnet leader and his administration, and he is branding you the majority of the people of Barnet as his allies in this pernicious act of evil. If you support what Cornelius has to say I repeat wear your badge with pride, if you do not align yourself to this pernicious shameful act of evil then you should stand up and be counted and let Cornelius know in no uncertain terms you do not support what he is doing at Mapledown school in your name.

The fact has to be faced Owen Patterson is not the only Tory with his views, four or five years ago a Tory councillor in another borough implied  euthanasia  of disabled people who contribute nothing to society in financial terms would be a constructive cost saving exercise.  This sick bastard tried to laugh it off as a joke, and let's be honest there are other members of the Tory fraternity that have voiced similar opinions over the years.

Let's not forget Owen Patterson was not evicted from the Tory party for calling for the guillotining of disabled people at birth.  That was apparently deemed acceptable within Tory circles, he was evicted from the Tory party because he was also a member of UKIP.  In other words his fellow Tories did not object to his call for the guillotining  of disabled children at birth, that was apparently  deemed acceptable, in the same way Cornelius and co deemed it acceptable for Councillor Coleman to attack a woman half his body weight in the street, because she did not support the party line and took no action against Cllr Coleman.

Cornelius and co are right wing fanatics that hate the disabled and the have not's in Barnet and refuse to represent them and or provide homes or support services that afford them any quality of life just an existence. Their collective hatred of the disabled is on record and  is there for all to see. They have lied and misrepresented the truth repeatedly, covered up the reality, refused to consult and then lied some more. In their pursuit of quietly destroying support services and the quality of life of disabled and sick people in Barnet. A truth and a reality now spread across the front page of our local Time newspaper for all to see, and the cowering despicable pernicious council leader Cornelius claiming that this unbalanced shameful act of evil at Mapledown School, in some sick pernicious and perverse way strikes a balance.

What it proves beyond any reasonable doubt is Cornelius and his fellow councillors are unfit for office, it is the duty of every elected councillor to act in the best interests of all of their  residents no matter their politics, and not simply in the interest of those that support them to the detriment of those that do not support their party which is the current attitude of our local Tory councillors.

This Times article exposes just how perniciously evil  Cornelius and his crew are, what is even worse is they firmly believe the majority of Barnet residents would stand by and see the lives of these disabled youngsters and their families destroyed for less the a cup of coffee per week in a decent coffee shop.
We should not forget in all of this the redoubtable Kate Kennally (who is in charge of adult social care in Barnet) who is paid a huge salary to protect the disabled from these sort of inhumane attacks, yet has to date gone along with every act of evil bestowed on disabled people in Barnet since her arrival, the only person she protects is herself. This is a woman that is unfit for purpose to concern d with self interest, and a woman that has done everything within her power to deny parents and family carers of disabled adults and children in Barnet the human right of consultation.

If you are a Cornelius supporter and support this act of evil against the peoples of Mapledown School can I ask you to think of me when you invest your ill gotten gains in that cup of coffee, and believe without any ambiguity or doubt that I am praying on behalf of the students and family carers of Mapledown School, and as the parent of a disabled daughter you choke on that coffee.

This morning the Times Newspaper has published another story, detailing how Cornelius crony, Reuben Thompstone, cabinet member responsible for the cut has admitted that he has never even visited Mapledown School ( He has claimed that the school should be more 'creative' in fundraising. Clearly the man is completely out of touch with reality. Does he not realise how exhausting and draining it can be to simply care for a disabled child? Does he really believe that the people begrudge the disabled at Mapledown school 3p a day? Mr Thompstone dishonestly claims that the council had its hands tied. They did not have their hands tied when they voted themselves a huge pay rise, did they? They did not have their hands tied when they passed a budget giving everyone a 3p a day pay cut. Sadly the only people who have their hands tied are the parents of the disabled children at Mapledown school. They can't award themselves a payrise. They can't vote to cut their own tax. All they can do is lie back and take the beating that this administration is giving to them and their beloved children. Mr Thompstone told the Times "“These are austere times and we want to show we are on the side of tax payers." So who is on the other side according to Mr Thompstone? Who is the enemy who he is against? The answer is quite clearly that the disabled are the enemy of Mr Thompstone. These were his words. He was the one who decided that the battle lines in Barnet were between the taxpayer and the disabled. This destroys the lie of Camerons big society. We are not all in it together in Barnet, according to Cornelius and Thompstone. The likes of Cornelius, Thompstone and Kenally have had no pay cut only the Council tax cut. So it is clear in this battle who the losers are and who the winners are.

Finally remember when you blindly put your tribal cross against the name of a current Tory councillor in order to re-elect them in May, without concerning yourself with the consequences, you will be consigning hundreds of disabled people and their family carers and parents in Barnet  to a life of abject misery, all for a fistful of pennies. I have no doubt that for many of you. it will make you feel proud.
John Sullivan is a Barnet resident and a carer. Guest blogs are always welcome at the Barnet Eye

Monday, 24 March 2014

No Sausages for breakfast sonny Jim

Ok, so here's a question. You have woken up, you are feeling hungry and you can't be bothered to make yourself breakfast. You did however notice that the cafe at the bottom of the road had  a big sign saying "New chef, Gordon Ramsey - Full English breakfast only £3.99" So you go down and say "I'll have one of those nice Gordon Ramsey full English breakfasts" When your breakfast comes, it is a dry slice of burnt toast and a cup of lukewarm tea. What would you say? Just suppose you assumed the toast was just the start of the tasty breakfast, so you ate it? Would you pay? Just suppose you queried how Gordon Ramsay could burn toast and the owner said "Well he didn't agree with our policies so we sacked him so we could pay ourselves more money" How would you feel? What would you say?

You would probably take your custom elsewhere. Now just suppose for a second the political party you voted for did the same thing. Suppose they promised you the earth and then as soon as they had your vote, suddenly unveiled a completely different manifesto? How would you feel? The odd thing about human beings is that when it comes to politics, we are strangely tribal. Take the Tories in Barnet. Their last manifesto contained no mention of outsourcing and One Barnet. It contained no mention of parking charge hikes. It contained no mention of the decimation of care services for the disabled. It didn't say that by the next election, disabled people would not be cared for by the council, but by a private company called Your Choice Barnet. They didn't say that this company would impose draconian cuts to the care packages for many of the most vulnerable people in Barnet. They didn't say that the cemetaries that our loved ones are buried in would run by Capita.

They also didn't say that they'd give themselves a big pay rise as their first act. The Tories knew that all of these things were in the pipeline. They knew that people wouldn't vote for them if they told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So they said nothing about any of this. They do this in the knowledge that we all simply put our X on the ballot paper next to the person in our tribe.

You wouldn't take it down at Sid's Cafe would you? You'd kick up a right stink, so when when Richard Cornelius tells you that there's to be no sausages with your full English, all you meekly say is "I didn't really want them anyway". There are reports that UKIP will do well at the next election. Personally I think this is terrible, I think we have much to learn from our continental cousins. Not least from the French with how they deal with lying politicians. The trouble with the English is that when someone slams the door in our face, we are the ones who say sorry. Until we learn to say "Hang on a second, you lied and I'm not having that any more" nothing will change.

Whenever politicians break their promises and are caught lying, we get called anti democratic if we threaten direct action. Sadly the biggest threat of all to democracy are the lying toerags who have devalued our traditions to such an extent that when they are caught out, we simply accept that this is what politicians do.