Sunday, 4 January 2015

Barnet Council - An honesty free zone

In May 2014, we had a Council election. The Conservatives narrowly held on to the control of the Council. As we start the new year, The Barnet Eye thought we'd explore some of the myths and lies of Barnet Politics.

Libraries. The Tories made a big play of protecting library services in their election manifesto in 2014. In their manifesto they said
Barnet’s Libraries are in good shape.
 We have:

Kept Barnet’s libraries  open –  neighbouring Brent closed half theirs.
 Established two community libraries.
 Provided all libraries with free wifi.
 Installed RFID technology e.g. self-service kiosks in many of our libraries

We will:
 Pledge not to sell the Friern Barnet library building.
 Deliver improvements to library buildings where required and have new buildings planned e.g. Finchley Church End library.
 Examine the potential for libraries to expand their offer and become community spaces.
 Look at community involvement and assist local people to actively support their libraries
But this is Barnet. Whilst they were writing these fine word, they were secretly planning a completely different policy. A policy where six libraries were up for closure. A policy where, rather than "expanding libraries" some are being reduced to 10% of their former size. In short, their election manifesto was a blatent lie, designed purely to con and hoodwink local people into voting for a party which believed the opposite of what they tell the mugs who vote for them. As they were in control of the council and had full access to all the figures, they cannot claim that they didn't know the financial situation. It disgusts me when people lie to me. This is a prime example of why no one believes a word politicians say.

So you may ask, are Barnet Labour any better?

Well as they lost the election, we can't tell whether they'd actually renege on any promises. we can look at a few commonly held myths and misconceptions.

1. Barnet Labour are "anti outsourcing".

I looked at the Labour manifesto to see what it said about "One Barnet", the Tories huge outsourcing program. This is what Labour had to say
Under the Conservatives’ ‘One Barnet’ mass-privatisation programme hundreds of jobs have been lost to the Borough, and as a result money has been lost to the local economy. We called for keeping jobs local to be part of the procurement criteria in the letting of these massive contracts.
So in fact the Barnet Labour Party had no objection to the outsourcing so long as a clause was written into the contract to keep jobs locally. Barnet Labour know full well that such clauses are not worth the paper they are written on. The point is that it is clear they have no objection to outsourcing as a concept. When the Your Choice Barnet outsourcing deal failed, they had the opportunity to call for the service to be brought in house, but Councillor Barry Rawlings specifically signed up to a clause stating that bringing the service in house was not an option.

2. Barnet Labour are Anti Cuts.

When Barnet Council voted on its budget last year, the Barnet Tories and Barnet Labour party both proposed budgets with exactly the same amount of council spending. Some priorities were different, but at the end of the day, both would have delivered exactly the same amount of cuts. Whatever you may think of the Barnet Tories and their cuts agenda, had Labour won, we'd be seeing exactly the same cuts being enacted.

3. Barnet Labour will protect the local NHS.

Their manifesto said

"... All this is putting pressure on our local health services - particularly hospital services - where local A&E departments are increasingly struggling to meet targets and demand."

These are fine words, however it was a Labour government that closed Edgware General A&E department, requiring everyone in the west of the Borough to make the trip to Barnet General. I fought tooth and nail to save Edgware General A&E and campaigned relentlessly for a Labour government, in the mistaken belief that they would save the hospital. Now we have an A&E crisis in Barnet.

There is a saying that we get the politicians we deserve. What have the people of Barnet done to deserve this shower? How can we make an informed choice when all they do it tell us porkies to buy our votes and as soon as they've got the job, do what the hell they like.

Every Barnet Councillor gets a yearly bung allowance from the taxpayer of a minumum of £10,000. If they don't toe the party line they get deselected and kicked out. The sad truth is that the councillors of Barnet serve their own pockets, not the people. How would you feel if you paid a plumber £10,000 to install a new central heating system in your flat, but when you paid him, he simply went next door and mended their tap, because they gave him a cup of tea and a few biscuits? You'd be sickened. That is exactly what your local councillor has done to you. Taken your vote,but served someone elses interest.

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