Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Reuben Thompstone - Barnets most loathesome councillor (IMHO)

In this week when the subject of our "right to offend" is a hot topic of debate, I thought it may be worth having a little debate on the matter. I am sure the vast majority of us are keen to defend the "right to be offensive" until it offends us. Then it becomes a different matter. Being a good Catholic boy, I was intrigued by the Pope's comment that if his assistant upset his mother he could expect a punch in the face. At first it seemed to me that this was a bit of a divergence from Jesus's philosophy of turning the other cheek. Then I remembered that he did advocate throwing people who hurt children down a well with a millstone tied to their neck.

So what has all this got to do with Councillor Rueben Thompstone (AKA "Rube the Pube" in the spirit of offensiveness). Where does Rube lie on the scale of what he deserves on Pope's scale of tolerance? You may ask why I've singled Rube out for such a question? Well he is rapidly gaining the recently vacated crown of Barnet's most loathesome councillor. When we had the likes of Brian Coleman and Robert Rams in the council chamber, we tended to be blinded by their bright shining aura's of unpleasantness, as to the rest of the lucky mob who we pay a minimum of £10K a year to do our bidding (no irony intended, ho ho ho).

But just as in the game of whack a mole, when the electorate whack a few of the most awful out another one pops up. One can only speculate what inspired Rubes to choose the path he's chosen, but is it any coincidence that his abhorrent behaviour started around the time that Brian Coleman was slung out of the Tories and it became clear that Rams was heading for the exit at the election.

Until the Mapledown Special School had it's afterschool budget cut, a cruel cut which kicked many of the most vulnerable people in Barnet where it hurt, no one had really noticed "the pube" too much. He was a fat bloke with a South African accent who did what he was told by his seniors. I assumed he was a rugby playing, lager drinking affable sort of bloek, if I had any impression at all. At the council meeting where the Mapledown budget cut was debated, I had a rude awakening. This bloke was a pompous, self serving bully, who had been given a "caring portfolio" to which he was clearly completely unsuitable. Now you may think that is just me with my prejudices saying that. To my amazement, two of his Tory colleagues on the committee voted against the budget cut. Councillor Maureen Braun, who is a stalwart Tory and who I had crossed swords with on many an occasion made one of the best interventions of any councillor in the 7 years I've been blogging. She said in reference to the effect that "the Pube's" budget cut would have on the parents and carers of the disabled children at Mapledown "if we can't care for and protect people like the Mapledown children and Parents, what are we doing here". I vowed never to write another nasty word about Maureen ever again. In those 19 words, she earned all the allowances she's ever claimed from the Council. Basically she broke party lines and saved the day for a bunch of people who needed her protection. You may think that isn't much but it's more than any of her colleagues (apart from Brian Salinger who also defied the whip), have done in all the time they've been there.

Since then several Tory councillors have confided in me that they are none too keen on "the pube" and that they view his Mapledown cut as a deep low point in the history of their administration. If you were one of the Mapledown Parents, where does "the pubes" behaviour sit in the scale of awfulness. What would the  Pope think attacking the living standards and quality of life of disabled children warrant? Several of the parents of Mapledown children were on the verge of collapse during the council meeting. I was quite horrified at the meeting. When Salinger and Braun broke ranks with "the pube" I felt like a needle had been pulled out of my eye. God only knows how the parents felt?

Now "the pube" has another "soft target" in his sights. This time it is the Library service. As Robert Rams got booted out for his disasterous library policy, the Tories thought they'd give "the pube" the job Rams failed so miserably to carry out. Given that libraries are disproportionately favoured by the poor, parents with young children and the elderly, a big fat bully like "the pube" clearly thinks they are fair game for a deep cut. As the first stage of his policy of decapitating the service a very dodgy consultation has been launched. This gives a range of options for the service. Oddly enough, they don't give residents the choice of paying 5p a week more tax each to preserve and build up the service. It is what flavour of cut do you want. Earlier this week, Barnet Bloggers drew attention to an independent study which drew attention to just how flawed the consultation was.

In true bully boy style, "The Pube" has attacked the report and its authors in the press. "The Pube" said "It not clear who has commissioned it or why. Indeed It is not clear why whoever commissioned it has not put their name to the document", it seems he clearly only likes to read things which he agrees with. Denis Robb, who runs the market research company Research in Practise, which produced the report, responded to "the pubes" comments today.

Councillor Reuben Thompstone called my document "odd" and said: "It not clear who has commissioned it or why. Indeed it is not clear why whoever commissioned it has not put their name to the document.”

The Research Practice ought to be familiar to the Council. The Council already possesses several Research Practice reports in its archives, and had no difficulty in contacting me via our website/London office. The Council should also be aware that historically I have criticised the poor quality of its past public consultations, sent them lengthy papers on this topic, and taken this issue up with my MP. My MP, Theresa Villiers assured me that she would take this issue up with the Council in an attempt to prevent future bogus consultations.

I have been in contact with my ward councillors about the research into the library consultation for some weeks. I have been trying to encourage them to take up the issue as they share the concerns outlined in my report. I have also been in direct contact with the Council and sent them the last report of findings which I suspect Councillor Reuben Thompstone hasn’t read. If news of this hasn’t filtered back to Councillor Thompstone this is not my fault.

The Report clearly states that the research was commenced at the request of ‘Barnet residents concerned with democracy and good government’. I have already explained to the Council that The Research Practice was encouraged to conduct the research by local members of the public who found it difficult to respond to the consultation. They contacted me because they know I have past experience of examining public consultations from Barnet Council. I explained to the Council that these individuals have no connection with any pressure groups currently campaigning on a ‘no cuts’ platform. Indeed to the best of my knowledge they do not have objections to the libraries being reformed or (given the current economic climate) to a cut in the library budget. Their concern was simply that any cuts/reforms should be achieved in a transparent and responsible way. The research and report are thus ‘independent’ of any pressure groups.

"The Pube" claims it isn't clear who produced the report, even though the company logo is plastered on every page. Of course, those being delivered the Times Newspaper through their letterbox, who don't read this blog probably won't have seen that, which is clearly "The Pubes" game as he tries to mislead people coming up to the elections. As a public service, here is the details of The Research Practice just in case you want to contact them. Maybe "the Pube" will at least have the decency to talk to them about the report, although somehow we doubt it. 

But back to the conversation at the start of this blog. What are the limits on Free Speech. Despite being a good Catholic, I don't advocate violence, except in self defence where no other option exists. I do believe in free speech. It is the only thing that keeps us safe from tyranny. I also believe in the right to insult people. That is why I urge everyone who meets Councillor Reuben Thompstone to address him as "The Pube" on every possible occasion. Whilst I am sure some of you think it's a bit childish, some of you think it's a bit rude and some of you think it is not very dignified or respectful to a councillor, I personally think that a man who attacks the quality of life of disabled children and their parents deserves nothing but insults and contempt. It sickens me that my taxes go towards paying this buffoon an allowance and the only possible way I can lighten the blow is to make my feelings known. As I said at the beginning, we all support Free Speech until it says something we don't like. In the case of "the pube", he clearly doesn't like anything that doesn't agree with him and will even go to the press claiming it's odd. I would suggest that if he thinks people who disagree with closing libraries are "odd" he's going to find he lives in an extremely odd world indeed. Personally we find people who want persue policies that attack the disabled, their carers, the young, the old and the poor as "odd".

I also have some advice for Councillor Richard Cornelius. Get yourself a Brazilian! Remove "the Pube" from office at once. For me the Charlie Hebdo incident has been a wake up call. In this country we are all far too nice about those people who attack the weakest and most vulnerable in society. We give respect where none is due, we give honours where often there is no honour and we give allowances to those who take no allowance of the needs of others. We believe the pen is mightier than the gun, which is why we write blogs. We live in a  democracy and the best way to show our disgust at the likes of  "the pube" is at the ballot box. Do you really want to vote for a party that puts a man like "the pube" in a position of power? In May you can give his pal Mike Freer a very strong message that you disapprove of such heartless policies.

In my opinion, Councillor Reuben Thompstone is the worst example of a Barnet Councillor. For every resident of Finchley and Golders Green, planning to vote for Mike Freer, please be aware of just what type of people are in the Finchley and Golders Green Conservative Party. Whilst I am sure you won't take my advice, at least listen to the words of veteran Hendon Tory Councillor Maureen Braun "if we can't care for and protect people like the Mapledown children and Parents, what are we doing here"  - What is "The Pube" doing there? He certainly isn't representing the people who need his help the most.


Moaneybat said...

"Personally we find people who want persue policies that attack the disabled, their carers, the young, the old and the poor as "odd".

.........Given that Tombstone comes from that class of people whom are survivors and the children of survivors from Europe's recent history. Add to it that many from his class were also the victims of Apartheid who came to Britain for asylum. This offensive scumbag does his community and class an injustice and ought to be thrown out of the Conservative Party forthwith.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't there some kind of public or parliamentary inquiry being requested about Barnet Council's corrupt behaviour.