What I find quite strange is the fact that each constituency has its own distinct flavour. A quick look at the Council Website of councillors exposes some of this. Hendon councillors are by and large quite interesting characters and quite affable (with a couple of notable exceptions). Most are quite friendly and sensible. In Mill Hill I get along fine with Sury Khatri, John Hart and Val Duschinsky and have consider them all pretty sensible. They are perhaps the most normal of the three areas, with all manner of interesting backgrounds. For instance John Hart is a retired University Lecturer and is probably the only Tory in Barnet to have set up a Trades Union branch (so he tells me).
Then we have the Chipping Barnet Tories. These are generally more either old School, land owning gentry types such as the Cornelius's. Affable and friendly, by and large what you'd expect a Barnet Tory to be like, or the completely bonkers branch of the Tory family such as the Widgets, who are probably how Little Britain would portray Barnet Tory Councillors, if they were in a particularly cruel mood. Personally I quite like the Widgets, as it shows that the Barnet Tories at least represent all spectrums of the Tory family.
But oh dear, last and by no means least we have the Finchley Tories. The first thing you notice when you look at the Finchley Tories is how under represented women are. It is a boys club, with only Eva Greenspan being female. In my experience, this tends to enegender a rather dysfunctional and overly arrogant feel to any organisation. They type of people who have been attracted to this particular constituency association and have become councillors are fast developing a repution for seeing themselves as superior to the people they were elected to serve. In the short time he's been a councillor Rueben Thompstone has managed to alienate just about everybody in the Borough, including his own Tory MP's, his fellow councillors and his constituents. First he tried to put the boot into Mapledown School for severely handicapped children. The Tories were only saved by the intervention in committee of Maureen Braun ( see what I mean about women adding a bit of common sense) who broke ranks and slapped Rube down.
Then to make matters worse, he decided to launch a slash and burn attack on the local libraries, just before a general election. This has landed his local MP's, his senior colleagues in a merry pickle. Another example is Danny Seal, who simply never bothers to turn up for council meetings. In Garden Suburb, we have Gabriel Rozenberg, who spends his life extolling the virtues of living in 1960's neo brutalist council estates, whilst living in a very nice road himself ( a few doors down the road from Mrs Angry, rather amusingly).
Then we have the most senior councillor in F&GG. Daniel Thomas. Dan works for a financial institution. Whilst he's a nice enough chap, he is shall we say, a tad too arrogant when dealing with the people he is supposed to represent. We saw a rather fine example of this yesterday on twitter.
Yesterday we had a little exhange that nicely demonstrates how Dan views people whop ask questions and point out problems. I was interested in how his adminstration manages debt and views risk. So I asked him to explain
He fired back at me this answer
So I pointed out
Dan shot back, sharp as a button (I will leave you to decide if he has a clue himself)
So I googled and got this
Following Dan's helpful advice, I clicked on the link and I got this
Now what would you do? Well I told Dan. I assumed he'd be keen to know and would call the supplier to fix the problem. Here's what happened.
To which Dan replied
As you can see, not a hint of "Oh, the website needs looking at and we'll fix it". He was the onewho said google it. Now of course I'd expect the Deputy Leader of the Council, who has probably had training on the new website from his suppliers to be able to find it, but that wasn't the point being made. He said "google it" and the google link didn't work.
Instead of acknowledging the issue with his organisations website, he chose simply to try and make out I'm a moron (probably fair comment, but his website should cater for everyone, not just towering genius mentalities like him). Rather oddly he blames Google for his website not working.
Then it got even more interesting. Another tweeter pointed an even more serious error out
So we tried the main link to the website and I got this
Now bear in mind, the site is used to take financial payments, and all manner of other details. Yet the council is getting security warnings on its main page. The error is explained, they are usig the wrong security certificate. This clearly needs fixing. So how do you think Dan responded?
Brent Cross replied
Then the Finchley Tories twitter waded in (completely missing the point)
And Dan stated
To which I again pointed out
And Brent Cross said
To which Dan replied
And later Finchley Conservatives said
Now there were lots of other comments etc. The full trail is here -
As far as I am concerned, Dan Thomas approach to this is appalling. There is clearly an issue with the Council website. Why didn't he simply say "Thanks for pointing out the issue, I'll get our suppliers to fix it". If he had, there'd be no issue, no blog today. As it is, as I write this, the Council website still has missing pages and dodgy security certificate. Dan Thomas has shown that he fits in marvellously with his arrogant buddies in FGG Conservatives.
Barnet Council has got a poor history of problems with IT and IT suppliers. Is it any surprise if Dan Thomas attitude to getting issues sorted out is anything to go by. Dan Thomas is a key member of FGG MP Mike Freers team, hoping to get him re-elected in May.