Saturday, 7 March 2015

The breathtaking arrogance of the Finchley Conservatives

There are three Parliamentary constituencies in the London Borough of Barnet. Hendon is ultra marginal, with current Tory MP Matthew Offord having a mere 106 vote majority. Everybody, even the local Tories expect Andrew Dismore to take this for Labour in May. Chipping Barnet, with Theresa Villiers is ultra safe. Even at the height of the New Labour rout, this stayed true blue. Then there is Finchley and Golders Green. This takes in Maggie Thatchers old seat of Finchley. Although viewed by some as naturally Blue, during the Blair years, Rudi Vis held this for Labour. Mike Freer took it back again in 2010 with a comfortable majority.

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

Auditors are happy with reserves and risk management

So I pointed out

Dan shot back, sharp as a button (I will leave you to decide if he has a clue himself)

I'm dreadfully sorry but I haven't got time now. Google can help you.

 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.

Yes and a clever chap like you would know it gets page not found

To which Dan replied

Other relevant info under business planning papers for Tuesdays council

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.

Google is a wonderful thing but needs to be made simpler it seems

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?

He responded

Just went on it and main features seem perfectly ok

Brent Cross replied

Then the Finchley Tories twitter waded in (completely missing the point)

And Dan stated

I haven't typed 'www' for years, I google then favourite as do most.

To which I again pointed out

And Brent Cross said

But the rest of the world gets: "This connection is untrusted." No really, those are the words.

To which Dan replied

The problem is when someone is always saying there are problems when most people are satisfied it wears thin.

And later Finchley Conservatives said

Why would I do that, I never ever load a site without www.

No I havent. When I use a website I Google it or type in www.

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.


Mrs Angry said...

I also had a twitter spat with the ineffable Thomas,driven by my objection to the ieological claptrap he spouts, based on no real life experience of hardship. He stated: 'Entitlement has replaced aspiration and hard work'.I suggested he take a bus to West Hendon, and express these views to the hard working people there being evicted from their homes: "lecture them about f*cking 'aspiration' & entitlement, & see if you get away with your shiny true blue suit in one piece".

This is the problem: Barnet Tories living in absolute denial of the the real life problems of ordinary residents.

Oh, and for the record: Mrs Angry lives in a modest terraced house, at the pleb end of our road, whereas Cllr Rozenberg lives in a very nice detached house at the posh end ... a tale of two Barnets, you might say.

Rog T said...

These idiotic chinless wonders never cease to amaze me with their stupidity and arrogance. It seems that they are a little disturbed though, as they are piling on to twitter saying all sorts of idiotic things in response to this blog.

So job done!