I have a very simple question for the Councillors of Barnet Council. It is
Why are you a Councillor?
The reason I ask this is that since I started writing this blog back in 2008, I've seen Sheltered Housing decimated, Church Farm Museum shut down and left to rot, hundreds of jobs lost and exported to far flung reaches of the UK under One Barnet, hundreds of small traders forced out of business by the abolition of ay and display parking, your own citizens taking you to court to reverse illegal CPZ parking charge hikes, use of unregulated security contractors to look after vulnerable people, numerous IT infrastructure projects exceed their original budgets by 2, 3 or 4 times the initial estimate, destruction of dozens of football pitches and other spaces where young people can play sport and get fit. The latest schemes which Barnet Council are championing are the abolition of Meals on Wheels and the destruction of the the library service. As with all of the other cuts, these are dressed up in extremely dishonest terms and portrayed as "improvements" and "giving more choice", but the users have rejected the schemes and the only people who are making the choice are the Councillors.
Is this why you became a Councillor?
Not everything is bad in Barnet (at least for councillors). Who has forgotten how Barnet Councillors voted themselves a big rise in allowances, shortly after the May 2010 elections. In all the time I've been writing this blog, I can only recall one instance where tory Councillors broke ranks to defy the leadership. That was on the Mapledown Special school vote. In this case the policy being proposed by Counciller Rueben Thompstone was so vile that even his own loyalists knew the game was up when they saw the parents of disabled children attending the meeting en masse. Rumour has it that Maureen Braun the Tory who broke ranks, will be deselect at the next council election. I am told she only survived in May because it was too late to get rid of her. It seems that a bevvy of young and rather ideologically pure men are being lined up to replace "The old Guard". I am told that they believe that with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, in Barnet Tories only have to turn up to win. Therefore they can be as hard line as they like. I've been given a list of Tories who will not be around at the next Council election. Some familiar faces are heading for the hills and I am sure not all of them will be too thrilled to find out. I won't be shedding too many tears. They have made their bed, they can lie in it. I just hope that when they have some time on their hands, the find that their mates haven't shut down their local library.