When this blog makes a mistake, we put it right. Yesterday we made a schoolboy error, having erroneously been labouring under the impression that the Barnet Tories had not put up their councillor allowances during the pandemic period. I was wrong. In April 2020, when we were all locked down, my business was closed and I'd vowed not to criticise Barnet Council as they had bigger things to worry about than irritating criticism by bloggers, they snuck in an inflation busting rise which I missed.
Councillor Daniel Thomas (who saw his allowances rise from £43,618 to £45,489 (a 4.3% increase by my dodgy maths) in April 2020 and to £46,285 under the new arrangements) emailed me to tell me off for this error yesterday. To quote his email
"I don’t read your blog, but officers have advised me that you’ve made a comparison to an old allowance schedule. "I was shocked by this statement. It appears that the Leader of the Council is employing officers to read local blogs, because he can't be bothered to read them himself. Even when I was a fierce critic of former Mayor Brian Coleman, he admitted at a Standards hearing that all of the Tory councillors read my blog. It seems that since he's become leader, Dan Thomas no longer feels the need to engage with mere mortals. I am surprised that he's not interested in what bloggers have to say. I run a business and it is only by reading criticisms that we improve. If all he wants to hear is praise and what officers tell him, I'm not surprised that the Council is a mess. Former Tory Leaders Brian Salinger and Richard Cornelius would often ask me, off the record, my opinion on various matters. They generally disagreed with me, but always listened and on occasion took it on board, telling me that the feedback was useful.
Anyway, I offer a heartfelt apology to Councillor Thomas and the population of Barnet for my failure to properly check whether he'd organised a 4.29% payrise for himself in April 2020 and I acknowledge that this was highly remiss. Had I beend doing my job then, I'd have shouted to the rafters about it. This time it is a mere 1.79%. I wonder what he'll organise next year if he gets elected again?