Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Official Barnet Tory Policy - "If we're not being called stupid, we're not doing our job"

Yes, that is a quote from the Mayor of Barnet, the extremely honourable Councillor John Marshall at last nights Council meeting. At least the bit in quotation marks is. To be completely honest with you though, I've not given the context and it was actually a quite humorous quip.

So why would Councillor Marshall say such a thing? Well as the saying goes, you had to be there. It was actually a rather witty put down to his predecessor, Councillor Maureen Braun. Councillor Braun had submitted a motion regarding the RIPA regulations. This is a piece of legislation which allows the council to covertly video your dog pooing on the street, seemingly using anti terrorist regulations. Councillor Braun seems to think that we've gone back 24 years to 1984. She thinks "Big Brother" (in the Orwellian sense) is taking over. She is concerned that the council has the right to count the number of baked bean tins in your dustbin and video you placing your wheelie bin on the road. She is worried that a big DNA database is being used for malicious purposes.

If I'd lived in an ivory tower for the last 26 years, I'd probably agree with her. Yes, it isn't great that CCTV footage can be used to make you clean up Rover's Doo Doo. Then again stepping in the poo of lazy dog owners isn't great either. The point at which I decided Councillor Braun was talking rubbish was when she started ranting about the DNA database. Why did this bother me? Well 26 years ago I started my first really serious relationship. The girl I was going out with had been violently raped 18 months before our relationship started by a stranger. The perpetrator was never caught. Over the course of our relationship, it became clear to me that this horrible crime had caused lasting psychological damage.

Now I haven't spoken to her for 25 years, but I sincerely hope that the ******* who committed the crime has been caught. I hope he has been brought to justice and if this is by DNA evidence, then all the better. All of the fine words in the world do not change the fact that DNA evidence is the best possible way of bringing some extremely evil people to justice.

So why did Councillor Marshall make the quip? After Councillor Braun's long and rather rambling speech, Labour's Alan Schneiderman stood up and said she was rather stupid for making such a speech. From my vantage point, at least half of the assembled Tories nodded in a rather embarrassed manner (hoping no one saw, no doubt). Councillor Braun was rather unhappy. She demanded that the Mayor (Councillor Marshall) insist Schneiderman apologise for calling her stupid. The Mayor, rather sensibly, diffused her rage by stating that "If councillors weren't being called stupid, they weren't doing their job".

Well, having set the standard, many of the honourable Mayor's Tory colleagues, showed that they certainly were doing their jobs. Perhaps the most stupid comment of the night was that the LibDems were like the BNP, as they thought people were upset at the council losing £27.4 Million in Icelandic banks. I don't know how much the rather drippy looking Tory councillor who made the comment knows about the BNP and the history of extreme right wing politics in Europe in the last 100 years, but he managed to even make Councillor Braun roll her eye's and perform an olympic standard entry for the world gurning championship. I actually felt sorry for the Tories for a second, what do you do when one of your comrades has just entered the winning ticket in the plonker of the year award?

Not that any of them will ever tell me, but I hope they took the young man to a nice quiet area and explained to him what a fool he's made of himself. Yes, I do know his name, former Tory Councillor Hope told me. I'd just rather like them to put him straight privately to spare his comrades further embarrassment in future.

Councillor Marshall is right in his plea that Councillors need to be called names occasionally in a healthy democracy. I'm sure he'd agree with me that being called stupid is one thing, being a fool is quite something else.


Julie said...

Is your nickname Oliver Twist?! You twist everything! Even the title of this blog entry is twisted. What the Mayor says isn't 'official' Tory policy.

You've twisted quite a bit in your report of the council meeting. From the reason why Freer's leg was shaking (I've seen him at less contfrontational events where he does it, I think it's a habit) to the context of councillor's remarks.

Running a blog which criticises people from a twisted stance and makes concluding comments about their character is actually quite sad and pyschologists would probably argue the need to do so derives from something missing either now or in the past.

I feel sorry you.

Julie said...

Sorry about the grammar and spelling, I'm lexic-disc!!

Rog T said...


If I'm the one who twists everything, how come you left the comment on a blog that doesn't mention Freer?

You have a perfect opportunity here to correct all of my "twistings", unlike Mr Freer I actually don't mind comments being left by people who disagree with me. Give your own take on the meeting, set up your own blog, the more the merrier as far as I'm concerned. How come the Friends of Freer only come out to play when they perceive their Glorious leader is under threat. Not a word about Councillor Marshall or Councillor Braun. In the words of the New York Dolls, could it be that the girl has a "Personality Crisis".

You may disagree, but I call it as I see it, sorry if you don't like it.

So tell me what is missing now or in my past. I'd love to know? Are you a psycholigist, I'd love to know what all of these flaws are? It's about time I had a bit therapy!

The only reason I criticise Mike Freer is because I feel that he's a poor leader of Barnet Council.

Most of the population of Barnet weren't at the meeting. I think the fact that Mike Freer was extremely nervous was relevant, I've seen him before and he's not been like that. He certainly isn't twitching in any of the YouTube videos he's posted.

Who's twisting the facts?

valblog said...

Is being pugnacious a character flaw? Is honesty a shortcomimg? I think Rog T is far from perfect, but then I too enjoy a laugh at the expense of blustering politicians as much as anyone else. According to Rog's owm admissions, he doesn't mind getting a bit of his own medicine back. I concede he doesn't suffer fools gladly, but nobody's twisting your arm to read this. I read his blog because sometimes I learn something that isn't otherwise readily available, and I have begun to realize that these facts are verifiable from other sources. Therapy? - over-rated, look at the suicide rates of people in that profession. Sports, religion, beer and a good sense of humour are other inputs for a healthy psyche. The only similarity to Oliver Twist Is the "bring it on" mentality best exemplified by the immortal line "Please Sir, can I have some more?"

Julie said...

Ha! Freer under threat?! I don't think'll take a lot more than your blog or the current iceland situation to do that whether we like it or not. You were quick to label me a friend of Freer, which I'm not, I just accept reality but I take a dislike to constant negativity and twisting of things to match your stance, you risk becoming merely the 'awkward squad', 'usual suspect' etc....not taken seriously, but I don't think you want to be taken seriously all of the time?!

I did want to mention your comments about other councillors but time and boredom were factors!! And the fact I don't know them well enough to defend them anyway!

Braun and Marshal are quite sensible people, I think you're right about the herd mentality taking over. But I dont think Braun lives in an Ivory tower or Marshal...

I do wonder why you called cllr Thomas drippy looking - by any woman's standards he's a handsome, smart young man so that comment was made purely out of jealousy! I see Miller has slagged him off too - probably because he exposed the cost of his sad, sorry I meant explosively revealing, freedom of information requests! Forgot to mention that about your chum didn't you!! So you censor your reporting of the meetings?! Shame!

I don't know what's missing now or in the past but something's not normal when an individual devotes so much time and effort in criticising and being negative about the same old people and institutions.

Rog T said...

I don't really care how people take me. I just write what I feel as honestly as I can. Is that a difficult concept to comprehend?

You really can't have read the blog properly because I was commending Councillor Marshall on his handling of the meeting. No problem's with his performance at all. You seem to lack a bit of a sense of humour, are you really a Stalinist?

As for Councillor Braun, she may be the most sensible person ever to live in Barnet, for all I know. If she is, she was having an off day on Tuesday. She rambled on about nothing for what seemed like an age. If she's worried about how Barnet use RIPA, then get her matd Mr Freer to make sure it's not misused. If she wants to stop DNA databases being used in rape trial's she's off her trolley. Lots of really evil people, who thought they'd "GOT AWAY WITH IT" have been caught through the DNA database. Sorry but I happen to think that is positive.

You may well think Councillor Thomas is a hunk. There is no accounting for taste. My Missus, who obviously has extremely good taste, reckon's he looks drippy. That's good enough for me. I suspect that as you think he's so Handsome, promotion beckons for him though. I'm jealous of Jimi Hendrix, I'm jealous of Jim Morrison, I'm jealous of Joe Strummer, but old dripface - do me a favour.

On the subject of looks, don't you think Tambourides bears an uncanny similarity to Sid James? I'm not being awkward here, or trying to score points but he's a dead ringer.

So I'm a chum of David Miller? Well I met him for the first time on Tuesday. Seems like a nice enough bloke, and I agree with him that Freer is useless. The thing is, I don't agree with him over Underhill and I've said that publicly. Your "chum" Mike Freer did agree with him and voted to have his complaint referred. Nothing to do with me. Freer has since done a very good Pontius Pilate impersonation and washed his hands of the matter. David Miller complained, Freer backed it, as you know very well. Get your facts right. You accuse me of twisting the truth, but there is a public record of Freer and his vote. Don't let the facts get in the way of a good smear, will you ?

Don't Call Me Dave said...


I “slagged off” Cllr Thomas (to use your terminology) because he likened the LibDems to the BNP which was thoroughly offensive in the normal course of events but even more so given that half of the Barnet LibDem councillors are Jewish.

If Cllr Thomas thought he was being clever, he wasn’t. But I dare say he was just obeying his masters orders.

Julie said...

Did you and Rog go to the same school of spin?! Are you his artful dodger?!

I refer to my post on another thread, is the angle of my reasoning too deep and complicated for you?!... "I was at the Council meeting and the point Cllr Thomas was making was that the Lib Dems were trying to stir up 'resident anger' when it hardly exists - no one can deny this is what the BNP do but on a different issue."

He wasn't likening them to the BNP in terms of racist or anti-semitic policy, which you know full well so there are n grounds for anyone to be 'offended'. He was making the valid point that trying to stoke up anger that isn't there is also a tactic of the BNP.

By the way, I've just sent this months council tax installment off which should cover your next sad, vindictive and pointless freedom of information request!! Hehe!

Rog T said...


Are you saying that you think that the Liberal Democrats asking legitamate questions in a council debate about the council's financial policy, or even discussing these issues with residents is the same as the BNP going around stirring up racial hatred? The only thing that is "too deep" for me is the hole into which you are digging yourself. I don't need to be a spin doctor, I just need to let you post your comments on my blogs for everyone to see what Barnet Tories are like.

If you think there isn't any resident anger about the lost £27.4 Million, you haven't been to the drinking establishments in Barnet which I frequent recently. The Lib Dems don't need to stir up anger as people are genuinely and rightly upset.

I'm sure you were at the Council meeting. I'd be very interested if you told me exactly where you were sitting? On the cabinet bench by any chance?

Julie said...

I also frequent lots of places in Barnet and talk to many fellow members of the public and haven't heard as much as a murmour of 'anger'.

Of course, people opposed to the council will say there is anger but that's to be expected.

Rog T said...

"Julie" (or whatever your name is)

Didn't answer my question then about where you were sitting (big surprise there).

I'm not "against the council", I'm not even "against" any of the individuals I mention in the blog. If I thought they were doing a good job, I'd write about something else. I just happen to see that we see examples of incompetance on an almost daily basis from some of our Councillors. This didn't seem to be the case under Salinger or Lyon. In there day I used to fire off the odd comment about Brian Coleman's utterances and that was about it. I can't stand Salinger, I remember the closure of Edgware General hospital and his role. When I saw him at Tuesday's Council meeting I'd forgotten how much I disliked him and had to suppress my urge to give him a mouthful.

When I see Freer I have no such feelings, none of any kind really, but I think he's out of his depth and making a total hash of the job. Ultimately the Council Tax payers of Barnet will pick up the tab for his innefectual leadership.

I don't want to run for council or parliament. I'm happy with what I do. I'm also happy giving a commentary on the Council and I've only had one person tell me to my face that they didn't like the blog, and someone left a comment to say that was Mike Freer's mum ! I see many people in my business, we have around 1,000 customers a week through the door, I chat to quite a few of them and you would clearly be surprised at what I am hearing. As we are a music related business, I never start conversations about Barnet Council, but many people really don't need prompting.

I actually agree with your analysis that the most likely result at the next election is that the Tories will stay in power, but there is a good chance that if the Council Tax bills are hit by the Icelandic shenanigans, this could easily change.

Anyway thanks for all of your comments, they certainly raise a snigger.
If you drop me an email, I'll send you a Rog T fanclub badge and a free CD of the finest Punk Rock known to man.