Saturday 9 January 2010

Where is the big story at the Barnet Tory Bugle?

The bad weather has been a massive story in Barnet. The council is running out of grit and now only 60 roads are being gritted. Key roads such as Cricklewood Broadway are no longer on the list of those deemed "priority". I note that even roads such as Hartley Avenue, where the fire and ambulance stations are and where there is a large doctors surgery are being neglected.

How could the situation get to such an appalling state? The answer to this is simple. Because there is no firm management and no sensible planning to sort it out. You see the Leader of the Council, Lynne Hillan and her Deputy Andrew Harper have been on holiday all week. All major organisations have a degree of contingency planning and if the chief is on holiday, the Deputy steps up. In Barnet, it seems that they just don't care. As a result we've had a fiasco. Within hours of Mayor Brian Coleman telling BBC London that Barnet had plenty of grit, novice roads supermo, Daniel Thomas was telling the Ham & High that Barnet was running out of grit.

In most normal organisations, when things go wrong a "crisis management centre" is set up. Everything goes through this. All decisions are made and all information is collated. The Coleman/Thomas contradiction couldn't happen because all key players would know the situation. The fact that Coleman made such a fool of himself is proof that Barnet just is not managing the situation.

Which brings us to the key point. With such awful management, how come our local papers haven't been exposing the fiasco. Surely they should be pointing out that Lynne Hillan hasn't even been in the job a month and she's completely cocked up her first major crisis. Her Deputy, Andrew Harper is just as bad, why didn't he step up to the table? I actually feel a bit sorry for Mayor Brian Coleman. He knows that the new leadership has completely blown it. He knows that any claims of credibility Hillan might have had as a leader have gone, by swanning off and allowing her deputy to do the same. That is just plain bad management, as Coleman has told anyone who will listen.

Why have we seen nothing in the Barnet Times about the lack of leadership? Why have they not highlighted the management drift? What possible reason can there be for ignoring such a fundamental lack of crisis management in the Borough. Lets look at what the Council does. Schools have shut, bins haven't been collected, roads haven't been gritted, potholes have appeared, social services have operated a skeleton service. I could go on. Last year I called the Barnet Times the Barnet Tory Bugle for its tame coverage of the Tory cock ups in Barnet. It seems to me that this title is still more than justified.

Picture at top : Lynne Hillan and Andrew Harper enjoying their holiday (only joking - it seems that action is something these two are incapable of)

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