Monday, 17 September 2012

Brian Coleman obviously hasn't been talking to Dan Thomas about One Barnet

One Barnet. What is the Conservative administrations official viewpoint. I have seen two stabs at attempting to outline it recently. One was on a blog, which has in the past expressed views close to the Leadership of the Council. It said
Barnet Council has major funding issues at present. The government has cut grants and we are committed to keeping council tax as low as possible. We believe this to be the best way to help hard pressed household budgets.

Whilst public service trades unions clearly have a vested interest in achieving the best possible deal from the Barnet taxpayer, it is the responsibility of the council to get the best possible deal for everybody. By making efficiencies, more services can be provided. When services are provided by the private sector, quality of service guarantees can be built in. These guarantee improvements to the quality of services provided and ensure that services improve.

Trades unions in Barnet have singularly failed to acknowledge the level of planning and due diligence which has been spent making sure One Barnet delivers the best possible deal for the Barnet taxpayer. Much has been made, by trades union sympathisers, of the risks associated with outsourcing. They have said nothing of the risks of not making efficiencies and the resulting service cuts. In short, if the council simply adopted the no cuts ever mantra that Barnet trades unions have publicly promoted, then the council would run out of money and be able to provide no services at all.
And then there is this. This is the official stance as laid out by Councillor Brian Coleman (thanks to the Barnet Bugle for footage). If you ignore the insults for members of the public and listen to what Coleman says, you will notice how similar it seems. In fact Coleman seems to almost quote verbatim from the above text. What is interesting is that two weeks ago I asked the Deputy Leader of the Council, Daniel Thomas, if the Friends of Freer represented the views of the administration. He denied it at great length. You can see the correspondence here - -

It is quite clear that the deputy Leader hasn't got a clue about the One Barnet program or what the administration actually thinks. He is a sort of semi-detatched deputy Leader. Now it is of course possible that Brian Coleman was told that his punishment for being an entirely useless candidate at the GLA elections was to be given the job of defending One Barnet. It may be possible that he hadn't got a clue what to say. It may be possible that only Mrs T's comments on the FoF website are the only thing he's actually seen that amounts to a vaguely coherent defence of the councils position (with the emphasis on vaguely). It may be that unlike Councillor Dan Thomas, with his new found conversion to Barnet blogs, he decided to maintain the party line.

Coleman stated "Thewe is simply no altewnative". He goes on (after the uproar following his offensive comments "If we don't outsouwce and we don't pwivatise there will be even greater cuts in jobs and services"  and "it is this administwation that is going to impwove and enhance services and pwesewve as many jobs in Bawnet as possible" he adds "do you want to save money to impwove services and weduce council tax and we know thewe will be an ovewhelming yes to the One Bawnet pwogwam".

So tell me Daniel, if the FoF website doesn't reflect your views, why did Coleman almost quote it verbatim?

The trouble is that what both Mrs T and Bwian Colemanballs seem to have not understood, is the fact that there is an alternative. APSE have detailed it and whenever it has been properly investigated, it has been shown to be more coherent.  Coleman at no point mentioned the risks associated with oputsourcing or the APSE report and it's suggestions. I wonder if he started insulting everyone, simply because he knew he talking BS and he hoped that the complete lack of intelligence in his speech would somehow be missed if he caused an uproar.

What is clear is that no one in the adminstration wishes to talk about the real issues with One Barnet. There are the costs and the risks. No one has faced up to the council's inability to manage contractors or contain costs. If Barnet Council sign a contract for the One Barnet project, based on their previous form, this will lumber council taxpayers and business ratepayers with huge costs, as we pick up the shortfall in profits for the private contractors. Brian Coleman clearly likes to insult us. By failing to address the issues of risk, he is insulting our intelligence. This is far more worrying than anything else he's said.

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