Saturday, 1 December 2012

Monkeys bite back - the scandal of Barnet Council consultations

Are you a monkey? If you are a resident of Barnet, the Council clearly thinks you are. They use a tool called "Survey Monkey" to conduct consultations. It accurately reflects the fact that the Cabinet of Barnet Council clearly consider themselves to be the "Organ Grinders" and everyone else to be the dancing monkeys.

In Barnet consulation means rigged surveys, which are ignored whatever the result. In my book, a consultation means explaining in detail what you are proposing, having a two way dialog with those affected and publishing the results. For a change as fundamental as One Barnet, there should be roadshows, open discussions,Q&A sessions. BT and Capita should have toured the Borough explaining the proposition and how it affects people. Did they? Of course not.

What I am saying is not some Opium induced pipe dream. Public organisations do it all the time. I attended several such "roadshows" organised by Network Rail to explain the Thameslink program and how it would affect Mill Hill. The Managing Director of First Capital Connect (an outsourced contractor) Elaine Holt visited Mill Hill and met disgruntled commuters in Fratelli's Cafe Bar, after a period of poor performance. Several changes were made as a direct result, which have been of enormous benefit to local people. Although I am not a fan of Rail Franchising or First Group, I acknowledge that they made an effort. How many people in Barnet have actually had the opportunity to discuss the One Barnet proposal with the contractors? In Barnet we have public question time, where residents get to ask a question of councillors, get a non answer and then get told to go away.

The reason? Because they think we are monkeys. They think we are stupid and not worthy of actually being consulted. Let me ask a fundamental question. What do you think the job of Barnet Council is supposed to be? The answer is that they are the organisation we trust to protect, develop and maintain the local environment and economy for the benefit of residents, businesses and visitors.

I have a message to Barnet Council and the plutocracy at the top, getting fat on my tax. Did you know that Monkeys have teeth and bite. 

How on earth can anyone claim that destroying 300 jobs in a recession is doing this?

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