Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The Sweet Smell of Success

They are gone.

That was easy, wasn't it - in an easyBarnet sort of way?

Sixteen months, sixty four weeks, 448 days and nights of utter misery.

Two kilos worth of incident diaries. Hundreds of emails, phone calls, letters, meetings with the police, councillors, council officers. Letters in national and local newspapers, letters to MPs and ministers. Letters to schools, and exam boards. Expensive letters to solicitors.

A suspected heart attack, a dose of pneumonia, a course of anti-anxiety medication and counselling.

A complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman (watch this space).

Oh: and a blog.

A councillor told me recently that if I had not kicked up all this fuss, there is absolutely no doubt that the Smiths would be staying next door until the end of time, with the blessing of the council. I am sure that is true, and what does that say about Barnet Council, the Conservative run administration that ignores the plight of the tax paying, mortgage paying, law abiding family in favour of a cut price housing scheme that is being used to remove numbers from the longest housing waiting list in the country?

And is it over now? After a U turn by the authority, the Smiths have at last been levered out of here into a special, supervised tenancy in a council property - and how we pity their new neighbours - but unbelievably, despite all that has happened, and the behaviour of the landords of the house next door, we still have had no agreement from Barnet Council that they will not place further tenants in this house and with these landlords. This defies belief, frankly, as I am sure any reasonable person would agree.

And then of course, there is the matter of compensation. We will not rest until we receive a fair settlement from Barnet Council to recognise the distress and anxiety that their actions - and inactions - have caused each member of my family. We note that this week that the Ombudsman has told Barnet to pay compensation to a girl excluded from school and expect compensation to us to be fully reflective of the traumatic effect on our family life over the last year and more.

Is this the end of Mrs Angry? No, not yet. I think it is important to keep the issues we have experienced in the public eye at this interesting time before the election. David Cameron keeps trying to make political profit from the Broken Britain idea, without taking any responsibility for the fact that his own Tory run authorities like Barnet are actually facilitating the increase of ASB by failing to provide resources to deal with the problem. You cannot have an effective management of situations like ours unless you are prepared to invest in the staffing and procedures necessary to do the job. Proposed spending cuts by a Tory government will only make the matters worse. Or does he envisage that in his puerile 'Big Society' idea, we will all take responsibility for dealing with antisocial behaviour too? Teams of vigilantes, maybe?

I have to thank our family and all our friends for their sympathy and support during this horrible, horrible ordeal.

Grateful thanks too to our long suffering West Finchley Safer Neighbourhood Police, especially Dave, Paul, and Mark.

Thank you to Councillor Jim Tierney for all his sympathy, kindness and efforts on our behalf, also his Labour party colleagues, Ross Houston and Alison Moore.

Oh, and a two fingered salute to Barnet Council and all its works. I really have been staggered by your incompetence, lies, prevarication and dirty tricks.

Thanks to Leader and Conservative councillor Lynne Hillan for never bothering to answer any of our messages. Perhaps you were too ashamed.

Thanks to Deputy Leader and Conservative councillor Andrew Harper for his total lack of sympathy. I suppose you think that this sort of thing could never happen in the cherry blossomed avenues of Hampstead Garden Suburb. You're wrong.

As for former leader and prospective Tory MP Mike Freer: if you dare come canvassing at my door you will find the pointy end of Mrs Angry's shoe aimed in the direction of your horrid little derriere and in case you hadn't guessed, I wouldn't vote for you if you marched me to the ballot box with a gun at my head.

Finally, there is a man at North London Business Park who has been locked in a stationery cupboard for the last few months for trying to do his job. You can let him out now, with our compliments.


Johnny on the Web said...

Congratulations Mrs Angry. What a shame it has taken so long to get any action. Your blog has been read widely and I'm sure it made a big difference. My only plea is keep blogging - we need more people like you talking common sense and giving the council a reality check on their poor performance.

Jaybird said...

I hope you get some peace now

Mrs Angry said...

Thanks guys: unfortunately I have to add an updated paragraph to the blog, take a look ... and yes I damn well am going to keep blogging

darkstar said...

Congratulations from a new follower - I'm delighted that your tenacity and perseverance in the face of such hostility, from both Barnet council and your neighbours, has been rewarded ! I'm sure your story will be an inspiration to others (it has to me).
I'm intrigued by the North London Business park comment :-)

Mrs Angry said...

Thank you, Darkstar, for your kind words ... I hope that your own situation has been resolved, or shortly will be. As for the NLBP comment: hmmm, well let's just remember that Barnet used to have an Antisocial Behaviour Officer, but last year deleted the post. You may think that this was a peculiar decision, even by Barnet standards, and I would have to agree. I suggest that they need to reinstate this post and create a team of officers able to address the issues of ASB and work with police as they are supposed to in order to tackle incidents of such behaviour thoroughout the borough. Pretending there is no such problem is ludicrous.

darkstar said...

My situation has been resolved by default - about 2 years ago now. It was resolved because the aggressor committed a serious crime (not to do with us) and is now residing at Her Majesty's pleasure, and should be away from us for about 2 more years. The situation was resolved despite Barnet council, not because of it. The decimation of the ASB team is shocking - when I had dealings with them they had an office (but not at NLB park) but weren't very good even then. I also wish I had fought them more now to get them to act. Anyway I'm so glad your NFH is out now. Best wishes and more power to you.