Thursday, 15 December 2011

Westminster learns its lesson: Carry on Regardless in Broken Barnet

The One Barnet motto

The lead story in the Standard tonight is Westminster Council's withdrawal of plans to introduce new parking charges for evenings and weekends, a move which has provoked strong condemnation from all quarters, including the panicking Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. A ruling by a judge that the matter should be referred to judicial review - and pressure from the highest level of government - has today driven the authority to defer the new policy until after the Olympics, and it is likely the plans will be shelved permanently.

Back here in Broken Barnet, what news of our equally idiotic new parking charges and cashless payment system, which is doing what the critics of Westminster's policy feared would happen in the west end, wreaking devastation on shops and businesses?

Here in Barnet our defiant councillors are carrying on regardless, utterly contemptuous of any plea from traders, and obstinately refusing to listen to reason.

For the Barnet Tory councillors a reversal of policy is unthinkable: loss of face for Brian Coleman cannot be allowed, and yet again the ordinary residents and businesses of Broken Barnet must pay the price for his ever inflating ego, political folly, and insupportable arrogance.

The newly energised Labour group in Barnet have just issued a press release: (did Mrs Angry's artful kick up the arse the other day help at all, she wonders? Tough love, comrades, is not a bad thing.) It tells us that the Tories have ignored the opportunity to mitigate the effect of their stupid new scheme over the Christmas period:

Tories refuse parking amnesty meeting

Barnet's Tories have effectively refused Labour's calls for a special council meeting to urgently discuss introducing

a parking amnesty in the last shopping days before Christmas.

Under the council’s constitution the Mayor has 7 days from receipt of a request within which to decide whether to agree to call a special Council meeting. The last day that the special meeting could take place before Christmas

would have been Thursday 22 December, but the Council summons and agenda must be issued at least 5 working days before any meeting can be called, and that deadline expired yesterday (14 December).

Labour’s Environment spokesperson, Cllr Kath McGuirk said:

“Local traders and businesses have made clear that they need some respite from the ludicrous parking charge increases imposed by this callous Conservative council, but once again the Tories have demonstrated that they just do not listen.

If the Tories wanted to, they could have dispensed with the need for a special council meeting and agreed to a parking amnesty at last night's Cabinet Resources meeting, but they just don't seem to care.

The Mayor can still agree to our request for a special council meeting, but it would now have to take place after Christmas, and many traders are telling us that that is too late.

Perhaps we need to keep a healthy optimism, and live in the hope they will agree to a meeting in time for the New Year sales - I urge them to do so.”

Labour councillors have been calling for a Christmas parking amnesty for several weeks including at Business

Management Scrutiny on 16 November.

Good for you, Kath. O heros invicibilis, dux Michael, & all that.

Why is it that the backbench Tories who we know are terrified of the reaction from their voters, if not horrified by the new policy itself, are keeping silent on this issue? Mrs Angry has not heard a single Tory councillor have the courage to speak out and say what all of them are thinking.

What a spineless lot they are.

Show them what you think about the parking catastrophe, and sign this petition:

Further post later, if Mrs Angry is spared. God willing.

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