Saturday, 24 March 2012

Robert Rams: sorry seems to be the hardest word

Robert Rams - it wasn't him

Some years ago, when Mrs Angry's children were very small, she was stricken with a horrible dose of food poisoning, and spent a day lying on the sofa, moaning, and foolishly leaving her infants to their own devices for longer than was normal, or advisable. After a while, she realised an ominous silence had descended on the house, and she got up to see what they were doing.

Staggering into the other room, she was presented with a memorable sight.

Her three year old son had been painting his baby sister. Literally painting, that is: in green and black poster paint, all over, from head to toe - face, hair, ears, hands, babygro. He had helped her climb up on to the dining room table, where she had sat quite happily for an hour or so and allowed him free reign with his artistic expression (he is now 6 foot two and studying at Camberwell school of art, and putting his artistic expression to good use, fortunately).

Mrs Angry, in her weakened state, was torn between wanting to laugh and cry, or, as is often the case, resort to both at the same time. Her son, holding a dripping paint brush, his hands covered with black and green paint, looked at his mother defiantly.

'It wasn't me,' he said.

Oh dear. Mrs Angry was reminded of this, during the last week or so, when reading the rather comical efforts by our little Tory councillor Robert Rams, clutching a sticky little brush, hands dripping with green and black paint, to pretend that Barnet Council's new, disastrous, town centre killing parking schemes that have enraged residents all over the borough were absolutely nothing to do with him.

This is just so funny, and so exasperating. And does he really expect anyone to believe him?

Rams is a keen tweeter, and his tweets are often indiscreet, and unintentionally amusing. They provide Barnet bloggers with plenty of entertainment.

A couple of weeks ago, you may recall, the Barnet Eye posted a blog what Mrs Angry thought was the most amusing heading of the year so far:

'Councillor Robert Rams: "I have built an imaginary library"

As reported here ... Councillor Rams had claimed, in a tweet to the London Standard, that here in Broken Barnet there was no 'bleak future' for libraries as 'new libraries' have been built, with longer opening hours. This was from the man who has just shut a library in a Labour ward on the grounds of cost, while agreeing to subsidise a ridiculous toytown library in the extremely affluent and Tory area of Hampstead Garden Suburb, and at the same time failing to produce the new provision of library services he has promised would be available in North Finchley's Arts Depot.

Apart from his role in Barnet, Robert works for the Conservative Group at City Hall. Not sure what his official job title is, but we think his duties involve making cups of tea, sharpening Brian Coleman's pencil and polishing Roger Evans' shoes.

Robert is ambitious, however, and it is rumoured, has set his sights on a glorious political career, beyond the boundaries of Broken Barnet, or perhaps in the farest reaches, somewhere in the NW4 area. Hendon MP Matthew Offord is a very busy man, you know, and is often away on a tour of duty in places like Belize, fighting narco terrorism and hurricanes and stuff, so he can't really spare much time for his constituency. In fact: news update: look here, Action Man has been at it again -

What do the consituents in Hendon think of their MP gallivanting around the world in this boys own fashion, courtesy of a scheme whose credibility Col Richard Kemp, former commander of British troops in Afghanistan, commented to Mrs Angry last year was 'undermined' by the practice of awarding its members medals and as he put it 'phoney' ranks? Ought he not to be concentrating on rather more boring but necessary constituency duties? And has anyone seen him out canvassing yet, with or without he who must not be named, ie the Tory candidate himself, Brian Coleman?

It is rumoured that other Barnet Tories, especially Rams, would rather fancy taking Matthew Offord's place in this marginal constituency at the next election.

Apart from boasting about new libraries which no one can find, Robert has been very busy with another brilliant strategy for winning the hearts and minds of future voters.

He has decided to become the saviour of Broken Barnet, well, at least Broken East Barnet, and save the residents of his ward from the terrible deprivations being wreaked on them by the local council.

Erm, that would be, of course, the council of which he is a member.

In fact he is an executive member.

Or to be more specific, he is a member of the Cabinet, a leading member of the Cabinet, which decided on and voted through the master plan put forward by Robert's erstwhile mentor, Brian Coleman, to squeeze as much money as possible out of the borough's drivers through new parking charges and cashless payment schemes.

No Tory councillor has had the guts to speak out publicly against this idiotic scheme, which is costing the more terrible loss of business for all our high streets, and changing the face of our town centres for ever, with the threatened closure of so many businesses - for example at least six shops in North Finchley are closing now. In private they all admit it has been a disaster, but they appear to be incapable of convincing their Cabinet colleagues to do anything about it.

Instead of listening to residents, admitting he got it wrong, and chucking the new scheme on the scrapheap, Brian Coleman has now gone one step further and announced plans to bring in charges in a number of previously free car parks around the borough.

In East Barnet, this latest plan has been the last straw for many traders and residents and there has been an outburst of furious opposition to the proposals. This has rattled their local councillors, especially Robert Rams and Barry Evangeli. Some of these Barnet wards are not particularly safe Tory strongholds, and this sort of issue might well prove crucial in swinging the vote in another direction next time round, let alone affect the chances of any more ambitious political career.

Councillors Rams and Evangeli have now decided that the council plans for new charges in the free parking plots must be opposed. They have suddenly become outraged by these proposals. They are going to take action. What can they do? Well, they have announced their own 'consultation' - an idiotic idea, not only because it is about six months too late, but because Barnet Tories never take the slightest bit of notice of any consultation, especially any real opposition to policies, and indeed Brian Coleman, the Cabinet member for environmental issues prides himself on his refusal to listen to petitions, emails and pleas from residents foolishly attempting to persuade him that he might actually, er, sshh, be wrong about something ...

Funniest of all is the desperate measures taken by Rams and Evangeli to deny that they had supported the car park scheme in the first place. Mrs Angry simply cannot be bothered to tear this ludicrous claim apart - and anyway Mr Reasonable has done a fine job on this already - take a look:

and do read the anonymous comment, which Mrs Angry rather enjoyed.

"I have only recently started to attend council meetings and have been stunned by the decadence and arrogance as issue after issue are just waved through without even a cursory debate save for the occasional "would the cabinet agree with me that we are really fantastic and Labour is to blame for absolutely everything bad or unpopular?" followed by bloated hurumphing.

What is the point of the council?

I stopped my involvement with the Save Friern Barnet Library group once I realised that the decision to close the library was nothing to do with improving services (by cutting services??), nothing to do with pressures on budgets, nothing to do with any pragmatic reasoning whatsoever - it was simple Tory ideology. “CUT, CUT, SLASH, SLASH, SELL, SELL, if it doesn’t make a profit it’s an abomination”.

Bless him, Ram's parades himself around as the man prepared to take the hard decisions but in truth it had nothing to do with him. He is told to CUT so he picks a Labour ward or two and punishes them - no great loss there.

I must say I find it amusing that he has unwittingly done a massive shit on his own doorstep due to his witless slavitude to Tory dogma passing every policy he's told to nod through. What now of his little dreams of one day him being a real politician with real power."

What now, indeed?

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