Friday, 9 November 2012

Friday joke: One Barnet - wipe your hand across your mouth and laugh ... Richard Cornelius, the man who wouldn't listen

Mrs Angry was very disappointed not to be able to attend last night's question time meeting with Barnet leader Richard Cornelius, but she followed the event on twitter, and has been sent detailed reports of the evening's discussions (and some useful photos, thank you) and in fact Mrs Angry is wondering now whether or not real life is less interesting than staying in bed and experiencing everything through twitter, then writing about it second hand. Seems to be the way we are going, frankly, doesn't it?

By all accounts the meeting last night proved beyond doubt to the residents who attended what the bloggers, unions and opposition activists have known for a long time: that the Tory councillors of Broken Barnet have not the slightest understanding of the reckless gamble to which they are committing the future of this borough, by so wilfully continuing to supporting the One Barnet programme. 

Labour leader Alison Moore speaks, filmed by the Guardian

A couple of the less objectionable Tory councillors, David Longstaff and Lisa Rutter, were present, solemn faced, clearly worried by the strength of feeling in the audience. 

unsung hero Tory Councillor Longstaffe is perplexed

In the audience too, to everyone's astonishment was a familiar face: suspended Tory member Brian Coleman, who has recently publicly condemned the outsourcing proposals sat quietly throughout the meeting. Coleman clearly has no intention of retiring from public life quite yet. 

spectre at the feast, suspended Tory and One Barnet sceptic, Brian Coleman

The ineffably stupid Tory leader Richard Cornelius, whose unctuous manner and perpetual grin belies an uncompromisingly obstinate defiance of public opinion, showed last night that he is in complete denial over the risks of the One Barnet scheme, continually ducking questions, offering feeble responses such as admitting that he did not know what the confidentiality agreements with contractors will be, not being able to offer examples of organisations which have successfully outsourced their core services, and implying that all the huge, devastatingly significant, fundamental questions which he has not asked are really trivial details which can somehow be addressed in the short time, a few weeks, before he is due to hand over almost total control of our services to private contractors.

Labour's  Councillor Schneiderman looks on

That the Tories continue to support One Barnet, that they do this in defiance of every piece of evidence which demonstrates the absurdity of the promises made to them by the senior officers, private consultants, and the companies bidding for £1 billion worth of our services is indefensible, scurrilous, an act of gross irresponsibility which ought to be the subject of legal challenge, and indeed may well be. 

What a difference it might make, if the individual councillors who are happy to endorse One Barnet were to be held personally liable for any failure properly to scrutinise the proposals, or to consult the residents they represent on the issues involved. 

Finchley traders' spokewoman Helen Michael

A financial penalty should, in Mrs Angry's view, be the consequence of such a dereliction of duty: a penalty not, as will be the case, in the shape of unlimited cost to the tax payer when the One Barnet contracts are shown to be the rip offs they undoubtedly are, but a punishment for those elected representatives who refused to inform themselves of the details of the privatisation plans, and refused to engage in any meaningful debate amongst their colleagues, let alone the electorate. 

Blogger Mr Reasonable, trying to reason with Cornelius

You will be punished, you scabby Tory councillors, anyway, in 2014, when the people of this borough will take you by the scruff of your grimy collars, empty your trouser pockets of our hard earned cash, and throw you out of office, but that will not be enough to satisfy those of us who have sat and watched you, these last two years, sleeping through meetings, too lazy to listen, too lazy to read the reports, indifferent to the impact that this prostitution of our public services will have on us, your constituents. 

You are happy to pay half a million pounds a month to the private consultants acting as 'implementation partners' for this act of betrayal: half a million pounds a month for what? You don't know because you don't ask, we don't know because we are not allowed to know.

Half a million pounds of month to consultants while you tell us there is no money, and so you must close our museums, and put them up for sale, and while you sell off the local history collection, our heritage,'of no value' to leader Richard Cornelius, flogged off to strangers in a grubby village hall auction, you shut a library in a Labour ward, because you say you cannot afford to keep it open, when your only intention is to  put that up for sale too, and yet you somehow have the money to subsidise a branch run by the millionaire residents of a Tory ward.

You lecture those in need, 'these people', the poor, the elderly, the sick, disabled residents, those who are disadvantaged, or vulnerable, and tell them there is no money, that we need to make savings, and they will provide those savings by seeing the services that make their lives just about bearable cut or removed entirely. You turn your heads away and shrug, saying, 'You can't help those who will not help themselves' ...

In this borough, fortunately, there are many of us who are prepared to help those who cannot help themselves, and we are all of us united in one thing: in opposition to you, to your reckless vandalism of our local services. and to a better future, without you and your private sector friends. And just remember this: if you sign those contracts, in a few weeks time, you will also be signing off your political careers. You may think you will have won the Battle of One Barnet, but the war continues.

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