Open up this week's local Times' letter page and you will find a joint letter from the Barnet bloggers, ie Mr Mustard, Mr Reasonable, Mr Tichborne, and Mrs Angry, vaguely on the theme of impending disaster, should the voters of Broken Barnet be reckless enough to vote the current assortment of Tory knaves, fools and hangers on back into power.
Here is a copy of the letter:
The Conservative administration that is seeking re-election later this month is clearly struggling to find reasons that might persuade residents of Barnet to vote their party back into power. They appear to be resorting to the tactic of rewriting history, in the form of interesting letters to the local press, and retaining a discreet silence on the matter of some less than welcome publicity given to their own policies in action.
First of all we note the letter written by Tory leader Richard Cornelius, in which he preposterously tries to claim that Friern Barnet Library – closed with the consent of the Conservative councillors – was in fact saved not by the occupation of squatters and a determined campaign by local residents, but by the actions of one of his own Tory colleagues.
Councillor Cornelius and his fellow councillors not only resort to rewriting history, but show a talent for creative fiction by continually failing to refer directly to the One Barnet programme, through which it has given charge of most of our council services to Capita, a private company, and speaking only of ‘a change programme’, which they claim has already delivered savings to local taxpayers.
In fact the council is contractually bound to endorse and publicise the ‘success’ of the Capita contract – even before it is known if indeed the huge gamble represented by this agreement is delivering the promises so easily made during the tender process.
The real success of these contracts and the privatisation of our services will be in delivering huge profits to the shareholders of Capita, at the expense of local residents, whose services are no longer under the direct control of councillors, and a democratic system of management, but subject to market forces.
Nothing could better illustrate the future we face as a result of these contracts than what is happening right now at Hendon Crematorium, which was added to the privatisation package as an ‘attraction’ to bidders, as there are lucrative profits to be made from introducing new charges from the death and bereavement of local residents. All of this is clearly detailed in the contract agreed and signed by our Conservative councillors, although it is known that few of them actually read in any depth the terms of the contract they were approving.
As revealed by the Times last week, Capita has begun a programme of removing memorial benches from the area surrounding the Garden of Remembrance at the Crematorium.
In the article it was claimed this is because of the state of disrepair of the benches.
In fact a visit to the grounds demonstrates this is not the case, and that the notices placed on so many benches states they are being removed for ‘development’ and ‘further memorialisation’.
No doubt this development will include new charges for new memorials, and their maintenance - and healthy revenue for the shareholders of Capita.
There are already dozens of benches removed and dumped in a corner of the grounds, which is clearly a deeply insensitive way to treat what are for grieving family members perhaps the only mark of their deceased loved ones.
The distress that this programme will cause bereaved families, especially those who come to visit the grounds and find their benches and memorials have been removed, is indefensible.
The gross act of disrespect this shows in regard to the deceased residents whose memory these benches commemorate is truly appalling, and a perfect metaphor for the ruthless exploitation of our council services, sanctioned by this heartless Tory council.
Only recently we saw Mapledown School for disabled children lose vital funding as a result of the Conservative pre-election tax cut, which gave 23 pence a week back to residents, but at the cost of removing desperately needed support from exhausted parents in need of respite care for their children.
Tory councillor Reuben Thompstone attempted to deflect attention away from his own responsibility for these dreadful cuts by claiming in a letter that the school could easily afford to subsidise the respite schemes with money from its own reserves. In fact as he should have known, the school is simply not allowed to do so.
With this new attack on bereaved relatives, the true face of Conservative politics is revealed, and if this administration is returned to power, one thing is absolutely certain: there can only be worse to come.
And yet again the antics of our Tory councillors have been rewarded by another story in Private Eye: hard to keep us out of the Eye, in fact: Rotten Boroughs could function entirely on the supply of jaw dropping tales from Barnet. This time it is, hardly surprisingly, the shameless start to Capita's grossly distasteful plans to screw as much profit as possible from their management of Hendon Crematorium:
Note to Crapita: Mrs Angry may have one of your blogger's discounted, pre-used grave waiting for her, but she is doing her damnedest to avoid the risk of going to heaven, especially if you're in charge.
More likely you actually won the tender for the other place, though, isn't it?
Sympathy for the devil, anyone?