Wednesday 5 May 2010

Teetering on the brink

In my profile I have said that if you don't like what you read in my blog, and would rather it didn't happen to you, then you should remember this when you are standing by the ballot box. Tomorrow is the day to make your mind up.

Me, I am voting for Labour in the general election, because I think that is the right thing to do, and locally for the same reasons but also because I know that the Labour candidates in my ward, West Finchley, are decent people who work hard to represent the residents in this area. If I lived in an area where Libdems were the alternative, I think I would be voting for them, if it meant keeping a Tory councillor from winning a seat.

If you live in Mill Hill, ladies, try and resist the charms of Tory councillor John Hart, (who is boasting in his election leaflet that he is an expert linguist - always a bonus, I feel, and, call me old fashioned, especially irrestible from a man with a handlebar moustache ... ) No: look the other way: Mrs Angry gives her official endorsement to fellow blogger Roger Tichborne, who really does care passionately about the community in which he lives and I am sure will make a real and positive contribution to local politics should he be elected.

If you live in Totteridge, then I beg and beseech you to come to your senses and stop voting for that deeply unpleasant little ****, and embarrassment to the Tory party, if not the human race, described in this week's Private Eye as a 'charmless oaf', our crass, eternally confrontational and infinitely vulgar mayor, Brian Coleman. Enough is enough: if you are too scared not to vote Conservative (come on, deep breath, you can do it) then simply vote for the other two Tory candidates and ignore the third. Life will carry on: the world will not come to an end, nor will massed mobs of dirty, starving poor people run riot up and down Totteridge Lane demanding the overthrow of the social order, I promise you ...

Anyone who has followed my blog from the beginning will understand why I feel so strongly that we need to rid ourselves of the present Tory council in this borough, that we need urgent and radical change in the political idealogy and leadership of this council if we are to avoid the course to catastrophe on which we seem to be set. Additionally, in my view, based on his record in office as leader of Barnet Council, I feel that Mike Freer is, how shall I put it politely, totally unsuited to the job of representing us in parliament. Please don't give him the opportunity.

The cold hearted, dysfunctional character of the present administration here in Barnet is, I think, deeply disturbing and there is no doubt that, if re-elected, this bunch of fools will be attempting to implement the Futureshape/easyCouncil package, with devastating consequences for all of us. The warden snatching fiasco of last year is just a hint of what is to come.

After I had written this today, I read something which really made me feel appalled, and seriously concerned for the future of local government and democracy in this borough. Another blogger, Don't Call Me Dave, who writes the daddy of all Barnet blogs, Not the Barnet Times, has for some time been trying, via Freedom of Information requests, to access information regarding the expenses of our councillors. If you visit his blog you will see that the provision of this information is being withheld beyond the statutory time limit to - guess when, voters? The day after the election. Is there something our Tory councillors do not wish us to know before then? Why did our Mayor, Brian Coleman (yes it's him again, the one with the penchant for enormous taxi bills paid for by guess who, and the one who had to be forced by Boris Johnson to reveal his GLA expenses,) intervene in this issue?

I have had a similar experience in having potentially 'sensitive' information necessary to a FOI response about the dubious Homechoice housing scheme withheld, for no good reason, in this past year, and was obliged to complain to the Information Commissioner, who confirmed that Barnet had breached the Freedom of Information Act. I have reason to believe that there may be other examples. Is this acceptable, do you think? If information is withheld beyond the time limit it is due either to incompetence or something more sinister. Are we living in some sort of Orwellian state where information has to be controlled for political reasons, or do we live in a democracy with a right to such information? You decide, and vote accordingly tomorrow.


Don't Call Me Dave said...

Mrs Angry

I agree with you that we need to get rid of this Tory council, but I would like to see it replaced with…a proper Tory council! The present lot are not in any way shape or form representative of the Conservative Party I joined all those years ago. The current bunch are incompetent, arrogant, reckless, negligent, unprincipled and self obsessed. But it is unfair to tar all Tories with the same brush. I do not know of any ordinary party member who thinks it is a good idea to scrap the wardens, especially when the savings could easily be found by getting rid of the spin doctors, political assistants and the magazine that nobody reads.

When the Argentineans invaded the Falklands, Lord Carrington resigned as a matter of principle. The invasion wasn’t his fault but he knew what the honourable course of action was. But today, you can gamble with £27 million of taxpayers money, lose it, not ever say sorry but instead get rewarded with a seat in Westminster with an even bigger trough to stick your snout in.

The Conservative councillors in Barnet have become totally unaccountable to party members and I fear that the situation will not improve until they (the members) once again assert their authority. A few high profile casualties at the polls will hopefully speed up the process.

Mrs Angry said...

Well, I agree with almost everything you say, Dave, although I think that the lack of honour in politics applies, sadly, to all parties. The problem is that entering politics is no longer a vocational act but merely a career choice. Gone are the days when Tory MPs were gentlemen and serving the country on a noblesse oblige basis, and equally Labour MPs are no longer fighting for a fairer society with real experience of deprivation and injustice. It's all too comfortable and homogenised now. I kind of hanker for the good old days, when Tories were despicable aristocrats exploiting the downtrodden masses, and Labour politicians were stern faced men of the people, socialists (whatever happened to that idea?) Now we have old Etonians going around in shirtsleeves and Labour ministers with butlers. It's all gone wrong.

I remember when a relative of mine announced that he was going into politics, and was asked by my dyed in the wool Tory father which party he intended to represent. The answer was that he had not decided yet. My father was speechless with rage: he wouldn't have cared which party it was, but the fact that someone would be such a political tart was horrifying.

The two main parties have moved all the way to the middle so as to be electable to the largest section of voters because the politicians on both parties want only that: to be elected and to stay in power, hanging on for grim death whatever cock ups they cause.

I suppose the one compliment you can pay the bunch of nutters running Barnet is that at least they do not feel the slightest need to make themselves attractive to the electorate. They are everything you say they are and more, and really don't give a monkey's. They seem to live in some sort of group psychosis, completely out of touch with reality: what on earth the Tory party leadership makes of them I really do wonder. But again, they are probably not unique: local politics tends to attract the unorthodox and lunatic fringe of any party. But as I've said before, we get what we ask for and if the electors of this borough just sit back and let them carry on, they will have to live with the consequences. Oh dear. And now I'm off to vote.