Thursday 30 September 2010

Updated: Thoughtcrime

Wednesday 10 am.

Well, hello: looks what's happened since I posted the previous blog.

On the Ideas Barnet website, my suggestion about cancelling the 54% pay rise just given to councillors who chair committees has miraculously reappeared - it had been removed, leaving only a headline tag.

On the nasty little anonymous and frankly suspicious submission about staff, 'Refresh and Rebuild', my comment had also vanished, so I put another one on asking why it had been censored. The original comment is now back, and the second one has gone.

I then realised that the reason the Barnet Council facebook wall was closed was because someone at Barnet monitoring the page has had orders to 'dis'like me and thereby prevent me from having access to the wall. Tut tut.

Mrs Angry is most upset, London Borough of Barnet. Is it something she said? By the way, I lied, I don't really like you at all, in case you hadn't noticed.

I think, however, that as a resident and tax payer of this borough, and someone who pays for the provision of social media forums such as this for the purpose of the borough, I should be entitled to express myself freely, without censorship, or being barred from the forum in question. Unless a remark is offensive, which of course it was not, there is no justification for what you did.

I've rejoined, 'liked' you again (how was it for you?) and left a comment. Let's see how long that stays in place.

This Tory administration, fellow citizens, is terrified of not being able to control the torrent of criticism of its recent behaviour. It is using whatever means it can to stifle debate and obstruct genuine consultation with the public, because it has no desire to hear what people really want to say.

The apparent consultation with the public over the Budget will be cut and suited to whatever the council wants to impose on us: don't make this an easy job for them. Join in the process, make your opinion known, politely, and make sure they don't bury it in the backyard with all the other bodies.

NB: The next Residents' Forums dates have been announced:

Chipping Barnet, 27th October 2010, 6.30pm East Barnet School

Finchley & Golders Green, 19th October 2010, 6.30pm Avenue House N3 (note different venue to last two meetings) contact

Hendon, 21st October 2010, 6.30pm, Barnet Multicultural Community Centre, Algernon Rd NW4, contact

If you live in Barnet, you are represented by one of these three forums.

Please go along, or better still, submit questions beforehand on any local or borough issue that you feel you wish to raise.

There is a statutory obligation for the council to hold these meetings; different authorities vary in how much publicity and encouragement they give to them. There is a wild rumour, for example, that some neighbouring councils (sshh) provide tea and biscuits - but not here, in Barnet, where such luxuries are only laid on for our councillors. (I've seen - and sampled - the spread laid out for them at half time in Full Council meetings: a table covered with sandwiches, cakes, exotic fruit, all for a ten to fifteen minute break ...). There's another cost cutting suggestion for the ideas website, maybe?

There are rumours also that other councils advertise these meetings in such a way that people might find out about them, but I doubt that that will catch on here, do you?


Citizen Barnet said...

Mrs A, I just posted a comment on your post and it has disappeared! It's catching!

It's good that you are an unperson again for the purposes of posting to Barnet Council's Facebook page and Ideas.Barnet, but they have removed the tag "cancel 54% councillor chair rise". It will be hard for people to find your perfectly reasonable suggestion.

The tags for "Brian Coleman" and "social media" have gone as well, without the suggestions being posted. My suggestion re Coleman was rather flippant, so I don't mind that not being posted, but the one about social media was perfectly apt:

Just stop... Setting up daft websites 24/9 Stop setting up social media type websites, presumably at our expense, that you then have to abandon or censor because no one uses them (, LeaderListens, Barnet council Facebook page) or because residents say things that don't chime with the ruling administration.

I'll try posting it again.

Mrs Angry said...

Isn't it odd, though, that the 'refresh and rebuild staff' contribution remains throughout? I wonder who posted that? Of course I am sure that it is not anyone we know, even though the vocabulary and phraseology do sound awfully familiar: 'root and branch' etc, and the suggestions sound remarkably like policy which this administration would like to impose.

baarnett said...

I can only assume the Cabinet think there is a great mass of the public, whom they think is not being heard at present. Their new web site will give them a voice at last!

It may dawn on them eventually that the great mass of the public actually share the views of the bloggers and the letter writers to the press - that they are an untalented, unsympathetic bunch of money-grabbing nobodies.