Boris and Brian, not sitting in a tree, and not kissing
Mrs Angry is feeling very tetchy this evening.
Too many broken (barnet) nights - thanks to the heat, uncomfortable pillows, toast crumbs in bed, car doors slamming, fire engines screeching (rushing off as usual because Brian Coleman's pants are on fire again, and as usual taking the long route, via Fishguard, Rosslare and the Dingle peninsula) and so on - and now she has a horrible headache, one of those headaches generally signifying stormy weather: or so she hopes.
And to make things worse, she has just read something which has made her head throb even more.
Take a look at this: hello - a 'good news' story from Theresa Villiers on the Barnet Conservative website:
VILLIERS WELCOMES FUNDING BOOST FOR CHIPPING BARNET HIGH STREET
Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, has today welcomed a boost of £416,685 of funding for Chipping Barnet High Street. It follows an announcement by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, of almost £10 million from his Outer London Fund to help 'bring the buzz back' to outer London's high streets.
The Mayor’s Outer London Fund is set to award £50 million to projects around the capital over the next three years. £10 million was made available in this first round of funding and will be used by councils to enhance local High Streets with the aim of boosting economies and driving up employment levels in areas which will not directly benefit from large-scale infrastructure investment, such as Crossrail and the Olympics. A further £40 million will be allocated in October.
Theresa said, “Our local High Streets have been through some tough times over the last few years so this is very welcome news for Chipping Barnet. Many thanks must go to the Mayor and our local Assembly Member, Brian Coleman, for fighting Chipping Barnet’s corner.”
“I’m sure this valuable funding injection will be put to good use by Barnet council. It’s vital that shoppers continue to be drawn to shop on the high street. This will boost the local economy, safeguard jobs and help support the survival of shops and businesses for years to come.”
So: Boris Johnson has found £416, 685 in loose change left over from the GLA budget, and immediately thought, thanks be to God, now I can help out the deserving poor middle class voters of Chipping Barnet, and cheer them all up a bit by tarting up the high street. Some say the money is going to be used on a new 'green space' - what? Is Hadley Green not a big enough green space?
Readers not familiar with the territory of Broken Barnet may be under the impression that Chipping Barnet is one of the many disadvantaged parts of our borough, a veritable rookery of crime and social deprivation. In fact this area boasts one of our more prosperous high streets, blessed with the Spires shopping centre, a big branch of Waitrose, and a string of upmarket estate agents reflecting the affluence of the surrounding district. Ha, and here is a funny thing: guess which security company boasts glowing reviews from one of these estate agents?
The psychogeography of Broken Barnet tells another story, of course:a place of history, drama, and folklore: Chipping Barnet, apart from being an historic market town, with a spa visited by Pepys, was of course the site of the Battle of Barnet, a pivotal moment in the Wars of the Roses, and the place where the Earl of Warwick came to a sticky end, in the bushes on Hadley Green: a warning to all kingmakers and outdoor enthusiasts everywhere: you listening, Brian? And now, the lofty heights of Chipping Barnet hides, as we know, the nexus of evil that cradles the black heart of everything bad in Broken Barnet - the Chipping Barnet Conservative Association.
It is a fact not universally acknowledged, you know, or at least not acknowledged amongst our Tory councillors, that this borough has significant levels of social deprivation, as described in one of Barnet's own documents, available here:
In a study from 2007, the last time such a study was carried out, for some reason, it was found that in the previous three years Barnet had become even more deprived in relation to the rest of England and in relation to the London boroughs. Forget about Totteridge, Hampstead Garden Suburb - and Chipping Barnet. Take a walk around Burnt Oak, recently the location of terrifying stabbings, or Colindale, or parts of East Finchley, or New Barnet, to name only a few. These are the areas with the worst schools, the worst health care, the highest incidence of disease and social need. Not too many green spaces in these wards, as you might guess.
There are high streets in this borough, in these areas, which are dying on their feet: desperately in need of regeneration. They are, of course, all in Labour voting areas. Why has Boris Johnson not given money to them? Why has he taken from the poor tax payers and given to the already very comfortably off, thank you, up in Chipping Barnet: and why now? Why do you think?
There are only nine months to go before the GLA and Mayoral elections. Chipping Barnet is a Tory area, of course, but thanks to the shabby performance of the local Tory council, since it was re-elected last May, no vote in the traditional heartland of Tory voters in this borough can be taken for granted. The councillors' allowance rise fiasco, the parking charge hikes, and of course the apocalyptic fall out from the MetPro affair has fatally injured the normally secure support the Tories have enjoyed.
As for Brian Coleman: well, when even your own fellow councillors were lobbying Labour to choose Andrew Dismore as their candidate to stand against him, things don't look awfully hopeful for his prospects, do they?
Kind of him to ask Boris for a hand out, though, don't you think?