Wednesday, 14 September 2011

In your face: fighting back at the Residents Forum

Another successful Residents Forum in Broken Barnet

Part One

Hmm. Now then: Residents' Forums, or Residents Forums?

See: there have been some letters in the Times recently arguing about the use of apostrophes with plural possessive nouns. Residents' Forums, for example ...

We bloggers have often tutted about the London Borough of Broken Barnet omitting the apostrophe in this case, blaming their sloppy standards of literacy. Maybe we were wrong.

According to a correspondant today, in such circumstances the apostrophe should not be used - the argument given being that it implies ownership where none can be had - 'ladies' toilet' is the example used.

Ownership is one of those One Barnet words that are very popular with senior officers, of course. It is supposed to identify the individual responsible for something, but as no senior officer ever takes responsibility for anything, the word is forbidden, and 'ownership', being suitably vague and meaningless in this context, is used instead.

So, the question is: who has ownership, in any sense, of these Residents(') Forums? Is it, as you might hope, the residents?

Citizens of Broken Barnet, Mrs Angry is here to tell you, officially, that it is not. The council is quite right to remove the apostrophe from the title.

The Forums, in fact, no longer belong to the residents of this borough. We most certainly do not have 'ownership' of any part of the process, from the choice of questions submitted, to the right to debate the issues at any length, or to determine the way in which the subjects are discussed.

The whole Forum system is now an utter farce, a monstrous, grandstanding performance of everything that is most objectionable about our Tory councillors and their bullying regime, where free debate must be repressed, and the concept of accountability to the electorate is a total anathema.

Yes, as you can guess, it all went terribly well at this evening's Finchley and Golders Green Residents -no apostrophe - Forum. Shouting, screaming, (not just the Tory councillors, either ...) fabulous, literally in your face, mass disobedience from rebellious residents: at one point Mrs Angry was sobbing with laughter, in an even worse state than the last Forum: tears rolling down her cheeks (and, Councillor Mc Guirk, you could have told Mrs Angry about her eye make up: she frightened a small boy on the way home, in fact, looking as she did like one of the Addams family ...)

Anyway: proper post tomorrow - too tired now, and have to go and put my laptop in the fridge. Don't ask.

But here is a taster which might interest some readers: tonight we were told there are NO plans for a cycle track on the Dollis Valley Green Walk. It is all the fantasy of silly journalists stirring up trouble in the local paper. Except that Mrs Angry has seen the plans for a cycle track on the Dollis Valley Green Walk herself. Or did she dream it all?

What's going on? Is it true, as one Labour councillor whispered in Mrs Angry's ear, that Brian Coleman is a big scaredy cat and has pulled the plans?

Let's see.

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