Thursday 5 January 2012

Mrs Angry predicts ... a doomed face saving exercise in Broken Barnet

Mrs X: Mrs Angry: are you feeling refreshed after your Christmas and New Year break?

Mrs Angry: I am not, thank you for asking, Mrs X, but never mind, my psychic energies are simply buzzing with activity, and I have many predictions for the New Year ... and now my spirit guide is whispering something in my ear ... oh. How curious. Really? Mmm. Goodness.

Mrs X: What? Do share with us, Mrs Angry. We won't tell anyone.

Mrs Angry: Very well. This must not pass further than the imaginary boundaries of this post, but I can see a very interesting development in Broken Barnet ...

Mrs X: Go on, go on:

Mrs Angry: I see red faces at North London Business Park, and a good deal of grimacing, and hand wringing, and weasel words. I see a gathering of Tory councillors, and I hear a lot of argument, and hysterical outbursts ... and not all of them are from Brian Coleman ... look, a daring veteran councillor, dressed in a periwig, velvet breeches and buckled shoes, has accused him, in a petulant flounce, and a querolous voice, of upsetting all the Tory voters of Broken Barnet, and threatening his chances of re-election in Hampstead Garden Suburb. Dear dear. And see: hiding in the corner is a vintage clown, not laughing, but weeping into a spotted handkerchief. He doesn't want to be leader anymore, because people keep being beastly to him and blaming him for things. And over there, look: a senior council officer, in kitten heeled shoes, and a surprising interest in football, trying to be very, very helpful: that is touching, isn't it, Mrs X?

Mrs X: It is indeed, Mrs Angry.

Mrs Angry: Would you try to be helpful to Brian Coleman, if you were a senior council officer, Mrs X?

Mrs X: I would not, Mrs Angry. I would put all my efforts into being as disobedient as possible, spike his tea with salt, and trip him up with my size 9 kitten heeled shoes as he passed my desk, and then pretend to be sorry.

Mrs Angry: Probably not a good idea to apply for a job with the London Borough of Broken Barnet, then, Mrs X.

Mrs X: I would rather sell myself in the lowest brothel, in the filthiest street, in the worst slum known to man, or somewhere in Enfield/Southgate/Cockfosters ( If I wanted to, I would know who to ask, citizens - and you would be amazed if I told you how) ...

Mrs Angry: And if you did, Mrs X, would you be taking cash payment, do you think?

Mrs X: Hmm. Of course.

Mrs Angry: And not expect your clients to pay by card, or mobile phone?

Mrs X: That would be foolish. I imagine trade would drop off pretty quick, wouldn't it?

Mrs Angry: Ah, indeed. Parking, shopping, and f*cking: all much the same. Here in Broken Barnet, anyhow. Which is why our Tory councillors are so cross with Brian Coleman: business on the streets of our borough has disappeared, driving away the punters, and of course taking away a significant amount of their protection racket money income from parking. Oh dear ... is there a solution, a face saving solution that will be acceptable to Himself, the man who must not be challenged? Ah: what are you showing me, spirit guide? Is this ... a payment card? A card for poor people, or technophobes, or annoying old codgers who won't stay at home all day just to please Councillor Coleman? Something that can be prepaid, but still seems in line with Brian's fear and loathing of cash. (Rather like the Queen, and Mrs Angry, he does not carry the stuff, or come into close contact with it, unless it is stuffed under his mattress or sewn into his vest for safekeeping). And look: here in Mrs Angry's crystal ball is a helpful company that is very keen to supply the London Borough of Broken Barnet with this magic plastic cash susbstitute, if they can persuade certain senior officers of their marvellous idea ...

Mrs X: But Mrs Angry, many citizens, especially the elderly, simply will not want to use such cards. To introduce such a scheme will involve more wasteful expense, and why go to so much trouble & pointless bureacracy when we could simply just start using our cash machines again?

Mrs Angry: Don't be foolish, Mrs X. The machines are still there, strangely, despite RM Countryside being paid £80K to remove them, even though we have no contract with the company, and no proper competitive tendering took place before they were given the job . The removal programme appears to have been dramatically halted, in fact, for some reason. I would suggest that if the parking contract had been run properly and fairly, it would have been perfectly possible to require the tendering companies in ha - theoretically, anyway - competition for the business to maintain the meters and collect the cash as part of their lucrative deal. To do the sensible thing now, however, and admit they were wrong, and revert to including the option of cash payment method is quite impossible.

Mrs X: Why?

Mrs Angry: Absolutely no reason: except that it would be a major humiliation for Brian Coleman.

Mrs X: And?

Mrs Angry: And wouldn't we all enjoy that?

Mrs X: We would indeed, Mrs Angry.

Come on, Tory councillors of Broken Barnet - rise up ... yes, thank you, Councillor Harper, do sit down - you have nothing to lose but your council seats, committee posts and generous allowances if you do nothing, after all ...


Mr Mustard said...

Hello Mrs Angry and Mrs X.

You will recall that I offered the chance to the "leader" to be a Hero and simply change the inner working of the meters to take cash and cards like they do in New York ( from the same supplier Parkeon so we know it can be done ) and he declined and so I called him Zero instead.

I think that if the machines did take cash and cards most people would use cards because they don't carry a bag of change in their car and it would be a moment's work to shove any old unregistered card in. Of course those who don't have cards would carry cash because that is all they have. So actually Bwian would largely get his way and less cash collectors would be needed.

Unless I am much mistaken (again!) he is actually Nero ( can he play the violin? )

baarnett said...

So you put the prepaid card in the redesigned parking meter box, Mrs A?

And it deducts the money and prints a ticket to put in the car?

Well, regulars would put up with that, although not so useful for casual users / out-of-towners, perhaps. What is wrong with ordinary credit/debit cards? (Perhaps "own-brand" cards don't need a comms link (phone line), which the meter boxes may not have. All the necessary data is held on the card. But how are they filled with money? Special boxes in newsagents? Using Paypal? Questions! Questions!)

I think we are left with the unlikely thought of Hampstead Garden Suburb becoming radicalised, Mrs A.

"Let us occupy Central Square! Put up tents! Repel the forces of reaction!"

Mrs Angry said...

Good evening, gentlemen. Mrs Angry is lying down, having just staggered back from an amusing prize giveing at her son's former school, organised by ha rehabilitated old boy Damian McBride. A father of another pupil approached her and whispered in her ear 'I was at the CIPFA conference when Eric Pickles mentioned you, you know'. Mrs Angry's son pretended he did not know her, as usual.

Mr Mustard, I think Bwian is more like Caligula than Nero in character, though in looks, yes, if you are thinking of the Charles Laughton interpretation. I cannot comment on the card thing as it is too boring.

Baarnett: Mrs Angry is muttering something about a new payment system involving not having any designated spaces anywhere and all parking arguments being settled by a fist fight, especially in Hampstead Garden Suburb. It would be entertaining, and save an awful lot of council resources.

Mrs X