Thursday, 12 April 2012

Tricky Dicky plays games

Barnet Tory leader Richard Cornelius at North London Business Park

Mrs Angry hears that Tory leader Richard Cornelius has been making assurances to certain local business representatives who are prominent in fighting the catastrophic parking scheme which is smothering the last breath of life in our town centres.

Tricky Dicky has reportedly given them to understand that big changes are, after all, on the way, changes which will surely demonstrate a new direction for our Tory administration: one in which our councillors repent of their sins, and humble themselves before us, suddenly eager to listen to our opinions, and respect them, and formulate policies which will reflect our concerns.

In this brave new world, our contacts have been told, radical amendments may very well be made to the parking policy all of our Tory councillors have supported without question, in the face of all common sense.

And when, Mrs Angry, you may be asking, will this Damascene conversion to the rule of common sense be put into action?

Hmm, well here is the thing. We hear that this happy day, if it ever happens, will take place only AFTER the GLA election on May 3rd.

Why is this, wonders Mrs Angry? It rather sounds like the end of the world 'Rapture' we were promised last year, doesn't it? Something that is, let's face it, unlikely to happen, but may convince the more gullible that God is moving in mysterious ways, his wonders to behold, and guiding the leadership of Broken Barnet.

Why would changes to the parking scheme not be introduced before the election? Surely the Tories in Barnet wish to support the electoral campaign of the local Tory candidate, Brian Coleman?

Ah. Mmm. Are they ... no, surely not ... waiting for Brian to be hoist by his own petard, and lose his seat, before they have the guts to challenge his reign of terror?

Or, thinking even more deviously, are they, perhaps with orders from Boris, or Bing Crosby, trailing the lure of an amendment to tempt back the huge numbers of disaffected voters - residents, shopkeepers and small business owners - who have been alienated by the new parking arrangements? With no real intention to do anything after the election is safely out of the way?

Mrs Angry, you are becoming far too cynical for your own good.

While on the subject of Richard Cornelius, let us take a look at his column in this week's Barnet Press. You may have noticed, as the Barnet bloggers have noted, with a sense of vague distaste, a distinct lack of comment from local Tory politicians on the sad death, a few days ago, of former Tory leader Lynne Hillan. With the honourable exception of a tribute paid by Councillor Robert Rams, and a mention by Barnet MP Theresa Villiers, Ms Hillan's death has gone pretty much unmarked.

In the Press, however, Richard Cornelius, in an article with the heading "Lynne will be missed – and we will carry on her work for residents" he does at least refer to her passing, in three short sentences. In the rest of the article he makes some frankly bizarre observations:

"There has been a lot of talk about the European courts and their judgements, which have been difficult to justify in respect of their effects.

None of us likes some of the people whom the Government has had difficulty in deporting.

There is another continuing European Union nightmare. Lynne always railed against the European procurement system, whereby a council is bound to offer large contracts
throughout the EU and then enter into a
competitive dialogue with bidders.

The system is cumbersome and extremely time-consuming with constant reference to expensive lawyers.

It is also very slow. It takes so long to use that circumstances may have changed in the meantime and the contract can be difficult to get changed.

Another pet hate that Lynne and I shared was the vast numbers of Freedom of Information Act requests that the council gets.

They can be a valuable insight for the public into the decision-making process – but when an individual asks hundreds of questions, that is another matter.

The taxpayers’ cost of providing the answers needs to be considered".

So here he is again, a year after the MetPro scandal, and the still continuing revelations of hundreds of non compliant 'contracts' with private companies supplying Barnet Council - in arrangements with no regulation, no tender, no legal protection for tax payers' money - here he is saying, as he stated in response to Mrs Angry's question last week, that such regulation is a bloody nuisance, and unnecessary ...

And here he is, objecting to the volume of Freedom of Information requests that the council receives, complaining about 'individuals' who ask hundreds of questions, claiming that this is an unacceptable burden to the taxpayer.

Perhaps Councillor Cornelius should reflect on the fact that were it not for the information so painfully extracted from the authority by some of the individuals he is attacking, the cost of the wickedly irresponsible spending of this council, authorised by the Tory leadership and its overpaid senior management team, many of them 'interim consultants' paid in mysterious and beneficial arrangements to their own companies, would continue, in secret, unacknowledged and unknown by the taxpayers who fund the council budget.

How much money has been wasted, through irregular and conveniently cosy arrangements with private companies, by our Tory council, over the last few years? How much more of our money is about to be thrown at the monopolising outsourcing companies desperate to grab our services and to squeeze the last drops of profit from them, at our expense?

As you know, the corporate values of Broken Barnet demand a relentless drive for efficiency, and better services for less money. Sadly, your Tory councillors are unable to meet this benchmark in 99.99% of targets, but rest assured that your local bloggers are doing their very best to produce results that offer real value for money: this is Broken Barnet - we didn't break it, actually, Richard, but we are pretty sure who did, and so are the residents of this borough. Roll on May 3rd, and roll on the next local elections.


Rog T said...

If Richard does renage on his promises to the local businesses, he may well help Brian Coleman or Boris, but they'll never trust him again as long as they live and that will spell the end for the Barnet Tories.

Mr Mustard said...

I do hope that the other naughty Barnet bloggers have not been putting in daily FOI requests have you? I don't want the mantle of public enemy no. 1 taking away from me and might have to accelerate to 2 requests per day.

Actually, given the number of moles in the council, if you are not a mole you are now officially a minority, I could manage without FOI at all but what would my friends in FOI do then. They would be made redundnat and we can't have that now can we?

If parking meters are coming back then £2m will need finding from somewhere. Councillor's buffet costs maybe?

baarnett said...

As Roger occasionally points out, there are Conservative councils that go to great lengths to maximise information publicly available. The example he gives is Windsor and Maidenhead, but some of the Tory London boroughs say they are making an effort.

Barnet is a toxic mixture of a decent but ineffective leader, an arrogant cabinet, and senior officers, many on daily contract pay, who have no commitment to the borough.

Don't Call Me Dave said...

The silence following Lynne Hillan’s passing is not surprising. Mrs Angry is surely aware of the adage which says that if you have nothing nice to say about someone, you should say nothing at all.

Mrs Angry said...

Strange that this convention is not honoured when the person in alive and in a position of power.The self serving venality and cynicism of this administration never ceases to amaze me.