Dangerous thing, twitter, if you are a politician.
Dangerous thing, too, if you are not a politician, but your name is Robert Rams, and you are a councillor and Cabinet member here in Broken Barnet.
Robert is also, allegedly, the tea boy for the Tory group at the GLA, responsible for, well, we can't be sure, but whatever his duties are, they leave plenty of time for him to broadcast a seemingly unstoppable series of tweets throughout the day to an audience of breathless followers.
Earlier this year, you may recall, much hilarity ensued in the Barnet blogosphere when, in the middle of the shameless preparations to shut Friern Barnet Library, Rams was caught boasting on twitter to the Standard newspaper that here in this borough the future for libraries was, frankly, just wonderful, as we have done marvellous things, yes: built new libraries with extended opening hours. Er, what?
The Barnet Eye blog followed up with a post with the memorable headline -
'Robert Rams: 'I have built an imaginary library' ...
See Mrs Angry's post for a reminder of this episode, and a report of his frantic attempt to deny his involvement in the infamous parking charge scheme:
Rather indiscreetly, Robert tweeted an announcement of this new relationship to the wider world:
Cllr Robert Rams
Failed Lib Dem
@barneteye declares his love for me http://barneteye.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/ten-reason-that-i-love-councillor.html He also likes to call me Ramsbottom #WhatwouldFreudsay
Even more indiscreetly, Cllr Rams has tweeted the following comments, in reply to an enquiry from Mrs Angry about a rumour alleging that Friern Barnet Library was to be sold to a major supermarket chain. Cllr Rams denied this, and consequently made these remarks: please read sequentially from the bottom up.
Mrs Angry has asked Cllr Rams many times since this exchange was made to clarify the position as regards the future of the library, and specifically what he means by the so alleged community bid. Does he mean the old proposal, mooted even before the closure, of a community hub, or is this an entirely new bid. If so, from whom?
Cllr Rams has refused to reply, and therefore one is reasonably entitled to be deeply sceptical about his comments.
Mrs Angry has also made enquiries amongst a number of library campaign activists, and has found no one with any knowledge of any new proposals.
She has also been given to understand that at one point there was a plan to build flats on the site, with a promise of a community room included in the development. Additionally, since the closure of the library, some campaigners believe that there is still a chance to buy the library building for community purposes.
Let's deconstruct this world of fantasy, shall we?
Many residents will remember, with a sense of bitterness, the way in which they felt misled and betrayed by the tortuous process, over the last year, which seemed to offer a real hope, in the awful eventuality of closure, of taking control of the library and running it as a community resource.
Some residents even stopped openly campaigning against the council closure plans because they felt it would be detrimental to their chances.
When it became clear that in fact they had been duped, and that the move to closure had been decided purely on the basis of the development potential of the building - and grounds - residents and campaigners were beside themselves with fury, and quite rightly so.
Barnet has never had any real commitment to 'Big Society' ventures, run by volunteers with real support from the local authority. That the Hampstead Garden Suburb library proposal succeeded was due entirely to two reasons: the need to placate the influential residents of a Tory ward, and the absence of any development potential in the rented building. The council is happy to continue funding this vanity project, you may note, despite the continually stated need to observe the rule of austerity when it comes to a library in a markedly less advantaged and Labour dominated area.
If a developer is interested in the Friern Barnet site, they will hardly want to preserve the library building. This beautiful library is, sadly, not listed, and presents no problem to a development, if demolished. And even if there were to be some sort of preservation order or local listing, the squeezing of another block of flats into the neighbouring patch of green space would seem to Mrs Angry to be entirely inappropriate.
As to Rams's comments implying a real chance for a community group to buy the building: if this is the case, where are the details of the bid?
If this is a community bid, rather than a commercial one, surely there must be a wider consultation with the community as to what they want, even in the anti-democratic world of Broken Barnet?
Where and when were the discussions? How recent? Are they active, now? What is the timetable of actions to be taken, and with whom?
Or is this just a load of balls, Cllr Rams, filling in time, until some real commercial proposal comes to the table?
Is the library really going to be sold for the nominal, unrealistic official valuation of £430,000? When Barnet would stand to make millions from a commercial sale?
Here is some advice from Mrs Angry to the people of Friern Barnet, especially the library campaigners.
You've been taken for a ride once already by Barnet Council.
Don't let them shaft you again.