Tuesday 21 August 2012

Mrs Angry is warmly received: correspondence with councillors

No, not poison pen letters: correspondence from councillors

Well, this has cheered Mrs Angry up, anyway. Now, see, she doesn't often write to councillors, especially Tory ones, unlike Messrs Tichborne & Mustard, because a. she can't be bothered, and b. on the few occasions she has ... they have either not responded: leader Cllr Cornelius, twice, Cllr Longstaffe, etc, or might as well not have bothered, Cllr Reuben Thompstone, or they are Cllr Brian Coleman, whose replies, of course, are legendary for a certain type of minimalist rudeness.

This morning, you will note, Mr M received a typically what's the word, Dennis? .... Robust, yes, robust reply from the old devil, in response to an email sent to all Barnet councillors about, oh I don't know, parking scratch cards or something. What did he say?

Stop emailing me you idiot

Hmm. Mr Mustard complained about this to his fellow bloggers, at some length. Mrs Angry, who was still in bed with the pillow over her head, contemplating her woes, and feeling rather unsympathetic, replied helpfully:

Stop emailing me, you idiot.

Yes, now Brian, please pay attention: if you are going to insult the electors, residents and taxpayers and/or bloggers of Broken Barnet, please have the courtesy to use the correct punctuation.

In the interests of balance, Mrs Angry must report that a certain Libdem councillor (yes, see, she is very broad minded) has been in correspondence with her this morning in a heated debate about her comment in Another Blog, and the origins of the line of verse:

'I have been faithful to thee, Cynara, in my fashion ...'

Said councillor, who is a film buff, and an expert on rivets, and the wrong sized screws, thought Mrs Angry was misquoting Cole Porter, and a song from Kiss me Kate -

Brush up your Shakespeare, councillor

... quite why he was thinking about a musical featuring a loud mouthed, disobedient and argumentative woman is a mystery, of course. He was wrong, anyway, yes - wrong, Cllr Cohen, because the line is from a decadent late Victorian poet, Ernest Dowson, who drank himself to death at an early age (good idea ... is it too late to start, I wonder?) - please pay attention:

Non sum qualis eram bonae sub regno Cynarae

All night upon mine heart I felt her warm heart beat,
Night-long within mine arms in love and sleep she lay;
Surely the kisses of her bought red mouth were sweet;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
When I awoke and found the dawn was gray:

I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion

Have you ever been desolate and sick of an old passion, citizens? Hmm. Forget it. Take up blogging instead. Much more wholesome. Or knitting.

And don't argue with Mrs Angry, please, in future, Jack. Mrs Angry is always right.

What, you may ask, has this got to do with anything? Nothing. It is my way of avoiding writing about her correspondence with - oh dear - Councillor Sachin Rajput, and the truly shameful, grasping Tory plan to force disabled residents to pay a charge in order to have what is their right, a blue badge for free parking.

A couple of weeks ago Mrs Angry wrote to Rajput, whose portfolio covers disability issues, as follows:

Dear Cllr Rajput

I wonder if I might ask you to explain how it is morally defensible for you and your Cabinet colleagues to attempt to charge disabled residents £10 for the privilege of being issued with the blue badges they are entitled to in order to address their needs when parking, when you and the rest of the Tory councillors insist on retaining the use of free parking permits?

Please don't tell me that these permits are only used for council business as we know that this supposed limitation is open to abuse, and in fact there is absolutely no reason why any councillor should not be subject to the same problems in using the infamous new parking system as well as any other user in this borough.

I note that some of the millions of pounds spent on the contract with Agilisys was used to provide the study which suggested this latest shameful targeting of the most vulnerable members of our borough, and it would seem one must point out that instead of wasting money on these consultancy arrangements a better use of tax payers' money would be to continue to support the transport needs of disabled, vulnerable and disadvantaged residents.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs Angry

So off went the email, and nothing happened, and Mrs Angry was thinking dark thoughts about Cllr Rajput, and supposed he would not bother to answer, when, look: this dropped into her in box ...

Dear Mrs Angry,

Thank you for your email in relation to permits which was warmly received and the contents of which I have duly noted. At this stage, in relation to the relevant consultation undertaken, the findings of the same will need to be considered in due course. You will appreciate that whilst this consultation appears to be a purely Adult Social Care and Health consultation there has been input and consideration from various departments within the Council for example the blue badge matters you refer to which in fact fall within the remit of Cllr. Robert Rams' portfolio although incorporated with the ASC&H-led consultation. In relation to the charge for the blue badges themselves I understand other Authorities are doing or seeking to do the same and one reason for this it is suggested is to reflect a potential contribution sought towards the relative cost of administration relating to the same although I emphasise that at this stage the findings on all matters still need to be considered.

I am copying in Bill Murphy and Kate Kennally to this response so that they may, at an officer-level, note the issues you have raised accordingly.

Kind regards,


Well, Mrs Angry was rather taken aback. Her email, to a Tory councillor and Cabinet member - warmly received. Contents noted. Blame nicely kicked in the direction of Robert Rams. Email copied to the senior officers who who should indeed be involved in such consultation. And no threat to call the police, if she should dare to write to him ever again. Well, f*ck me: this is democracy in action - let's go ... come on Brian, take a leaf out of Sachin's book. Be nice: be polite. Where's the harm?

Mrs Angry felt slightly ashamed that she is usually rather rude about Cllr Rajput's contribution to council meetings, which are, erm rather headboyish, and, dutiful but sshh ... awfully boring - if you read his reply all in one go without stopping, in a depressed monotone, you will get the idea. Bloggers have been known to threaten to defenestrate themselves during his longer speeches. But now she feels a bit mean, and probably will not repeat the rumour that as a little boy, Sachin was SO boring that when he came home from school, his family used to hide behind the curtains and pretend they were out.

All the same, you note he has avoided the main point of her email, yes, the awkward bit referring to you know, that thing we don't do, here in Tory Broken Barnet ... morality, and a sense of conscience.

Dear Cllr Rajput,

Thank you very much for your reply, which is appreciated.

I note that you are keen to deflect the blame for this policy proposal to Cllr Robert Rams - understandably, perhaps - but I did ask you for your views on the proposal in the context of the free permits which Conservative councillors enjoy. I realise that questions of morality might be a difficult concept for some, but I would like to think that you at least would agree that to ask disabled residents to pay for a privilege freely enjoyed by able bodied councillors is indefensible.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs Angry

Let's see where this leads, shall we? See, writing to councillors. Councillors writing back, without threats of prosecution. Consultation, debate and the free expression of views.

Hold on: are we still in Broken Barnet?

Update, Wednesday:

Cllr Rajput replies:

Dear Mrs Angry,

Thank you for your further email the contents of which I have noted. It appears that the relevant transport consultation concern you raise relating to Blue Badges need not be 'defended' in the context in which you put it, as it appears they are not dependant on one another and in any event no policy has been agreed on Blue Badges nor on any other such matters post-consultation at this stage. Nevertheless, I understand the point you seek to make about some similarities rather than nexus between the two although I have no authority to make any direct policy-proposal or decision on member's permits as this is not within my portfolio.

Kind regards,


Can someone explain this to Mrs Angry? What?


Mr Mustard said...

That reply, Mrs Angry, was not a reply. It was the usual torrent of garbage that spews out of the mouth of Cllr Rajput and doesn't actually say anything and leads me to have an urgent need to go to the toilet in council meetings even when I don't need to go and last time he was still monotoning on when I came back again having used the facilities, washed my hands several times, done the Guardian crossword and read 300 tweets.

Remind me why I go to council meetings? Oh yes, duty, that is it, or was it penance.

Mrs Angry said...

Oh dear. Are you in a bad mood this morning, Mr Mustard?

No, it does say something. It says: help - I do not want to be associated with this mean and nasty action, and I am passing the blame to my colleagues, and some senior officers.

Divide and conquer.