Monday 3 September 2012

Mrs Angry v the Friend of Mike Freer: gloves off

Mrs T, Friend of Mike Freer

We all have our guilty pleasures, don't we? Mrs Angry has many, in fact. As a sinful Catholic, guilt and pleasure are inextricable, of course, and mutually sustaining.

Some guilty pleasures, however, really are too shaming, in truth, and Mrs A is sometimes very ashamed, for example, of the amount of fun she has out of teasing Tory bloggers. Roger Evans, AM, is one. Barnet Bugle, another. They take it in good part. But the biggest fun of all to be had is in provoking the naughty Mrs T - no not the spouse of Barnet Eye blogger Roger Tichborne: that would be unkind, wouldn't it? And we bloggers are never unkind to one another, are we, Rog? Even 'neurotic bitches' like Mrs A ...

Mrs T is the 'Friend of Mike Freer': his number one fan, a 'Finchley housewife' who writes a blog all about how lovely our MP is, even though he told her off for implying it was offically endorsed by him. Dear, dear, Mrs T.

Take a look: I promise you it's a good laugh ...

Mike's admirer has, after some months of silence, started blogging again. Really we should not encourage the old girl by paying any attention, but this week she has been singing the praises of new Barnet blogger Brian Coleman, and telling us all about the tragic non appearance of the Mike Freer camper van surgery, after Sooty demanded it back to go on a camping trip with Sweep last weekend, and now Mike's right hand woman has decided to respond to the letter posted yesterday here and elsewhere from Barnet Alliance, to all councillors, on the subject of One Barnet. Says Mrs T:

"Dear Barnet Alliance for Public Services,

In response to your letter to all Barnet Councillors. It may have escaped your notice, but Barnet Council has major funding issues at present. The government has cut grants and we are committed to keeping council tax as low as possible. We believe this to be the best way to help hard pressed household budgets.

Whilst public service trades unions cleary have a vested interest in achieving the best possible deal from the Barnet taxpayer, it is the responsibility of the council to get the best possible deal for everybody. By making efficiencies, more services can be provided. When services are provided by the private sector, quality of service guarantees can be built in. These guarantee improvements to the quality of services provided and ensure that services improve.

Trades unions in Barnet have singularly failed to acknowledge the level of planning and due diligence which has been spent making sure One Barnet delivers the best possible deal for the Barnet taxpayer. Much has been made, by trades union sympathisers, of the risks associated with outsourcing. They have said nothing of the risks of not making efficiencies and the resulting service cuts. In short, if the council simply adopted the no cuts ever mantra that Barnet trades unions have publicly promoted, then the council would run out of money and be able to provide no services at all.

Whilst some staff may lose their jobs or work for different employers, it is vital that the people who need services from the council continue to receive them. They don't care whether the person who delivers that service is a council employee or works for the private sector. We call on the Barnet Alliance for Public Services to acknowledge the reality of the economic situation and to stop burying their heads in the sand.

The Barnet Alliance for Public Services has failed to produce a single shred of evidence that it has any solutions to the funding crisis facing Barnet Council. Until such time as they can propose a credible alternative, they should stop bothering the hard working councillors of Barnet council with silly emails.

Yours Sincerely

Mrs T

posted by Mrs T at 10:23 on 03-Sep-2012"

Earlier today the Barnet Eye asked deputy leader Cllr John Thomas if Mrs T's comments reflect the views of the Tory administration, but Thomas replied:

"No such website speaks for the administration of LBB.

The administration does not agree with the Barnet Alliance for Public Services. The outsourcing dialogues are being wound up and elected members will make a decision in due course after seeing all the facts and the proposals in full."

Never mind, Mrs Angry has responded in turn to Mrs T, whether she speaks for the Tory councillors, or Mike Freer, or just herself.

"Dear 'Mrs T',

Here is an open letter from Mrs A in response to your open letter to Barnet Alliance's open letter to our beloved councillors. Are you keeping up? As you have confessed, you find sustained intellectual debate rather challenging, as indeed is the tradition with Barnet Tories, but in this case do try to concentrate.

Let us take your argument at face value, that One Barnet is all about saving money in a time of financial crisis. If you look at the conclusions of all studies on large scale outsourcing projects in fact it has been clearly shown that they do not produce significant levels of savings, and often cause more burden to the tax payer in higher charges, or worse, when many of the schemes fail.
But One Barnet is not about saving residents/ money, it has been promoted by those who are trying to deliver profiteering public sector opportunities to private companies.

You talk about trade unions as if they were some sort of alien species: in fact most members are hard working women with families, and in this case, ordinary people living in Barnet who stand to lose their livelihoods. This will also have a huge impact on the local economy.

It is not true to say that the unions have given no alternative strategy: they have tried very hard to get the Tory leadership to listen to an in house alternative plan which would deliver efficiencies but protect local jobs: unfortunately the leader has refused to engage with any such suggestion for fear of upsetting the senior management team who are in fact supposed to be directed by the elected representatives, and not, as the recent Joint Venture fiasco has clearly demonstrated, make all the important decisions and tell the councillors what to do.

It seems the Barnet Tory councillors have forgotten how the democratic process is supposed to work: at the next election they are going to receive a very effective reminder. Oh, and your mate Mike who started the easycouncil nonsense in the first place might like to speculate on the precariousness of his own position too.

Mrs Angry x"

By the way: who are all these hard working councillors she was banging on about?

1 comment:

tw said...

Dear Mrs T.

You refer to the 'due diligence which has been spent making sure One Barnet delivers the best possible deal for the Barnet taxpayer.'

Is this diligence similar to the one which guided your friend Mike Freer in the Icelandic Bank investment or like the one which brought the council to overspend by £millions on the Aerodrome Way fly over built by a private contractor?

Or is it like the one which gained us both Legionella bacteria in Barnet's elderly care homes AND £10.8 million less of the council tax money you are so keen to keep low, which we were ordered to pay to the private company (Catalyst) FOR NOT MAKING THE PROFIT IT PROMISED ITSELF (see CRC report March 2011 on the council's website)?

Important to note, the high levels of Legionella bacteria were spotted and investigated by dedicated council employees from Environmental Health department following an alert by the Department of Health (public service) after a resident was admitted to hospital (public service, still) with suspected Legioners' disease symptoms. Thankfully, Environmental Health was not outsourced yet at the time.

Or do you mean the 'diligence' that pays expensive consultants the equivalent of sustaining 13 children's centres for 5 years?

By the way, talking about vested interests, these consultants seem to have quite a few vested interests in providing business to companies they may be involved in (did I hear correctly that the senior officer who oversaw the parking contract while employed or contracted by LBB, now works for NSL? maybe I'm wrong - I'm sure you can check it)

And no, it did not escape our notice that the government has cut grants to local authorities. There is nothing I would have liked better than for our councillors to be true leaders of the community and lead us, residents, in opposing these funding cuts and finding alternatives to them, rather then acting against us as a mouthpiece of the government. I could have then happily gone back to tend to my garden. And so would have liked all the other members of Barnet Alliance and the other worried residents who sign our call for a referendum on One Barnet, many of who happen to be members or at least voters of your party.

Oh, it just occurred to me that it may have escaped your notice that senior Conservative members on the national level have been recently expressing more and more doubts in the route of privatisation. Perhaps they saw the cost-effectiveness of running services in-house, where no drive for profit is involved. Did you not hear about it? Well, you can Google Barnet Alliance for Public Services, click the link for Alternatives and Critique of One Barnet, and find the links to all those newspapers reports. You will also find there details about some privatisation catastrophes in other councils, which we are trying to prevent here. Will be nice if you'll help us...