Thursday, 14 April 2011

Democracy RIP

Tonight I sat through a very thorough dismantling of democracy in Barnet. Council meeting, number to be reduced,questions on the work of the cabinet eliminated, reduction in the number of opposition motions. Much debate but irrespective of the arguments Conservative group simply put it to the vote and pass what they want. Limited discussion on Delegated Powers Reports. Then on to residents forums. Officers prepared a range of options; someone has carried out research with residents, two people speak and then the Conservative group put up their own proposal. It is an example of control freakery in the extreme. Labour and Libdems fight a losing battle - put to the vote and that's it the conservative group's proposal is accepted. Mr Reasonable confidently predicts that by this time next year residents forums will be gone forever. One of the objectives for the review of residents forums was to make them more cost effective. Well closing them down will certainly achieve that objective!
I simply despair.
I am sure Mrs Angry will give a far more comprehensive witty and lucid report of the meeting but I had to get this off my chest before I go to bed.


  1. Mrs Angry is weeping into her laptop, Mr R. But she will return with newly regenerated malice tomorrow. Your speeches to the meeting, by the way, were as usual brilliant, and the only reason no one took a blind bit of notice is because they are all so self deluded, incompetent, and so out of touch with the people they pretend they want to serve.

  2. Playing devil’s advocate, you could argue that council meetings and residents forums are a waste of time anyway. The Conservative Group will do whatever they are told to, and vote however they are told to vote. What is the point of endless debate and discussion when nobody is listening? Until we get rid of the whipping system and restore the link between electors and elected, this situation will remain, irrespective of whoever is in power.

    To be honest, fewer council meetings means fewer opportunities for the likes of Brian Coleman and Brian Coleman to insult the public they are supposed to serve.

    The opposition should be arguing their case on the street, but they do not. My ward - Underhill - is a key marginal, yet Labour are never anywhere to be seen. They delivered one leaflet in the run up to last year’s election and nobody has seen them since. If you want to win power, you have to prove your worth all year round - not just a few weeks before polling day.

  3. Oops...I meant Brian Gordon and Brian Coleman. Two Brian Colemans is too much for anyone!

  4. Frankly the only effective opposition I can see in Barnet is via the various blogs that have mushroomed in recent years. It is disgraceful that we in Mill Hill no longer have councillors fighting Mill Hill's corner in Barnet Council but the same could be said anywhere in Barnet these days.

    I do appreciate the one Tory councillor who actually voted against the North London Waste proposal - but to hear Richard Cornelius talking about the Pinkham Way scheme as he did was truly stomach churning.

  5. More for less? More allowances for less work, less accountability, less transparency, less engagement, less responsiveness, less localism...

    The electorate remain the ultimate whips, the ones with the power to silence voices they disagree with, and strip them of allowances, power, and status.

  6. I'm afrraid Richard and to a certain extent DCMD are both right, although DCMD getting rid of fora to avoid insults from councillors is somewhat extreme. Labour must wake up and reorganise and learn to go for the kill. They have become institutionalised. Bloggers have indeed become the effective opposition here, and that is not something I am particularly comfortable with. Won't stop me doing it, of course.