They say a society can be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. Judging by what I heard last night, Barnet is in severe decline driven in large part by ideological commitment to One Barnet. I will not go into great detail about what was said last night as all five of the Barnet Bloggers were present and I’m sure they will give a more accurate record of the meeting. However, what struck me most were the stories from people who have vulnerable relatives hit hard by the changes to the way support is delivered.
To their credit there were a number of Labour Councillors in attendance last night. They sat and listened, but there were no Conservative councillors and the Liberal Democrats sent their apologies. Ok, so some of the Conservative councillors were up in Manchester at their conference but I can’t believe they were all there. With no council committee meetings scheduled last night I would have thought a few representatives of the ruling group might have shown their face.
Last night showed me that there are a lot of angry people in Barnet and they are getting organised. Barnet councillors may say that residents care about pavements and bins but most people either have a child or an elderly parent or relative or next door neighbour that depends on council services. No one in Barnet will be unaffected, directly or indirectly, by the changes that are taking place and the consequences they bring. Should we be targeting the most vulnerable, often on the lowest incomes, to make sure that people living in their millionaire houses in Totteridge and Hampstead Garden Suburb can enjoy lower council tax bills.
Barnet Councillors and, in particular, the cabinet members who make all the decisions in Barnet, need to start listening to the people to whom they are accountable. Stop wasting millions of pounds on this ideological madness called One Barnet and start focusing on delivering what people need.