Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Mr Reasonable is back in business

Mr Reasonable has been indisposed for the last week or so but today I am back to blogging. Several matters have caught my eye over the intervening period, all of which are inextricably linked to a Conservative regime which is out of touch with the people it is supposed to represent.

The first is the fun and games going on in the Brunswick Park Ward By-Election for which I am indebted to the Barnet Bugle for bringing to my attention. The Conservative candidate makes a series of claims including fighting against the introduction of parking charges in the local car parks and helping to relaunch Church Farm Youth Club. The fact that the conservative group voted repeatedly to introduce charges and that the conservatives withdrew funding from the Church Hill Road Youth Club seem to have passed her by. By claiming that she is not a politician simply a working mother is somewhat disingenuous given that she is the Executive Secretary of The Conservative Muslim Forum, an integral part of the Conservative Party.

The second is the consultation on Door to Door Transport. This seems to be a very clear way of cutting services to the most vulnerable. Like so many consultations carried out by this administration, simply going through a process in order to impose a policy that no one supports is not what most reasonable people would classify as 'consultation'.

The third matter relates to the railings outside Martins Primary School in East Finchley. Anyone with an ounce of common sense would have realised that this was a bonkers idea but the Council went ahead with it anyway. New person in charge, Cllr Dean Cohen realises its a mistake and agrees that the railing should be replaced. Ultimately the right decision but by not listening to local people in the first place this fruitless exercise will have cost the ratepayers of Barnet several thousand pounds.

I genuinely hope that the voters in Brunswick Park send another signal to the Conservative group at Barnet council that they have got to change their ways and start actively and honestly engaging with residents. It seems to have had a small effect with Brian Coleman but there is still a great deal of change required. The Council needs to recognise that the residents of Barnet are its biggest asset. They have knowledge, they have skills, they contribute to their local community and ultimately it is the ratepayers who pick up the bill. Barnet needs to stop ignoring residents and start taking them seriously.

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