Monday, 7 March 2011

Barnet bag of shite: closing Barnet Museum (no.2 in an all-too-frequent series)

The other thing that really got my goat at the Barnet council meeting on 1 March was when Barnet Tories cynically turned the whole Big Society idea inside out in order to justify their planned closure of Barnet Museum.

Robert Rams repeated the slander (that's what I think it is) that Barnet Museum doesn't deserve to remain in its current building (or exist at all, in effect) because it has only temporary opening hours.


When I heard him saying this I leapt to my feet and let rip. What is the whole Big Society mantra about? People providing services for themselves, and, even better, the whole society for free! How has Barnet Museum managed to survive and grow over the past however many decades? Through voluntary labour!

How many hours a day should "volunteers" be expected to provide a service?

In any case, Rams et al also know full well, because Dr Gear of the museum explained it to them at the cabinet meeting on 14 February (in front of a hundred witnesses), that as well as the open "drop-in" hours the musuem is available to other visitors by appointment.

Plus, without question, the volunteers are doing other administrative and research work on the collection in their own time when the museum is not open.

Robert Rams reassured his audience on 1 March that once they have booted Barnet Museum out of the building that was given to it expressly for the purpose of housing a museum, they would sell the building for top dollar.

To my mind, the proposed closure of the borough's two museums, Barnet Museum and Church Farmhouse Museum, proves the utter philistinism of Barnet Tories.

I would recommend to them an enjoyable and accessible book called A Brief History of the Human Race by Michael Cook. This explains such things as why all human groups have had the capacity to develop civilisation but only some have achieved it; what would South America look like if Columbus hadn't invaded (left to their own devices, would the "Americans" have developed such things as writing, for example); and what are the things that mark civilisations as civilisations? The answer to the last question is, crucially, things such as the effort to preserve and understand their own history.

I would recommend this book to them, but I doubt any of them have any use for reading. They're too busy dragging their knuckles on the floor.


Rog T said...


Young Ramsbottom thinks books are things you buy in Supermarkets, presumably with names like Ok. I suspect that he prefers the ones on the top shelf most.

I've no idea what Mr Ramsbottom enjoys doing at home but I suspect there are one or two well leafed magazines under his bed.

Mrs Angry said...

you are right: the Tory cabinet is composed of a bunch of semi literate philistines who have no literary, cultural or artistic understanding. What is worse, in my view, is that amongst the Tory group as a whole there are one or two who do have pretensions to some veneer of civilisation and have chosen to keep quiet and do nothing to defend our museums from these shameful attacks. Their cowardice is sickening.

David Duff said...

"the Tory cabinet is composed of a bunch of semi literate philistines who have no literary, cultural or artistic understanding."

Possibly, I have no way of knowing, but one thing I do know with absolute certainty is that they do not have any money! So, if they kept your museum and its expensive building up and running they would have to close something else. Your bile would have more bite (if you will excuse the mixed metaphors) if you told us what you would close or cut instead of the museum.

Now at this point, I would advise that you all don your NBC-suits before reading the following:

"Take Labour-run Camden. Ed Miliband’s local council. His councillors are cutting the Surma Community Centre, coincidentally visited by Samantha Cameron. Yet the council has spent twice as much on its town hall newspaper.
His councillors are now cutting back tax relief for local voluntary groups. Heard of the People’s Supermarket – the social enterprise featured on Channel 4? Camden are hounding it the courts for £40,000 of rates. Camden has refused this local co-operative rate relief for non-profit groups. But the council does bankroll 8 union officials at taxpayers’ expense.

That was 'Fatty Arbuckle', aka, Eric Pickles. Does he have a point?

MickeyN said...

VickiM and others here - the volunteers of Barnet Museum are grateful to you all for your support. Thank you for visiting the Museum, a courtesy which almost all our Councillors appear unable to show. The civic leaders of the past who helped create the Museum are still remembered - that is "legacy". The only civic leader of the present that will be remembered will be Phyllis Stein.

MickeyN said...

In case anyone is interested:

Eric Pickles first test of "reasonableness" in Council dealings with voluntary organisations was:

"...that councils should not pass on disproportionate cuts to local and voluntary groups."

Barnet council cut £29.1million from a total budget for 2011/12 of £284million - a 10.25% cut

Barnet Museum lost £28,000 in funding (Council figures) that is a 100% cut.

I believe that can be termed "disproportionate".

Robert Rams demands a commercial rent of £40,000.

This equates to 243% "cut" (ie from plus £28K to minus £40K)

I believe that can be termed really "disproportionate".

Robert Rams sticks two fingers up to Eric Pickles (and to the residents of Barnet) - nice career move Rambo.