I've been so distracted with all the other misdeeds of Barnet's Tory administration that I didn't have time to mark a victory! The recent climbdown over filming from the public gallery at council meetings. The councillors, including Tories, voted at the council meeting on Tuesday 12 July to allow this.
Since then former Tory councillor Daniel Hope has been filming away, including with a tripod. The results appear on his Barnet Bugle video channel. I always wondered why Mr Hope was so hot on this issue, but now I see that he has simply been dying for the opportunity to try out his own equipment in public (sorry, I'm thinking about my holiday at the seaside again and those naughty postcards I saw).
I'm not sure what the councillors decided with regard to looking into the council spending some money to get professional filming done (no disrespect to Mr Hope). My own view is this would be good: just check out Haringey council's television coverage. Yes, it's like watching paint dry, some of it, but it does aid transparency, and helps councillors to remember to behave well. Yes, it costs, but democracy does, and I think the savings deriving from more democratic scrutiny will easily outweigh the outlay.
I did some campaigning on this filming issue myself, including getting a legal opinion via Bindmans on it, so it's good to register a victory! Of course, it was only a matter of common sense to give in - with modern technology and the talk of transparency, how could filming reasonably be stopped? But common sense is in short supply in Barnet's Conservative administration so we should count ourselves lucky that this went through.