Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Barnet residents banned from discussing what they like at their own forum

Barnet council residents who went along to Chipping Barnet residents' forum this evening hoping they could ask councillors and council officials about anything they like (council related) were disappointed.

The new chair, Barry Evangeli, who has replaced Kate Salinger, removed from her post for abstaining over the now nationally notorious Barnet council leader and cabinet member allowances hike, told residents they could not ask about this topic.

The Barnet Bugle has an early report of this (no, I wasn't there so this is all hearsay!). I'm sure many more details will emerge in the coming days.

What a farce! I wonder whether the same charade will be repeated at the Finchley and Golders Green forum next Monday and Hendon forum next Tuesday.

David Cameron's [I initially typed David Coleman - I wonder why] Big Society won't come to much when this Tory controlled local town hall isn't prepared to explain itself to its own residents on a question of great interest such as this.

In case you can get along, here are the details for those other residents' forums - let's see if our chairs are as brazen as Evangeli:
Finchley and Golders Green - 6.30pm, Monday 26 July, St Michael's Church Hall, Golders Green

Hendon - 6.30pm, Tuesday 27 July, Sangam Centre, Burnt Oak


Hammond's Lot said...

New Left Conservatives in a Big Democratic Society, Ostia!

Anonymous said...

It was a very sad event last night. I had asked what I thought was a very reasonable question which was "How does the council believe the councillors' pay rises will be viewed by residents at a time when the council are freezing wages and reviewing services". Cllr Evangeli made it clear that the decison had been taken at a full council meeting and that he did not want to debate this issue. However he then gave a long speech on how the press weren't telling the whole truth and that as they were allowances not everybody claimed them all. We were told that if we wanted to talk about councillors rises we should go and see our councillors at their surgeries. No public debate then! Many people were shaking their head in disbelief that such a rigid line was being taken on a matter that should quite rightly be a matter of public scrutiny.
Mr Reasonable

Citizen Barnet said...

Thanks for letting us know more, Mr Reasonable. Were there many at the meeting, and how many, do you think were there because of the councillors' allowances question?

Citizen Barnet said...

Hammond's Lot - are you a real person, or one of those increasingly sophisticated spam identities? No offence!

hammond's lot said...

Sophiscated! No way. I've never bought in to the Conservative ideology since I was 18 year old voter nor the re-branding of themselves since growing into a miserable old... that I have become since 1997. Eric Hammond's foresight and leadership of the EETPU has left an indelible mark.

Anonymous said...

Vicki, attendance last night was down on the usual numbers. I reckon there were around 35-40 down from around 60 at the last meeting. Sadly it tends to be the same faces. Even I am finding it increasingly pointless turning up because you almost never get a direct answer. Kate Salinger was there and I did propose a vote of thanks which got plenty of cheers but Cllr Evangeli edict at the begining seemed to bring down the whole tone of the meeting.
Mr Reasonable

Citizen Barnet said...

The council does seem to be doing its best to kill off the residents' forums. They will probably come up with some other cosmetic consultation strategy soon, almost certainly involving interactive websites. Anything rather than confront the punters face to face!

P.S. Lynne Hillan hasn't been blogging on her Leader's Listens blog; has she also knocked the meetings on the head?

Mr Reasonable said...

Hi Vicki, I am pretty fed up with the allowances issue but as yet there has been little concrete action. I have started an On-line petition at which I hope you will be able to support. I am a RAB representative I see this as an issue above politics - labour liberal and conservatives voters I know are all incensed by this greed. I know you were not entirely supportive of RAB candidates at the elction but what we fought for was openness and transparency and that is something completely missing on this allowances fiasco. I hope you will be able to support this petition and ensure that it gets circulated around the blogs of Barnet.
John Dix/Mr Reasonable

Citizen Barnet said...

Thanks, John/Mr Reasonable,

the wording of your petition is very good. I wanted to sign Andrew Dismore's petition but it struck the wrong tone, I thought - it was asking for vindictive sanctions on the Tory councillors. I think they deserve sanctions - and I can't imagine one they would hate more than having to back down over their decision!

Your petition looks more likely to garner lots of support. I looked into drawing a petition up - I tried on the 10 Downing Street site - perhaps you did as well - but that's closed down under the new management!

Anyway, I'll put your petition on the Barnet TUC website.

Best wishes,