Sunday, 25 November 2012

Brian Coleman sticks the boot into One Barnet - and so must we

A busy weekend that took me away from Barnet as far as Lewisham! On Saturday I took some photos at the inspiring demonstration to defend Lewisham Hospital where the A&E, and maternity and other services are threatened with closure.

Why are they at risk? Not because they're not good, or needed, but because the hospital trust is going broke. Why? Because of the disastrous PFI deals they are lumbered with.

Despite the teeming rain, thousands of local people turned out to object to this latest assault on their public services in the name of tackling... "austerity"? Or just incompetence? I expect this campaign to be very important in the fight to defend NHS services more generally.

You can see my pictures here.

Today took me all the way to King's Cross, Angel, King's Cross again, Old Street and back home. God, it's a busy life I lead!

This evening I looked in on Twitter (@vickim57, in case you want to know). One Twitter mate was asking whether Brian Coleman's blog had disappeared, as she couldn't access it. I had a look for myself and concluded that it had only temporarily vanished while it caused a ripple in the universe, so devastating were the contents of the self-styled King of Bling's latest blogpost.

Read it for yourself and enjoy Brian Coleman wreaking some kind of revenge for getting kicked out of the local Tory party by revealing how few of them believe in the One Barnet programme.

I enjoyed passages of this so much that I tweeted them to the twittersphere: I'll let you discover them for yourself.

Coleman's post is about the Barnet Tory group meeting the other evening where the Tory councillors were briefed on One Barnet. Yes, you would think they know by now what it is and what they think of it, but some of them still need to be told by the senior council officers plugging the thing.

Anyway, some of them do already know something, and some others of them didn't like what they heard at the meeting.

By Coleman's account, 7 councillors stayed away from the meeting out of tact. And 7 abstained when the vote was taken on endorsing the programme.

There are 37 Conservative Barnet Councillors (I know, it's depressing, isn't it?).

7 Tories stayed away. 7 abstained. So 23 Tories actually support the One Barnet programme, the mainstay of the Tories' policy for running Barnet Council services for the next 10 years or more.

The purpose of this vote was to bind them to vote for the policy in the Council chamber when it next comes up (22nd January, I understand). Whether they will all do that is unclear. I would lay money they will, but it's a bet I would be happy to lose.

It's time for some math!

There are 22 Labour Councillors. There are 3 Liberal Democrat Councillors And there's only 1 Brian Coleman (I can hear your cheering from here). So that's 26 out-and-out anti's.

Assume that all of the 7 Tories that stayed away from the group meeting are more or less grudingly in favour. That gives the pro's 30. The anti's thus potentially have 33, if the Tory abstainers vote against. Will they?

We must do whatever we can to maximise the pressure on them in the coming weeks. There are many ways we are doing this, and I would urge you to participate in the various intiatives of the Barnet Alliance for Public Services. Check out their website now for email messages you can send, and please sign the online petition calling for residents to be consulted over One Barnet.

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