Monday, August 27, 2007

BANKRUPT - 2000 people go bust every week

Statler and I are avid capitalists. Our conviction is tempered by the pain the bankruptcy and insolvency can bring; from personal and family experience. When reading our fellow web blogger Guido Fawkes postings we were unhappy to see that bankruptcies have recently started to soar.

Let's hope that Barnet people don't get hit harder than they deserve.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Barnet Flies the Flag

Waldorf and I are patriotic. Having fought in the Second World War, we believe in flying the flag. So does GDfB's Chief Fat Cat, Leo Boland, it would seem.

He has issued orders that henceforth, "That the Union Flag be flown every day from the Town Hall, Hendon".

Hear, hear say Waldorf and I.

Then comes the sting in the tail. Did the decision come from Barnet's wish to show national pride? Did the Councillors come together and say - 'let's do this'. Hmm no.

It turns out that Labour's Ruth Kelly has issued a circular saying that it's 'ok' for the Council to fly the flag. So when the Organ Grinder speaks, the Monkeys jump into action. The full decision reads:


I authorise the following action
11.1 That the Union Flag be flown every day from the Town Hall, Hendon in accordance with the Government’s proposals.

Off for a stroll in the park.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Brian Coleman jumps feet first into JCoSS debate

GDfB Cabinet Member for Contraversy, 'Ponsing About' and Publicity, Councillor Brian Coleman, has written a strident piece in favour of the contraversial JCoSS planning application that is to be decided in the next week.

Waldorf wondered, has he really accused many of the objectors of the scheme of straight out anti-semitism and others as idiots? Or is there another way to interpret his remarks?

Highlights include:
This is a rehash of the arguments over the Sternberg Centre site where many objectors said they did not oppose the new facilities for the site but wanted to preserve the second rate Victorian Billiard Room or the allegedly historical boundary wall; many of these objections were of course a cover for a much deeper and more unpleasant opposition...
...Likewise in East Barnet. One resident objects because neighbouring Livingstone Primary School will become a terrorist target: why do these idiots not recognise that in the present climate you are at more risk on the London Underground than visiting Jewish premises?A recent blog entry suggests that opponents to this scheme can now understand how the Palestinian residents of Gaza feel: well this over the top comment probably does more than anything else to reveal the true motives of the hard core opponents.
...Throw into this heady mix that the main organiser of the Opposition is an employee of Friends of the Earth with his own “political “agenda and you can see why so many Barnet residents have been hoodwinked into signing a petition...

It's all good swashbuckling stuff. Great to see that the taxpayers are seeing action from one of London's highest paid elected Officials.

Dickinson's Real Deal is on, so.. we're off.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More pension news - pension fund adviser wanted. Pay up to £144,371

We reported earlier about the proposal from GDfB create a new £500/hour job for a lucky Councillor to Chair the Pension Committee.

One of the readers of that posting pointed us to a DPR that states:
8.3) .... Consultation with other local authorities has established that the market fees for this type of advice are estimated to be at a level that does not require an EU tender process. Please note that the current threshold for services is £144, 371.
Maybe the Chief Executive will apply....

Shock announcement. Council to tell Councillors when their Committee papers are available. Council enters the 1990s.

Waldorf has spotted something interesting. The Council's Director of Corporate Governance (note an Officer has decided this, not the Councillors themselves) has authorised the expenditure of £1200 on an IT project.

The ambitious aim of this is to tell Councillors by email when the papers for their Committee's have been published and made available. How forward looking and radical. Should this not have been demanded by the 'hard working' Councillors from the beginning of this new computer system?

Maybe they were too busy to ask?

We're off to watch Big Brother.

Will Councillors raid the staff pension fund to pay for ANOTHER job for Councillors?

An informant telephoned Statler this evening to tip him off of a report going to the Council's Committee on the Constitution. The papers for the meeting contain proposals to restructure the way the Council deals with managing pension arrangements. Then, out of nowhere, peeks:
9.3.4 It is further proposed that the Chairman be allocated a Special Responsibility Allowance at Scale 4, which is currently, £7125. Although it is expected that the Committee will generally meet 4 times a year, it has a significant responsibility. There is also an expectation that the Chairman will keep him/herself briefed on key issues throughout the year.
Statler worked out on his abacus that probably will be £500 an hour for the meetings attended (if they last 4 hours - unlikely).

Not content with that, the real sting in the tail is that the money for this is to be taken out of the Pension Fund itself. Did Council staff expect that their pension deductions would be going to pay a £500 / hour Chair?

There is plenty of time for the Constitution committee to amend this proposal and reduce the amount considerably to reflect the low level of commitment. Will they? Will the Labour or Liberal Democrats even have read the papers yet? Will they put down an amendment? Do they know how?

It's not like the old days, hey, Statler?

Another startling Labour blog post

Hot foot from urging the residents of Barnet to 'Shower with a Polar Bear' the Labour Party of Barnet have taken up the campaign of finches. Read before you want to go to bed, will help you sleep.

See the Labour Group leadership is still sleeping.

Theresa Villiers in the running should 'Dave' fall under a bus.....

The Spectator Blog reports here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Theresa Villiers in Glastonburygate scandal?

A fellow blog entitled BBC Biased has posted a story criticising the BBC for blowing £68,000 of licence payers money to lay on a hospitality marquee at the youngsters pop concert held at Glastonbury.

Of the five MPs it alleges attended was invited, was Chipping Barnet MP, Theresa Villiers. The BBC point out, in the alleged letter, that it did not pay for travel or accommodation.

Read all about it here.

Statler and Waldorf cannot accept liability for the contents of external websites. As always do your own research.

Monday, July 23, 2007

New Blogs

Our friends from the 'dead tree' press seem to be pulling out all the stops to help Michael Whitney Freer and Matthew Rupert Offord to get to Parliament. Three cheers say us! It's good that the local papers are supporting great Conservative candidates.

They have even arranged for a blog for Michael Freer.

Unfortunately though they have given one to 'the other lot' too. If the Labour Party's first post is anything to go by Cllr Freer needn't worry too much. Their sole posting urges people to 'Shower with a Polar Bear'. Hard hitting stuff Alison, that should stave off the back stabbers in your group after your job - not!

Hmm. Time for some cheese and port.

We're back

Waldorf and I are refreshed and revived and back from our long cruise holiday. Internet was very poor and we'd rather not have posted silly stuff. Photo's from our vacation soon.

UPDATE: Barnet Councillors to "Save London's Water"

Update 23 July: No reply received yet.

Update: It has been two days since emails were sent to the T's and Three Valley's Water asking for details of the campaign the T's are 'leading in London'. No acknowledgment or reply received yet.

We'll show you naysayers that these aren't people saying anything for free publicity. Off for a sip of port.

Original posting: Waldorf and I have received a telegram with an audacious claim from two of Barnet's lesser known Councillors, Count A. Tambourides and his wife Countess J. Tambourides. They have both pushed out a press release to London Greek News,
Councillors Andreas and Joanna Tambourides are leading a campaign in London to preserve the capitals water reserves in association with Three Valleys Water who recently launched a magazine 'Summer Fun' in association with 15 other water companies aiming to educate the public on water preservation. Andreas Tambourides a leading member of the Conservative group in Barnet Council and former Mayor Barnet has aligned himself with one of the most important issues facing the capital, ie water supply and by doing this emphasising Barnet's commitment to the preservation of the environment."
We felt that this was a very fraternal endeavour. We wanted find out more about the campaign. Waldorf went and checked with Three Valleys Water. It seems the silly water company don't yet know about the Count and Countess running this initiative. How frightfully rude of them to ignore their London wide campaign?

The only mention that the Count and Countess get is a press release from 2005 where there are pictured with smiley, cheesy grins accepting a £350 donation. Read here.

Waldorf and I have deleted comments and cast aside suggestions that the Count and Countess are publicity hungry, expense grabbing scoundrels and have claimed success for a campaign that doesn't exist. Such comments are naughty and scandalous. How could any GDfB Councillor claim credit for something they weren't actually doing just to get free newspaper coverage?

We will prove these naysayers wrong so will be checking up on a weekly basis on the Count and Countess and reporting to you the hard work they have been to doing to "Save London's Water".

Waldorf is off shortly to the Count and Countess' home to take a picture of their water meter (he thinks they surely would have one if they are such environmentalists).

Friday, June 15, 2007

Take that AND that!

Statler and Waldorf send the love and kisses. They are lying on a beach in sunny Spain enjoying a well deserved break. They rang up poor sweet me and asked if I would run things whilst they were away.

How could a sweet little Miss Piggy like I refuse (at least they didn't leave it with the damn frog).

They have asked me to apologise to those of you waiting for replies to your emails.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Paul Kennedy has lost his wallet

Statler and I have been informed that Paul Kennedy, a Project Manger at GDfB, has lost his wallet. Can anyone who has it let him have it back. Apparently it's ok if you take a tenner but please do not charge any internet pornography to his credit cards.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

'Gulf Times' on Brian Coleman

Qatar's top-selling English language newspaper reports. Do Councillor Coleman's press releases know no boundaries?

Off to watch gorgeous George on Channel 4 (you'd have thought he'd have had enough of BB by now).

Well read

Waldorf and I are very impressed that, on average, visitors are spending 7m38s per visit on the site. It makes us happy we are drawing a sophisticated and articulate audience.

Back to read the Telegraph.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Councillor's website added

We received a message letting us know of another councillors website, which we have added to our links. We are not sure if the website for Brunswick Park Ward has been abandoned or not as the last news is from 2006.

Off to watch Big Brother Live.

OFFICIAL: Theresa Villiers is *not* a media tart least that is the verdict from leading Conservative commentator, Iain Dale here.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Rescued from censorship

Waldorf is more of a technical person than I and he managed to find the original blogpost that Councillor Richard Weider posted about this website. Nothing, it seems, is lost on the internet courtesy of Google!

Click here to see.

Barnet's favourite weblog is in the news again

Statler and I just received a message on parchment from a nice man on horseback. He came to bring news that we have, again, attracted the attention of the Barnet Times.

They most kindly published a little note that we dispatched to them where we said we'd only be prepared to consider disclosing the names of some of our correspondents if they did the same in their 'Between the Lines' column. They surely wouldn't want to appear to practice hypocrisy? They replied,

"Hypocrisy and double standards, in Between the Lines? What do you think we are here for guys?"
Funnily, Statler and I thought they were either for the fast living, binge drinking and large salaries or there to sell houses, cars and advertise jobs - with a bit of news wrapped around the outside to disguise it. I guess we were wrong.

Statler is very exited about the new all female Big Brother. He has taken a bit of a shine to one of the old scrubbers on there. There may be a domestic over who gets the remote control when Deal or No Deal starts...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Still no reply from Councillor Lynne Hillan

UPDATE: Another two weeks have passed and we have not had a reply from Councillor Lynne Hillan nor from her secretary. No carrier pigeon, telegram or Morse code transmission has been received. Waldorf and I have contacted the Guinness Book of Records to check what the current record is.

ORIGINAL POST: Waldorf and I are upset. We know that Councillor Lynne Hillan must be awfully busy. However it would be nice to have a reply to an email we sent to her over 1 week ago.

Not on really when you're paid a big wheelbarrow of money, is it? We don't get paid for this.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Have Council Officers been instructed to 'snoop' on this blog?

Statler and I have been forwarded the following email (we have removed the Officer's name out of courtesy in case this is someone's idea of a joke):
Date: 29-May-2007 14:21
Subject: FW: Domain Names

Can you tell me how I find the organisation behind a domain name if it is registered by a company providing registration services?

Corporate Governance Directorate
Is it a spoof? We can report that no Officer or Councillor from GDfB has been in formal contact about any of our published posts. And yet public funds and resources, it would appear, are being used to investigate a website placed firmly in the 'political sphere'.

We have asked one of our correspondents to make a comprehensive Freedom of Information Act request.

What happened to Freedom of Speech in Barnet? Seems the Council isn't content with just CCTV in it's 1984 vision of society.

Back to watch the Telly.

It seems some Councillors are allowed to speak their mind!

GDfB's Court Jester Cabinet Member for self publicity, Brian Coleman, is at it again. More anonymous tittle tattle and gossip. Statler and I find it odd that there is one rule for some 'special' Conservative Councillors and one for the rest. Read here.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

UPDATE: GDfB Conservative Councillor gives up the thumbs up!

UPDATE: Statler and I are startled and somewhat upset. A telegram was rushed down our path bearing bad news. We are fearful that Edgware Ward Councillor Richard Weider has been gagged! Whatever happened to freedom of speech?

We can report that the post we detailed below on Richard Weider's weblog has vanished; it's passed on; the post is no more; it has ceased to be; it's expired and gone to meet it's maker!

All that remains is our report of it below. Who can tell us what caused Councillor Weider to take this drastic action. A prize of a glass of sherry to the first one to email or fax us.

ORIGINAL 26/05/07 16:51: Enlightened and articulate Edgware Ward Councillor, Richard Weider, has written a nice blog posting welcoming our humble little blog. You can read it here.

For those too lazy to click, he says:
"The blog takes a humorous and satirical look at politics in Barnet. While it may not be everyone's favourite website, I believe it is good that it is able to bring politicians in Barnet to account by letting the public know what is going on, even if we politicians do not always like these negative stories getting out."
Well said! Statler and I are charging our glasses of sherry.

STOP PRESS: Councillor Robert Rams retires

Edit 27/5: Well not quite, no by-election yet, but it seems from the comments below that Councillor Robert Rams has hung up his keyboard at the ripe young age of 27. A moment's silence will be held for the blog at 11am. Read his retirement statement here.

Original post: Waldorf and I posted a comment on Councillor Robert Rams' blog a couple of weeks ago. We commented on how he hadn't posted anything about his Ward in many months.

That comment has yet to appear. Either:

a) We've been censored
b) Councillor Rams has been distracted and isn't checking his blog

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Will GDfB's Cabinet be awarding, yet more, legal indemnities for the Underhill Enquiry?

Waldorf and I have heard on the grapevine that another £10,000, of Council Taxpayers money, is set to be awarded to some of those who are being investigated by Price Waterhouse Coopers Underhill enquiry.

The papers for the meeting are not yet public but we have learned of their contents. The report is due to go to the 18 June 2007 Cabinet in the name of the Leader of the Council, King Michael Whitney Freer. Statler choked on his bourbon biscuit when hearing that the report states that the solicitors for one, or more, of those under investigation argues:
However, we now need to respond to extracts from the proposed provisional views of the Auditor which have a direct bearing on our clients and which could be critical to decisions reached by the Auditor on the objections.
If our GDfB bureaucratic source is correct, this report will now be agreed in private by the Cabinet at their 'secret' private meeting on 4 June and rubber stamped at their public meeting on 18 June.

Waldorf and I understand there is a furious split in the Cabinet about awarding, yet more, money in legal indemnities. However you can rest assured that any objectors won't be raising their concerns in public.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Silly Comments

Statler and I are very taken aback by the huge interest in our little weblog. It seems we have even caught the attention of that august institution, The Barnet Times here.

We have now recorded over 1000 unique visitors. We would love to give each and everyone of you a big Warm Fuzzy Hug (tm).

However, out there are some silly souls who are seeking to use the comments section to grind their axes. Statler and I want the comments to be as free flowing as possible but we won't be allowing untruthful, defamatory or other offensive postings. Registered uses will see their comments posted immediately. Those posting anonymously will have their's vetted first.

So, get registered.

We're off now for our Tea. Bangers and Mash tonight.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Andrew Dismore and his Parliamentary Colleagues should be ashamed

Councillor Richard Weider v Andrew Dismore MP

Waldorf and I agree. So does David Cameron, now, it seems!

Councillor Jack Cohen helps out his Labour friends and attacks Underhill Enquiry - again...

Statler and I continue to be amused at the Barnet Labour Party's silence over, what is alleged to be, grubby dealings over the sale of land at Underhill. This took place when the Liberal Democrats were propping up the loony left Labour Party in GDfB, even though the Conservatives had the largest number of Councillors.

Labour Liberal Democrat Councillor Jack Cohen has made himself a reputation for being a spokesman for speaking out against the independent enquiry that is slowly getting to the bottom of this. Here he is at the April Council meeting:
Question No. 23 Councillor Jack Cohen
When do you expect the Report of The Inquiry in to the sale of land at Underhill, to be published?
Answer by Councillor Mike Freer, Leader of the Council

The Council had been advised that provisional findings would be made available on 19 March 2007. However, at the last moment PwC were reminded of a commitment they had given to any parties that may be adversely affected that they could first see any relevant extracts. Having been reminded of this commitment PwC are now unable to give a new timescale for publishing their report, but it is not thought likely that the report could be published before the summer.
Supplementary Question No. 23 Councillor Jack Cohen
Councillor Freer, if it wasn’t for the fact that certain individuals are still under a cloud over this investigation the investigation could be described now as a farce. The originating issue is now at least 5, if not 6, years old and surely any findings now arising out of that inquiry certainly would be so dated that no action could be taken and, therefore, wouldn’t you agree that the money spent on this inquiry, which now is approaching I understand £1.5m, has been a complete and utter waste?
Answer by Councillor Mike Freer, Leader of the Council

Thank you Madam Mayor, I don’t. Whatever the outcome of the report, any resident fulfilling their democratic duty whatever the cost cannot be deemed to be a waste, that’s the cost of democracy.
Statler and I fail to see Councillor Jack Cohen's logic. He phrases his questions very carefully but we feel that the intention behind them seems clear: that there should be no enquiry and matters should be left to rest. Surely if the PwC think that they are justified in spending £1.5m of public funds there must be something worth looking at?

This is quite unusual as the Liberal Democrats stock in trade is asking for enquiries here, there and everywhere. Just not in Barnet, we guess.

We are keen to see the outcome of this matter too. It has taken far too long. Statler and I were in shorts, eating iced lollies when this enquiry started and we hope we'll be alive when it comes to fruition.

We do agree with Councillor Jack Cohen that PwC should get their finger out and get this report published, soon.

Barnet does Ken Livingstone's bidding

Statler and I have been impressed at the coup pulled off by GDfB's bureaucrats. From right under the nose of a Conservative Council, GDfB's Planning Boss Mr Stewart Murray, has in place so many of his old boss (Ken Livingstone's) policies that Barnet is now Ken's favourite planning borough.

Statler and I received a glossy document from a correspondent. It is from Mr Ken Livingstone, Labour's Mayor of London and can be viewed electronically here. Mr 'Red' Ken Livingstone goes through the, mainly, Conservative Councils in outer London looking for examples of those who are doing as they are told. There are only a few but Barnet is one of them. He uses Barnet's enthusiastic adoption of his policies to urge other Councils to do his bidding.

Mr Livingstone heaps lavish praise on Barnet's planning policies. Barnet get's star treatment and first mention!
"Barnet: a growth borough

2.49 Barnet is one of the fastest growing Outer London boroughs. The Council has decided to do exactly what it is told in exchange for a big fat government grant accept the reality of long-term growth"
The furious row going on, behind closed doors, about the soon to come 'Gridlock Barnet' has sneaked in to the document though.
"(Barnet) has reservations about the capacity of the transport system to accommodate the projected levels of growth"
That seems to put things a bit mildy! However Mr Livingstone needn't worry too much about this as it is only the Councillors who have these concerns. As long as his chum, Mr Murray and his other Directors are on board all will be fine. In fact Mr Murray's deputy, Councillor Melvin Cohen, was heard at a recent Cabinet meeting boasting how proud he was that Ken Livingstone supported his new policy.

Statler and I do wonder quite how long Brian Coleman can stay part of a Cabinet that is so slavishly toeing Red Ken's line. Must be incredibly embarrassing for him. Being attacked for being a Ken Livingstone toady wouldn't help his re-election campaign!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Farewell Mike, Arise Sir Michael

Waldorf and I don't like abbreviations. We'll take Hertfordshire over Herts and Middlesex over Middx any day.

Lynne Truss is a hero of ours.

Imagine our delight that our old chum, from days of old, Mike Freestone, is now signing off notices as Michael Freestone.

We both feel that Michael suits much better with his new role as Director (and higher pay grade).

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Do you have pretty flowers?

Statler and I have noticed that Councillor Brian Coleman, Cabinet Member for the Great Outdoors, is offering Barnet residents vouchers for pretty flowers.

Waldorf grows some mean Sunflowers. One was once almost as tall as the house.

Read all about is here.

UPDATE - Leo Boland on sick leave. Leo is back... but...

Update: Statler and I are confused. We are heartily warmed to have reported to us that 'Leo Boland is back in the building'. It is good to see he has recovered enough to return to work. However it would seem that Mr Brian Reynolds is still running things as the DPR handing his powers over doesn't seem to have been reversed.

Anyway, back to Fern and Phillip. Tea and toast are getting cold.

We have been passed on the elusive news that the Government Department for Barnet's Chief Executive has signed himself off of work and handed all of his powers to his deputy, Mr Brian Reynolds.

How will the Department run in his absence?!

The report opens,
This report confirms the appointment of Brian Reynolds, the Deputy Chief Executive, as Acting Chief Executive and Acting Head of Paid Service during the Chief Executive’s absence due to ill health...
and continues
Being currently on sick leave and with the doctors unable to confirm the date of my return, I have concluded that it would be appropriate, in good governance terms, to make this delegation explicit and unambiguous for the reasons given above and that Brian Reynolds should also assume the responsibilities of Acting Head of Paid Service.
At the time of posting, Councillors contacted by had not heard of the news as no internal communicated.

We wish Mr Boland a speedy recovery.

Link to DPR

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Are double yellow lines about to appear outside your house?

Waldorf and I, being 'silver surfers', were perusing the Public Notices section of the GDfB's website. We came across something a bit unusual. There is a notice entitled, "Traffic Order Various Roads". Upon opening there is a treacly thick paragraph,

"In order to prevent obstructive parking, improve traffic flow and general road safety, the general effect of the Waiting and Loading Order would be to introduce new waiting restrictions in the borough, as follows.

At any time waiting restrictions would be provided around the junctions of:

Marlborough Gardens and Marlborough Close N20; Mount Pleasant and Bevan Road, Barnet; Bells Hill and Lexington Way, Barnet (by upgrading the existing Monday to Saturday 8am to 6.30pm waiting restrictions); Bells Hill and Lingholm Way, Barnet (by upgrading the existing Monday to Saturday 8am to 6.30pm waiting restrictions); Hadley Road and Hexham Road, New Barnet; Potters Road and Hexham Road, New Barnet; Hampden Way and Arlington Road N14, Alverstone Avenue and Ablemarle Road, East Barnet; Horsham Avenue and Woodhouse Road N12; Foster Street and Foster Walk NW4; New Brent Street and Foster Walk NW4; New Brent Street and North Street NW4; Tenterden Grove and Mills Grove NW4; Tenterden Grove and Brinsdale Road NW4; Green Lane and Green Walk NW4; Finchley Lane and First Avenue NW4; Finchley Lane and Second Avenue NW4; Victoria Road and First Avenue NW4; Station Road and Lyonsdown Road, New Barnet (by upgrading the existing Monday to Saturday 7am to 7pm waiting restrictions); Lyonsdown Road and Somerset Road, New Barnet (by upgrading the existing Monday to Saturday 7am to 7pm waiting restrictions); Torrington Park and Copwood Close N12 (by upgrading the existing Monday to Saturday 9am to 5pm
waiting restrictions); Long Lane and Oakfield Road N3 (by upgrading the existing Monday to Friday 2pm to 3pm waiting restrictions); Long Lane and Park View Road N3 (north side of the junction by upgrading the existing Monday to Friday 11am to midday waiting restrictions); Long Lane and Park View Road N3 (south side of the junction by upgrading the existing Monday to Friday 2pm to 3pm
waiting restrictions); Wildwood Road and Raeburn Close NW11; Wildwood Road and Constable Close NW11; Winnington Road and Ingram Avenue N2; Hampstead Way and Farm Walk NW11; Hampstead Way and The Orchard NW11; Chalgrove Gardens and Chessington Avenue N3 (northern side of the junction); Longmore Avenue and Sycamore Close, Barnet; Mountfield Road and Holmwood Gardens N3; Mountfield Road and Windermere Avenue N3"
So Waldorf and I wondered. What will be the open, fair and transparent way the the GDfB will choose to deal with these decisions? A meeting of Councillors where people can have their say in public and see elected representatives debate the issues and come to a decision? It would seem that that is a bit too much democracy, instead,
"Any person wishing to object to the proposed Orders should send a written statement explaining their objection to the Parking Design Team at the above address within 21 days of the date of this Notice."
Good luck.

Waldorf and I regret that it seems things have gone from one extreme to another. From a sometimes over lengthy process to a note on a lamppost, 21 days, and decision in secret by GDfB bureaucrats and technicians.

Keeping it in the Family

Statler and I are good Daily Mail readers. It worries us when we see people increasingly dependent on the welfare state.

A young man on horseback ran up the garden path waving a parchment at us. On it was a note bearing the news that the Council now has FIVE family couples compared to the ONE (the Palmers) before 2006.

March 2007 Council expenses claimed:

Top place: £2,824.69 Harts (John and Helena - Father and Daughter)
Second: £2,711.19 Cohens (Melvin and Dean - Father and Son)
Third: £2,509.37 Tambourides (Andreas and Joanna - Married)
Fourth: £2,446.24 Palmers (Monroe and Susette - Married)
Fifth: £2,320.14 Salingers (Brian and Catherine - Married)

Let's hope these families don't get caught in the poverty trap.

Monday, May 7, 2007

"Who is Andrew Marr"

Statler and I are very envious of Councillor Marina Yannakoudakis. She clearly gets to have a very long lie in on Sunday mornings. A Labour Councillor who attended a recent scrutiny training session whispered in Waldorf's ear that made him chortle.

The trainer was discussing interview styles with this 'class' of politicians and compared the style of Jeremy Paxman to that of Andrew Marr.

From the back of the room, a female voice was heard, "Who is Andrew Marr". Heads turned towards a blushing Councillor Marina Yannakoudakis.

In defence of Tesco

"Today's anti-Tesco campaigners are a gaggle of former blue bloods and small-minded shopkeepers who have joined forces to halt the march of progress".


Sunday, May 6, 2007

"Sympathy, not congratulations"

I've just snuck away from Waldorf, who is snoring in front of the snooker on the telly.

A carrier pigeon arrived with a message from a correspondent this evening. She enclosed a link to an interesting article from Peter Riddell in The Times. He suggests that Councillors need 'sympathy, not congratulations' for being elected to office. We would tend to agree, except for the fact that they get paid large chunks of cash for not very much in the way of results.

See here.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Cabinet papers

Papers for the next meeting of GDfB's Cabinet are here.

We stand corrected!

Statler and I received a telegram this afternoon. This unfortunately disturbed our afternoon nap.

One of our loyal correspondents informed us that a statement we made in a recent posting was inaccurate. We are told that at least two Barnet Councillors do make efforts to ramble on about a load of random nonsense account to electorate on their activities, contrary to our assertion, via an electronic interweb blogger weblog. These are Robert Rams and Richard Wieder.

So we have made some them space, on the right. Any other Councillors who take the trouble to tell their voters what they do for their £15k +, please email in and we'll include them on the list.

Off to watch the snooker and have a cup of tea. Ta ta for now.

Update: Councillor Duncan Macdonut's blog has been added. Thanks for the morse code message folks!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Disabled camera shop owner fights parking fine

Katie Davies, from the Ham&High, reports on a story of a disabled shop owner being put through the mill by the bureaucracy at the GDfB over, what apparently, is a parking ticket issued in error. Read about it here.

What Waldorf and I were very offended by was the harsh and uncaring attitude from the flibbertigibbet GDfB bureaucrats. It is stated that the warden has admitted the ticket was a mistake. So, is the response from the bureaucrats an apology and a bunch of flowers sent to her home address? No. They wouldn't even comment, only asking for sympathy (!?), by eeking out,
"There have been people taking too many sickies and long lunch breaks some vacancies in administrative positions within the service."
Mean whilst, from what the disabled Lady says and is reported, she is put through the full machinery of waiting and having to fight just to get some semblance of justice.

Why is there no one who can just step in and cut the GDfB's losses and save this woman having to go to the papers?

Come on Councillors. Earn your £15,000. Take charge.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Does Barnet have the best value and hardest working Councillors in London (at £15,000 a piece) ?

Sipping a port and lemon on the Porch this afternoon when we heard a 'plop' on the door mat. The Barnet Press had arrived and were making a considerable hullabaloo about the amount of money GDfB's Councillors were claiming in expenses. We had written something about this ourselves recently.

They launched into GDfB's Councillors,
"Councillors in Barnet are some of the most expensive in the country, claiming more than £15,000 on average each in members' allowances last year... this is a rise of 8.7% on the previous year."
(Statler and I reminisced for a few moment about the good old days where men of stature came forward to offer public service for no payment other than the joy of helping out...)

Our eyes then worked their way down the page to Councillor Lynne Hillan's statement in response. We almost choked on our twiglets when reading,
" Barnet councillors attend two (council meetings) per week".
Dear old Councillor Lynne Hillan should be position to know attendance and workload. She is the paid Chief Whip of the Conservatives and Chairman of the Tories in Chipping Barnet. We just can't see how each Councillor is attending eight meetings a month. Have a quick look here for the evidence.

Waldorf had to perform the heimlich manoeuvre when she went on to talk about the comparison in London,
"The basic allowance is £9,082... this puts Barnet's members' allowances at the fourth lowest".
The dislodged twiglet flow across the room. All sounds very fair and reasonable on first reading.

Councillor Hillan seems to have forgotten to mention that Barnet is one of the only Councils that allows Councillors to stack one SRA on top of another. She also seems to omit that three quarters of Barnet Councillors (46 of 63) have an SRA completely breaching the firmly stated position London Councils in October 2006 link (we thank a correspondent for telegraphing this in),
"8. We reiterate that not more than 50% of councillors should receive a Special Responsibility Allowance (SRA) and that only one SRA should be paid to a councillor in respect of duties with the same authority."
The independent London Council's report carried on to expect:
"4. In return for the levels of remuneration which we propose, it is important that councillors account publicly for their activities. This will enable the electorate to make an informed judgement on the performance of their elected representatives in liaising with their constituents and representing their interests within the council..."
This does not happen in Barnet. There is nothing on the web site. The GDfB bureaucrats do not even publish attendance records for Councillors which good Councils do. So Councillors, drop us a telegram with your diaries and attendance and we'll publish them here.

And on top of all the above the Conservative Councillors on Barnet Council voted themselves a further rise by scrapping the cap on multiple allowances that had existed.

More scandalously a telegram has reached our veranda that Councillor Hillan herself fought in private and secured to increase her own wages! Barnet's mysterious 'independent' panel had decided,
"Group Whips (Scale 6) - We recommend that these posts remain in their current Scales"
yet the Conservatives sneaked in a motion that Councillor Lynne Hillan's job should be paid more. That she should be on Scale 5, which is higher paid than Scale 6 (by a good £600 a year). Unfortunately most of the Conservative Councillors who voted for this, we are told, didn't even know what they were voting for as it hadn't been discussed by the Councillors before the Council meeting.

We have emailed Councillor Hillan this post and we await her reply. Apparently she is running the shop whilst both the Leader and the Deputy Leader are abroad on Council business.

Nice work if you can get it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Parking tickets - how NOT to get them

Word has been received by carrier pigeon that the GDfB is now helping people NOT to get parking tickets. Here.

It made us chortle somewhat. Next, we expect, advice will come on how to NOT need to pay your Council Tax!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Barnet says no to fortnightly refuse collections


Conservatives round on poor old Brian Coleman

Seems old Councillor Brian 'all publicity is good publicity' Coleman is under attack from Conservatives again. In an article in the New Statesman, former Prime Minister, Edward Heath is accused by Councillor Coleman of engaging in gay sex in public places.

The New Statesman have, no doubt, done their research before asking Councillor Coleman to write this piece. One can only assume they regard him something of an expert in this field matter.

Councillor Coleman seems to have stirred up a huge row amongst Conservative activists on the very popular blog. See here. Oh well, we'll sure the Councillor Coleman AM will not be deselected recover from this event.

P.S. Why, oh why, oh why does Mr Coleman have to be quite so 'in your face' - as the youngsters say. Are we so old and stuffy that we are offended by the your end to the article, "Oh, and before you ask, yes I am and I am open to offers.". We're old fashioned enough to think that public figures, hetrosexual, gay or lesbian - male or female, shouldn't be flaunting themselves like that. Surely there are other places to seek companionship than the New Statesman?

Edit: More at Barnet Times

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The "Leader Listens" ?

A local correspondent has been good enough to telegram us about the King of Barnet's election campaign for Parliament new initiative - "The Leader Listens". It has been mentioned in dispatches but hasn't appeared in a single press release nor on the Council's website.

So what's the mystery? To us oldies it has a spooky feel about it; the sound of North Korean or Iranian dictatorship where the Great Leader goes out amongst his people. (Some will wonder what the £75,000 a month for Councillors are if the Leader needs to go out and find what's going on himself.)

Several thousand letters (apparently local Councillors are not told of these meetings - correct us if we are wrong) are delivered to local people telling them that their King, Michael Whitney Freer, is to visit, urging them to bring their babies to be kissed and blessed, sick to be healed and disputes to be solved.
We are *unable* to confirm rumours that the room is set out like a medieval court with a large throne with Councillor Lyn Hillan and Councillor Brian Coleman dressed as Court Jesters on either side of His Majesty, King Michael, wearing his Crown and robes.
Back to the main track armed with the Freedom of Information act, one local resident started to dig. Here are the responses from the Council.
Dates of meetings:

25 October 2006 - The Leader graces Hasmonean School (Jewish Secondary School)
25 January 2007 - Deansbrook Junior School (Hale Ward)
24 May 2007 - Chipping Barnet Library (Underhill Ward)

"The initiative is still current, and the next date is 24 May in Underhill Ward at Chipping Barnet Library. All local residents within a defined area of the ward were individually invited. Although provisional dates and wards have been earmarked for five other events in 2007, these dates are subject to change, and the exact part of the wards to be invited has yet to be

I hope this helps you.

Andrew Nathan"
Strangely the Council have no records or no idea about any costings of this initiative.

Melvin "I have the Power" Cohen

It is reported to this blog from an unnamed Councillor, that Cabinet member for Planning, and other bits and bobs, Melvin Cohen launched into a shouting rage of an outburst at the meeting of the Greener, Cleaner Scrutiny Committee last night (24 April 2007).

He was faced with a bit of a bumpy ride from some tough speeches from powerful local residents and environment groups. Following this Labour Councillors supported by the Conservative Chair of the Committee decided that they would review the item of discussion in a years time.

As this was being discussed Melvin Cohen interrupted the Committee's deliberations shouting out words very close to, "You can do what you like. Scrutiny has no power. I will ignore you. I HAVE THE POWER". Jaws dropped around the room...

Gosh. This really shows how things have changed since the good old days. The power of this old Cabinet system has really gone to this old boys head.

Let's see if the old boy, gets the boot from Chief Honcho Michael Whitney Freer? Or will he keep him in post and give him a pat on the back for good work?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Alice in Wonderland ?

We've be most kindly sent this speech to Parliament by the Labour MP for Hendon, Andrew Dismore. In it he rounds on Barnet Council for seeing demolition of family houses by, sometimes aggressive, developers and seeing them replaced by blocks of flats. He goes into some great detail and speaks with some passion link here.

This is somewhat odd as it would place, supposedly, Conservative Cabinet Member for Planning Melvin Cohen, to the LEFT of Andrew Dismore. We're told by people more clued up than us that GCfB has given up on bring in tough policy to protect family houses in exchange for £1,000,000s in grant for the Planning Service from the Government.

Any chance of the Conservative (?) Council doing Conservative stuff (or even Andrew Dismore Labour style would do on this issue)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

FREE MONEY - make sure you ask for at least £50k though

"Barnet Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) is making funding from the Government's Neighbourhood Renewal Fund available for such projects. The LSP would particularly welcome proposals for projects of £50,000 and over."

How awfully kind. How about a project to reduce Council Tax?

Show me the money!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

NEWSFLASH - Councillors are not starving - phew

We know that many of our readers at this blog often write to express concern that their local Councillors are getting paid enough for their work for the community.

Us old duffers remember the good old days when Councillors actually had some power (ie they made decisions) and were paid nothing.

Thanks to a local resident and FOI, here are the expenses paid to Barnet's Councillors for February 2007. Total for one month is £76,000. However at a recent Council Meeting it was decided to hike expenses, in some cases above the amount that the independent panel had advised.

Why not ask your local Councillor what they actually do for this money? They would welcome sharing the information with you. If not ask them under the Freedom of Information Act and they must tell you their diary!

(Just to note that these figures below are the fixed allowances on top of that expenses can be claimed for office furniture, equipment and stationary, attendance and travel to many conferences, free postage etc.)
Councillor Feb 2007 expenses
Freer, Michael Whitney £3,058.32
Offord, Matthew £2,301.59
Marshall, John £2,175.50
Harper, Andrew £2,175.50
Hillan, Lynne £2,112.45
Braun, Maureen £2,087.18
Moore, Alison £2,036.73
Hart, Helena £1,923.23
Bulmer, Fiona £1,923.23
Finn, Anthony £1,923.23
Cohen, Melvin £1,923.23
Coleman, Brian £1,923.23
Scannell, Joan £1,784.46
Tambourides, Andreas £1,721.41
Prentice, Yvonne £1,645.69
Gordon, Brian £1,544.86
Palmer, Monroe £1,544.78
Burton, Terence £1,473.01
Thomas, Daniel Cliev £1,370.59
Yannakoudakis, Marina £1,276.28
Harris, Christopher £1,207.91
Davies, Jeremy £1,166.41
Salinger, Brian £1,166.41
Greenspan, Eva £1,153.73
Salinger, Catherine £1,153.73
McFadyen, Linda £1,153.73
Casey, Wayne £1,040.23
Tierney James £1,014.96
McGuirk Katherine £1,014.96
Sodha Ansuya £1,014.96
Rayner Hugh Robert £1,014.96
Cohen Jack £977.19
Campbell Anita £977.19
Rams Robert £923.10
Rajput Sachin £901.46
Farrier Claire £901.46
Schneiderman Alan £901.46
Rawlings Barry £901.46
Weider Richard £901.46
Houston Ross £901.46
Hutton Anne £901.46
Johnson Julie £901.46
Hart John Robert £901.46
Palmer Susette £901.46
Cooke Geoffrey Nic £901.46
Naghar Jazmin £787.96
Slocombe Agnes £787.96
Macdonald Duncan £787.96
Zubairi Zakia £787.96
Webb Daniel £787.96
Depala Mukesh £787.96
Chopra Danish £787.96
Rogers Colin £787.96
Perry Bridget Tere £787.96
Cornelius Richard £787.96
O-Macauley Charlie £787.96
Cohen Dean Simon B £787.96
Sargeant Gillian £787.96
Margo Caroline Sar £787.96
Rutter Lisa £787.96
McNeil Andrew £787.96
Tambourides Joanna £562.83 (was only a cllr for part of the month)

Poor old Mayor

We were dreadfully shocked to hear of the appalling scenes, last night, at end of the Council Meeting. In a most unchivalrous exchange, it would seem Leader of GDfB, Councillor Michael Whitney Freer, brought the Mayor to tears.

How very ungallant. Wouldn't have happened in our time!

Word has not reached us here as to what the fracas was all about. No one has been able to tell any of our network of contacts.

We're sure that an apology from the current Conservative candidate for Finchley and Golders Green Leader of GDfB will come soon. Please email us should any of this be incorrect.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Chipping Barnet's Conservatives Auditor in a spot of bother :(

We've received a telegram suggesting some awkwardness down at Tory HQ in Chipping Barnet. All sounds frightfully odd and untoward but we're sure there's nothing to it.

Some old bean, Michael Vearncombe is named in the year book as the auditor for Chipping Barnet Tories and has been, so we are told, for a few years. We are told, he became auditor during the time that his partner (now Tory agent for Kensington and Chelsea) worked for Chipping Barnet Tory Supremo Stephen Payne. What a jolly co-incidence.

A dose of bad luck has struck Mr Vearncombe however. He had become a Councillor for Westminster Council but has suddenly resigned for 'personal reasons'. This followed the reports of him being investigated for an alleged £120,000 fraud by the CID. A by election will be held on May 3 2007. We were very sorry to hear this news - link to West End Extra news article.

A little bird whispered to us, on a completely unrelated note, that neither set of the most recent accounts seem to have been signed off or independently verified by an auditor / accountant.

Chipping Barnet Tories 2005 Accounts
Chipping Barnet Tories 2006 Accounts

We are sure that Tory Supremo Mr Stephen Payne, or his boss, Councillor Lyn Hillan will email us if we've heard that wrong.

The local 'news'papers seem to have missed this story too. Gosh they must be too tied up with their property adverts!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Appointment of Legal Advisers for Primary School Capital Investment Programme

We wish Trowers and Hamlins the very best on the award of £182,000 contract for legal advice for the GDfB. They were the most expensive of the five (unnamed) firms but scooped the deal.

"To seek authority to accept the most economically advantageous tender from Trowers and Hamlin for the sum of £182,600 and authorise their appointment to provide legal support for the Primary School Capital Investment Programme. "


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Labour MP for Hendon - "It is a matter of pride to me that I have been a high spender (of £37,000 taxpayers money on stationary)

Shadow Leader of the House rounds on the Labour MP for Hendon over his rather large stationary expenses. Excerpts below. Full link here.

Theresa May, "According to the official figures, several Members already claim more than £20,000 a year in stationery and postage costs. I see that the hon. Member for Hendon (Mr. Dismore) is in his place in the Chamber, and we may well hear from him later on how he spent £37,000 of taxpayers' money on stationery."

Labour MP for Hendon, "...I would simply say that those people who are concerned about the issue should read my comments in the previous debate, in which I quoted a large number of constituents who were grateful to receive the information that I was providing to them. It is a matter of pride to me that I have been a high spender, because it shows that I have been working as hard as I can to keep my constituents informed. I simply regret that today's decision will mean that I am less able to do that."

Theresa May, "I simply point out, as I did in the previous debate, that although he says that his communications with his constituents are gladly welcomed, turnout in his constituency at the election was just 58 per cent. In fact, he had a larger drop in his percentage share of the vote than Members in neighbouring constituencies did. Perhaps he might like to think about that, and reflect that his voters might like him a little bit more if they heard from him less."

Barnet to sell off playing fields to fund school building story

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Underhill Enquiry

Does anyone know what is the latest news on the Underhill Enquiry. It's all gone dreadfully quiet.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Hello fellow souls! Thank you for tuning in to this new fangled blog things ( We're a bunch of old duffers who remember the Council as it used to be in the old days (when Councillors worked for free - for public duty - and actually ran the Council). We're more Conservative leaning than anything else but those involved come from all backgrounds and this is not one of those websites that will be attacking one side or the other for political gain.

Now they are paid rather large sums of money but Barnet Council no longer really exists, in the same way as when we were young sprogs, but is effectively the Government Department for Barnet (GDfB). It's Officers, headed by the very highly paid (in excess of £160,000 a year + expenses) Chief Executive Mr Boland look to where the money comes from for instructions. At Barnet the Councillors are told to become 'local champions'. This means they have to rabble rouse for their electorate and hope that if they kick up enough fuss one of the Officers may take pity on them.

A second thing that us oldies are worried about is how the moves to real openness since 1972 are now in reverse. All of the main decisions are taken behind closed doors with 'Cabinet' members in pally chatty meetings with their Officers. Often outnumbered by Officers present it takes a very wily 'Cabinet' member to not be bamboozled.

So we've been given some help and like so many 'silver surfers' in retirement we're making use of this typewriter and television set up to speak to you all.

We have a lot of contacts from our years of service and need the support of those in the know including Council Officers, Councillors, Political folks, voluntary sector people and local folk using the Freedom of Information Act to get information out of the GDfB that they would rather not share and certainly do not publicise!

Please do cover your tracks. We will hold everything in total confidence (unless you want it otherwise). Don't use Council or work email addresses to send us information or to send us off investigating in a certain direction. Go and get a free web email address from (our favourite) or elsewhere and use a pseudonym.

Let's start a little information revolution from the grass roots. We're not embarrassed about what we are doing but we are not looking for individual promotion or notoriety fame. Our articles will be written by more than one author and you will notice the change in styles. We have taken the decision to write in the style of the Economist, Private Eye and others where names are put on articles.

Bookmark and come back frequently.