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. "