Monday, March 23, 2009

Mozzeltov! and the gun is fired for the battle of Edgware

Word reaches Statler and I, that erstwhile friend of this blog, former Councillor Richard Weider, has landed in Tel Aviv with his wife (pictured left) to start his new life as an Israeli citizen. His Council webpage has had his personal details removed and a 'For Sale' sign is up outside his house.

We have been told Michael Whitney Freer is holding an undated letter from Mr Wieder for him to submit as a time best suited to him.

We wish them both a happy future.

The campaign in Edgware Ward is well underway. Sources close to the campaign of a popular independent candidate tell us that it has been planned for several months and much of the literature is written and funding in place. Her identity is still secret, which we shall respect for now.

It looks like the current parties may have a big fight on their hands based on what Statler and I have been forwarded. As none of the political parties have any organisation in the Ward, and the Conservative Party don't have an agent - will an independent have a chance of knocking down an impressive looking majority?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Will curse of Jonah Brown now hit Mike Freer?

Statler and I have panned Michael Whitney Freer's self indulgent and unconstitutional blog, Leader Lectures Leader Listens.

We have commented as to how he has blocked half of the residents who have left comments on his blog from being heard.

With OGL having less than two months left as Leader, Statler and I would never wish this fate on him.

In a shockingly disturbing development Gordon 'Jonah' Brown's crumbling government have given their full endorsement to the huge wasteful program that duplicates the work of local Councillors.

Those who follow Guido's blog will know the fully terrifying effect of such endorsements...

Be scared. Be very scared.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"I didn't ask any questions" - separated at birth?

Waldorf and I have spotted many similarities between Prime Mentalist, Gordon Brown and GDfB Leader, Michael Whitney Freer. It would seem that the similarities run deeper than we thought. Yesterday it emerged, after deep and persistent questioning from the excellent Michael Fallon MP, that Lord Myners simply hadn't asked any questions about the RBS pension deal.
Yesterday, also, it was leaked that Michael Whitney Freer similarly hadn't bothered to ask any questions about where £2billion of Council Tax Payers money was being invested. Maybe he was too busy laying back and getting a tan?
Were these two former Bankers separated at birth?

Sloppy Iceland reporting at Barnet Times

Our dear friends, at the sloppy Barnet Times, are reporting sketchy details of a report into the Iceland fiasco before it has even been published. Word reaches us that it may not have even been finalised. Further the report of the Working Party has no weight or force until it is considered at the meeting of it's parent Scrutiny committee on 25th March.

Obviously never ones to let the facts get in the way of a good story, and to fill the small gaps in their paper not taken up by wall to wall advertising, they have given two small paragraphs to an analysis of what we can only assume is a weighty and serious report.

Statler and I are waiting by our interweb machine for this report to be published properly and then shall be happy to report, at some length, on what it means and who should carry the can.

P.S. Why are the Barnet Times reporting Mr Nick Walkley, the new Chief Executive for GDfB, as 'defending the Leader' on this, similarly why is he, seemingly commenting on a report that has yet to be published? Quite huge gaffes, if correct, for his first week. Please let us know if we need to be corrected.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Questions to Our Great Listening Leader (OGLL)

17 March 2009 - update 2: Don'tCallmeDave got an answer to his question at this week's Hendon Residents' Forum. The answer revealed that Michael Whitney Freer himself banned half of all the comments that residents of Barnet - who pay his considerable wages and for his 'Leader Lectures' blog - put on his blog.

What has he got to hide in answering these questions? What scares him so much that he daren't even publish them? To coin a phrase, "Is he frit?"

Update: One day on, no sign of the questions.....

Statler and I have received an email from one of our many kind correspondents. She pointed out that Councillor Michael Whitney Freer is answering questions from all comers at his new website (much to Councillor Coleman's consternation). We have asked 5 questions, see them below. Will OGLL ban them?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Has anyone told Barnet Council Conservatives this is the Party's policy?

Statler and I like Question Time. Mr Dimblebum is a great Chairman. We were particular impressed by the strident performance of the Conservative's excellent Cohesion spokesman, Sayeeda Waarsi.

[Full episode here for a few days, it is about 27mins in, you can cut out the beginning]

In a fierce debate with Labour's Alan Johnson she defined Conservative's approach to the hideous failed 'state multiculturalism', which she defines as the state viewing people not as individuals but blocks of people that are communicated with via a group leader.

Unfortunately the approach of Barnet Council and Barnet's Parliamentary candidates Michael Whitney Freer and Matthew Offord is precisely the one that the Labour Party in Government - something they are proud of and apply for awards about. See here and here for just two examples.

Has noone told them what their own Party's policy is, we wonder.....?

Here is most of the debate.
Alan Johnson: We deal with anyone who can carry a message and speak on behalf of a group of people... but in terms of community cohesion you have to find people who carry some weight and some respect in the community.

Sayeeda Warsi: Do we do that for White people? That's wrong, Alan. Do we actually go out and say, right, we now need to speak to the White people in Britain so we'll find a group that represents White people? We don't, so why do we do it for other religious groups in this country. It is wrong and it has gotta stop.

David Dimbleby: So what do you want to stop?

Sayeeda Warsi: I want (the Govt) to stop seeing groups of people as a block that have to be talked to through a Leader. They don't, people have individual needs, people have individual views and people need to be engaged with individually on the basis of their needs.

Nobody should speak for the Muslim community, why should they, people are individuals. They should speak for themselves.

Alan Johnson: (In my constituency in Hull) we talk to the Afro Caribbean community, they have a representative. We talk increasingly to the community of people from the Middle East, usually Iraqi Kurds they have representatives. In any society, in any group, the faith groups here will be talking to other faith groups.


Alan Johnson: But in any community cohesion you must talk to representatives of different groups.

Sayeeda Warsi: No, you don't

Alan Johnson: Yes, you do

Sayeeda Warsi: Let me come back on one thing. It is exactly this form of state multiculturalism that has focussed on the things that divide us rather than those things that divide us and is has got to stop.
Statler and I strongly support Sayeeda brave stance. We believe she speaks for the majority of residents of Barnet. She will especially cheer the hearts of those in Barnet who's views are ignored by the Council and replaced with 'Tribal Leaders' who effectively silence their own opinions. The Council should treat all it's resident's equally, without fear or favour.

We look forward to Conservative policies replacing the current Labour ones in Barnet Council.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


After picking the pockets of Barnet taxpayers to fund his massive pay increase, Fagin-bourides says "I'm reviewing the situation"

The Barnet Times and Barnet Press have finally caught up with our story on Councillor expenses we first reported on 23 February. Statler and I reported the biggest person to gain was Councillor Thirtygrandbourides A. Fagin-bourides, this was the man who put his hand in the air to vote himself a 20%+ increase in pay moments after voting to force up Council Tax in Barnet by one of the highest hikes in London.

As Dickens rightly pointed out, money doesn't grow on trees you got to pick a Barnet pocket or two (hundred thousand) !

To give OGL credit, when Michael Whitney Freer discovered he could forgo the increase he publicly announced he would do so.

Having had considerable time to think about this matter, when Fagin-bourides was contacted by the Press and the Times he refused to confirm that he would follow the principle stance Freer had take. He could well be content to stuff his pockets with cash from people struggling to makes ends meet. (Let us remember, people will be sent to prison to pay this part of the Council take to pay for his increase.)

Apparently there is still time to change his mind as he still 'reviewing the situation'. Help him make his mind up. Here are his contact details from the Council's website:

Councillor A Tambourides,
47 Hampden Way,
N14 5DJ

020 8368 5417

P.S. Doesn't looking at that face prove the adage that money doesn't make you happy?

Monday, March 9, 2009

OGL's cunning ruse over 50% Councillor pay rises

Statler and I were watching "The World at War" on BBC2. What an excellent series, we feel sure that Olivier chap who narrates over the images has a good career ahead of him.

Rudely interrupted in our viewing we received this Barnet Times news article. Unfortunately the reporting is a bit sloppy as always.

The headline suggests that OGL, Councillor Michael Whitney Freer, has forgone the increase in his pay that he voted himself this year. He continues defend his actions in whipping his Councillors to vote for the increases at the Council meeting. It seems to us that Councillor Freer, and Mayor Twanky, have cooked up a cunning ruse.

Had "Freer 'n' Twanky" (TM) voted against the increase that money would be lost to Councillors forever. This is how things operate in the real world. There are workers in Barnet today having their pay cut. In three years time if they get a 5% pay rise it will be based on their 'cut' pay. Their pay 'cut' won't suddenly be restored. It is permanent.

But no, the "Freer 'n' Twanky" (TM) ruse was hatched. Vote for the increase, get some flack, and then get the Councillors to forego the increase FOR ONE YEAR. When next year, when the heat has subsided and the Council elections are out of the way, they can remove this instruction and the pay 'cut' will be magically restored. Had the Councillors voted against the recommendations at the Council meeting they would have lost this years rise forever.

So we have Councillors suggesting that they have passed over a pay increase this year when in fact they have just deferred it until next year. Subtle point? Maybe but significant and, we think, calculated.

Off to see how WWII ends...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Introducing, as he announced himself, Mayor Twanky designate

As expected the ruling Group of Councillors voted through one of the highest Council Tax increases in London and awarded some of their colleagues 50% increases in some of their pay rates. Waldorf and I will be picking that up later, especially issues regarding the so called 'independent' pay panel.

But in the meantime, to keep you entertained, we introduce Barnet's next Mayor designate (assuming the Conservative Councillors make it on time to the Town Hall at the Annual Meeting) - Mayor Twanky.

P.S. Would someone be kind enough to forward this to Councillor Coleman as he doesn't read our blog

Monday, March 2, 2009

Our budget amendments - working document - getting to zero rise.

Waldorf and I have looked through the budget papers. We've come up with some suggestions to save money and enable the Council to cut Council Tax this year.

Please send in your comments or email us. We are getting towards a zero % / Council Tax freeze but need your help.. fast...

We have borrowed what we like from the amendments placed by some Councillors and added our own.
  • Delete post of Cabinet Officer (£65,500 saving) (The Conservative Party should pay if OGL wants a right hand man / woman)
  • Members allowances savings - cut basic allowance to £4,995, to send message to voters that Councillors are tightening their belts too, plus more... (£623,619 saving)*
  • Abolish Leader Lectures (£107,000 saving)
  • Abolish Barnet First (£92,390 saving)
  • Reduce Communications Team (£200,000 saving)**
  • Delete 2 Executive Directors (£540,000 saving)***
  • Switch recruitment advertising from local papers to Job Centre / Internet (£42,000 saving)
  • Delete Director of Strategy (£165,000 saving)
  • Delete Assistant Director - Policy, Intelligence & Analysis (£108,000 saving)
  • Remaining contingency from reduction in inflation provision (£270,000 saving)
  • Traveling Expenses Budget efficiencies (£50,000 saving)
  • Energy saving - turn off lights and PCs at night (£300,000 saving)
  • Cancel consultants for Future Shape (£250,000 saving)

Running total £2,813,509

* Members Allowances - decline recommendation to 'restructure' SRA bands. Instruct Council reappoint Panel afresh and instruct to meet in public and take evidence from interested parties.
Members Allowances - remove Licensing Committee members SRA
Remove payment for membership of Licensing Committee and Pension Fund Committee.
Remove payment for Political Party Whips and Secretaries. Councillors should fund these through their Group membership fees / political parties.
Reclassify Chairman of Pension Fund to Scale 5.
Remove payment for Vice-Chairman of OSCs.
Remove payment for Shadow Cabinet Members.
Reduce payment of Leader of Labour Group to Scale 3.
Reduce payment to Licensing Sub Committee Chairman to Scale 6.
Remove payment for Vice-Chairman of Area Environment Sub Committees.

** The plans for more information and a better website will cut most communications requests

*** Kensington and Chelsea are streamlining management. Barnet must catch up.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Groveling Apology

Statler and I wish to make a groveling apology. One of our correspondents has pointed out that we got our sums wrong in our previous post about Councillors' Allowances. We have conducted a full internal review and have discovered that our abacus has a bead missing. We wish to fully apologise to those Councillors we listed and correct the figures in the tables below.

We had stated this would be the position should the Council vote for it on Tuesday:

Councillor_____________2008/9_____ 2009/10__%age
Maureen Braun_________£19,470______£22,382__15%
Mike Freer ___________£51,109_______£53,782__5%
Lynne Hillan__________£34,559_______£38,692__12%
John Marshall_________£19,470_______£22,143__14%
Robert Rams__________£13,629_______£15,815__16%
Andreas Tambourides____£23,364______£27,984__20%
Joanna Tambourides_____£16,063______£18,249__14%
Daniel Thomas_________£13,629______£15,815__16%

This is incorrect, we underestimated. The position should actually be:

Councillor_____________2008/9_____ 2009/10__%age
Maureen Braun_________£19,470______£22,442__15%
Mike Freer ___________£51,109_______£54,857__7%
Lynne Hillan__________£34,559_______£39,397__14%
John Marshall_________£19,470_______£22,442__15%
Robert Rams__________£13,629_______£15,958__17%
Andreas Tambourides____£23,364______£28,426__22%
Joanna Tambourides_____£16,063______£18,452__17%
Daniel Thomas_________£13,629______£15,958__17%

We know that underestimating the size of their raise will have deflated the egos of a few on that list especially the Fiftygrandbourides family and wholeheartedly apologise.

So who will let us know. Did the Conservative Group vote this through on Thursday? Will any of the take the principled stance and vote for this at Council? Will any refuse to accept the increase if it is forced through? Do let us know.


Off to bed.

Monday, February 23, 2009

For starters a new Mayor, main course an inflation busting Council Tax increase and for desert, 15%+ pay increases for the highest paid Councillors?

(Photo (c) 2009 Barnet Council, thanks for making it available.)

Statler and I are gentle and nurturing folk. We are glad and humbled to see the many new webloggers in Barnet's blogosphere. Why, even Michael Whitney Freer is at it, and Twittering too (well that is twittering more than usual).

We wouldn't like to steal the limelight and so we have left things to flourish a bit.

This afternoon Waldorf had a very unfortunate experience with his Garibaldi biscuit. Waldorf was very exited (a little too exited) as he had found the Margaret Thatcher archive pages on the BBC. To cool himself down, he was surfing the Council's website, reading the papers for the Council Meeting on March 3rd.

Waldorf is already very p****d off that the "all party coalition" at Barnet Town Hall is not following the radical 'true blue' Councils across London. This Council meeting will set the Council Tax for this year. Councillors are set to impose an increase many times the RPI to hard pressed, hard working families in Barnet who are already struggling to keep their head above water.

I then heard a choking noise from across the room. Waldorf was going blue, quickly I administered the Heimlich Maneuver. After the gasping had subsided, Waldorf explained that he had found the report at the end of the Council papers proposing 15%+ increases for the most highly paid Councillors. I didn't believe that Barnet Council's bureaucrats could have been involved in creating a report at this time proposing that, but it seems it is so.

After getting out my abacus, here are some of the biggest winners, if the Conservative Group vote this through at their meeting on Thursday:

Councillor_____________2008/9_____ 2009/10__%age
Maureen Braun_________£19,470______£22,382__15%
Mike Freer ___________£51,109_______£53,782__5%
Lynne Hillan__________£34,559_______£38,692__12%
John Marshall_________£19,470_______£22,143__14%
Robert Rams__________£13,629_______£15,815__16%
Andreas Tambourides____£23,364______£27,984__20%
Joanna Tambourides_____£16,063______£18,249__14%
Daniel Thomas_________£13,629______£15,815__16%

(*Councillors with Scrutiny SRAs have been excluded as these will largely be lost in May)

It's clear now why Waldorf choked on his biscuit. Will Conservative Councillors really vote for electoral suicide, by in one night hiking Council Tax by 3% and huge increases in allowances for themselves? To do so will show a lack of political judgement so defective that next years elections will really be in the balance.

So come on Conservative Councillors, rebel, stand up, save your seats, tell Mike Freer and Lynne Hillan on Thursday, at your Group Meeting, that you will not vote for his Officer's big hike in expenses. Tell him that you want to show your solidarity with the voters and take a £500 cut this year in the basic allowance, lead by example. Now is not the time to gorge at the top table whilst the telling the voters to live on gruel.

P.S. Should any rotund individual tell you that you must be 100% loyal to Mike Freer, ask him how loyal he was to the previous two Leaders. You should never be as ferociously hostile as he was, but be your own person - your constituents expect it.

Off for some cocoa - gosh it's late.