I went to the beginning of the BETTER BARNET event last Sunday and went off when the Labour refused to make a pledge not to make a WORSE BARNET. If all the mainstream parties join forces against us, what can we do? What is the point of a labour party if it won't fight for us and with us? What is left of the idea of representative democracy if no one will represent you?
If you can't promise not to implement yet more cuts then how can you even talk about making a "better Barnet"?
This is what I wrote to a fellow BAPS [Barnet Alliance for Public services]nmember about this issue:
The Barnet labour Group, at their BETTER BARNET show last Sunday, were invited to promise at least not to create a WORSE BARNET by imposing more cuts on public services. They would not do so. Think about it. what does that mean?
Let's spell it out: it means that the numbers of homeless would grow, mentally and physically disabled people, the elderly and infirm and all their carers, nursery age children, school children, students would have to go on paying with their very lives more and more for the crimes of the rich and irresponsible. The poorest tenants would be thrown out of their homes and transported. People would still have to go to work for less pay than "the amount the law says you need to live on.." to use government jargon etc. etc. - as things get worse and worse this will mean a period of unprecedented misery and injustice - under Labour, the Tories, the Liberals or [let's face it] even the Greens.
Council Tax from those who can least afford to pay it." 3. WORK OUT A POLICY TO FIND THE FUNDS e.g. by leasing gas, electricity, phone, broadband as a step towards taking profitable public services back into public ownership.
On your comments paper I wrote:
IF YOU WANT A BETTER BARNET AT LEAST DON'T MAKE THINGS WORSE
1. PLEDGE NOW: NO FURTHER CUTS IN PUBLIC SERVICES
2. SUPPORT THOSE WHO ARE MAKING TORY CUTS UNENFORCEABLE.
The cabinet's own report Dec 17th admits their policy "may over time develop into a culture of non-payment, where it becomes increasingly difficult and costly to recover small amounts of
Provide a forum on the Barnet.gov.uk site for residents to post suggestions, complaints and to communicate with each other and Councillors publicly about an issue.
The only way to defend the people of Barnet from self serving politicians is to give power back to the people.
- Residents should have veto power over any council action that affects them in local polls.
- Residents should be able to trigger a council election through a petition.
- Residents should be able to propose binding policy decisions on the council.
- There should be no raising of any council raised tax without a public vote including but not limited to: council tax, parking charges, parking fines & other council issued fines.
- Residents should have the power to veto any privatising proposals and all contracts should be subject to a review by poll every 2 years minimum.
- Councillors should not be able to increase their pay or any other benefits without residents consent through a poll.
We need a Council with the courage to listen to its residents - it has made no effort to convince people but has operated behind closed doors and tried to restrict any debate via residents' forums.
We need a Councils that cares more for vulnerable residents than city consultants. One Barnet has closed children's centres and threatened day centres for older people. A Council that considers commercialising compassion is a proper way to act do not deserve to be in power.
We need a Council that is competent and learns from its mistakes - despite Iceland and MetPro it is still willing to gamble with our money and risk our future tied in to long term contracts.
So, a Better Barnet will listen, care and be competent.
Every year the council wastes £millions on fat cat consultants whilst cutting local services and making hundreds of hard working staff redundant. Why are we putting up with this? We should stop spending all this money on consultants and start investing in local services.