Friday, 22 May 2015

Sod the dead!

It is a mark of a civilised society that we treat the bodies of our dead respectfully. Barnet Council, to its eternal shame, doesn’t give a shit.

Don’t Call Me Dave has two friends buried at Hendon cemetery. Every year, for the last four years, he has been forced to complain about the overgrown state of the grounds. Every year he receives a nice letter back from council leader Richard Cornelius promising that the matter will be looked into.

On Wednesday, DCMD visited the cemetery for the first time this year. The grass was not merely overgrown, but out of control. In some areas, it reached the top of headstones. In other areas, wild greenery reached over 6 feet in height, making access to some graves impossible.

Not every grave has a headstone. This meant that, despite his best endeavours, DCMD inadvertently walked over several graves because they simply were not visible. Not only is this disrespectful to the deceased, it is distressing to the living.

DCMD spotted some groundsmen cutting the grass at a different part of the cemetery. When he spoke to them, they explained that there were only three of them working in the grounds. That is three people to look after 20 hectares of land. One of the groundsmen said they would try to cut the grass around DCMD’s friend’s grave the following day. DCMD is sure it had nothing to do with the photographs he took as evidence.

It would, perhaps, be unreasonable to expect the council to cut the grass as frequently as residents cut their own lawns, but it is quite clear from the photographs, that the grass hadn’t been cut all year. It should not be beyond the wit of a competent cemetery manager to operate, say, a 3 week rotation system for grass cutting during the growing season.

People familiar with the cemetery will know that, in many parts, the ground is not level. Indeed, it has quite a steep incline in places. Older people, and those with limited mobility, risk serious injury trying to walk through the grounds with so many hidden obstacles. If the council was prosecuted by  the Health & Safety Executive, it might start taking its responsibility to residents, dead and alive, more seriously, instead of trying to run the cemetery for profit.

UPDATE: 23.05.15

DCMD was upset to see this nasty tweet posted by Michael Hanley.

If Mr Hanley had broken the habit of a lifetime and done his homework, he would have seen that DCMD has written many blogposts opposing the mass privatisation of public services in Barnet and others calling for some specific services to be maintained in-house. DCMD raised the issue of unfair cemetery charges with former leader Mike Freer at a council committee meeting long before his friends were buried there. An apology from Mr Hanley would be in order.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Where have all the Bloggers gone?

First, Mrs Angry announces she is taking a break from blogging. Then Rog T writes that he, too, is pressing the pause button (on politics at least).

As the world’s greatest expert on retiring from Blogging, Don’t Call Me Dave predicts that cyberspace will not be silent for too long.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Effing Cameron resorts to bribery

Another day, another opinion poll. A Survation poll in the Scottish Daily Record puts the ‘No’ camp back in the lead following the shock poll in the Sunday Times which had the ‘Ayes’ ahead.

The latest poll reports 47.6% planning to vote ‘No’, 42.4% voting ‘Yes’ with 10% undecided. Statistically, this is still too close to call but the result will clearly give comfort to the Unionists. Just a few days ago, it looked all over bar the shouting, which reminded Don’t Call Me Dave of the Kinnock Effect. A week ahead of the 1992 General Election, Labour leader Neil Kinnock addressed a rally in Sheffield declaring “We’re alright!” His premature triumphalism is widely regarded as the reason for Labour losing an election they were expected to win. Voters looked into the abyss and didn’t like what they saw. Better the devil you know.

And so it may come to pass in Scotland. But at what price? Prime Minister David Cameron today pleaded with Scots not to use the referendum as an excuse to kick “the effing Tories”. 

In his latest attempt to win the referendum, Cameron has promised a raft of new tax and welfare powers for the Scottish Parliament. But where is his authority to make this offer? Cameron knows that if the Scots vote for independence, his political career is over. In desperation to save his own neck, he now expects English taxpayers to subsidise the Scots even more than they do already. He is bribing the Scots with English money. Perhaps the English are prepared to pay this price to maintain the Union and preserve economic stability. But it would have been nice to have been asked first.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Conservatives should say “Aye” to Independence

It is fair to say that Westminster is in full panic mode following the publication of a YouGov opinion poll in the Sunday Times showing that the ‘Yes’ camp have overtaken the ‘No’ camp with less than two weeks until the Scottish referendum.  The headline figures report 51% in favour of independence and 49% against.

These figures should be treated with caution because they exclude the ‘don’t knows’. If they are included, the poll shows 47% in favour of independence, and 45% against. It is therefore too close to call, although the polling evidence suggests that the majority of ‘don’t knows’ are rapidly moving into the ‘Yes’ camp.

Traditionally, Tories support the Union, but there are several reasons why real Conservatives should support independence for Scotland:

1. Real Conservatives believe in reducing the power of the state. This means devolving power to a local level where politicians can more readily be held accountable. Real Conservatives oppose the interference of EU bureaucrats in our daily lives, and it is quite understandable why Scots do not wish to be governed by Whitehall.

2. An independent Scotland makes it harder for Labour to win a majority at Westminster. The Scots do not like Tories very much, and it will be easier for the Conservatives  to win a majority in Parliament once Scottish voters are taken out of the equation.

3. An independent Scotland will force David Cameron out of office allowing a real Conservative to take his place. Cameron says that he will not resign if the Scots vote for independence, but the reality is that the decision will not be his to take.  This was an entirely avoidable situation but, as usual, Cameron ignored advice from people who knew better than him. He cannot seriously expect to survive as leader for breaking up the Union.

4. Real Conservatives want to see a British exit from the pernicious influence of EU. If the Scots vote for independence, it will start an unstoppable movement to escape the clutches of Brussels which none of the main parties will be able to ignore.

If Scotland votes ‘Yes’ it is clear that there will be a period of political and economic instability. Nobody really has any idea what the long term effect of independence will be on the rest of the Union, but it will serve to demonstrate how totally inadequate our current political leadership is. There has been an absence of conviction politics for the last 25 years or so. Instead we have been governed by PR spivs who have no concept of how the real world works. The economic consequences of independence might be severe for the average voter, but it might just be worth it to see the current crop of politicians flounder like headless chickens.