Monday 2 February 2009

Barnet Council and the spirit of Goebbels

Joseph Goebbels once said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Whilst, of course, Barnet Council is not run by Nazi sympathising fascists, someone has clearly made a conscious decision to keep peddling the lie that the council tax increase for 2009/10 is less than the rate of inflation - as measured according to the Retail Price Index - when this is simply untrue.

Our council tax is set to rise by 2.81%. The current RPI is 0.9% meaning that the proposed tax rise is more than three times the rate of inflation.

Cllr Matthew Offord went as far as to suggest that because the increase was lower than inflation it was actually a cut!

The council can keep spinning this tale that the rise is less than inflation for as long as it likes, but the public are not stupid and won’t be fooled. They don’t need a government index to tell them how much prices are rising or falling. They know by the amount of money it costs to put food on the table, heat their homes or fill the car up with petrol. Pensioners know how often they have to dip into their savings - and for them, any increase at all in council tax will be especially painful given the collapse in their savings rates.

The tax rise will take effect from April. It is always possible that the RPI could increase by 2% in the next 3 months, but most respected economists think that inflation will continue to fall, with deflation a very real possibility.

Rather than continue with this lie, why doesn’t Barnet Council take a leaf out of Hammersmith and Fulham’s book and actually reduce council tax by 3%?


Anonymous said...

Ooh fancy that ANOTHER negative post! I don't recall you being so bothered during your time as chairman!

Don't Call Me Dave said...

You don’t recall? Well let me remind you of my resignation speech (as Chairman of Chipping Barnet Conservatives) in 2005 when I made it very clear that whilst I continued to support the Conservative Party, I no longer supported Barnet’s Conservative councillors who were making some very un-Conservative policy decisions (including cutting a grant of £18,000 to a charity which resulted in three blind people losing their jobs). I actually praised Mike Freer in my speech because forensic questioning by him had led to the discovery that some Cabinet minutes had been altered - not that anything was done about it.

I criticised the Administration for introducing policy without adequate scrutiny - something some of us still complain about today. When the press criticised former leader Victor Lyon, I wrote letters to the papers defending him. My reward for defending Victor when he was facing a vote of no confidence by his own councillors was to be shouted at in the street by another councillor. Can you guess which one?

But even if you have forgotten all of that Mr Anonymous, tell me what you think about the council’s policy of stating that the proposed increase in council tax is below inflation, when it clearly isn’t.

Anonymous said...

It is striking to me, that with every word and breath the (self named) Conservative Group on Barnet Council moves steadily further away from David Cameron's Conservative Party.

I don't think it is mere coincidence that this heavy spin / smoke and mirrors about this years inflation busting Council Tax rise is being pumped out from the newly politicised Press Office.

The Press Office is now dominated by political souls whose primary loyalty is not to despatching accurate information but assisting the political advancement of Mike Freer. Vanessa Gearson is a huge figure in Finchley and Golders Green Conservatives, where her husband is Deputy Chairman. Working for her is Stephen Shawcross who's wife spearheads Mike Freer parliamentary election campaign.

Conservatives rightly tore into Blair when he had Mandelson and Campbell in the No10 Press Office politicising what used to be an impartial institution. The Press Office is there to help the media get information to report on the Council's activities and not to blast out propaganda for any one person.

Rog T said...


Have you checked the blog today. Even Goeballs wouldn't have tried this one on !!!! He must have recruited that Comical Ali guy from Iraq to write this !!!!!

As you may have guessed, I've had my tuppence worth !!!

Amanda said...

Now I looked through the archives on the Hendon Times website which states you resigned over Barnet Football club...

Don't Call Me Dave said...

And you believe everything you read in the Hendon Times?

Give me your e-mail address Amanda and I will be happy to send you a copy of my resignation speech.