Thursday 7 May 2009

Andrew Harper Walks the Walk

I have never met Andrew Harper but everyone tells me that he is an excellent hard working councillor. He doesn’t care for political scheming and skulduggery. He is not motivated by personal ambition and just wants to do the best job he can for his residents. In short, he’s a good old fashioned councillor like we had in the days when Barnet was a democracy.

So I was saddened to view Cllr Harper in this You Tube video, talking about a £400,000 grant Barnet has received to improve Dollis Valley Park.

1 minute 15 seconds into the clip, Cllr Harper says: “One of the things I was very keen to do on this walk was to meet with people who live close to it, and who may have thoughts as to what we should be doing to spend the Mayor’s money on.”

I applaud Cllr Harper for seeking residents views’, but it wasn’t actually the Mayor’s money. It was ours! I am not suggesting that Boris is a redistributive Socialist, but there is nothing more annoying than politicians announcing grand spending plans and then expecting us to praise them. We know where the money comes from because we have to pay our council tax bills.

Maybe I am being unfairly pedantic and Cllr Harper just used a bad turn of phrase, in which case I apologise to him (Cllr Freer may need to look up the word ‘apologise’ in the dictionary) but it seems he made a second gaffe in the quotation he gave the Barnet Times over the £11 million Aerodrome Road bridge overspend.

Cllr Harper said: “I don't think anybody in particular is to blame”

Really? So why did Mike Freestone leave the council so abruptly just before Christmas?

Mr Harper, by all accounts you are a very decent councillor, but I fear you have been associating with certain characters for too long if you are going to adopt their mindset of refusing to accept blame when things go pear shaped. The public are not stupid. When the council does something right, take a bow. When it makes the mother of all cock-ups, just say sorry.

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