Friday, 28 August 2009

Cameron disowns Freer’s plan to shaft Barnet residents!



The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph both report that Barnet Council has decided to adopt the business model of budget airlines easyJet and Ryanair. The proposal is to charge residents extra for improved services. Chief Executive Nick Walkley has described the policy as “easyCouncil”.

However, David Cameron's aides have disassociated themselves from Freer's proposals, which do not reflect national Conservative policy. A senior Tory source told the Telegraph: “This is not seen as a blueprint. Barnet have gone their way and that's fine but there is no wider significance as far as David is concerned.”

Modelling the council on easyJet is undoubtedly a very risky option. Whilst budget airlines are popular for their seemingly cheap no frills service, passengers are not stupid. Ryanair is as well known for all its “extra” charges as it is for its cheap tickets, and once you have added all those additional charges to the basic price, the ticket isn’t quite as cheap as you had first hoped.

Residents will undoubtedly be concerned that the council is proposing an 'easyJet' service but still charging a 'Concorde' rate of council tax. Before the coup which installed Freer as the unelected leader of the council, he repeatedly called for a zero increase in council tax, but once he got his hands on the reins of power, his demands were quietly forgotten. Indeed, this year the increase in council tax was substantially above the rate of inflation.

At the same time, Freer has overseen a massive hike in the allowances paid to councillors, with Barnet’s elected representatives now costing ratepayers more than £1 million a year, and chief officers also stuffing their boots to overflowing.

The Conservatives have no mandate to introduce 'easyCouncil' which seems to be nothing more than an elaborate publicity stunt by Freer to try and improve his chances at the General Election where he is standing for Margaret Thatcher’s old seat.

Without their consent, taxpayers have been charged hundreds of thousands of pounds on expensive consultants, but this is of no concern to Mike Freer. As with Leader Listens, the cost to taxpayers is entirely irrelevant. All that matters is the election of our glorious leader to his rightful place in Parliament.

5 comments:

chris said...

The Evening Standard article at http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23737986-details/Tories+to+use+council+as+test+for+%27no-frills%27+government/article.do makes it look as though Cameron supports this project

Amanda said...

Dear me David, you really do need to get over your Freer obsession, its become almost single white female orientated now!

If YOU think you can do better then I suggest you throw your hat into the ring, as they say its easy to sit there and criticise from the armchair!

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Chris

David Cameron has not offered unqualified support for Barnet’s plans. Sure, he will be happy if they prove to be a success. But if they fail, you can be sure he will say “nothing to do with me, guv!”

Amanda

Do you just read selective parts of my blog? I have stated many times that, in principle, I support the idea of privatising some council services. But the council has no democratic mandate to pursue its easyCouncil plans and is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on consultants, without asking residents first.

Now you may be happy to accept without question everything that the politicians tell you, but some of us happen to believe that such a fundamental change to the council’s modus operandi cannot be carried out without consent of the electorate.

The idea that only elected politicians can have an opinion is, frankly, risible.

Rog T said...

I see "Amanda" is back on the scene. My how "She's" been missed. If "She" doesn't like your blog, why doesn't "she" throw her hat in the ring and write one of "her" own?

Or maybe "she" already has one?

danfhope said...

@Chris you've not had much of a good read of the article. David Cameron has adopted the cause of localism. He has committed a future Conservative government to granting Councils a power to pretty much do what they like. That is all the Standard are talking about.

However, the Telegraph contains a condemnation from Cameron.

This is unprecedented.

I can't find any example of sources close to David Cameron distancing themselves from any Councils that call themselves 'Conservative'. He hasn't distanced himself from radical Westminster or Wandsworth, nor from the excellent Conservative Hammersmith and Fulham. The only Council whose behaviour is so damaging to the Conservative Party that he feels it necessary to remind people that what they are doing does not reflect Conservative policy is 'Loony' Barnet.

How this places Theresa Villiers is a whole other kettle of fish.