Saturday 9 January 2010

Hillan fiddles as Barnet burns freezes

Barnet blogger and LibDem candidate for Mill Hill, Rog T, has posted a hard hitting article today criticising Barnet Council for its woefully inadequate response to the weather crisis and berates the Barnet Times for skating over the issue. It is hard to disagree with what he says.

Why does the editor of our local newspaper think it more newsworthy to publish pretty pictures of snowmen rather than tell its readers that there is absolutely nobody in charge of the situation? Why did they publish an interview with Cllr Sachin Rajput, who was trying to score political points off Andrew Dismore MP about sheltered housing, without asking him the simple question as to how the proposed floating warden service would have worked this week with so many roads simply impassable?

Don’t Call Me Dave received a phone call from a reader whose elderly mother has been unable to go to her day centre all week because of the weather. This entirely avoidable change to her routine has left her in a very distressed state of mind. What have you go to say about that, Cllr Rajput?

Politicians cannot be blamed for the bad weather, but they can be blamed for their inability to prepare for, and deal with, the crisis. It simply beggars belief that the leader and deputy leader are both absent at the same time, with no effective backup system in place.

It is rare for DCMD to have sympathy with Cllr Brian Coleman, but he was made to look foolish on Thursday when he gave an interview on BBC Radio London (audio clip below) in which he said that there was enough grit for the whole of London, only to be immediately contradicted by Cllr Daniel Thomas who admitted that stocks were running out. DCMD does not believe that Brian Coleman deliberately mislead listeners, but when there is no management control, how is anyone supposed to know what is going on?

In the interview, Cllr Coleman was nostalgic for the time when people cleaned the paths in front of their own homes (whilst reluctantly admitting that he had not done so himself) but DCMD remembers when road sweepers (as we were once allowed to call them) would help clear the roads and footpaths in bad weather. Why are they not doing so now?

Instead of sitting in his ivory tower watching his £3,000 wide screen television, why isn’t £185,000 a year Chief Executive Nick Walkley instructing all the dustmen who are unable to make their usual rounds help with the effort of making the side roads and footways safe for pedestrians and motorists? DCMD will tell you why. It is because of the pisspoor political leadership we have in this Borough where narcissistic troughing takes precedence over public service.

If Hillan was a real leader, she would have cut short her sun drenched American holiday to take charge of the situation, although, to be fair, even if she had returned, it wouldn’t have made any difference because she is massively out of her depth and just does whatever the officers tell her to do. For all his many faults, at least under Labour leader Alan Williams, officers were left in no doubt as to who was in charge.

Conservative councillors should hang their heads in shame for electing Hillan as their leader. This is the woman who decided to axe the warden service for residents living in sheltered accommodation, but not before her own mother was moved to a new home unaffected by the cuts. Hillan ignored the public consultation even though a massive 85% of the electorate opposed her plans. She even thinks she knows better than a High Court judge and has decided to waste taxpayers money appealing the ruling that her plans were unlawful.

Hillan is also lobbying David Cameron to persuade the next Conservative Government to change the law after she was told that it would be illegal to allow residents to pay a fee and fast track the normal planning process. Not The Barnet Times is sure that Hillan’s desire to see the planning rules changed has nothing whatsoever to do with the outstanding application for a change of use of 60 Cromwell Road in Friern Barnet, where she operated her business before running it into the ground leaving a trail of unpaid creditors, including the taxman.

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