Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings writes about Barnet's Comedy of Errors in his latest column for the Barnet Press (see p8 of this digital edition):
Four hundred years after the death of Shakespeare a comedy of errors is still playing in Barnet Town Hall.
I refer, of course, to the complete incompetence of the Conservative administration that is supposedly running Barnet Council, rather than the extremely enjoyable Shakespeare play involving farce and mayhem.
In the last year alone we’ve had the London Elections shambles on 5th May where hundreds of Barnet electors were told they could not vote because incorrect electoral registers had been distributed to all 155 polling stations.
We’ve had the, probably unlawful, cancellation of hundreds of disabled persons’ Freedom Passes causing misery to some of our most vulnerable people – many of them mid-journey.
We’ve had the collapse of the Library IT servers for weeks and weeks resulting in the temporary closure of libraries, loss of revenue as library fines were waived, the unverifiable loss of Library books and unrecoverable data.
Then there followed a damning Audit Report that the Council had no IT disaster recovery plan in place, and a “limited assurance” rating.
In December there was the Christmas parking fiasco where people were charged during the free parking period, and have only just been refunded after a campaign from Labour councillors.
And in April we had yet more constitutional chaos after the council’s controversial plans for new offices in Colindale were rejected by the Planning Committee only to be resurrected and agreed by a second Planning Committee (with some membership changes) after a decision to refer the first decision to Full Council was found to be unlawful.
To quote Andrew Dismore, Labour’s recently re-elected Assembly Member: “Bungling Barnet's Tory Council couldn't run a whelk stall" – and yet the Conservative councillors never take any political responsibility.
Readers of this paper may recall how badly this four year municipal term started in May 2014 when the Council ground to a halt and all meetings were suspended because committees had been unlawfully constituted at the Annual Meeting.
The start to this municipal year saw the election last week by the Tories of a self-confessed comedian as Mayor of Barnet.
If only the residents of Barnet were laughing…