Saturday, 7 May 2011
Mrs Angry: enemy of the state
After the last blogpost, on the subject of Suffolk, Barnet and the BT Vital Vision links, Mrs Angry has noted some rather unusual visitors calling by. Goodness me, so many visits from a corporate BT intranet blogwatch: why is that, do you think? Hmm: and then, she noticed a very odd thing - visits from a site with a curious marker. Mrs Angry did some poking about to see what she could find out about this IP, and do you know, readers, if she were of a paranoid disposition, she might be feeling slightly concerned. Again.
This caller's IP is associated by some with a certain type of official snooping activity. Now, Mrs Angry is in a position to know that in fact blogs are subject to scrutiny by such enterprises (don't ask me how I know, as I will have to kill you all, and I can't really spare the time - too much ironing & stuff). This sort of thing is often kicked off by key word triggers. Oh dear. Things like 'surveillance' in combination with other words. Yes: one search by this site brought someone here via a certain politician's name and that word in a blog post - which actually was about the illicit filming of residents by our council's former security company, MetPro, rather than, say, stalking certain Tory MPs, shall we say - rather amusing, don't you think?
Some of the imaginative people who subscribe to the conspiracy theory view of life speculate about this sort of internet scrutiny and this particular IP, and link it, for example, to the use of undercover cops to infiltrate activist movements targeting corporate and government bodies, & who are alleged to get up to all sorts of mischief. Agent Provocateur is the word. Oh dear again. Of course, Mrs Angry has mentioned this term recently. Hands up. And sorry to disappoint, because actually, (& don't tell Dave Hill) it was in relation to a discussion of ladies' lingerie, rather than inciting anarchist violence (see the comments stream, 'Mrs Angry, never knowingly underplayed' ...)
So just to make it perfectly clear to visiting snoopers: Mrs Angry is not a rabid anarchist, plotting the downfall of capitalism. She is too lazy, too bourgeois, and too easily distracted. Oh, and the last time she got into trouble for misbehaviour in Trafalgar Square was when she was about four years old, tried to push her annoying cousin Christopher into the fountain, and laughed when a pigeon shat all over her grandmother - see above, the infant Mrs Angry, being firmly kettled by granny.
And er, haven't you got more important things to worry about at the moment?
Now, all joking aside, although Mrs Angry is amused by the attention she is receiving, she is also resolute in her belief that we citizen journalists have a perfect right, and indeed a duty, to raise issues of public interest, including ones that are critical of politicians and major corporations, and she will continue to do so, thank you very much. Since stumbling into this business, she is frankly staggered by the extent of dubious acitivity within the secret world of local government - and not just here in the badlands of Broken Barnet. As the push for private outsourcing rolls relentlessly on, all the more reason for constant vigilance of the workings of our politicians, senior officers, and would be contractors.
In the last couple of blogs we have mentioned the interesting developments at Suffolk County Council, where another Tory council has, like our lunatic administration here in Broken Barnet, dedicated itself to a programme of massive outsourcing and privatisation of council services. On the brink of electoral disaster, the Tory backbenchers on Suffolk council revolted, and the leader resigned, followed shortly by the announcement that there would be an interval of 'reflection' and that the controversial Chief Executive, Andrea Hill, will now be enjoying an extended period of 'gardening leave'.
According to a BBC story today, Ms Hill's leave coincides with an investigation into allegations related to 'whistle-blowing' complaints. She is sorely missed, apparently.
A friend has brought to my attention some amusing verses about Ms Hill written by the performance poet Luke Wright, which include lines such as:
"The last time we saw you your eyes were like ice
your mouth like a festering stab wound, not nice
insisting you keep your extortionate fees
while parts of your county are brought to its knees ...
"Ms Andrea Hill, the people of Suffolk
have seen your PR and they want you to stuff it
they’re still licking wounds from this right-wing insanity
they take little comfort from your doe-eyed vanity."
Mrs Angry has picked up her One Barnet biro, and is chewing the end thoughtfully, thinking naughtily about our CE, Mr Nick Walkley, and waiting for inspiration.
In fact, rumour has it that Ms Andrea Hill was interested in the Barnet CE job, so perhaps we should all be grateful for a lucky escape. He appears not to have been asked on the Vital Vision junkets, (by invitation only, don't you know) which I would take as a compliment, if I were he.
Anyway. The Guardian's Patrick Butler reports in his recent Cuts Blog (apologies, link problems still) that the electoral results from Thursday show the LibDems deflecting much of the Tory's flak for the Coalition's more unpopular traits, and suggesting that many Tory authorities are avoiding the worst effects of drastic cuts in budget by benefiting from generous grants from that nice Mr Pickles.
What is significant, however, is that it seems in areas where Tory ideological 'reforms' are being stuffed down electors' throats, there has been a disastrous reaction in the polls. Hello: Suffolk County Council got a kicking after all, thanks to the now discredited 'virtual council'/'New Strategic Direction' overseen by Ms Hill. And down in Brighton and Hove, the Tories' 'intelligent commissioning' plans were given two fingers by unappreciative voters, leading to a loss of eight seats.
Bearing in mind that such reaction is happening long before the cuts have really started to bite, or the massive scale of outsourcing begun, one might think that any Tory council that dares to continue along this line is writing its own death warrant. This difficult thought will of course take a long time to filter through the One Barnet bilge floating about in the otherwise empty heads of the dimwit Tory councillors in this borough. One or two of the more politically astute might just begin to worry about the personal consequences to their brilliant careers, though, and maybe, just maybe, we will start to see some argument amongst our Tory friends about the extent of their commitment to the outsourcing agenda?