Yes, really: see below!
Plus:* Monday: an insultingly brief response from Cllr Thompstone regarding the Forum, see half way down.
F*ck this for a game of soldiers: let's upset some Tory councillors instead ...
Mrs Angry hates Sundays afternoons, don't you? Probably a hangover from childhood, in her case, when Sunday meant a grim routine of attending mass, followed by homework, then Sunday lunch, with the terrible ordeal of spinach and brussel sprouts, and Mrs Angry being made to sit at the table until she ate them, which usually involved about two hours sitting sulkily, arms folded, in front of evil, mocking, cold green vegetables, and threatening to throw up. Then more homework, followed by bathtime in an ice cold bathroom with no heating, and a hairwash, and a prolonged episode of crying, or even screaming, as the tangle headed Mrs Angry ran around the house trying to avoid her mother and the hairbrush.
In adult life, or what passes for it, Mrs Angry has eliminated most of these horrors from her Sunday: best of all, no spinach or brussel sprouts. Eurgh. But in adult life you simply swap one set of horrors for another, don't you? And there are always things to do on Sunday that you have put off the rest of the week. Like sending those emails you think about writing, with such relish, at three in the morning, when you can't sleep. Or is that just me?
For example: one to the Chair of our local Residents Forum, the rather grumpy Reuben Thompstone, which has now escaped from the night time wanderings of Mrs Angry's imagination and slipped into the apparently out of office in box of our antipodean councillor:
"Dear Councillor Thompstone,
I would like to ask you the following three questions:
1. As you know, in an attempt to prevent residents from discussing politically sensitive issues of public concern in any council meeting, several amendments to the local consitution were made last year which, amongst other restrictive practices, prevent residents from raising any matter at our Forums which do not meet your definition of 'public works', and we are now forbidden from mentioning, criticising, debating or challenging any aspect of what you consider to be 'council policy'.
At the recent Finchley and Golders Green Residents Forum, several of my questions were excluded from the agenda, including the extremely controversial subject of the proposal by Councillor Brian Coleman, to hire our parks and greenspaces to private customers. These questions were banned despite the fact that they did clearly relate to 'public works', and I was informed in writing by Mr John McArdle, the senior officer in charge of the highly contentious parking scheme, that this was because we may now not raise any matter that is 'boroughwide', even if it is in regard to 'public works'.
Despite the exclusion of my questions, other questions on park hire were allowed, as indeed, rather mystifyingly, a question of mine on the subject of ... park hire. In order to prove the point about the ridiculous new rules on exclusion, I had asked a facetious question about 'dogging', and was amused to see that you are prepared to discuss such an indelicate matter, yet consider a serious and very pertinent set of questions on what is a matter of enormous concern in regard to the proposed hire scheme to be unsuitable for inclusion.
I would like an explanation from you, in your position as Chair of the Forum, as to why this was so, and I would also like to know where in the council's constitution it states that questions regarding boroughwide issues may not now be raised at a Residents Forum.
2. Many of the speakers at last week's Forum were continually interrupted by you and asked to stop speaking, on the pretext that there was not enough time to allow them to express their views, yet the meeting finished early, at 7.20 pm, forty minutes before the end of the time allowed. I suggested to you that you might like to resume the discussion on some of the more contentious issues, but you declined to consider this. May I politely suggest that in future you manage the time better so that the issues which are of so much concern to residents are fully debated and that you do not regard the meetings as something to be endured, rather than an opportunity to engage with the people whose views you are supposed to represent? Which brings me to:
3. At the beginning of the Forum, before I was allowed to raise my question, I expressed my strong objection to the exclusion of my perfectly reasonable questions, and I asked you to explain to me how exactly you thought that the blatant censorship and heavy handed management of the Forums was in anyway compatible with the principles of your own government's new policy of localism, its committment to transparency, accountability and scrutiny, and its stated aim to empower communities to engage more closely with the processes of local government.
You refused to answer this point, saying that you would be happy to answer after the meeting, but at the end of the meeting, with forty minutes to spare, you were still curiously reluctant to discuss this. I would like therefore to offer you the opportunity to explain to me in writing your answer to this question. I am sure that my friend Mr Pickles will be very interested to see what you have to say.
cc Eric Pickles"
Subject: Re: Residents Forums in Broken Barnet
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2012 16:28:41 +0000
Thank you for your comments which I have noted.
Councillor for Golders Green
From my Blackberry
Mrs Angry was not pleased with this response - and she imagines Mr Pickles will not be either, Mr Thompstone - and has replied thus:
hmmm, good, but I don't want you just to note my comments, that is not enough, I am afraid. I am asking you to reply to some perfectly reasonable questions: I don't mean to be difficult, but if you are not prepared to explain the policies you are enforcing, perhaps you should consider standing down as Chair of the Forum.
oh, and while we are feeling mischievous ... in the words of Margaret Thatcher's favourite prayer - Lord, make me a channel of your peace:
"Dear Councillor Coleman,
I was deeply saddened to hear, at this week's full council meeting, that you are too scared to attend the local Residents Forums, due to the 'appalling behaviour' that ensues at such events.
I must agree with you.
To be lectured by our elected representatives in the form of a long list of new regulations at the beginning of such meetings that we, the residents, may not raise any issue at these Forums that is not a matter of 'public works', or that dares to challenge any aspect of 'council policy' is indeed an outrageous affront to civil liberty, and an utterly objectionable assault on the principle of the freedom of expression. Such behaviour is indeed simply appalling, and quite intolerable, and will I suspect be answered in no uncertain terms by voters at the next election.
Oh dear. Not long til May, is it?
In the meanwhile, may I reassure you that if you should feel moved to accept your invitation to the Finchley and Golders Green Residents Association to discuss your immensely popular and successful parking and park hire schemes, you will receive nothing less than a warm welcome - and perhaps some lighthearted heckling, taken, I am sure, in the spirit in which it is intended.
Love and kisses, as always,
cc Eric Pickles"
No responses yet, for some reason.
Absolutely unbelievable ... oh dear me, Mrs Angry can hardly type for laughing: look at this response just arrived from Councillor Coleman:
I do not accept anonymous e mails which I consider malicious communication and future e mails will be blocked and may be reported to the Police
Right. Excuse me while I reply ... back soon ...
You know perfectly well who I am, this is not an anonymous email, and I am perfectly entitled to write to you. If you want to report me to the police for the dreadful crime of sending an email, and yes, I can see that this could be considered an offence of the most awful depravity, I suggest you contact the Acting Borough Commander, who is a regular reader of my blog, and a very nice man, and I am sure that he will be very amused.
Yours as ever,
Mrs Angry xxx