Tuesday, 27 April 2010

RAB canvassing feedback

Dorthy Badrick Chairman of RAB writes:

As I have been canvassing two observations are being made to me that I would like to answer.

Firstly, what are our policies?
Well, we formed because we were and are dismayed at the juggernaut that our local authority has become both in terms of size, power and blindness to us the residents. We are a broad umbrella but all our candidates subscribe to independence and NO party whip so that issues are debated and discussed in terms of their value to the local community not to what a political party wants. This has been demonstrated with a site in Finchley, The Brent Lodge Orchard Site. We have three candidiates who appeared to have very different views on the use of this site. But by dint of meetings and discussions we have been able to broker an agreement to the satisfaction of all the parties involved. This was achieved by not imposing a solution which sets opposing parties at each other throats but by working through the issues and concerns of everybody, a process that this administration appears not to understand. I mention this site in particular because it demonstrates our commitment to upholding the public ownership of publically owned assets, which we believe that an administration holds only in trust. Therefore we are absolutely opposed to the Conservative plans for “asset backed vehicles” which are the equivalent of selling the family farm. The Finchley site also involved a charity for vulnerable adults. The agreement reached also benefits them – we in RAB have a commitment to the well-being of all vulnerable people. We do not support the removal of wardens from sheltered housing. We are opposed to any cutting of essential front line services. We think that substantial savings can be made by cutting “back end administration”. We do not support “Future shape” or “EasyCouncil.” Why should we pay for extra administrative functions instead of paying for services?

My second observation involves Faith.
We are blessed in Barnet with numerous Faith groups all of whom work to high moral values and provide substantial charitable support to their own and other communities. The “Churches Together” organisation fosters communication and understanding between Faiths. Many of the various Faiths have organised local and national “hustings” believing that their Faith must be a working and practical force for good in the community. Whether or not you are a person of Faith the work of the religious groups is huge and beneficial. In RAB we have candidates who are atheist, greens, Jewish and Christian. We are united in our desire to bring back respect to local government.

Finally, we are committed to the community and I firmly believe that a community needs to be local. Locating your local authority about as far away as you can from the majority of the electorate, badly served by public transport is, frankly, an insult. As is using residents’ money to sue them if they have the temerity to complain or protest. I have been shocked at the awful stories that have been related to me. People have been made seriously ill by how they have been treated. This is not democracy in any way that I understand it.

I hope this statement helps voters to make up their minds. And I do most urgently encourage everyone who is eligible to vote to do just that. Change is possible we can all contribute to making a difference. If we do not then our local authority will become as remote as the EU and about as useful.

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