September 30, 2010 6 Comments
There was a lot of fuss last year when Barnet council announced that it would be adopting a ‘no frills’ service. An ‘Easy’ council if you like. Residents would get a very basic service and any extras would have to be paid for. Many services would be outsourced from private companies while council staffing is cut.
But the peasants are revolting. Barnet residents haven’t taken this lying down- there have been a series of demonstrations and meetings calling for an end to the cost cutting, especially when the most vulnerable members of society –the elderly and very young- are involved. There is a campaign to keep libraries open after it was suggested that reading real books was a rather outmoded idea and that residents who wished to cling to their old ways could pick up their books in Tesco’s and pop along to Starbucks to have a read.
Meanwhile Lambeth council have announced plans to become a cooperative (I hope they do those nice fairtade chocolates) and encourage local community groups and individuals to help run things. Well that’s me sorted out after redundancy from my own council then. Perhaps I’ll pop along to Brixton town hall and offer my services to housing. Maybe take a broom with me and give Rush Common a little sweep on the way.
I wonder how many other councils will choose the no frills option or the cooperative route after the Comprehensive Spending Review and whether this is the future model for council services.
This summer I went on holiday with EasyJet. I took my own snacks (£4.50 for a buttie? You’re having a laugh), I packed light so I didn’t incur luggage penalties and I queued. And I queued and I queued. There was rather a Dunkirk spirit about it as we swapped horror stories. A mother travelling alone with three children under the age of seven told me how she was separated from her kids on the flight over because there weren’t four seats together. The mum pointed to her toddler who was sucking her thumb and clutching a blankie.
‘They wanted her sit on her own!’ she said.
Well the flight- perhaps like the easy council model- did what it was supposed to do and got me quite nicely from A to B eventually.
An adequate, basic service.
But I’d rather travel BA.