At a crowded meeting on Wednesday 10 October, the Barnet Alliance for Public Services enthusiastically passed the following emergency resolution:
In view of the sudden impending departure of the Chief Executive Officer of the council, Nick Walkley, and the likely collapse of the ONE BARNET privatisation programme, we demand that the cabinet resign forthwith to enable fresh local elections.
We felt that the borough was now left without an effective programme or political leadership and that, on behalf of the whole community, we had to call for drastic action without delay: for new elections and a new relationship between council and citizens. To help achieve these aims we are calling upon the Labour Group on Barnet Council, and all councillors who oppose the ONE BARNET programme to come together to move a vote of no confidence in the present administration.
Nick Walkley, the overpaid, unelected master of the Barnet cabinet, has suddenly decided to walk out of his job and into a lower-paid one in Haringey. This is just weeks before his grand scheme to auction our public services to the highest bidder, the One Barnet programme, is due for signing. He cannot be allowed to leave without an explanation. What became of the £9 million that went on consultants’ fees for a shabby sell-off which should be ditched? For decades local councils have been starved of funds and powers and their role reduced to little more than procurement agents for multinational corporations.
ONE BARNET would eventually have handed over 90% to one or two of them. As such it was it was a conspiracy against democracy: against both the citizens of Barnet and against their representatives: the elected councillors.
Without Walkley and without ONE BARNET what is the Tory administration going to do? For four years they have been telling us that they cannot cope: that they are incapable of running council services, that if one or two big firms don’t take over they will have no choice but to extend and increase to breaking point their present savage policy of cut, charge and privatise. They say there is no alternative.
We believe there is an alternative: public services should and can remain public.
There is no general shortage of funds. The top super-rich 1000 wake up £50 million wealthier every morning. There are plenty of services [e.g. water, electricity, gas, broadband, banking, etc.] which are making good money for private profiteers. We believe they could be working for us. Our aim is a council run for and by its citizens - which will preserve, restore and extend the range of public services in a cooperative partnership with the people who use them and the people who work at providing them.