22 March 2012

Small business owners don't always make good big business leaders

picture credit: www.banffcentre.ca
Mr Mustard's alter ego runs a small business, he is not sure he could run a big one as different skills are needed.

Richard Cornelius runs a small business (and very well at that if profit is your guide; he improved the reserves of Cornelius & Davies Ltd from £403,021 to £867,411 in the year ended 30 November 2010. That is a profit after all expenses of £464,390 in a year. Don't buy jewellery; it is all profit!) Richard does not appear to need the money from being the Council "leader" unless he is trying to buy Old Masters or something, like this one which recently sold for $250m.

filling in time before a committee meeting.

Now Mr Mustard thought when Richard Cornelius was appointed as "Leader" last year that we might see a change of direction and that we would see some old school financial management and common sense. Mr Mustard was, sadly, completely wrong and now we have a "Leader" who doesn't lead and who has no vision.

This was brought home to Mr Mustard on Monday evening at the premiere of "A Tale of Two Barnets" a film which Cornelius has slated despite not having seen it. Now Mr Mustard may not be very good in front of a camera but at least he has something to say and knows what drives him and where he is going. Just watch this short clip, Cornelius is at the end of the clip, it's only a minute or so long:

Now Mr Mustard tries to be fair. He thought that the footage of Mr Cornelius's ideas must have ended up on the cutting room floor and so he wrote to Mr Cornelius to ask him what ideas he had. Here is the email.

Dear Cllr Cornelius

I am sure you will recall taking part in the above film.

I note from the final part of this trailer ( top item on this link ) that you were not sure that there was anything you could change about Barnet.

I do not believe that you did not then go on to list all of the things about Barnet that you, as leader, wanted to change.

Could you please enlighten me as to what they were?
Yours sincerely

Mr Mustard
You have to give Mr Cornelius a mark for effort as he replied straightaway but he gets nothing for content.

Dear Mr Mustard

I do remember being interviewed.  I do not remember all that I said and how I said it but I can re-assure you that the things that I would like to try and change would be those, that most people would wish to improve.


That was no answer at all and also opened the door for Mr Mustard to tell Mr Cornelius, and he hopes that he got the selection about right on behalf of "most people", what most people want.

Dear Mr Cornelius

Thank you for your brief reply.

I have come to the conclusion, since you would most like to change what most people would like to change, the thing I would most like to change, is you (as "Leader" that is).

I am not entirely sure, however, that you are the most urgent case for replacement as there is a close run battle at the top of my league table of "What is wrong with Barnet", to replace/remove/change:

Brian Coleman
the parking payment method (bring back the meters & our own traffic wardens)
the parking tariff
the fairer contributions policy (a misnomer if ever I heard one)
One Barnet and all the attendant overpaid consultants and the hundreds of temporary staff
don't allow private events in public parks
Nick Walkley
Andrew Travers and all the other Town Hall Tax Dodgers
the lack of cycling infrastructure
stop expanding the borough population by 1% p.a. and the attendant horrible buildings
keep Friern Barnet library
re-open Church Farmhouse Museum

Yours sincerely

Mr Mustard

The press office will now be tearing their hair out, oh well. Mr Mustard forgot to put down the emasculation of Residents Forums but he can add those in if he gets another response, which doubtless will be drafted by someone else on behalf of Mr Cornelius. If another response does arrive Mr Mustard will be sending a much expanded email which dissects every one of the above policies in fine detail, and he will bring the exchange to you on this blog.

Now should Mr Cornelius be reading this he needs to ask himself why he is the "Leader", how he is making Barnet a better place and whether the light is worth the candle?

At the moment you are the corniest joke going Mr Cornelius. Your tenure has been brief but your legacy will be nothing at all so why not step aside and let a younger man/woman have a go (someone with drive, vision, energy, intelligence, enthusiam, ability - what's that, oh an email from Mrs Angry - stop being silly Mr Mustard there isn't anyone ...)

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. hmm. Emasculation of forums ... I noticed that line used in the Two Barnets Film. I think, ahem, that was my phrase. I am going to start copyrighting my favourite insults & accusations.

  2. Oh dear. Are you monitoring my blog for defamation Mrs Angry? I am so sorry if I have inadvertently used a phrase which is your copyright. I don't recall it from the film either. I must pay more attention.

  3. Mr Mustard: "In the comments section we said a great many things. You said I was to do the thinking for both of us. Well, I've done a lot of it since then, and it all adds up to one thing: you're getting in that movie with me and Nick and Richard where you belong."
    Mrs Angry: "But, Mr M, no, I... I..."
    Mr M: "Now, you've got to listen to me! You have any idea what you'd have to look forward to if you refused? Nine chances out of ten, we'd both wind up in a failing borough. Isn't that true, Roger?"
    Roger: "I'm afraid Mr Reasonable would insist."
    Mrs A: "You're saying this only to make me appear."
    Mr M: "I'm saying it because it's true. Inside of us, we both know you belong with Richard. You're part of his work, the thing that keeps him going. If that movie gets shown and you're not in it with me and him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life."
    Mrs A: "But what about us?"
    Mr M: "We'll always have Mill Hill. We didn't have, we, we lost it until you came to East Finchley. We got it back last night."
    Mrs A: "When I said I would never appear alongside you."
    Mr M: "And you never will. But I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Mrs A, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of us little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that."
    [Mrs A lowers her head and begins to cry]
    Mr M: "Now, now..."
    [Mr M gently places his hand on her wireless mouse and raises it so their eyes meet]
    Mr M: "Here's blogging at you kid."

  4. For "Mill Hill" read "Hendon Town Hall".

    (Unless actually ...)

  5. Oh, baarnett: please don't encourage him. And now you've gone and spoilt one of my favourite films. I don't use a mouse, but I do snivel a lot.

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