|Helen Michael is on the left|
It is hard to separate Nick Walkley the Returning Officer, from Nick Walkley the Chief Executive of Barnet Council, especially as he swans around in one of the mayoral jaguars come election time and uses Barnet Council staff to organise the polling stations and carry out the count. It must be about time that the Electoral Commission thought about the wisdom of getting independent people to deal with voting rather than ones who are so close to local politics.
Who knows if it was Nick's own idea to call the police in to closely question Helen Michael of Cafe Buzz ( aka the Barnet One ) or if a local councillor has made a robust suggestion to him but the fact is that the problem with the poster was minor and immediately rectified once realised.
Mr Mustard knows what it is like to be on the receiving end of silly behaviour by pettifogging bureaucrats as one of his evenings got ruined when he was at a foreign racetrack and instead of enjoying a beer in the bar he had to deal with the £40,000 argument about the cost of Freedom of Information Requests and his non-registration under the Data Protection Act, an act under which bloggers do not need to register. A fat lot of good that strategy did Barnet Council, as they have since found out, with Mr Mustard having to continue to put in regular FOI requests as Barnet Council are as open and transparent now as they were a year ago i.e. hardly at all.
You have to question the value of employing Chris Palmer, as the Assistant Director of Communications, who has the hopeless task of trying to make Barnet Council look good. It's an impossible job and even if he were the most brilliant communicator in the land (not that Mr Mustard is claiming that he is!) to pay an agency (Hays, but that is just a conduit to his own company) £504 a day for turd polishing can only be an utter waste of money.
You also have to think that Barnet Council were not really very strategic when they shopped Mr Mustard to the Information Commissioner as if he had needed to register he would have done so and that would have killed the complaint. Moreover, to go on the offensive against a debt collector of 25 years standing without considering that he might therefore have a backbone and been through a few legal battles in his time was not very bright.
The same lack of thought is evident now. Helen Michael is a popular lady and well respected by the other traders in North Finchley. She is a lady who makes her mind up and knows what is right and wrong and has a kind heart as she has donated some of her takings to help Mencap keep their juice bar going. She has worked hard for years to build up a good business and does not want to see her efforts ruined by a radical, ill-conceived, badly implemented and unworkable parking policy that no-one voted for in May 2010 as it wasn't in the manifesto. She will be no easier a pushover than Mr Mustard was and just as Mr Mustard was supported by the other Barnet Bloggers, David Hencke, Private Eye etc. the Barnet Bloggers and other Barnet organisations are flocking to support her. Mr Mustard has his cheque book ready should the need arise.
Here are links to the other local bloggers' posts about Helen.
If you are off out shopping or even just passing through North Finchley (just north of Tally Ho) do call in and buy a tea or coffee and cake or maybe have lunch. You will not be disappointed.
Yours frugally (but generous to his friends)