I have resisted restarting my Blog but when Westminster is reeling from scandals of hidden expenses including claims for bird houses, cleaning moats, and unreasonable claims for flipping mortgage interest on second homes , Michael Freer Tory Leader of Barnet Council learns nothing. Barnet Council decided to set some Scrutiny Task & Finish Groups made up of Tories, Labour and Lib Dem Councillors to perform specific tasks. My Group asked me to serve on the one dealing with Enterprise in Barnet. The very harmonious panel decided that as its first task it would see how to encourage new business and encourage existing local businesses. We were told that the Tory Council Leader was having a Leader Listens Breakfast with local business community. The task panel, in its innocence, requested invitations to that Leader Listens so that we could hear at first hand the views and concerns of the local entrepreneurs.

We were amazed to be told ˜that this is an invitation only event and that it would be inappropriate for councillors to attend”. It is this very secrecy from Councillors which resulted in the probable loss of Millions of Pounds in Icelandic Banks. It is this very secrecy what has contributed to the over-budget of £11mill on Aerodrome Road Bridge; it is this very secret which led to £90,000 being spent on TV screens at Barnet offices and of the need to buy computers to just stick in a storeroom.

When it all goes “˜belly-up” Cllr Freer and his colleagues say it was all the officers fault. The exclusion of the Scrutiny Task Force from meeting the local businesspeople could be seen as part of Freer’s bid to be elected to Parliament and should not be paid for by Council Tax Payers who I am sure would rather the money was spent on retaining Wardens in Sheltered Housing.