Tuesday saw a very busy full council meeting.
We started with an extraordinary meeting, about the shortfall in CCG funding. It's a measure of how much the Barnet Tories have their heads buried in the sand that they had no worries about millions of pounds missing. They argue it is only £9 million, which are the direct cuts to GPs, but there is another £81 million difference in the original budget. Some, but not all, has been taken back by the national commissioning board to commission strategic services.We don't know how much of this is a benefit to Barnet residents, nor do we know the full amounts.
The Tories go on about scaremongering, but I'm sure residents in Friern Barnet will remember Cllr Rawlings was accused of scaremongering over the future of Friern Barnet Library in 2010. What happened with that one?
I put down an amendment against the privatization going on in the NHS. Even I must admit the Tory response was shocking. Cllr Cornelius extolled the virtues of private health (after they had cried in indignation when Barry warned that the US system would be the one we end up with if the Tory government keep butchering the NHS) Cllr Rowan Quigley-Turner said how wonderful the private sector was, and how efficient they were. Cllr Turner knows nothing about Healthcare, judging from his comments. Sad, as he has a hospital in his ward.
The US system shows what a load of rubbish the Tories trot out. The state provided healthcare, medicaid and medicare, are CHEAPER AND MORE EFFICIENT than the private sector systems, where you have to search through your wallet for your credit card every time you need an ambulance. Their private system is inefficient because of the army of bureaucrats they need to check whether patients are covered for the "right sort of illness" etc. If that's what the Tories want, it proves they never could be trusted with the NHS.
And if privatization was so good for the NHS, why are the nations with the best national systems the ones with a public sector health provider? Work that one out.
These people are mad about the private sector. They love their bankers, but they hate the NHS. These are people who rejected making the borough a "fairtrade" borough, because they prefer free trade (!) Work that one out too while you're at it.
Then came the Budget meeting. I felt we had some good speeches, but in reality this session doesn't make decisions like a committee meeting, and is more of a set speech debate. The Tories curtailed the debate early, presumably because as usual we thrashed them, and they had no answers.
Cllr Melvin Cohen is to be the next mayor, having done so before in 2003 (which Daniel Thomas thinks is in the 90's) I wish him best of luck for his year ahead. Cllr Brian Schama, the current mayor is very friendly, and will be a hard act to follow.