Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Silver Blaze”

Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"

Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."

Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."

Holmes: "That was the curious incident."

No this blog is not about my dog Jake. He does bark in the night especially if a stranger comes any where near our door. I am referring to Tuesday night’s full Council meeting.

The meeting was memorable for what did not happen.

The first part of the meeting is called question time. Council members send in written questions in advance to cabinet members. On the night members are permitted to ask a supplementary question in response to the written answer.

I had submitted a question to the Leader about his leader listens blog. Somehow the question was mislaid and never appeared on the order paper! I graciously accepted the apologies of Senior Officers.

My Lib Dem colleagues Cllr Wayne Casey and Cllr Jeremy Davies tabled a series of questions to the Council Leader. They were seeking answers to real concerns about the impact of the potential loss of twenty seven million pounds and the accumulative interest.

The Leader’s answers were almost monosyllabic. So we were none the wiser about how much this was going to cost the Council.

Cllr Davies also had a motion about the banking crisis. Cllr Casey had a motion about road Traffic fatalities in Barnet. The Conservatives used their majority to exclude both motions from debate.

Under Council rules this means both motions were simply put to the vote The leader of the Council put forward an amendment to Cllr Davies’ motion .This contained what at best is described in my opinion as an unwarranted personal attack on Cllr Davies.

Cllr Davies stood up to invoke section 27.3 of the constitution. This provides the right to every Councilor to respond to personal attacks. There is one snag.

The Mayor has to give his consent. This The Mayor normally does. On this night the Mayor refused to allow Cllr Davies a hearing. Like the Speaker of the House of Commons we are not supposed to criticize the Mayor. Form your own view.

As for the rest of the meeting pretty nothing worth reporting; except at the very end.

My ward colleague Cllr Monroe Palmer asked about Council proposals to reduce parking charges during the Christmas break. His eagle eye had noted a glaring error in the Statutory Notice published in the local newspaper The notice gave the start date but no end date. Did this mean Cllr Palmer queried, that reduced parking fees applied for ever more!

The flustered cabinet member in charge of this appeared to think everything was ok. Judging from the conversations I overheard after the meeting, red faces all round.

I am having a break for the holidays. A happy Christmas, a happy Hanukkah and a peaceful new year