Posts filed under: ‘libraries‘

Barnet Tribalism

The following set of emails will show just how ‘tribal’ and political local government in Barnet has become. There is absolutely no recognition among the Cabinet of this administration that Cllrs might be willing to work together for the benefit of the Borough while still not agreeing with other of their actions, or indeed that Councillors are individuals not ‘groups’. Every Council meeting we listen to the Mayor’s chaplain exhorting us to work togehter for the good of the community.  That is precisely what I became a Councillor to do. The correspondence below between me and Cabinet Member Robert Rams shows the tribal attitude of the Administration. (The motion he refers to is by Cllr Jack Cohen, a vote of no confidence in the Leader, Cllr Hillan.)

From Robert Rams to Cllr Palmer, Following our meeting of a couple of nights ago, we did agree to work closely and for me to keep you fully informed on the whole of the Library review.I am afraid following the actions of your leader and group in saying that you will be tabling a motion of no confidence I am withdrawing this offer. As you said in our meeting this could be an example of the coalition working together – but the actions of your group show that this is only in words and not in actions.I did hope that we could have worked closely on this project as I would have valued your in put but the actions of your group make this impossible
Cllr SusettePalmer to Robert Ram Nonsense. I care about the libraries and will work to improve them whoever is in administration. I don’t have to approve of the rest of the administrations actions. I had already made it quite clear in public what I felt.
 Robert Rams to Susette Palmer With one hand you want to work with me but on the other you want to bring the administration I work in down. Simply you can’t have it both ways.Yes we have differences and there is no issue with that – but this, in my view, over steps the line.If you and your party were genuine in what YOU said about working on an issue like this as a coalition you would withdraw this motion.
 Susette Palmer to Robert Rams
 My feelings about libraries are in no way affected by the disgust I feel at the Cabinet awarding themselves a payrise. I think I made my feelings on this quite clear at the last Council meeting. Despite this I was and indeed am determined to work with whoever is in Administration to further the interests of Libraries in Barnet. I am sorry you dont  feel the same way. I am fed up with the total inability of Cllrs to think outside Party politics. I really cannot see why you are taking this attitude.  
 Susette says, “In summmary,I believe that Councillors should work together on a project by project basis across Party lines.



I think this is what the electorate wants.”


Add a comment September 6, 2010

Golders green library

Happy to attend Golders Green library last Thursday to celebrate renewal work including (at last) public toilet and ‘self issue’ equipment allowing you to self issue books in 4 languages.  Ceremony was followed by Programme of Storytime which my grandtwins enjoyed and an evening talk on researching family history for which we now have some web facilities.  If anyone out there would like to join the Friends of Barnet Libraries please let me know.

3 comments February 18, 2009

Social Mobility and the Library System.

Social Mobility and the Library System.


I was called to make an intervention in the social mobility debate at Lib. Dem. Conference in Bournemouth this week. I drew attention to the OECD report which shows that children who read for pleasure are more likely to better themselves. Repeating my words to Barnet ‘s last Council Meeting I reiterated that the free library system was wellplaced to interest children in reading from the charity Baby Bookstart through baby rhyme time (my grand-twins love it) and storytime schemes, to summer reading challenges and teenage reading groups in their own part of the library.

In Barnet I paid a special tribute to the Children’s librarian Hannah Richens, reminded members that we were one of the first Children’s libraries and congratulated library staff on their efforts. I also suggested it was high time that Cllr Mrs Bannister without whom none of it would have happened was awarded a plaque in Hendon Library.

“It is essential”, she ended at Bournemouth that we use the Library system “It’s free, it’s there and we should use it to the best advantage.”


PS Those eagle eyed among you would have seen me knitting in TV shots of Conference. It is a very nice Susette designed beaded glove. Pattern on request! No problem with needles this year!!

Add a comment September 21, 2008

Park and Libraries in Barnet

These are the areas dear to my heart.  Barnet has , this year achieved 7 green flag parks.  This is good.  For very unusual reasons I, as an opposition COuncillor, chaired the meeting of the committee dealing with parks, when we didn’t have any green flags,  and was able to get agreement for a resolution to go for Green Flag parks asap.  However I did not intend that this would mean taking park-keepers (also reinstated as my policy when Chair) away from other parks for large proportion of their time.  I do think that more attention needs to be paid to some of the parks and open spaces in the Borough and am putting forward an amend ment at next weeks COuncil meeting to say so.

Libraries come up at that meeting as well.  The Administration are proposing a voluntary reading scheme.  It sounds good but hope to get more information.  Meanwhile , in the minutes from last time, Cllr Coleman berates me for objecting to the disgraceful charge of £1000 for shops to use the curtilege because I complained about the cafe Nero’s cigarette stubs (they have since cleaned up their act.)  “THis gives us the power we did not have before to deal with it”, he says.  THIS IS RUBBISH. The ward officers (abolished by this Tory Administration.)were able, and did take care of it under existing legislation.  He also takes a swipe at my knitting.  Since my knitting is the most constructive thing to come out of COuncil Meetings as they are now constituted I can happily take this in my stride.

For those interested my current project is a book of glove projects.  I am working on a DK glove in Rowan Tapestry.  A simple but effective lace pattern.  For more about my knitting see

Add a comment September 5, 2008


May 2018
« Sep    




Printed and hosted by Published by Susette Palmer 31 The Vale NW118SE on her own behalf.