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"Should Carmarthenshire be Twinned with Barnet?"

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'Carmarthenshire Planning Problems'

"... I suggest you have a look at the Barnet bloggers, notably Mrs Angry's and Mr Mustard's. They, along with others in the London borough, set something of an example to the rest of us about the role of citizens bringing a local authority to account. 

"The similarities with Carmarthenshire Council have often been noted here, and it has been suggested that a twinning arrangement could be set up, whereby senior officers and members could exchange positions for a week or two, to bring each other up to date with the latest methods of withholding information and avoiding scrutiny by members of the public.

"Of course, Barnet has a slight difficulty in that it is beholden to publish spending details over £500 and, under the English Public Audit Act, has to provide an inspection period every year, for the electorate to view all the accounts. Carmarthenshire council, of course, doesn't have to worry about any of that nonsense. ... 

"Not that Barnet is any more welcoming to armchair auditors than our friends down the road, and their recent trip to study the accounts (remember this includes receipts, invoices etc) was reminiscent of a trip to view the register of member's interests undertaken by 'Mrs T' last year.(see The Sacred Parchments

"Also reminiscent is the way the Barnet bloggers were treated, rather like suspected terrorists, being marched around the building and escorted to the loo and back, as well as being faced with material which was so redacted it was unreadable. 

"A few weeks ago, a lady was ordered to leave a Barnet council meeting for filming the proceedings, by an overly secretive Chair who had momentarily forgotten that such basic democratic rights were now welcome in the Chamber (credit for this move also goes to the bloggers). ..."

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