Letter for publication: rebuttal to Cllr Cornelius

Cllr Cornelius (letter 19/5/16) tries to shift blame for the election fiasco, with his ‘nothing to do with me, guv’  whingeing. Chief Executive Andrew Travers has gone with an undisclosed  pay off,  but however  much Cllr Cornelius scapegoats officers, he can’t hide from  political  responsibility. Political parties should not be involved in the administration  of elections. But most people can see the distinction between  that and  setting the  budget  and staffing  for the elections  department- why  else does the General Functions Committee have  ‘elections’ in its terms of reference?  Running elections for the glee club  committee? It obviously means oversight, to ensure that public elections and voter  registration are run efficiently.  The Chair , Cllr Scannell should go, as she has woefully fallen down on this  job. As Leader of the Council, Cllr Cornelius should go too, as he is responsible  for the  elections budget and staffing .

Cllr Cornelius  claims his investigation  will  find out why wrong registers were used. But it won’t deal with everything else that goes wrong every election in Bungling Barnet. The scandal of  voters  being left off the register ( and indeed kept on,  when they asked to come off), of poll cards  and postal votes not being sent out in time or at all,  of the Capita unobtainable  hapless helpline, all excluded. The terms of reference are too narrow,  and contrary to Cllr  Cornelius’s misleading press release,  were not approved by Labour.

In advance of the Referendum, voters are already complaining  about unexplainable difficulties registering and applying  for postal or proxy votes. The validity of the Referendum in Bungling Barnet  is becoming jeopardised, yet Cllr Cornelius, ostrich head in the sand, wriggles to avoid responsibility  for the election  cock ups, which will inevitably  happen again next month.

Andrew Dismore

London Assembly  member for Barnet and Camden