Sunday, 21 January 2018

The Tweets of The Week in The London Borough of Barnet 21/01/2018

A surprisingly good week for the Tweeters of Barnet. Some rather nice ones on here.

Don't forget to follow any Tweeters who tickle your fancy!

1. And you thought Grahame Park was all tower blocks and ugliness! Great pictures from a regular!

2. Well done to our next generation of Olympians! Currently being put through the paces by Edgware Scouts

3. This is a lovely idea. Let's see more of it across the Borough!

4. This is rather disturbing. If you see people behaving suspiciously, please notify the Police.

5. A great picture from the Met Police at The RAF Museum

6. A sad sight for everyone who has an association with Barnet FC

7. The Ducks are coming (well they are if you are in Totterdige).

8. Seems like a certain footballer was getting groomed in Mill Hill. I wonder if he has a job interview somewhere?

9. This is a campaign we've been supporting. Respect to Mark Amies for sticking with it!

10. One of our local institutions lost a friend this week

That's all folks !!!!

Saturday, 20 January 2018

The Saturday list #161 - My top five dream jobs!

This list was inspired listening to Robert Elms saying to Vanessa Feltz that they both have the best job in the world on BBC Radio London. Vanessa replied that, he might have but she doesn't like getting up early! We all must have thought about our dream job? Maybe you have a friend, who has a great job that you'd love to do. Maybe there's a TV or Radio show you'd love to present.  I thought I'd put together a list of mine. The criteria is that I could have a crack at doing it, although I've no idea whether I'd be any good at it. This year, I have decided that I am going to have a crack at 'something different'. For years, I've supplemented my income by doing the odd bit of IT consultancy, but I have decided that those days are over.  I am in the market for a few extra quid, so here's five things I'd love to do, if the circumstance arose, to raise those extra pennies. I must state that I do actually have a great job, running Mill Hill Music Complex music studios, but I do have spare time to fill in!

Here we go......

1. The artistic director of The Roundhouse.
Why - The Roundhouse is my favourite venue in the world. I think it is an absolutely superb space. Many of my favourite gigs have been staged there. I've even got my name on the wall there!
A post shared by Mill Hill Music Complex (@millhillmusic) on
What I'd bring to the job - I've run an independent studio successfully for 39 years (as of Feb 14th). I'd like to see a few more festivals etc at the venue, curated by well known artists, giving up and coming artists a slot on the bill. It is my absolute dream for my band, The False Dots to do a show there, and I'm sure most other London bands feel the same. One of the downsides of the modern digital age is that it gets ever harder for us to hear new artists. There is no John Peel show on Radio One. I absolutely believe that live venues such as The Roundhouse are the perfect antidote to this, and getting genuinely strong bills is the way to go. The first Punk gig I saw was The Ramones, The Talking Heads and The Saints. It made me realise that diverse groups of artists can work on a bill.

2. Guest presenter of The Robert Elms Show on BBC London.
Why - There is no way I'd want to take Roberts job. He's brilliant, but I'd love to present it when he's off with the Missus for a dirty weekend. It is perhaps the best job in the world, as it covers all the bases that interest me, Music, Food, Drink, Architecture, obscure facts, lists (The London Playlist), Transport.
What I'd Bring to the job - Robert does all that stuff so well. What would I bring? Well if I was doing it as a one off, I'd do a whole show on Londons Grassroots music venues. Robert has been great in supporting the Save London Music Campaign, but I'd like to really have a show putting them in the spotlight. I am working on a book on the subject, so it would be a great opportunity to have some fun and get some background info. Mind you I'd like to do it on the day Nigel Bardon comes in, so there would be the food slot, as that always makes me hungry. I'd also get Russell Clark, the Rock and Roll routemaster in to assist. I believe he was a mate of mys sister at Westfield College back in the day. If I did the show on a Thursday, I'd also put London Girls by The Vibrators and E=MC2 by Big Audio Dynamite on the London Playlist. And I certainly wouldn't play the Beatles.

3. Run The Three Hammers Pub.
Why - The Three Hammers has the potential to be the best pub in Mill Hill, if not the whole of the Borough of Barnet. Sadly it is simply not a great place to go for a drink
What I'd bring to the pub - I'd make it a proper community hub. It has the most bland, horrible decor. I'd break it up into areas, have better food with an emphasis on fresh produce, get proper ale's and ciders in. I'd stage Beer festivals in the summer and have a proper program of live music. I'd encourage pensioners and families to come. I'd have a dog friendly bar so that walkers doing the Totteridge Valley could use it as a hub. I'd even organise guided walks! I'd also have board game nights and comedy. Ideally I'd love to make it a brew pub.
Sound good?????

4. Open a Cheese Shop in Mill Hill Broadway.
Why - long time readers may snigger when they read this. Back in 2010, our local MP, Matthew Offord stated that if he was elected, he'd like to make Mill Hill Broadway the type of place that people would come to open cheese shops. Eight years later we have no cheese shop.
What I'd bring to a cheese shop - Although Mill Hill has a decent selection of convenience stores, a great butcher and a decent wine shop, we really need a top notch deli that does fresh organic produce and high end quality food. I think that it would raise the area. If I win the lottery, I'd take over the Jennings Bet shop and put my deli there. I'd do speciality teas made in pots and fresh coffee, using beans from Smiths Coffee, who used to roast coffee in Mill Hill.  But most of all I'd source all the foods that you love but can't get in the other shops. I'd also run cookery courses there, and get guest chefs in to spread the word as to why good ingredients are worth the effort. But most of all I'd have a great selection of rare and unusual cheeses that you simply can't get in Iceland, Tesco's and M&S. And just to be extra environmentally friendly I'd do local delivery to your door on a bike!

5. Become The Artistic Director of Manchester City FC.
Why - I am a City fan. I am highly impressed with the direction the new owners have taken the club. As I have no qualifications to coach, no skill to play and no contacts to bring to the commercial side of the club, I sat back and wondered what I could do to help the club move forward.
What I would bring - Every week Manchester City FC have 55,000 people turn up to watch football. The club are massively interested in social engagement and I think that they could benefit from an artistic director. I have a minor association with the club in this regard, as they used a song I co-wrote and performed as the music for their website goal of the month show in 2012. I regalarly go to the Etihad and I think that there is a missed opportunity to do many things. I'd invite young fans to submit artwork and display this in the bar and catering areas. I'd get local bands to submit music for the website. I'd have a page in the matchday program to promote local music, arts etc. Chelsea have a fantastic venue at Under The Bridge and this is something City should look at. Vincent Kompany, the club captain is doing an MBA and made a well reported comment that Premier clubs should cut the cost of watching the team to attract grassroots supporters. I'd like to also see this developed. I'd have 500 seats that local kids would get free every week, but they'd have to do something cultural for the club or the community to qualify.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Guest Blog - Why Jeremy Hunt is the most competent minister in the Conservative government by John Sullivan

By John Sullivan,
Why are people appealing to Jeremy Hunt to save our NHS,? Why are they calling him incompetent? Why have they not awoken and smelt the coffee?
It should be crystal clear to everyone in the country that Jeremy Hunt is by far the most competent minister in the Theresa May's  government.  He was tasked with destroying our NHS, an NHS that relies absolutely on staff morale, destroy staff morale and you destroy our NHS. Then starve it of funds to destroy the quality of provision, bring it to the edge of bankruptcy , then claim the only people with the funds to rescue our NHS, is the private sector, that Jeremy Hunt has had numerous meetings with in the past 4 years . Whilst at the same time breaking up the NHS into 28 easy to sell off parcels, for when the time comes for a fire sale to his American and British friends in private healthcare provision. And make no mistake, that time will be soon.

There is no point appealing to Jeremy Hunt or challenging his competence, he was tasked with the destruction and the privatisation of our NHS, and nobody in their right mind can say he isn't achieving his goal.
Image result for jeremy hunt with richard Branson
So wake up and smell the coffee people. Unless you take a stand now, your most valuable and necessary asset in life, our NHS will be destroyed, broken up and sold off.  The health insurers and providers are already circling the UK like sharks smelling blood. That blood is devastation of cuts, where this January we have a crisis so serious, all but emergency operations have been cancelled. (Ed note On friend of ours, has had an operation for a pre cancerous oesophageal condition cancelled). This crisis is not caused by anything other than a deliberate policy of neglect, designed to soften up British voters for a full scale privatisation.
Many millions will die early, or consigned to live a life of pain or debt misery as a result of health bills. This is not scaremongering, as this  is exactly what happens in the good old US of A, where the majority of the private health care companies and health insurers, who Jeremy Hunt has been meeting with these past four years are based.

Either stand up and fight for it, or wave goodbye to our NHS. But for goodness sake, stop appealing to Jeremy Hunt. He is simply carrying out the orders of the paymasters of the Tory party, the well off few who begrudge the common man the right to decent health care, dignity and a life without fear of bankruptcy when illness strikes.  The only way to stop this is for everyone in the UK who cares and has a heart to use every means at their disposal to send Hunt and his cronies a message that they cannot treat the honest citizens of the UK with such disdain. Don't buy the products of companies associated with privatisation of Health Care such as Virgin Group. Don't buy the papers that support this destruction such as The Sun, and when there are elections such as the Council elections in May, vote for the party most likely to keep the Tories out, so that a message they can't ignore is sent. 
John Sullivan is a local resident and regular guest blogger at The Barnet Eye. Guest blogs are always welcome at The Barnet Eye. John has a special interest in the NHS and Adult Social care issues.

Five years ago, John Sullivan was involved in a legal challenge against the One Barnet outsourcing program. Here is an interview we made at the time, where John outlined his reasons for opposing outsourcing. In light of what has happened with Carillion this week, I think it is very illuminating to listen to Johns comments. His fears expressed at the time are clearly well founded. I would recommend that everyone has a look at this.

The Friday Joke - 19/1/2018

Image result for old married couple  jokes
It's Friday, so it's the time of the week where we have a joke. And this week it's a cracker!

After being married for 25 years, a wife asked her husband to describe her.
He looked at her carefully, then said, 'You are A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K.'
'What does that mean?' she asked suspiciously.
He said, 'Adorable, Beautiful, Cute, Delightful, Elegant, Foxy, Gorgeous and Hot!'
She beamed at him happily and said: 'Oh, that's so lovely! But what about I, J and K?'

He replied 'I'm Just Kidding!'
(The hospital reports that the swelling in his eye is going down and the doctors are fairly 
optimistic about saving his genitals).

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Federation of Small Business states that outsourcing policy poses risk to nations economic stability

The following is a statement issued by The Federation of Small Business

Responding to the announcement of overdraft extensions, payment holidays and fee waivers from a number of banks for small firms impacted by Carillion’s collapse, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry, said:
“The emergency measures put in place by banks for customers hit by Carillion’s collapse will provide some respite at a desperate time for hundreds of small firms. Many hundreds more are still yet to feel the knock-on impacts of the giant’s demise. It’s critical that they also receive support in the months ahead.
“We now need to establish a Carillion task force dedicated to helping all affected small firms and workers to recover and get back on their feet. Following Rover’s collapse in 2005, I was involved in a similar initiative where we successfully supported suppliers and found new opportunities for all of the firm’s apprentices.

This sorry saga has shown that the Government’s reliance on a small number of huge outsourcing firms poses a risk to the nation’s economic stability. As things stand, our procurement regime is stacked against small firms. Providing small businesses and the self-employed with more opportunities to secure public contracts will mean less risk and better return for the taxpayer. At the very least we need to see the reinstatement of the target date for achieving 33% of all public sector procurement with smaller businesses, to 2020.”  

Here in Barnet, we have seen the One Barnet outsourcing. Capita are Barnets partner of choice. A billion pounds worth of taxpayers money. Should Capita follow Carillion down the pan, we can only speculate what would happen. As the FSB quite correctly state, we have managed to get ourselves, as a nation, into a situation where a small number of firms more or less run the country. It turns out that rather than being super efficient, some are badly run and this has placed our economic wellbeing at risk. As a long standing opponent of the One Barnet scheme, it gives me no pleasure at all to see many of my fears about outsourcing being recognised.

It may surprise you to know that my biggest reason for opposition to One Barnet is a very classically Conservative argument. If you are a real Conservative, then you are risk averse and you only welcome change when there is a compelling reason. In the case of One Barnet, I thought this brought huge risk., purely for reasons of ideological dogma of a few hard right zealots who control the local Conservatives. They stated that there would be savings, although many of these have proven to be of the  smoke and mirrors type which clever accountants magic up. If you take a holistic view of the Borough, many jobs were exported as Capita moved functions out. Most political leaders try and bring jobs and employment to an area, not actively export it. Now my worries about the risk of the whole concept of outsourcing have been demonstrated so graphically by Carillion.

Sadly, local Conservative Councillors have not woken up and smelled the coffee. We have even seen one of them tweeting only last week about how marvellous outsourcing is

Quite bizzarely, the same Tory Councillor thinks that buying iPads is the same thing as outsourcing the running of council services and exporting jobs.

It is all rather bizarre. I do understand that Tory Councillors must be feeling rather uneasy, given the potential mess they have landed us in. What alarms me is that it is clear that there is no understanding of risk or operational resilience in the regime. If Councillor Rozenberg had been tweeting saying that Barnet have a robust resilience plan in place, should Capita get into financial difficulty, then I'd be reassurred. However, when he tweets idiotically naive rubbish about "we outsource the making of iPads" it is quite obvious that he's stuck his head in the sand.

I am a member of the Federation of Small Business. I need to understand balance sheets to run my business. I need to understand business risk. Carillion has shown the risks we are exposing our nation to. I fully agree with every word of the FSB statement. The organisation has hundreds of thousands of small business people as members. I would hazard a guess that most are not Momentum members. I would suggest that Tory Councillors like Councillor Rozenberg sit up and take note of what they say.  We really need to elect councillors who are not wedded to dogma and ideology and are primarliy interested in representing the people who live in Barnet and pay taxes. Outsourcing has lost Barnet jobs and increased the operational risk of Barnet Council to deliver its core services. I don't think that is clever politics.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

The Wednesday Poem - #36 - An Ode to Smiths Crisps

Smiths crisps
Smiths Cheese and Onion Crisps
For no reason at all other than a deep desire to have crisps in the right colour bags!

An Ode to Smiths Crisps

Ready Salted are Red
Salt and Vinegar are Blue
But Green Cheese and Onion
Oh Lord, I love you!

Copyright 2018 Roger Tichborne

There are many things that have changed pointlessly. I loathe and despise Walkers crisps for putting Cheese and Onion Crisps (and to a lesser degree Salt and Vinegar Crisps) in the wrong coloured bags. Messing around with these things is simply plain wrong!

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

My fears for the future as Great Britain descends into Spivocracy

I am by nature an optimist. I am also a workaholic, which you could probably figure out by the number of blogs I write, along with the other interests I have. If I read something I don't understand, I do research. If I can't find the information that makes sense of what is happening, as an engineer, I assume that I simply don't have all the information I need to form a sensible opinion. If I have to write a blog about such a scenario, then I state upfront that I don't have the information I need to form an opinion and I ask the readers of this blog whether they can make sense of what is going on.

I awake this morning feeling more worried, confused and fearful for the future than I have ever felt in my adult life. Maybe you, dear reader, can allay my fears. Maybe you can make sense of what we are seeing happening to our country? It appears to me that we are at the most dangerous point in our recent history.  Ten years ago, I wasn't writing blogs. Gordon Brown was Prime Minister, David Cameron was Leader of the Opposition, I was still a member (just about) of The Labour Party and Manchester City hadn't won a trophy for 32 years. Out of curiosity, I thought I'd check the "On this day" website for 16th January 2008. To my great surprised, it says nothing happened at all - - Wikipedia also lists nothing, although a couple of notable stories were in the news on the 17th and 18th

17 January – The number of people affected by norovirus stomach bug in the UK reached an estimated 3 million.
18 January – Last working of Tower Colliery, the last deep mine in the South Wales Valleys (official closure: 25 January)

By mid February, Northern Rock Building Society had been Nationalised as the financial services sector went into meltdown. In May that year, Boris Johnson was elected as Mayor of London. I didn't realise this at the time, but these two events are absolutely pivotal events in the UK. They were the start of a decline and a sea change in politics and our national psyche. Northern Rock was the victim of a global financial meltdown, caused by over liberalisation of financial markets. Prior to 2008, no one, least of all the UK Conservatives were calling for more rigorous policing of our financial services. The prevailing view at the time was that the less rules and regulations, the better "the market works". The global financial meltdown plunged us all into austerity and taught a generation that if banks are not properly run, then capitalism does not work. Only it didn't did it? Why do I say that? Because in May, London elected Boris Johnson. Boris Johnson previously had been seen as a bit of a joke figure, best known for bumbling appearances on "Have I Got News for You". He had no experience of running anything, except an extra marital affairs, which he'd been sacked for not telling the truth about. In 2004, Johnson had supported pro EU Kenneth Clarke as Tory leader in the leadership elections. Clearly he was not virulently EU then.

Johnsons election saw the start of the Tory recovery at the ballot box. Somehow by 2010, the Tories had managed to stick all the blame for a global financial meltdown, caused by governments following the conservative ideology of light touch regulation, on Labour. The public were not wholly convinced and made sure that in 2010, the Tories had to rely on the Lib Dems to keep an eye on their shenanigans. The Coalition between 2010 and 2015, persuaded the electorate that The Tories had learned the lessons of the past. David Cameron sold himself as a new type of Tory. He hugged hoodies and got dragged around the North pole by a team of huskies, that somehow persuaded us he was an environmentalist. In 2015, electors felt comfortable enough with the Tories to sack the Lib Dems en masse and give Cameron a working majority.  Labour reacted to this by deciding that there was a sea change in the national mood. It was clear that the attempts to be a "Tory light" party had failed. They elected Jeremy Corbyn, a full blown, no nonsense socialist, to be leader. The right wing press bayed that the party had decided to write it's own suicide note.

Then the whole of British politics imploded. Cameron's attempt to skewer the Tory right with the EU referendum backfired spectacularly. Theresa May became PM and Boris Johnson switched from being Mayor, to being an MP.  The general perception was that Boris had not done too bad a job as Mayor. This was largeley based on the success of the Boris bikes and the fact that London had still continued to function. We overlooked badly managed vanity schemes, such as The Boris Bus, the Cable Car and the rising levels of pollution and congestion. Theresa May decided that Boris was the best man for the job of Foreign Secretary. She'd clearly been impressed with his dealings with foreign dignitaries as Mayor (why, I am not really too sure). She appointed Philip Hammond to be chancellor. A man with demeanour of a hung over undertaker. As Home Secretary, we got Amber Rudd. I was trying to think of something interesting to say about Amber Rudd. The only thing I can really think of is that her name is an anagram of "Red Bum Rad" which is the sort of headline The Sun would put over a picture of Jeremy Corbyn. She really is one of the most invisible politicians ever to hold a major post.

As we know, last year May decided that she could put Labour to the sword, with an election she didn't need and the country didn't want. She thought Corbyn was so unpopular that it would be a shoe in. The only question was how many digits would her majority consist of. It didn't occur to her that the first digit would be a minus character.

Having plunged the UK into a wholly unnecessary political crisis, undermining her own authority, just as we needed strong leadership in the EU negotiations, she then set the sordid tone for her new administration. She had various options, when faced with a minority regime. She picked the worst. She gave the DUP a huge bung in return for votes. The DUP are the most divisive organisation that sits in Parliament (Sinn Fein do not take their seats). They now hold the whip hand, as we saw when they vetoed Theresa May's first attempt at a deal with The EU. The EU negotiations have now become a game of poker, where the UK has a team of innocents playing the world champions. Whatever you may or may not know about the EU, you must surely be aware that the one thing that EU bureaucrats are masters at is defending the interests of EU bureaurats (I say this a staunch remainer). The concept that they will give an inch to any proposal that doesn't suit them is nonsensical. Those who argue for a hard Brexit and no trade deal state that "German car makers will not tolerate a trade deal that harms their sales".  This ignores two major factors, that these economically illiterate dunderheads fail to realise. Brexit has already had a major effect on the costs of buying these cars. German cars are priced in Euro's. The £ is 20% lower than it was when we voted to quit the EU. There has already been a far greater hit to the cost than a reversion to WTO rules would bring. German car manufacturers well understand that the best thing for their sales would be a reversal of Brexit. The second is that by and large, German cars are luxury items. People who want a brand new Mercedes are well off. If you want a Merc or an Audi, you won't buy a KIA because it is cheaper. If you want to see Van Morrison and it's £130 for a ticket, you don't go and see Steps instead because they are only £15. Even if you wanted  a Jaguar, many of the components are priced in Euro's. Ultimately, it will be the UK consumer who will pay.

The bottom line, is that the UK will lose this game of poker. If Tory MP's decide that they can't live on an MP's salary, they will simply vote themselves a pay rise. It really is a great job.

Then we have public finances. The Tory party berated the Labour Party for not managing public finances properly. Let's go back to Boris Johnson. Do you think he managed the Garden Bridge project effectively. We spent £50 million for absolutely nothing. Would you appoint a man who can waste £50 million of your money on a whim? If you think the answer is no, think again. You already have.

Then we have Carillion. Why on earth would the state sector appoint a contractor who is insolvent? They are running two of the largest infrastructure projects in Europe, with HS2 and Crossrail, not to mention a plethora of other schemes. It is simply unthinkable to me that they could have been appointed, when they were issuing major profit warning and their accounts were clearly littered with warning flags. How can a company go from paying handsome dividends to being liquidated in a year? The answer can only be that a huge number of people in government have not done their job.

In short, the government is in a state of semi collapse. Last week, we saw that the Prime Minister is too weak to reshuffle her own cabinet. She has a team negotiating Brexit that is clearly incompetent. She has a team doling out billion pouind public sector contracts that are clearly incompetent. Then there is our rail network. This is run by a bunch of private companies, that receive huge subsidies and pay huge dividends to their (often foreign) shareholders. These franchises are effectively monopolies. They are also licenses to print money. If they don't work out, the operators simply hand them back to the government, as we've seen with the East Coast mainline.

Passengers suffer sub standard services. In Mill Hill, where I live, we have Thameslink, which has been panned for not delivering a decent service or value for money. Don't believe me? See what the National Audit Office.

I am not anti outsourcing at all. It may shock readers to know that my business has provided outsourced services to both Harrow and Barnet Councils in the past. We were selected, because both councils did not have the expertise or the facilities to do what we do. In both cases we had to jump through all manner of hoops, to earn trivial amounts of money (approx 1% of our turnover). In the case of Barnet Council, the last dealings we had with them, they ended up not paying us for services provided, as they had "lost all of the paperwork". We ended up providing drum tuition to a disabled man, free of charge for six months. At the time I had a dilemma. The choice was to tell a disabled person, who clearly loved the experience to go away, or to simply take the hit and let him carry on. I took the hit. I was told, in my final conversation with Barnet Council finance team "It is taxpayers money. Just because we've lost the paperwork, doesn't man we can pay you. It is taxpayers money". The key person in the adult social care team had left, so there was no one to confirm arrangements. The council seemed to be in chaos. I must say that Harrow Council were completely different and have always paid promptly. It did alert me to the dangers of dealing with the public sector.

As I listen to the radio today, I hear that small businesses that supply Carillion are losing all support in 48 hours. This is totally immoral. If I am supplying a company working on a government project, then I would expect the government to have done due diligence. Whilst I have no sympathy at all for shareholders or management of Carillion who created this mess, the small businesses, supplying on the basis that the government was underwriting projects, must be helped. It is simply immoral that such companies could go out of business in these circumstances. How has Great Britain descended into this Spivocracy, where the government are incompetent, the risk always ends up with the taxpayer and the small businesses, that are clearly blameless take the hit, whilst the people who create the mess walk away scot free?

After the banking crisis, no bankers went to prison, despite the whole economy being trashed for a decade. What am I missing? Why does none of this make any sense at all?


Her Majesties Inspector finds Barnet Council Social work practice "inadequate in many areas"

Her Majesties inspector Louise Warren, has written to Chris Munday, strategic director for Children and young people. The  final conclusion is stark. She says
Social work practice remains inadequate in many areas. The process of changing the culture of acceptable practice remains a significant challenge if the children and young people in Barnet are to be safeguarded effectively and their welfare promoted.

The full letter can be read here -

The Barnet Council Children, Education, Libraries & Safeguarding Committee is meeting tonight (Tuesday 17th January) to discuss the report in more detail. The full papers are here

This report follows the OFSTED verdict of inadequate for Barnets Childrens Services. This is a major scandal, however one which the Conseervative chair, Councillor Reuben Thompstone seems completely oblivious to. 

It is just as well I have a sense of humour. I attended the last meeting of this committee and addressed the committee. The minutes do document this as follows.
"The Chairman invited Mr Roger Tichborne who joined the table and addressed the Committee with a Public Comment."
Now excuse my ignorance, but I always thought the point of minutes was to tell people what went on. Clearly the bods at Barnet Council were either asleep when I was talking or they don't want you to know what I had to say.  If you are interested in what I had to say at the meeting on the 15th November, here is the text - - I can only assume the the complete non reporting of what I had to say in the minutes was a result of my comments regarding the quality of the chairmanship of the committee by Councillor Reuben Thompstone - Councillor Reuben Thompstone - The worst committee chair in Barnet 

It seems that the way democracy and openness work in Barnet is to airbrush the comments of dissenters to the regime out of the minutes. I sincerely hope that in May, the people of Barnet pass their judgement on Councillor Thompstone and his colleagues. I don't expect everyone to agree with my comments. I find it quite interesting that the regime seem too scared to actually mention what they were. I think we can all draw our own conclusions. 

It seems to me that until the likes of Councillor Thompstone stop ignoring all difficult comments from concerned members of the public, they will never be able to sort the more serious issues out, such as the failing of our local children, 

I daresay that Councillor Thompstone thinks that not mentioning my comments is a jolly wheeze and mightily clever. Perhaps he hopes that if he pulls such stunts, people such as me will give up on trying to hold him to account. If he really is that silly, I suspect that he has a bit of a nasty surprise in store.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Carillion Collapse - What would happen to Barnet if the same thing happened to Capita

The collapse of Carillion is the big news story this morning. Private companies are run for profits. In many cases their accounts are a combination of smoke and mirrors. Only last year Carillion were paying generous dividends to shareholders. Their services were held up as an example of how the "private sector was more efficient at delivering services than the public sector". This morning, there are all manner of projects and public services that are in disarray. The most high profile is HS2. It may well be ironic that Capitalism will do to the project what environmental campaigners, Nimby campaigners, local MP's and worried residents could not.

For us in Barnet, it raises a far more worrying question. If Capita, the supplier of choice for a billion pounds worth of council services was to go into liquidation, how would this affect Barnet Councils ability to deliver services and what would be the cost to local taxpayers.

Of course, at the moment, this scenario seems unlikely, but I'm sure the government thought the same when they awarded contracts to Carillion. Does the Council have a contingency plan?

I have asked this in an FoI request this morning

Dear Barnet FoI.

Please can you supply the following.

1. Confirmation that a contingency plan exists in the event of Capita going into liquidation. 
2. Details of such plan, with commercially sensitive information redacted, if this can be provided for less than the FoI cost limit.
3. Confirmation of the date of last planning meeting to discuss such a resileince plan

Roger Tichborne

It will be interested to see if Barnet Council have a business resilience plan for such an event.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

The Tweets of The Week in The London Borough of Barnet

Here are this weeks tweets.

Don't forget to follow any tweeters who's work you like.

1. We start with the community response to a very sad event in Mill Hill

2. Great post concerning Edgware history from The Mill Hill Historic Society

3. We always like to see people thanking staff for great service

4. Remember community police stations?

5. We featured the PDSA as one of our Advent Calendar causes. Now they need your help even more. If anyone know who did this, please let the Police know. Stealing from charities is scumbaggery of the lowest order

6. Thanks to Samuel Levy for this lovely tweet

7. Have you seen this missing pussycat in Cricklewood

8. Have you seen this missing elderly chap?

9. Some nice train photo's in Cricklewood

10.Make music. Be Happy!

That's all folks