I went up to the Hendon Town Hall to join the Barnet Community Campaign lobby of the Mayoral Inauguration. The campaigners were protesting against the Barnet Tory Council's policy of cutting wardens for the elderly and vulnerable. A petition was also handed in for consideration.
The council are making savage cuts to this service in a frantic effort to plug the black hole in the finances left by the outgoing cabinet member for resource management, Mike Freer. Due to the mismanagement of theBorough's investment policy, the council is unable to access £27.4 Million of it's reserves. This is rather inconvenient as they need £11 Million of it to plug the overspend on Aerodrome Road Bridge project. According to the Councils accounts, the £27.4 Million has been borrowed. Now I am not sure at what rate of interest this deal was done at, but if it was at 3.5%, a typical rate for the time the loan was taken, the interest would be approx £959,000 per annum. This figure is a sum remarkably similar to the saving derived from abolishing the wardens. So to be able to pay the interest on this dodgy deal, it rather looks as if the elderly and the vulnerable are being sacrificed. A Barnet Tory Councillor said to me a few weeks ago that times are hard and everyone will have to make savings. He commented that I was lucky to have a Tory council as they would take tough decisions and not shirk from cutting all unnecessary waste.
So there I was at the inauguration of the new mayor with 50 or so other protestors. As the protest wound down, I was having a nice chat with Labour Councillor Julie Johnson's (our Julie as she likes to be known) husband, a proper old school Labour supporter. As we were putting the world to rights, a pleasant lady from Barnet Council approached us. "You are ruining our lovely new lawn, please move". I replied "New Lawn?". She replied "Yes and the lovely new flower beds, just been put in for the mayors inauguration". At this I asked "At what cost?". Realising she was talking to someone who had stood in the cold for an hour, protesting because the council says it can't afford decent care for the elderly, she diplomatically replied "I can't remember". I then asked if the Town Hall is fully operational. She replied "Oh no there is still lots of building work to do".
Am I right in thinking that a Council who have all the financial woes of Barnet, who are so hard up they can't even fund proper care for the elderly and vulnerable, have laid a new lawn & flowerbeds, suspended building work, done a quick make over of a half finished building, purely so the new mayor can be inaugurated in a building that is a bit prettier than North London Business park. I am going to be putting in an FOI request to find out how much the lovely new lawn and flower beds cost. It should take 28 days to turn around. Any guesses?
Have a look at the pictures at the top of the blog. Oh and just in case they say that it was just regular maintenance, I noticed that the Library next door, had some rather less magnificent specimens in it's flower beds.
So now you know, in the eyes of Barnet Council's Tory rulers, a nice setting for the new Mayor's big night is a higher priority than looking after the borough's old people.
Oh and on the subject of the Mayor's big night. My congratulations to Brian Coleman on being granted the honour of serving the Borough of Barnet as it's Mayor. I look forward to warmly shaking his hand when my daughter receives her award from the Borough for her magnificent swimming achievements. She really enjoyed meeting the outgoing Mayor, John Marshall last year.
On a completely different subject, can anyone recommend a good glove shop?
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The Barnet Eye Age UK 10K Challenge Run.
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We the Undersigned, are totally opposed to the closure, sell off or downgrading of the Library service in the London Borough of Barnet.
We believe that Libraries are a vital part of the Borough and recognise the importance of having trained Libraries run by trained librarians. We believe that it is vital to have "quiet space" for students to study.
We believe that closure of the service would cause untold damage to the citizens of Barnet and is totally opposed by the vast majority of the population.
I got into blogging about politics by accident. I had intended to blog about local music.
I've run a music recording & rehearsal studio in Mill Hill, North West London since 1979. I play in a band called The False Dots, over the years we've played all over Europe, but now we mostly just play local shows as we're all too old and lazy. We play up tempo punky tinged rock, tinged with a very dark humour. We've bene joined on stage by various friends over the years such as Boz Boorer (Morrissey's Musical director) and Huw Lloyd Langton of Hawkwind.
I've organised many charity gigs with artists such as Kate Nash, Chris Spedding & Lee Thompson from Madness.
I also help organise many local festivals. I love a good row !!!! Oh and I did a blog on the Edgware Times for a while.
The Barnet Eye is always pleased to publish contributions from guest writers. Just CLICK HERE to email me your story.
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If you have received a penalty fare at a Thameslink Station and you sent an appeal off to the Independent Penalty Fare Appeals Service, did you notice that this says at the bottom of the letter you got back "London and South Eastern Railways T/A IPFAS". In other words, it's not independent, it's an arm of a train company. They actually run Blackfriars station.
I believe that it is a scandal that this service calls itself independent, but there is no right of appeal and it's run by one of the train operators. I believe that the penalty ticket scheme is a scam to generate extra profits for these companies.
A little tool to help you defeat the invisible men
I've added an IP address lookup tool. If you get an email or you have a stats counter on your blog, you can see who it is and where they came from using this. If you've got an email from someone, view the email. Click on File, then click on properties, then click on details. Now click on message source
You will see some text as follows :- X-Originating-IP: [184.108.40.206]
Where I've put 220.127.116.11, cut and paste this number into the IP lookup and hey presto, you know where the email came from.
If it says it's from your bank, but the IP address is Freds chipshop, you know it's a scam.