Whilst the rest of Barnet was whipping itself into a rabid frenzy yesterday, over the GLA elections and the campaign to rid us of Brian Coleman, my thoughts could not have been further from the issue. Out of loyalty to my readers, who have supported this blog through thick and thin, I posted some coverage of the election, but I had a far more important issue to deal with. Yesterday at 9.30am, we had the funeral of my dear friend, Paul Hircombe. Paul was only 47 when he was taken by cancer. Paul had been the bass player with my band for 28 years. Due to his complicated life, it fell on his friends to organise his funeral and we held the wake at my house. People who I hadn't seen for 30 years turned up, which was fantastic. The chapel was full and was a humanist ceremony. Myself and three other friends paid tribute to Paul's life. Given the early start for the ceremony and a few other issues, we decided to hold a "dry" wake (with no alcohol). In my Irish Catholic tradition, this was all rather strange. A funeral without "The Lord is My Shepard" and traditional hymns, is a very different experience. Paul wasn't religious and it was in keeping with his views and opinions. The music was from Falco, Green Day and a composition written by Paul. In a comedic moment, the wrong Green Day track was played, which is a touch Paul would have loved.
The last of the guests departed at approx 3.30pm. I was shattered, both emotionally and physically. I walked to Mill Hill Library voted, then went home and crashed out. I awoke later and went around to a friend, to share some time with Pauls ex partner of 27 years and some other friends (this part of the day wasn't dry). On arrival back, I watched some of the election coverage and fell asleep. Normally I enjoy elections and the buzz associated. This time I was flat. Strangely, I felt myself not caring who won out of Boris and Ken. I think both are tainted. I voted Ken, but with no great enthusiasm. I also voted Andrew Dismore in the GLA election. I don't for one second believe Andrew is the cure to all our problems, but he will be a massive improvement on Brian Coleman, should he be elected. For the top up list, I voted Green. I hope the Greens have a strong showing. I find myself unable to support the Lib Dems on anything other than a hyper local level. I believe Jack Cohen and the other Childs Hill Lib Dem Councillors are a massive asset for the people of Barnet and will always be grateful for Jacks support in 2010. Sadly the policies of Nick Clegg are totally unsupportable as far as I am concerned. I believe that there is a need for a strong third voice in British politics. In London, I hope this voice is the Greens. I don't subscribe to many of their policies, but at least they will "keep it honest".
As I mentioned, there were two important funerals yesterday, the other was my first musical influence. Bert Weedon, legendary guitarist also was buried yesterday. My friend Julie Rogers sand at the funeral. I never met Bert, but I spent hours poring over his guitar book "play in a day". Sadly it took me far longer.
At school, an old Priest always used to say "Today is the first day of the rest of your life". For me it has never been more true. With Paul's illness and death, my life has been on hold. The first day of the rest of my life, may be a day without Brian Coleman as GLA rep. sadly he will still be a member of the Barnet Cabinet come what may. Barnet Council services still face destruction at the hands of the One Barnet monster. There is still work to do. In two years time there is a council election. We have a dual mission. Firstly to put as many road blocks as possible in the path of the One Barnet juggernaut, so that there is still something left to save at the next council election. The second is to build a campaign that replaces the lazy, useless councillors at Barnet with decent ones who care and are not purely motivated by personal gain and ego.
Please join me and all the other people in Barnet who care passionately about the future for all of us, in the job of building a cross community platform to deliver a real "One Barnet" - not a mish mash of privatised services with no democratic control, but a Barnet of democracy and accountability. A Barnet where consultations are binding, where councillors treat people with respect and a Barnet where we can be proud to talk about our local authority.
Yesterday, I was a physical and emotional wreck. Today I have awoken with a new vigour for life and a new vigour to fight for justice, equality, openness and honesty in Barnet. I hope that whatever happens in the mayoral and GLA elections, you feel the same