Saturday, 4 August 2012

The Saturday List #9 - The magnificent seven of Barnet

We are not worthy. No really, we are not. I write a blog, have been doing it for four years now. I'd like to think that I've done some good in Barnet, but there are some people who I am in awe of. Here is that list and why.

1. John Burgess, UNISON branch secretary. Not only ios John a decent bloke, a nice guy to have a beer with and good company, he is also the hardest working person I've ever met. I honestly don't know how he keeps it up. He has worked tirelessly for his members and has supported everyone who has asked for his help over the years. For John it isn't a job, it's his life. He is a reasonable bloke as well. I just think it's sad that the Council haven't realised they what they copuld have achieved working with John for the good of Barnet rather than being at loggerheads with him.

2. Linda Edwards. Linda deserves an OBE for her work at the Larches Trust, a charity for people with learning difficulties in Barnet. If that was all she did I'd be in awe of her, but she also has a grown up daughter who she fights like a tiger for and works her guts off to help other people in her shoes. I am honoured she is a guest blogger on this site.

3. John Sullivan. John also has a grown up daughter with learning difficulties. Despite not being in the best of health, John is a key player in CADDSS, a group fghting for the rights of disabled people. John is a guest blogger here and is totally honest. If I write a blog he disagrees with, he doesn't mince his words and he lets me know. Barnet needs fighters and John is a fighter in every sense of the word. I am glad I don't have his challenges and wonder how I would have coped if I had 1/10th of the things he has to deal with.

4. Helen Michael. Helen runs Cafe Buzz and is the spokesperson for the Finchley Traders. Helen works her socks off all day, yet finds time to organise protests against Barnet Council's parking policies and has campaigned tirelessly. On top of that she has also let her cafe become the spiritual home for the local campaign against the insane policies of Barnet Council. For her troubles she was interviewed by SO15, the anti terrorist branch of the Metropolitan Police, for producing a poster without her name and address on, during the GLA election.

5. Tirza Waisel of the Barnet Alliance for Public Services. Tirza works in social care and has taken on a leading role in the organisation of the campaign against the One Barnet program and the other threats to services in Barnet. Tirza is a truly honest and decent person,w ho cares passionately about her fellow citizens. There are many people in BAPS who deserve praise, too many to list here and so this is also dedicated to them.

6. Councillor Jack Cohen. Over the past four years that I've taken an interest in Barnet politics, my repsect for Jack Cohen has grown. He is the Leader of the Barnet Lib Dem group. Even with the coalition and the links between the Tories and the Lib Dems nationally, Jack is well respected on the left of Barnet politics as
in the centre (although sadly not on the looney right). The reason is because when Jack speaks he talks sense. The emporers new clothes disappear every time Jack raises the subject of One Barnet in the council chamber. Sadly the only people who don't listen are those who should be and who make the decisions.

7. Councillor Kate Salinger. Kate is a Conservative, but because she is an honest and decent person, she has been treated awfully by her colleagues in the Barnet Tories. She was the only Tory to defy the whip and not vote themselves a payrise. She paid dearly for her sins, being humiliatingly stripped of all of her roles in a full council meeting. She recently stated in a full council meeting that Councillor Robert Rams had lied to her and that she may as well sit at home and do her knitting as attend council meetings, for all the good it does. We need more people in local politics like Kate Salinger.

There are many people I've missed out in this roundup. That is one of the unfortunate contraints of only allowing seven names. I would invite anyone out there to nominate any people they think should have made the list, although if you don't like any of my choices, well too bad, we have to call as we say. The omission of Labour councillors is not a snub, it's just that I think Jack has provided the best rebuttal of One Barnet thus far and Kate has shown extraordinary courage and resilience and is an example to us all.


Morris Hickey said...

If you say in Redbridge the kind of things that Kate Salinger said about Robot Trams they expel you from the group.

Not so much democracy, more malign dictatorship.

tw said...

You are so right, Roger, to point out among the others on your list all the wonderful clever, honest and dedicated people in Barnet Alliance and around it.

The greatest joy I have since joining BAPS is meeting all those brilliant and fun people and having the privilege of working with them!

As embarrassing as it is to be named here, on your blog, it may be a good thing you did in this post after all - because it highlights the fact that we have a true community here in Barnet, and a good one!

I often joke that the Tories who rule Barnet council achieved one good thing: They united our local community and brought out the best of its people, and the best in each of them. Never they mind that we all came out in opposition to their policies...

Is that what Cameron meant by 'We're all in this together in the Big Society'?;-)

PS. There are yet many more wonderful and wise people in Barnet, and we need them on board. NOW.