Sunday, 9 December 2012

Time to stand up and be counted

If you read this blog, you cannot help but be aware of the crisis in public services being brought about by the administration of Barnet Council. The bad news is that the democratic process has failed completely. Conservative politicians in the administration have resorted to telling bare faced lies to try and diffuse opposition to dangerous and risky policies known as One Barnet. They have ignored their legal requirement to consult the residents. They have claimed that they were elected on a manifesto to privatise the council, giving lucrative contracts to multinationals and exporting jobs from Barnet. This is a complete lie because their 2010 manifesto did not say one word about One Barnet or outsourcing.

The good news is that two local residents, both of whom are disabled, have courageously decided to mount a legal challenge to the process and are asking for a judicial review. To support the challenge will require a substancial amount of money. This blog is asking everyone who cares to dig deep into their pockets.

To support this effort, I have organised, in association with Friern Barnet Peoples library, a night of film, music and poetry on Friday 14th December at 7pm. We are kicking off the night by showing "Barnet - The Billion Pound Gamble". We will then have an open mic cabaret, featuring music, poetry and whatever else we can get. To celebrate the event, I am performing a set of music with the 1985 line up of my band, The False Dots. This is the first gig by this line up since 1985, the last gig being at Le Tiki club in Belgium. Our singer is Allen Ashley, who has since developed a career as an award winning author. Joining us on drums is the phenomenal man machine, Graham Ramsey. Sadly our regular bass player Paul Hircombe died in April this year of cancer, so Fil Ross is jumping in on bass. We intend to perform two short sets of music, one as a duo and one with the full line up. The set is an "unplugged" version of the songs. Graham has even specially brought a set of sticks.

We will be playing a whole variety of songs, including the highly acclaimed "Action Shock" which is an anti war song written specifically for the Falklands war, but which we are dedicating to our brave soldiers in Afghanistan. I wrote the song in 1983 after meeting a friend who had served with Royal Marines in the Falklands. He had suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of his experiences and received no help from the British Government to recover from his experiences.  Whilst many things have moved on, we still do not look after the brave volunteers who fight to preserve the democracy, which local politicians in Barnet so devalue. The band hasn't performed the song since 1985. In 1985, I felt it was a bit dated and devalued. I recently saw my friend after 20 years. He's managed to put his problems behind him. He has a job and a family. He is a tireless fundraiser for "Help for Heroes" because he doesn't think anyone should suffer the shit he went through. He asked if we still performed the song. I said "No, we stopped doing it in 1985". He said "Rog, it's more relevant than ever, the war in Afghanistan has been going on for years and no one here gives a shit". He went on to say "I didn't realise when I was a kid and signed up what all of this crap was about. We spend billions trying to change the way people are living in a country, where no one wants us, yet we can't spend a few grand to keep a library open in Friern Barnet which everyone wants. It is important to keep on going, keep on fighting and to never give up. Everyone has to get up off their arse and fight, but not in unjust wars, they have to fight for their local communities and decency".

Following this conversation, I got in touch with Allen and suggested we play the gig at the library. It will be free entry, but we will be passing around a hat for the legal fund. We don't need coins, we need notes and lots of them. I won't be taking a penny in expenses, no one will. If you hate me, my blog and my music, feel free to come in and punch me in the face, just so long as you stick a note in the bucket - you can have that one on me, I won't complain (I probably deserve it). If you are a performer, please come down and do your piece. I hope to be videoing the gig and filming a few interviews. This is a very special date, it is the last Friday before the court case. I am hopeful that the library will be kept open, but it could be the last Friday night ever that Friern Barnet Peoples Library is open.

Action Shock

Distant Hearts, scream tonight,
They know their loved ones
are going to die
A red stain on a battlefield
A drained body with a soul to yield

Life, Mines not for sale
Death, an unmarked grave

One time fun time come on son
forget "Peace Man" and grab a gun
Annihalate another man
It's easy son, you know you can

Life, Mines not for sale
Death, an unmarked grave

Spend your life on a piece of land
but your far cheaper do you understand
bullets cost money people cost food
Thats the theory so what are you

Life, Mines not for sale
Death, an unmarked grave

Distant hearts, wont sleep tonight
Face to face, you and I
One of us will not survive 
Please not me I love my life

Life, Mines not for sale
Death, an unmarked grave
It's my life that you just cant save
and death, I'm not your slave
Copyright Roger Tichborne 1983

There are many things the local community should do if they want to stop this madness. The most important one is dig deep in our pockets to support the legal challenges.

Here are some other things which we should consider.

1. Join the Barnet Alliance for Public Services

2. Write to your local councillors and tell then that you think what is happening is disgusting.

3. Lobby your MP's

4. Attend protests against the madness

5. Keep reading the blogs

6. Write to the local paper and leave messages on their stories.

7. Join Twitter and send messages to the local councillors who tweet.

8. Write to me (using the link in the sidebar) if you want to submit a guest blog

9. If you work in the media, make sure your organisation covers Barnet

10. Look in the mirror and be very proud if you've done a few of the things on the list today.

Just so you know, since I started this blog I've

Written over 3,000 blogs on Barnet politics

Produced two films about Barnet

Organised six major music events to raise awareness about the issue

Attended over 50 council meetings to report on the issues

Attended 16 conferences to inform people about the issues

Made 45 Youtube videos about Barnet

Written over 100 emails to Councillors

Written 40 letters to the local press

Left over 1,100 comments on the local paper website

Written over 30 blogs/articles etc on other websites etc (inc the Guardian)

We all need to stand up and be counted. We all have different interests and skills. All I ask is that everyone does what they can. Barnet is a great place to live, lets make sure we can still say that in ten years time

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