Sunday, 6 January 2013

My 2013 New Years revolution

At the start of every year, I set myself goals. Some years I achieve them, some I fail miserably. Last year, i succeeded spectacularly. I had three goals. They were simple.

1. Ensure that the film I was producing - "A Tale of Two Barnets" was successful -

2. My business successfully opened it's new studio complex -

3. To ensure that I lived as healthy a lifestyle as I possibly could, given my health situation.

So how did I do on these?

Well I think we succeeded beyond our wildest dreams with "A Tale of Two Barnets". We packed out the Phoenix Cinema, made national TV and radio, had blanket press coverage and even had it shown at the House of Commons. Perhaps more satisfying than all of that was that we were also able to make a follow up,  Barnet the Billion Pound Gamble - which received critical acclaim and even greater coverage.  Although we failed to prevent the outsourcing to Capita of the first of the major One Barnet contracts, we have caused the council to think again on outsourcing refuse collection, which is a massive victory.

As to the business objectives. We opened the new studio and it has been very well received. In the 4th quarter of 2012, we achieved 40% growth in turnover, which is no mean feat in these challenging economic times. There is still plenty of work to do to build the business to where it should be, but that is a challenge I will relish.

Finally the third challenge. I've managed to stick to all of the rules I set myself when I started the journey of keeping myself healthy. Have they had any effect? Well my PSA levels were lower last time they were tested, than they were when I received my diagnosis, so it is a victory of sorts.

So what are my objectives for 2013?

Well again these are simple.

1. To record an album of my music, with some of the fine musicians I've played with over the years.

2. To successfully launch stage 2 of our business development and to achieve the planned growth for stage 1. 

3. To continue to maintain my health and to get my weight below 14 stone.

For many readers of this blog, I suppose there may be a sigh of disappointment in my lack of goals for the blog and the causes we support. I had hoped to make a film about the successes and failures of Capita in their outsourcing enterprises up and down the country. The title was to be "Capita - The Movie!". I had some discussions with various parties and whilst they were keen for us to make the film, they were not prepared to offer any financial support whatsoever. I have still got a couple of meetings with people from TV companies, and whilst I think there is a good story to tell, I never set a goal for a year, where I could be scuppered after 2 weeks.  If they do give us the thumbs up, it will be a major project, completely unlike the two films we've made so far.

As for the fight against the madness at the Council? What will happen with Friern Barnet Library? Judge Pearl gave Barnet a huge opportunity to undo a massive wrong. There is a meeting on 11th January between the various groups and Barnet Council. I decided to sit this one out. Whilst I care passionately about the issue, I suspect having me there would not facilitate a cordial atmosphere. I intend to seek a private meeting with Richard Cornelius shortly after the meeting, to discuss the issue. There are things I have to say, but these will best be said privately.

Then there is One Barnet. It is clear that the Council will see the two Capita projects through, come hell or high water. There is no point and no reason to engaging them in discussion. If rational argument could persuade them, we'd have seen the project abandoned long ago. We now have to create a situation where Capita recognise the eyes of the world are on them and that if they start pulling stunts that will cost us money.

It is vital that Capita realise that this whole issue will be a running sore with constant media coverage at national level, of every cock up and problem. The Barnet bloggers and local campaigners have no choice but to keep up the pressure.

And finally.... 2013 is a year a bit like a hangover. We had the Jubilee, The Wedding, The Olympics, The Mayoral Elections, The GLA elections. This year, we have to count the cost. I've given up boozing for January as a response. This will allow me to be 100% focussed on the job in hand. In May 2014, we can give our verdict on the administration of Barnet Council.  If the GLA election is anything to go by, the Tories may be in for a torrid time. They are hoping that a zero % increase in Council tax will offest the damage done by the parking fiasco, the closure of Friern Library, the One Barnet project, The Metpro Scandal, The RM Countrysides scandal, the various sins of Brian Coleman and the treatment of all manner of people by Robert Rams.

Let me tell you a little story. A couple of weeks ago I went for a beer in Mill Hill with a couple of friends. One is a single mum, who lives in a council house managed by Barnet Homes in Childs Hill. She worked for the organisation until recently and was treated rather shabbily by them. She is completely apolitical in her views. We've never discussed politics. Out of the blue she said "The only decent councillor in Barnet is Monroe Palmer, if he goes it will be a disaster". She then went on to list half a dozen occasions where his intervention has sorted out major problems on her estate. I pointed out that she didn't know what other councillors did for the residents on their wards. She retorted "Yes I do, when I worked at Barnet Homes, I saw all of that. Monroe does ten times more work than the rest of them".

I had assumed that the Lib Dems would be wiped out in Childs Hill in 2014. My friend assures me that on the ground they have a solid personal support. As an ex member of the party ( I quit in disgust at the tuition fees broken promises) I would be pleased to see the Palmers and Jack Cohen survive, they are definately an asset to the people of Barnet. I really think Labour still need to up their game locally, although getting Andrew Dismore in at the GLA is a massive bonus. He's a hard worker and I suspect will add 10-15% to their vote by 2014. As for the Conservatives, enjoy it while you still can boys and girls. The chickens are coming home to roost. It smells to me as if revolution is in the air - Barnet Style.

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