“This investment is excellent news for Chipping Barnet. It shows that Boris was as good as his word when he said in 2008 that he was not going to be just a Zone 1 Mayor.”Well that was then. The £400,00 was spent. Did Chipping Barnet suddenly become the Las Vegas of London? Have people come flocking from far & wide to visit the "dreaming spires"? Or is High Barnet just as drab as ever? Sadly, as far as I can tell, it is the same old drab High St it always was. Don't get me wrong, the local traders have done their best, but the whole concept of this bung was ill conceived and badly executed. You see by its nature, a healthy High Street is a headless monster. It is a whole set of small traders and large conglomerates, all feeding each other symbiotically. In the good old days, we had the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker. We used the High Street as part of our daily lives. These days, it has become coffee shops, restaurants, bookies and Pound stores. We go to Brent Cross for our candles, the Butcher is often a department in Tescos and the baker is Greggs, making more from pies & sarnies than bread. Brian Coleman played his part in this process, hiking parking fees in 2011. He paid the price in 2012 when the electorate dumped him. His action made more of us see than ever decide that the local High Street was just too much hassle. Once our behaviour was changed, we just didn't change back.
Our local MP, Matthew Offord, stated that he wanted to make Mill Hill Broadway the type of place that you could open a successful cheese shop. Sadly, there is no cheese shop in Mill Hill, nearly four years after his election. There are more bookies and more coffee shops. But all of this isn't what I am really that interested in. It is how on earth Boris and his merry men can possibly justify wasting £40 million with no benefit at all for the average person who foots the bill. So what could he have done with the £400,000 in Barnet that would have made people come back to the High Street? Well I daresay if he'd danced naked down the High Street handing out £50 notes, then he might have given the traders a good days business. If Boris had simply given every Barnet resident an equal share, we'd have had approx £1.30 each. Not even enough to buy a decent coffee. And as for the total £40 million fund. He could have given us all a tenner, every single Londoner. Would that have changed anyones lives? I doubt it. I'd have had three pints on him and forgotten about it.
The question I have to ask is this. In times of economic hardship, what sort of a message does it send out, wasting our money in this way. It's like Dave Cameron saying their is loadsamoney for flood victims. The government looks completely two faced a week later when he tells Archbishop Vincent Nicholls that there is no money for people on benefits. The truth is that all of these schemes are just daft vanity projects, which buy a few headlines and achieve nothing. Don't believe me? Well even Brian Coleman agrees with me on this now. Last week he said he'd rather gouge his own eyes out than appear on a hustings panel with me. This is what he said about the Barnet Experiment today on Twitter. The conversation started when Tory GLA member Andrew Boff posted a a tweet praising the bonkers scheme
Maybe tomorrow I'll awake and hell will have frozen over