It's that time of the year again. We have renamed our awards this year, to reflect the fact that Barnet is an embodyment of Big Society. Harsh budget cuts have forced the citizens of Barnet to step in and fill the gaps and we are extremely proud to say that this has on occasion happened. Examples of this are the Colindale Foodbank and the homeless night shelter scheme, run by local churches. Without these schemes it is not inconceivable that local families would have gone hungry and people may have frozen to death. Now it seems to me that in an area of London with some of the most expensive real estate in the world, this is a complete disgrace, but hey ho, what do I know.
Without further ado, here are our awards.
Barnet Person of the Year.
Maggi Lamb. Maggi is the co-ordinator of the Mill Hill Churches night shelter scheme at John Keble Church. The Mill Hill Churches have organised the shelter to participate in the local night shelter scheme. Churches, Mosques and Synogogues have participated in the scheme. John Keble has hosted the scheme one night a week throughout the winter. Maggi has pulled this together, working her socks off to make it happen. I've volunteered for the scheme for several years, spending the night at the Shelter to ensure the clients are safe and sound. Now every participating organisation in the scheme will have a Maggi Lamb, a driving force who makes it happen. They all deserve the award equally, but as I've seen Maggi in action, I've given it to her on behalf of all of the volunteers who have cooked, driven equipment, spent the night, washed up and made the shelter happen. The likes of Maggi do not run these schemes for accolades, but they damn well deserve them!
Barnet Blogger of the Year.
John Dix AKA Mr Reasonable. Johns blog is a must read for anyone interested in what is happening in Barnet. John works his socks off, collating information and writing blogs exposing just how badly the council are spending our money. He exposes the lies of party manifestos and the broken promises of dodgy local politicians - http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.co.uk/ - In a Borough without a credible political opposition, John is the nearest thing to the voice of sanity.
Barnet Tweeter of the Year.
Brian Coleman. Now this may shock a few readers, who will say "how on earth can that terrible man be given any award?". The answer is quite simple, although his tweets swerve between repulsive, disgusting, mildly offensive, delusional and just plain odd, they are strangely compulsive reading. Whether he's poking fun at Cancer victims for being ill, attacking Londons firemen, defending the rights of politicians to travel first class at public expense, or being rude about ex colleagues and foes, it is all jolly entertaining. Happily Brian has no influence or role in London politics since he was convicted for attacking Helen Michael, so we can just sit back and enjoy his tweets. Well we could if he hadn't blocked us - https://twitter.com/BrianColeman251
Barnet Politician of the Year.
There can only be one! Richard Cornelius, Leader of the Barnet Conservatives. Against all odds and expectations, he oversaw a victory in May. Whilst Tory regimes collapsed all over London in May, Richard held on. Many expected a Palace Coup to follow the election, but Richard also survived this threat, with the suspected plotters either being turfed out at the election or the remaining ones being shown to have balls of straw. Richard has shown himself to be asurvivor and he seems to thrive in the role. Wheras Mike Freer often looked tetchy and drawn when running the council, Richard clearly thoroughly enjoys it. At a social event I had a chat and he told me he thinks its the best job in the world. Whatever you think of his politics, he has done a marvellous job herding the cats that make up the Barnet Tories and delivering his program, however flawed you may think it is. Richard has the one characteristic that Napoleon said made a great General. He is lucky. He's lucky to have Alison Moore as opposition Leader. He's lucky Brian Coleman got himself kicked out of the Conservative Party and most luckily of all, he's lucky that most of the rest of his colleagues are completely spineless and so don't have the guts to kick him out.
Barnet Event of the Year.
Sadly, since the Conservative administration came to power in 2002, we've seen the demise of many of the civic events we love, such as the Watling Festival, the Finchley Carnival and the opening of new exhibitions at Church Farmhouse museum. There was however a welcome return of the Fireworks display at Copthall Stadium, organised by Saracens RFC and the Mill Hill Neighbourhood Forum. This was a great event and well attended.
Barnet Charity of the Year.
For this we've chosen the Colindale foodbank - http://colindale.foodbank.org.uk/ - which has done fantastic work distributing food to the most needy people in Barnet. This has been supported by people all across the Borough. In a perfect world, we wouldn't need such a charity, but the UK in 2014 is far from perfect.
Barnet Museum of the Year.
Sadly the Conservatives closed Church Farmhouse museum, so our choice is even more limited than it was when we started writing this blog. This year, marking the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI there can only be one winner, the amazing RAF museum it is well worth a trip, especially to see some of the incredible WWI displays.
Barnet Restaurant of the Year.
As you know, the Barnet Eye enjoys our food. Over the course of the year, we've visited many great restaurants across the Borough and eaten lots of very tasty food. Our winner this year is luckily for us, just around the corner. El Vaquero in Mill Hill is an excellent destination for a night out http://www.elvaquero.co.uk/mill-hill/ serving Argentinian style barbeque food. Don't eat before you go as you will be sumptuously fed.
Barnet Pub of the Year
We give this to an establishment which has really caught our eye, since it was taken over by the amazing Emily Ovenden in the summer. The Chandos Arms has gone in a few months from being a pub black spot to being a thriving community pub, with music and all sorts of other great events. They even do a free hot dog with every pint on a Monday night. Check it out - http://www.thechandosarms.com/
That's it folks. Hope you have enjoyed 2014, nearly as much as Rcihard Cornelius has!