It is fair to say that until 2012, I saw great value in what I was doing and I genuinely thought that there was the opportunity to use social media to put a few things right in Barnet. This culminated with the unseating of convicted criminal Brian Coleman (who will not be mentioned on this blog again unless he does something truly newsworthy, rather than just be rude to people). It seemed as if the blogging community was at the centre of a popular movement to bring genuine local people who cared about their community into the process of deciding how decisions affecting our community are made. Sadly shortly after the election, I realised I was completely wrong. It is not that there is any lack of desire to change things, it is just that Barnet politics is a complete stitch up. The people who are involved in the main parties are all doing quite nicely out of it. Some are good, some are bad, but none of them want to change the status quo. Of course some of them want better jobs, but they don't want them enough to genuinely want anyone who isn't a comfy insider to have any role or influence in what they do.
I was quite shocked when I realised the true extent of the malaise affecting the politics in Barnet. At first I thought that I was seeing patterns that weren't there, but time and time again, the local opposition simply played along with what the ruling party were doing. The leaders would turn up on marches, but in the town hall, it was a different story. They would simply nod their heads and wave policy after policy through, no matter how much damage it did the local people of Barnet.
A few examples of policies that the Labour opposition has waved through.
Privatisation of Your Choice Barnet
Mass Outsourcing to Capita
Ruling out in house option for Your Choice when the business case collapsed
Selling of Pavillion Way playing fields
All of these policies are disasterous for the communities affected. Yet the status quo in Barnet simply lets them carry on, because arguing with Council officers is "too much trouble". This was clear in 2012 and it is completely unarguable today.
Which lead me to conclude that if no one was actually going to change anything, what on earth was the point blogging about it. I had a bit of an incentive up until the 2014 Council elections, in that there were some truly vile people in the council, most of whom got the boot. But it was clear that the opposition weren't really interested in winning and changing things. I couldn't really see why at the time, but in the cold light of day it is crystal clear. When it comes down to it, they are all doing rather nicely and the cash comes in rather handy. Had the leadership of the opposition changed, the ex leader would be back on the same money as any other councillor. So being the leader of the opposition, was better than being a back bencher in a ruling party.
The FBI have a simple rule when investigating. This is why FIFA will collapse as they get deeper into the investigation. That rule is "follow the money". So when we see people not doing their job, but hanging on for dear life, we ask "Why, if they are people of principle would they do that?". In my opinion, because there are thousands of pounds at stake.
I find it heartbreaking to see so many good people in Barnet, people who need the support of politicians, being so badly let down. But the truth is that the cabals that control the reigns of power in Barnet have absolutely no interest in seeing their pocket take a hit.
I love our community. I love the people of this Borough, the green spaces, the great transport links and the iconic features that make it so special. We are badly let down and we have to face up to the fact that this isn't going to change any time soon. The party in power are happy to see developers mash up our environment and private contractors rake in our cash. The party in opposition are happy to sit on their hands, do nothing and claim their allowances.
So what is the sensible and logical thing for a dyslexic punk rock guitarist with cancer to do with his time? Is it to torture myself ever more about the awfulness of where we find ourselves. Or should I turn up my guitar, play rock and roll and drink beer. Right now, the second option certainly sounds the better of the two. I put the following post up for my Facebook friends
A bit of a long ramble here. Hope my friends appreciate it. After my great friend Paul Hircombe passed away in 2012, I really didn't know if I wanted to play music anymore. I certainly didn't want to play any of the songs I'd played with Paul. I also had a bit of a crisis of confidence as I decided my guitar playing skills were shit and I didn't want to make a twat out of myself in public.So it seems that I've found my mojo for music, but I've really lost it for writing political blogs. As you've all been so supportive of my blogging efforts over the years, I trhought I owed you a proper explanation, one written with due consideration.
So I sort of put all playing a bit to one side for a while. Due to various issues and commitments, I hooked up with our old singer from 1985, Allen Ashley as I had a couple of projects I needed music for and Allen played with us at a time when Paul was having a sabbatical from the band in France. I wanted to have some acoustic music in the can for some videos etc I was working on. We also did a gig at Friern Barnet Library when Occupy reopened it, which was fun.
Anyway towards the end of last year, I started to feel a bit different and more positive about playing. So I decided that we'd record an album this year and actually try and do a few "proper gigs". So we did the first of these last Saturday at the Midland Hotel and it was a blast. I've also booked us into the studio to start work on the album, I've long said we'd record. That session is booked for Sat 6th June.
I've got over whatever strange things were knocking around in my brain. So anyway, I just wanted to say that, so you all know I've got my musical mojo back a bit!
I will be continuing to blog about music, dyslexia, cancer, football and local campaigns etc that are for the good of our neighbourhood. I will happily print guest blogs from anyone who cares. I will continue with my Tweets of the week and Friday jokes. I just won't be writing anything else about the mob at the town hall. There is simply nothing left to say. In truth, I've spent a long time banging my head against a brick wall. The time has come to stop.