Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Happy Birthday to us! - The Barnet Eye is eight years old today!

Eight years ago today, I wrote my first blog on the Barnet Eye. This wasn't the the first blog I'd written, as I'd previosly been writing on the Barnet Times website. In May 2008, I'd started to write that particular blog. By October, I'd upset the local Tory bigwigs so much that they used all the pressure they could muster to force the then editor of the Barnet Times to sack me in my role as in house blogger. When I started the Times series blog, the Times had just launched the idea of community bloggers on their website. They were tucked away from the main news. You had to know where to look. I assumed that no one would read the blog. How wrong I was. Within a few weeks, nmy blogs would appear every day in the 'Most viewed' column. I set myself the target of writing a blog a day. I figured if people knew there'd be a new blog every day, they would look every day. It worked. What I didn't expect was the diverese bunch of people who supported me. An early ally was David Miller, AKA Don't call me Dave. He was a former big wig in the local Tories. His mum was a Conservative Peer. He started leaving comments. I labelled him "Barnets most sensible Tory".

David saw through the local Tories spin, that I was some sort of dangerous leftie nutcase and concluded that I was correct in identifying that there was something seriously wrong with the way Barnet Council was being run. He started the  right of centre "Not The Barnet Times" blog. I always believed that David was Barnets finest blogger. He had contacts in the local Conservatives and some of the blogs he published were devasatating. For a while, we spoke almost daily. The stress of writing his blog and falling out with his own party had a bad effect on his health and eventually he retired from blogging.

When the local Tories shafted my blog, David suggested the Barnet Eye, so I guess we all owe him great thanks. David was outraged. He broke the news that I was back. If you read the comments, you will see the level of bile I'd managed to attract. Davids comments sum it up "This really does show how desperate some people have become, that they resort to digging up a story from 6 years ago to try and discredit Rog T. Clearly they didn’t bother to read the whole article, but they probably don’t have the attention span required for more than two paragraphs."

At first, I didn't collect stats for the blog. I thought no one would read it. I thought that two men and  a dog might be interested. How wrong I was.

On the left, a slew of bloggers also sprung up. The first was Vicki Morris. Vicki is from the hard left. She also wrote an excellent blog. Vicki had good Trades Union contacts and soon established a good following of her own. I then received an email from one Theresa Musgrove. She sent a tale of woe which was so bizaree and unbelieveable and with so much potential for libel that I thought she was a Tory stooge trying to set me up for a fall. I emailed her back. I suggested that rather than me write a blog, she could set up her own. I said it was dead easy on blogger. I told her she had an interesting story, but it would be better told in her own words. That is how the legendary Mrs Angry and the Broken Barnet blog was born. Years later I confessed this. She thought it was hilarious.

As they say, the rest is history! We are having a Birthday Party for The Barnet Eye, with live music at the Chandos Arms, Colindale on Friday 21st October at 8pm. Please come along. We will also be holding a collection for funds for John Burgess Unisongate fighting fund (a bucket) and a collection of non perishable food for Colindale foodbank (please bring some tins of food). It is the least we can do. The gig is free and the Chandos is a lovely pub!

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