Saturday 8 October 2016

The Saturday List #100 - The ten most influential & important Barnet Eye blogs

Today is the 100th Saturday List.  I never envisaged that I'd be able to put so many lists together. In fact when I started the blog, I never envisaged that I'd still be writing it eight years later. Tuesday is the 8th birthday of the Barnet Eye. So with 100 lists and our 8th birthday in the same week, what better possible list than a list of our most important and influential blogs. I must say when I was researching this list, I was quite humbled by the amazing support from our community, the great contributions from our guest bloggers and the unique community in Barnet we've played a major role in developing.

My criteria for inclusion in this list? Well it is pretty much based on where we've been first on the scene and if it wasn't for us, then something would be signiicantly different or worse. There is another category, where we've published blogs that have, I believe, proved enormously helpful or beneficial to people, based on the feedback I've received.

1.  Hello, Good Evening and Welcome - Saturday, 11 October 2008

The very first blog published on this site. In many ways, a pretty bland offering, but every journey has to start somewhere. For me this was an important statement that Rog T - The Barnet Eye Blogger - wasn't going anywhere and wasn't going to skulk off. Various long departed and long discredited ex Barnet Tory councillors crowed that they'd ended my blogging career by getting the Barnet Times to kick me out as a Times blogger. This blog, in it's own understated way, announced to the world that there dastardly scheme had failed.  

2. The Barnet Eye to open a Peoples Library at Friern Barnet next Saturday 14th April - Friday, 6 April 2012

 This blog lead to perhaps the proudest and most amazing day of my life. This was the blog that launched the Friern Barnet Peoples Library. A pop up library on the lawn outside of Friern Barnet Library. When I posted it, I was scared stiff that no one would notice. The idea was simple. We all come down to the green, bring some books, swap them and make the statement to the council that their actions closing the library were at odds with the community. The actual day was wonderful. Over 500 people turned up and by the end of the day, we had a stock of over 1,000 books. It meant that when Occupy reopened the library, we had a stock of books to put on the shelves and a network of people in place to run the show as a library. The protest was covered by the One Show for the BBC and carried on all summer until Occupy took the direct action needed. 

3. Mr Tichborne, the result of your Prostate Biopsy is .... Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The start of my cancer odessy and my series of cancer blogs. This was a subject I never dreamed I'd be covering when I started the blog, but in a funny way I am so pleased I have. I've had an amazing response to this series, from male friends who have had issues and never spoken or discussed it. It is almost like a dam has been broken. In a small way, this has done a hell of a lot of  good.

4. How Barnet Council treat disabled people part 1 - is this fair? - Monday, 4 April 2016

 The Freedom pass debacle. This was the blog that broke the story. A guest blog from a young man living with autism. It is still shocking and if I was a Barnet Councillor, I'd hang my head in shame at the mere thought of this. How can a civilised soceity cancel the freedom pass of a young man living with autism and not tell him. This is perhaps the most powerful blog on the whole of this site. It humbles me that people trust me with their stories. To the eternal (and unadmitted) shame of the Barnet Tories, their attack dog blogger tweeted implying I'd made this up. No apology was ever received (or expected if I am honest). This lead to the policy being reversed, which had a massive impact for hundreds of disabled people. I must say this blog wouldn't be the same without our magnificent army of guest bloggers.

5. Save London Music Campaign - Official Launch Today - Friday, 27 February 2015

 This is a campaign I am extremely proud of. This was the day we launched the Save London Music campaign. The campaign has been far more successful than I thought possible, with agent of change legislation being brought forward to protect established venues. We've had great support from the marvellous Robert Elms on BBC Radion London.

6. Dyslexia Special - Long Division and nights of fear - Thursday, 19 August 2010

This was where I came out. As a dyslexic. Like the cancer blogs, this is one which many people have thanked me. Many have asked my advice on the subject. Many have confided that they have issues. The one thing I've learned and my mission has been to spread the message is that with issues of health and well being, there should be no taboo's. As a result, this deveoped into a whole series of blogs

7. The practical guide to watching someone die - Tuesday, 24 April 2012

This is the sixth most viewed blog on the whole site. I wrote this after watching one of my best friends slip away from this world to the next. I was completely unprepared for what happened. I thought that maybe if I documented it whilst I was still fresh.  I've received many emails since then telling me just how helpful this was at an extremely difficult time. I guess if I'd helped one person, that would be a thing, to have helped so many is a cause for a degree of pride. 

8. Barnet Council vs The People - Hugh Rayner - Barnets Tinpot Dictator -Monday, 28 February 2011

This was one of the most important Barnet blogs ever. This established the right of local people to video proceedings at Barnet Council Town Hall. In truth, I've always felt a bit embarrassed that it was Hugh Rayner who was on the sharp end of this. I quite like Hugh, he's a decent bloke, straightforward and honest and he was simply being badly advised. It just happened that his committee was the one I had to video to make the point. The following day, the Council were debating the matter and I wanted to make the point that people could video the council without disrupting anything. I also had the knowledge that it wasn't illegal and they couldn't stop me. It clearly showed that the notion of banning public access was absurd in this day and age. It was a big victory. Bloggers need to take the odd risk. This was one that paid off.

9. Save Barnets Library service from closure - Stall in Mill Hill Broadway, Saturday 10.30am -12.30pm - Thursday, 30 September 2010

 This was the blog where we launched the Save Barnets Libraries campaign. It was a massively successful campaign. At the time Councillor Robert Rams was talking about wholesale Library closures. We raised a monster petition and mass lobbies of many councillor surgeries. The council backed down. I put  a huge amount of effort into the campaign. Rams lost his seat on the council as a direct result of his attack on the libraries in the 2014 Council election. Sadly the Barnet Conservatives had another go at the libraries after the 2014 election. Having learned from the 2010 campaign, they have not planned closures, but a massive downsizing, keeping "zombie libraries". My one hope is that at least something is preserved for a future, more enlightened admistration.

10. 16 Million and what do you get, Silence from the Tories and deeper in debt - Barnet Peoples Choir video release Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Barnet peoples choir was formed to provide a soundtrack for a series of videos I was working on to form a film called "Capita - The Movie". This was the first of the series. It demonstrated the poor state of repair of Hendon cemetary following the Capita takeover. Putting the choir together and getting Boz Boorer to be MD was a blast. The movie has had nearly 1,000 views. Not bad for a little film about local govt outsourcing.

Of course there were a whole stack of blogs we could have listed. We've published nearly 5,000 blogs. We've had great guest blogs, we've broken dozens of stories. It was difficult to hone it down, but I felt it was also important to include all the strands of the blogs.

Have a great Saturday.

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