Thursday, 22 June 2017

Theresa May should be sacked for destroying the UK's negotiating position in Brexit talks

Image result for angela merkel with theresa may
Merkel and May
Today Theresa May has had her first meeting with EU leaders since the election. I've just been watching the footage on the news. I was quite shocked at the smirking of her fellow leaders. It is pretty clear that the election result has completely undermined the UK's negotiating position. The only reason May called the election was for a short term advantage for the UK Conservative Party. She believed that the Tories would get a larger majority and she'd secure an extra couple of years. I believe another consideration was that it would give her time to recover the Tories reputation if the Brexit talks were difficult. Now she enters the chamber with her credibility and reputation in tatters. She must know that the EU will be in a prime position to play Northern Ireland off against the rest of the UK, and even potentially Scotland. She knows that there is no parliamentary majority for a hard Brexit or no deal. She knows that she has no joker up her sleeve and no Ace in her hand. We've already seen David Davis put soundly in his place.

There used to be a term for putting your own interests in front of the National interest and putting us at the mercy of foreign powers. It's called Treason. The Tories spent the election campaign suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn was in some way "unpatriotic" because he talked peace with unsavoury parties in Northern Ireland, before it became government policy. Theresa May's desperate gamble has put us at the whim and mercy of the Angela Merkel, who is now the de-facto emperor of Europe. For two years (at least), we'll have to pay the bills, but have no seat at the table.

The sooner she's gone the better. Who would I suggest replacing her? If I was a Tory, I'd probably go for Phillip Hammond. He is the best of a rather poor bunch. Boris is a buffoon, Gove is a treacherous git, Leadsome exposed herself as not up to the job. Amber Rudd is very lighweight and Ken Clarke is probably too old and frail. I suspect that within two years we might have a coalition, with Corbyn as PM and Vince Cable as his deputy. I think that the current Mayhem (pardon the pun) has gone down like a lead ballon with voters. Tim Farron was a disaster for the Lib Dems, and I'd expect Cable to add at least 10-15 seats to their total. I suspect that the Tories will learn nothing and go for the mother of all negative campaigns. I think that given the chaos they've dumped on us, this will go down like a lead ballon. I suspect that voters find Corbyn and Cable a tad more trustworthy than anyone the Tories will rustle up. Given the performance of Hammond on TV recently, I can't see any way that the current mess will last beyoind the Autumn. My prediction is that the Tories will have a leadership election sooner rather than later and the new leader will be more than tempted to try their luck. But hey, what do I know? I'd never have guessed Brexit, or a hung Parliament, so Mystic Meg I am most certainly not.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Grenfell Tower - The rich vs the poor?

The right wing press have been having a right old go at Jeremy Corbyn over his suggestion that the Council requesition empty properties in the Borough as emergency housing for homeless residents. They have tried to portray this as some sort of crazy socialist agenda to punish the mega rich. I have a few observations.

1. No one is being punished, as unlike the poor and homeless residents, they are not homeless, they have a nice comfy bed elsewhere.

2. They are not being evicted, the properties are empty and simply being used as investment vehicles.

3. The term is "emergency housing". Ie it is a short term measure in response to a crisis. Presumably, they would get compensation for the period. There is no suggestion that they would lose the ownership, they would simply be doing something socially useful. When permanent housing was available, the properties would revert to the original owner and presumably, the taxpayer would pick up the bill for any repairs etc.

4. It is quite normal in times of emergency and crisis for housing to be requisitioned. Read your history books about World War II.

5. Is it not morally repugnant that there are mega rich people who haven't simply opened the doors of their empty flats and mansions to help their needy neighbours? They shouldn't need asking, they should do it out of a sense of moral responsibility. It is not often that we get the chance to help our fellow man, so we should grasp it with a sense of zeal.

I have done much work over the years with the homeless. I have felt sad and impotent that I have been unable to help house the poor residents of my city who have been left homeless by this tragedy. The concept that there are people who could and haven't is sickening. The concept that mega rich foreign billionares who control our press have put the boot into Jeremy Corbyn for suggesting something that is simple human decency is srevolting beyond description. How on earth can these hypocrites criticise Corbyn for not nodding his head, but turn a blind eye to the shoddy treatment of social housing residents that has left at least 79 people dead. If The Sun and it's ilk used all its revolting armoury of illegal phone taps, intrusive doorstepping, offering cash bungs to coppers etc for leaks, into getting to the truth in this tragedy, we'd soon see the truth emerge. However, they only use these tactics to ensure a nice picture of Kim Kardasians arse or Hugh Grants secret fling on the front page. Heaven forbid that they actually try and serve the interests of the poor mugs who buy their $h1tty rags

The Mill Hill Music Festival Update - Phew! What a scorching Opera!

So did you make it to Hartley Hall yesterday, for the Pop-Up Opera? Well if the answer is yes, you will no doubt have had a fantasic night. Maybe, you weren't tempted? Opera is a bit high brow for you? It was in Italian, so you wouldn't be able to follow the action? Now I'm not an Opera buff, but it was amazing. For those of us who don't speak the lingo, there were subtitles. But these were subtitles with a difference. They were specially adapted to a Mill Hill audience, bringing much hilarity! The phrase "The rich count  who lives up on the hill" became "The rich bloke who lives in Uphill Road" was just one example.

For me, it was a fairly light touch day. There was no requirements for sound systems, so my main efforts were moving the piano onto the stage. Gerry did the lights.

Opera singers do not need mics. Several people complimented me on how well we'd done the sound, but even the piano was not amplified. Opera is a regular feature of the festival. For me, Pop-Up Opera is the best we've seen, they've all been fantastic, but I feel Pop-Up Opera are very true to the origins of the form. We see Opera as high brow entertainment with the ENO and the Royal Opera House. Many perceive it as high pitched, unintelligable warblings. The audience yesterday, which was rather full, saw how it should be. It was funny, bawdy and delivered with huge energy and passion. The jokes were genuinely funny and worked well.

Afterwards, we chatted to several members of the company. They were highly complimentary about the festival, saying it was great to play such events. They thoroughly enjoyed the reception they got. If you missed it this time, make sure you check out the Opera in two years!

So what have we got coming up?

Kevin Fitzsimmons
Tonight, we have Jazz at the Mill Hill Golf Club, with Kevin Fitzsimmons, one of the most individual male jazz voices to emerge on the UK jazz scene in recent times. This is hosted by The Mill Hill Jazz Club. If you've not been to the Jazz club before, why not use this great opportunity to check out a great artist at a great venue. The Jazz club has been running since 1999 at a variety of locations, before settling at the Golf Club. They put on some fantastic artists, so even if you can't make tomorrow, be sure to check them out!

Robert Fowler
Thursday is another jazz event, with Robert Fowler, veteran of the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, the Back to Basie and BBC Big Bands, and Humphrey Lyttelton’s Band. The show is a tribute to Jazz great Gerry Mulligan,  remembered for his famous  quartets which have become part of jazz history; but in the early 1960s he led an outstanding and unique thirteen piece all-star ensemble that received acclaim from fans and critics alike.  The band of top British musicians will be underpinned by the rhythm section of award winning bassist Dave Green and drummer Steve Brown.
This show is at the Hartley Hall, and there are still tickets available.


The Silencerz & Recollection
Friday sees a very special event, with The Silencerz and Recollection live at The Mill Hill Golf Club. Get ready to dance the night away to the rockingest, rock-steady beat of the The Silencerz. One of country’s top ska bands, this nine piece outfit will bring the house down with a fun and energetic night, featuring covers of all your favourite ska tunes, along with a selection of originals. The band will be joined by special guest Lee Thompson, the nutty saxman from  Madness. Our evening begins with the always popular 5-piece cover-band, Recollection playing all your favourites from the 60’s to present day.This promisies to be a fantastic night and there is a barbeque as well, just in case you feel a bit peckish.

Image result for alan warner the foundations
Alan Warner
The festival closing party is at The Adam and Eve,  with guitar legend Alan Warner and his band. Alan made his name as a founder member of The Foundations, formed in the 1960's and still regularly played on the radio today, with hits such as Build Me Up Buttercup and Baby, Now That I’ve Found You. They will be playing an exciting mix of rock, blues, pop and West Coast covers plus original songs.It promises to be a cracking end to a brilliant festival!

The festival happens every two years. It is run on a not for profit basis by volunteers. We aim to bring you high quality music, from top musicians, as well as giving local artists an opportunity to play. Some of the events are ticketed and some are free to enter, so everyone can join in the fun. the Festival is supported by Mill Hill Music Complex, who supply PA and sound systems free of charge.  We firmly believe in supporting artists and musicians and all artists are paid for their performances.


The Wednesday Poem #21 - The Fall of The Empress & musings on Empires

The Fall of The Empress

Image result for Theresa may with the queen
The Queen and Theresa May
She awakes, a ray of sun screams through the curtain,
A new day has dawned, just for a moment full of promise,
Then the world come flooding back,
It wasn't meant to be like this

Today,  the Queen will bless the house,
The Queen - who has seen so many come and go,
Churchill was the first, many decades ago,
A giant from a different world.


Image result for daily mail saboteurs front page
How it was meant to be
She looks in the mirror, sunken eyes stare back,
"Mirror Mirror on the wall, oh go to Hell" ,
In her mind she sees them all, lined up
"Et tu Brutus?"

Today the Empire will fall around her feet,
As the Queen lays bare her demise before the eyes of the world,
The sycophants have moved to pastures new,
She stands alone.

Copyright 2017 Roger Tichborne.

Today's poem is was specially to commemorate the Queens Speech. For Theresa May, it wasn't meant to be like this.

Guest Poems are always welcome at The Barnet Eye.

Just a few words on the the subjects of Empires. I've always found it fascinating how seemingly invincible empires fall. I was born in 1962 and my father was born in 1917, in Australia. He was a "Commonwealth Citizen" and fought in the second world war. In the early part of his life, The British Empire was one of the largest empires the world had seen, controlling much of Africa and Asia. At some point, I really can't quite work out why or when exactly it all happened, the British decided that running an Empire wasn't such a marvellous thing after all, packed and went home. I am not quite sure what was the most despicable aspect of the British Empire, but probably for me it was the state we left the world when we upped sticks and came home. It should be a matter of shame for us all that just about every place on the planet where there is serious conflict is somewhere that the British Empire stirred up a hornets nest at some point. In my lifetime, the Soviet Empire fell. I travelled extensively in the USSR before the fall of communisim. It was fascinating. We'd been brainwashed that the USSR was some sort of mighty power, but in reality it was a complete shambles. I am sure their military were more than competent, but any supposedly communist society, where citizens are excluded from hard currency shops is clearly suffering a personality disorder. Whilst nuclear weapons buy a place at the top table, what is the point if your population is pauperised. But then Emperors in their palaces have never much cared about such things.

Image result for cruella deville cartoon
Cruella DeVille
Which brings us to the situation today. When Theresa May called the election, everyone believed she'd sweep to power and be the most powerful PM for decades. Whilst Blair had a majority, he never really had the heart of the Labour Party. He simply couldn't do what he wanted. Gordon Brown, the Iron Chancellor (remember that), ruled the roost. Theresa May would have been the sweetheart of the Tories if she'd pulled off what she tried. Had she got the 150 seat majority that the Mail talked of in the early days of the campaign, she'd have been simply unassailable. But Democracy is a funny old thing. The British are a strange race. I suspect that the thing that did for May was that she chose to campaign as an Empress. The rest of the Conservatives were irrelevant. She simply thought  that by saying "I'm the boss and I'm the one who can deliver "strong and stable" (remember that) government would be enough.

Image result for Obi wan Kenobi
Obi Wan Kenobi
I've read all sorts of analysis as to why Jeremy Corbyn thwarted her. The reasons as far as I can see are simple. For most of us, May was simply Cruella DeVille. The problem was that she was up against Obi Wan Kenobi. It is quite amazing how many parallels there are between Kenobi and Corbyn. Kenobi was revered by the Young, and inspiration, spending most of his time in the desert. He was the archetypal political outsider. His career was really one of failure, as he'd completely failed to stop "The empire", a hard line fascist organisation, taking over much of the Universe. Although it isn't mentioned, my guess is that he too spent far too much time tending his allotment on Planet Zob, whilst Darth Vader was busy enslaving the 17 planets in the Zork system. Of course politics in the real world are far more complex, but if you have a bloke who looks rather like a bloke we all recognise as a hero, running against a woman who looks like someone who is famous for murdering dalmations, there is only really one way it will end in animal loving Britain.

I do wonder what The Queen makes of it all. Her first Prime Minister was Churchill, perhaps the man, more than any other, who saved the world from the Nazi's. A tower of a man. Maybe her last Prime Minister? Theresa May, a woman who can't even butter up the DUP to support her. I doubt the Queen has ever had such a speech to read. One imagines she is mightily put out, given she was meant to be at the Gee Gee's today. Perhaps the one lesson we can draw is that, as my Dad often told me "an Empire is at its weakest when it looks to be at its most powerful".

One final word. I don't believe it is anti British to be critical of the British Empire. Many on the right say that we should cut our foreign aid budget. To me, this is unpatriotic. The British owe many poor countries a huge debt. To me, a primary British value should be honouring our commitments and debts. Many of the fine Victorian edifices in London and other major cities, were built using profits from exploiting poorer countries. The least we can do is give some of that back. I am proud to be British, but people who are small minded and stingy make me embarrassed for my countrymen.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Mill Hill Music Festival - The Half Way stage

So we are at the half way stage of the Mill Hill Music Festival today. Nine days of fun and frivolity! We started on Friday at the Hartley Hall with the Hendon Band of The Salvation Army and at The Adam & Eve with Mick Jaguar and Emily Lee.

Both events were very well attended and very well received. Saturday night was the BBC Elstree Concert Band at The Hartley Hall.

 This was a sell out show and the band got a standing ovation! Sunday was the Jazz Lunch at the Adam & Eve with Enrico Tomasso.


This was a beautiful afternoon and the garden was packed. It was especially nice to have so many people come up and express their thanks for our efforts.

Last night was the Klezmer at The Mill Hill Synagogue, with Balaliaka and friends. Again the show was packed and Balalaika had the audience stomping along at the end with "Hava Nagila". The band brought along several guest artists to augment the usual four piece line up and gave a fantastic display of musicianship.

Tonight, we have Opera. It is the Pop-Up Opera company, performing The Secret Marriage. It will be your very last chance to see this show! There are still a few tickets left, so try and come along.

Kevin Fitzsimmons
Tomorrow, we have Jazz at the Mill Hill Golf Club, with Kevin Fitzsimmons, one of the most individual male jazz voices to emerge on the UK jazz scene in recent times. This is hosted by The Mill Hill Jazz Club. If you've not been to the Jazz club before, why not use this great opportunity to check out a great artist at a great venue. The Jazz club has been running since 1999 at a variety of locations, before settling at the Golf Club. They put on some fantastic artists, so even if you can't make tomorrow, be sure to check them out!

Robert Fowler
Thursday is another jazz event, with Robert Fowler, veteran of the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, the Back to Basie and BBC Big Bands, and Humphrey Lyttelton’s Band. The show is a tribute to Jazz great Gerry Mulligan,  remembered for his famous  quartets which have become part of jazz history; but in the early 1960s he led an outstanding and unique thirteen piece all-star ensemble that received acclaim from fans and critics alike.  The band of top British musicians will be underpinned by the rhythm section of award winning bassist Dave Green and drummer Steve Brown.
This show is at the Hartley Hall, and there are still tickets available.


The Silencerz & Recollection
Friday sees a very special event, with The Silencerz and Recollection live at The Mill Hill Golf Club. Get ready to dance the night away to the rockingest, rock-steady beat of the The Silencerz. One of country’s top ska bands, this nine piece outfit will bring the house down with a fun and energetic night, featuring covers of all your favourite ska tunes, along with a selection of originals. The band will be joined by special guest Lee Thompson, the nutty saxman from  Madness. Our evening begins with the always popular 5-piece cover-band, Recollection playing all your favourites from the 60’s to present day.This promisies to be a fantastic night and there is a barbeque as well, just in case you feel a bit peckish.

Image result for alan warner the foundations
Alan Warner
The festival closing party is at The Adam and Eve,  with guitar legend Alan Warner and his band. Alan made his name as a founder member of The Foundations, formed in the 1960's and still regularly played on the radio today, with hits such as Build Me Up Buttercup and Baby, Now That I’ve Found You. They will be playing an exciting mix of rock, blues, pop and West Coast covers plus original songs.It promises to be a cracking end to a brilliant festival!

The festival happens every two years. It is run on a not for profit basis by volunteers. We aim to bring you high quality music, from top musicians, as well as giving local artists an opportunity to play. Some of the events are ticketed and some are free to enter, so everyone can join in the fun. the Festival is supported by Mill Hill Music Complex, who supply PA and sound systems free of charge.  We firmly believe in supporting artists and musicians and all artists are paid for their performances.
 







Monday, 19 June 2017

The Tweets of The Week in The London Borough of Barnet - 19/06/2017

I've been a bit busy with music festivals etc this week, so we are a bit late. .Our selection rather focuses on this as a result!. Here is my pick. Don't forget to follow any tweeters you like!

1. Vibe Market organised the Mill Hill Street Markets. Some fun was had!


2. Tomorrow night we have a very special opera in Mill Hill. There are some tickets still left!
3. The opening night of the Mill Hill Music Festival at The Adam and Eve
4.Me time mums rather enjoyed the cheese in Mill Hill!
5. Alasdair Hill was also enjoying the Mill Hill Markets. I wonder if he'd been at the bar before he took this rather wonky picture ;)
6.Mill Hill Rugby Club were also at the Street Market. We were hoping for a Scrum in the Broadway.

7. Mill Hill Wines also have some great deals on craft beers!
8. The Queen even ordered a flypast of the Royal Flight for the fun in Mill Hill

9. If you were at the Mill Hill Street Market, you'd have seen the coolest Pizza Oven in the world!

10. And finally, the Adam and Eve for the Mill Hill Music Festival Jazz Lunch!

Don't forget, there are still tickets available for the Mill Hill Music festival at the Festival Website -
https://millhillmusicfest.co.uk/

That's all folks

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The Saturday List #134 - Ten questions from a very disturbing dream

Will we get the truth?
Is the City of London in a state of post traumatic stress, following the Grenfell Tower tragedy? Although I don't live in that part of London, don't know people involved and haven't visited the site, the whole thing has deeply affected me. Clearly what I feel is nothing compared to what those who have lost loved ones, there homes, there family and their friends. But anyone with a heart, anyone with a soul, living in our city, surely must have been affected? Last night I had an awful dream, related to the tragedy. Do you ever have dreams and wake up realising that your psyche (or whatever) has raised some deeply disturbing questions in your mind. So let me share the dream with you. Just to give a bit of background, yesterday was the first day of the Mill Hill Music Festival. It was a great success. I was at the Mill Hill street market till 5pm, watching some great music then off to teh Adam and Eve for Mick Jaguar and Emily Lee. I came home satisfied at a job well done, had a glass of wine and went to bed.
I woke up at 6am, in a state of turmoil. My head was spinning. I had had a terrible dream. It had started in a really lovely way. I was walking down the most beautiful path, in a gloroius park, towards a magical looking garden, with a huge gate. I was with my Mum and Dad (both of whom have passed away). We were just chatting and were so happy. I then realised that they had passed away. I wasn't alarmed, everything was fine, but the question but the thought occurred to me that maybe I'd passed away and joined them for the big party in the sky. It was so lovely that I wasn't unhappy at the prospect. So I asked my Dad "Have I joined you up here?" My Dad replied "No, there is something we wanted to show you, you're going back in a minute". At that I looked at the gate. There was a long queue of people, all looking charred and bedraggled. They were clearly in a state of high upset. Unlike me, they seemed less than happy to be in the queue. At the gate, were a couple of guys who were clearly the gatekeepers. I was raised with images of glorious angels, with wings and Adonis like bodies. These guys looked nothing like that. They had raincoats and reminded me of the musicians in Lee Thompsons Ska Orchestra. At the front of the queue was a bellicose Londoner. He looked a bit like Lenin, cap, beard and glasses. He wa shouting at the gatekeepers. "I'm an atheist and a socialist, I don't want to be here. You ask God why he has let this awful tragedy happen, why have all these kids died? Why couldn't they live their lives".  The gatekeeper replied in a world weary way "This is a different place, you are all safe now, don't be upset". The Lenin lookalike was having none of it "Why, give me an answer?". The gatekeeper replied "There are no answers. You are martyrs fallen at the feet of the forces of greed and division" at that, he Lenin lookalike started crying and the line moved through, the gate. As they passed through, people on the other side came to greet them and welcome them. Lenin looked up and a woman, who may have been his wife or mother gave him a great hug that seemed to absorb him fully. My Dad turned to me and said "That's it really, all that is left is love".  And with that, I was back in my bed, with my head spinning.

There were ten questions, which formed in my mind. I thought long and hard about whether to post this blog. I've no idea what if anything it means. I've no idea if there really is a message. It didn't comfort me, it simply disturbed me. Maybe you can answer a few questions? Maybe  you've been similarly affected. Maybe, you just think I'm and idiot and should keep my dreams to myself. I sort of felt compelled to write it and share it. It feels like the right thing to do. Strangely none of the questions are existencial ones.

1.  Are the victims "Martyrs fallen at the feet of the forces of greed and division". Martyrdom has got a bad name of late. But suicidal killers are not martyrs at all. A martyr is someone who has no choice in the matter, other than to give up their beliefs of way of life. The victims had no choice. It is pretty clear that greed played a roll in the tragedy.

2. My father said "That's it really, all that is left is love". We've seen a huge outpouring of love and compassion in London. Can that ever, in some small way, compensate for such a terrible tragedy. Can it give those suffering loss a degree of solace? I really don't know.

3. If I am having terrible dreams at the periphery of the tragedy, what on earth are those in the epicentre feeling. Theresa May has said £5 million will be set aside for victims. How much is being set aside for counselling of victims? It seems to me that this will be a very long term issue.

4. I am an adult, if my dreams about the subject are disturbing, what on earth are the children who have been touched by this issue dreaming about? Is there anyone for them to talk to? Is there anyone they can open up to.

5. One aspect of my dream, which I couldn't really get my head round was the Lenin like figure haranguing the gatekeepers. As I analysed it, the disturbing thought occurred to me that this really seems very like what is actually happening. The ordinary people are asking questions and they are getting no answers at all.

6. As I've listened to the coverage, it is clear that churches and places of worship have been key in the relief effort. They've thrown their doors open and acted as centres for people to get together. This is commendable. I think churches have a central role in communities. As religion is seemingly on the decline, what will happen if we lose these centres? We need community spaces. In disasters, we need places to gather and coordinate. Events such as this challenge any faith one may have (that is a central theme of my dream, I think), but the need for such space is beyond doubt.

7. Another thing which struck me was the sheer joy at the end of the dream of people being reunited with people they've lost. There may be people in hospitals, who have loved ones thinking they are dead. This is always a problem in a disaster, especially one like this where people may have no id. Disaster planning needs to address such things. I don't know how, but there must be a way.

8. "The forces of greed and division". The wanting of a bigger slice of the cake than we need or even deserve. Five years ago, I made a film called  "A Tale of Two Barnets" about such division, with Charles Honderick". It was a play on "A Tale of Two Cities", Dickens tale of inequality. It is a theme which has got worse, in the five years of Conservative austerity for the masses since. There has been no austerity for the top 1% in our society.

9. "You are all safe now". But what about all of the people left in Tower blocks in London and the rest of the UK. There are a hell of a lot of people who really don't feel safe. This isn't an issue that can be put off at all. There should be a state of emergency declared for everyone who may be at risk. We cannot have children living in tower blocks that can burn like roman candles.

10.  "There are no answers". Maybe for those that have gone, there are none, but there must be for the rest of us. More pertinant though, is what is the questions we should be answering. The first of these is "What are we doing today, to ensure that this does not happen again?".

Finally, my hope is that those that have passed are all in a better place. I've no idea whether the dream was simply a window on my own psyche or something more. I will form my own opinions on that. I often dream of my parents when I am in turmoil. I guess this is a natural response, as they were the people I turned to as a child when I was sad or upset. My heart goes out to those who lost parents, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters in the fire. It is the worst thing in the world. I hope they find some sort of solace. I hope their dreams bring them some sort of peace. Whenever I havea  dream about my Mum and Dad, I always feel upset at their passing when I wake, even though Dad died over 30 years ago. I will never forget them and never stop loving them - That's it really, all that is left is love.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Grenfell Tower Disaster - Criminal Negligence and Corporate Manslaughter?

I awoke this morning to hear a distinct change in the tone of coverage of the Grenfell Tower tragedy on BBC Radio London. The shock is subsiding and is being replaced with a very real sense of anger. As I listened to the news, my mind was taken back to 2010 and my council election campaign in Mill Hill and a conversation with a local fireman. Why is this relevant? Read on. I was canvassing for the local Lib Dems and I knocked on a door in Mill Hill East. There was a very pleasant lady who said "You're that blogger, who did Brian Coleman for Standards". I replied "Yes, that's me". She said "Come in, have a cup of tea and a slice of cake, my son wants to shake your hand". How could I possibly turn down such an offer? I was ushered in, the kettle went on and she said "I'll just have to go up and wake Dave (not his real name ) up". As it was 3pm, I assumed Dave was a bit of a lazy sod, but hey ho, I love a nice cuppa and a slice of fruitcake. She came back down, made the tea and we started to chit chat. Then Dave appeared. He looked completely bedraggled, tea shirt, shorts and a dirty face. He also had a strange smell about him. He was also given a cup of tea. I stood up and he said "Sorry about the state I'm in but I really wanted to shake your hand". So we shook hands. Then Dave explained himself. He is a serving fireman. He'd been on nightshift and his team had attended a large housefire. The scene he described was truly horrific. I felt truly humbled to be in his presence. When he'd finally got in, he'd simply crashed out. I felt guilty for waking him up. I said "you didn't need to get up". Then he explained. "You took that B*******d Brian Coleman to the Standards. It was a scandal that he wasn't turfed out on his ear. He is in charge of the London Emergency Fire and Planning Authority and he's running it into the ground". Dave explained about station closures, changes to rules on shifts and a whole host of other changes that he explained would dramatically reduce the capacity of the fire brigade to deal with major incidents. He said "They talk about the fact that a fire engine will still arrive within five minutes, but with a major incident, you need a whole fleet of engines and a large squad of trained men. It isn't the time that the first engine that arrives that matters, it's the time the last one arrives, because it is only then that the team is up to full strength". Dave then said "London has more tower blocks, train stations, football stadiums, airports, museums, colleges and schools than any other place in Western Europe. Every time we shut a fire station, sack a fireman or sell a fire engine, we are reducing the ability to get crews to the scene in time. A disaster will happen and the likes of Coleman will say "The first fire engine was there in five minutes". This will be completely dishonest. The true measure is when was a team capable of dealing with the crisis on scene? Sadly everything Dave told me has come to pass. Just look at this tweet from the architect of the fire service cuts.


However, the Fire Brigade are just one small part of the puzzle. If people had done their job, then they should not have been needed. Next time you hear about "health and safety" and "red tape" being cut to make things more efficient, just remember this. The talk is that the fire started with a faulty fridge. How such an incident, which sadly is not completely unpredictable in a dwelling with hundreds of people could have escalated to such a fire is beyind belief.  A large dwelling such as this should have safety designed in. There should be fire barriers all over the place. It should be a series of boxes that are fire sealed. If one box catches fire, this should not spread. We have building regulations that specify how buildings are put together and what materials are used. Fire doors are installed to stop flames and smoke. Alarm systems are installed and regularly tested. Fire certificates are issued. There should be a whole series of checks in place, from the moment the building is designed. It is clear that the cladding caught fire. How on earth can you clad a large dwelling in a material that is not fireproof? This is beyond belief.The building was recently refrubished in a multi million pound project. There were architects, structural engineers, building contractors, building inspectors and a fire inspection to sign off this work. At which stage did it all go wrong? Was the design compromised, were corners cut, did the inspectors do their job? Did the council demand unrealistic cuts to the budgets for the refurbishment, that resulted in shoddy work?

Who knows. But what is 100% clear is that someone somewhere has been criminally negligent. The death toll may reach three figures. This is a corporate failure on a massive scale. As far as I'm concerned those responsible must face charges of corporate manslaughter. They have failed the ordinary working people who were living in the tower. The whole thing seems to me to be rotten to the core. Politicians lying to protect their back, building contractors etc removing references to Grenfell tower refurbishment work form their sales blurb on their website. It is disgusting beyond belief. It has taken me three days to collect my thoughts to say this. The residents are right to be angry. We need answers and we need prosecutions. That is the only way the greedy will learn



Thursday, 15 June 2017

COUNTDOWN TO THE MILL HILL MUSIC FESTIVAL - Fun kicks off tomorrow with Mick Jaguar at The Adam and Eve

Mick Jaguar and Emily Lee
After 2 years, the wait is over! The Mill Hill Music Festival is back in town, tomorrow, Friday 16th June, and we have some tasty treats for you! 

Mick Jaguar is a retro chanteuse who sings and plays ukulele performing polished nostalgic gems - jazz/blues/soul/60s/lounge. Mick's alter ego, Natalie Cooper, has had an illustrious international career in girl groups, jazz and covers bands and is now going it alone armed only with her wacky wit, powerful pipes and that irresistible four-stringed purveyor of musical merriment - the ukulele.. check her out here. 


Also appearing is the amazing Emily Lee, a razor-sharp firebrand singer-songwriter with a penchant for soulfully delivered performances and artful songwriting. She is a stand-out performer on the London music scene. Emily did a knock out set at The Mill Hill Christmas Market which inspired us to ask her!

Join us for an evening of great live music. This promises to be a night of great fun! And the music is all Free!

While we are at it, there are still a few tickets left at Mill Hill Wines for the Amazing Robert Fowler's Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band, don't miss this brilliant show! 

More details  of these shows and the rest of the programme at The Mill Hill Music Festival website

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Back to 1974 with Theresa May and The Tories!

Do you remember June 1974? I do. Conservative Prime Minister Ted Heath had called an unnecessary snap elelection. He lost and we had a minority Labour government. Britain was viewed as 'the sick man of Europe'. It was the height of the troubles in Ulster, fuelled by collusion between the British state and Unionists and their paramilitary friends. Europe dominated the election with feverish talk of a referendum on membership. The England football team weren't very good and were at home for the summer (having failed to qualify for the World Cup). Taxes were rising, spending was out of control and everyone was scared to death of what the bloke in the Kremlin might do. The 'Arabs' had triggered a massive economic crisis, by forming OPEC to hike up oil prices.

It is funny just how much everything is different and everything stays the same. Theresa May started the campaign as the new Maggie Thatcher and ended it as the new Ted Heath. It's quite ironic that she accused Jeremy Corbyn of wanting to take us back to the 1970's really. Personally, I live in hope though, by my reckoning in two years, we'll have a punk rock explosion!

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

COUNTDOWN TO THE MILL HILL MUSIC FESTIVAL - The BBC Elstree Concert Band Sat 17th June

The BBC Elstree Concert Band
As we continue our countdown to the Mill Hill Music Festival, today we look at This Saturday at 7.30pm at

We are priveliged to have the BBC Elstree Concert Band playing a programme of Film and Show music. Full of well-known, toe-tapping numbers, the Band will take us on another dazzling and fun journey through some of the most popular songs and tunes from stage and screen. Formed in 1984, the 40+ piece band has a repertoire of light classics, show music and contemporary wind instrument arrangements.The Band’s performances have been broadcast nationally as well as internationally through the BBC World Service.  They have provided the music for a major BBC 1 documentary, participated in a Radio 3 programme on the music of Charles Ives aired as part of the “Discovering Music” series and have made numerous recordings.  The band give annual concerts in support of The Voice of the Listener Trust and in aid of several charitable organizations such as the North London Hospice and several other charitable organisations. They have toured further afield in France and Belgium. This exuberant concert will highlight the very best of showtime entertainment. For more info about The BBC Elstree Concert band, checkout there website http://bbcecb.weebly.com/.

Tickets: £12 (+£1 online admin fee per ticket). Cash Bar.   


Please book via the Festival website - https://millhillmusicfest.co.uk/box-office/ -  tickets are also available at Mill Hill Wines.

Good to see Theresa May doing a Wenger!

Good to see that Theresa May is doing a Wenger. Bad tactics, rubbish team, awful results, but never mind, she got us into this mess, so who better to get us out of it! The only question I have is whether Stan Kronke is on the 1922 committee?

Monday, 12 June 2017

COUNTDOWN TO THE MILL HILL MUSIC FESTIVAL! - Klezmer music with Balalaika

On Friday, we see the start of 12th Bi-Annual Mill Hill Music Festival. Every day this week, we'll be putting the spotlight on an act. We start with the amazing Balalaika on Monday 19th June, 7.30pm


For over 20 years, the Festival has been drawing from all corners of the musical world and you might say that it has become a tradition for our evening of klezmer. Balalaika are comprised of Justin Bateman, one of the few balalaika players performing in Britain, Nigel Austen on bayan (a Russian accordion), Adam Gaiman on acoustic guitar, and Rich Baker on bass. As a special treat for the festival, the regular four piece line up (Adam,Justin, Nigel and Rich) will be joined by guest musicians David Nissen on trumpet and taragotto, Marian Bango on violin and Poli Hubavenska on vocals. They will take us on a journey back to the routes of klezmer. Traditional gypsy tunes, haunting melodies from The Steppes, waltzes, tangos, stirring Cossack numbers from old Russia and Eastern Europe are all part of their repertoire. All making for a not-to-be-missed night of spontaneity and movement. 

Tickets can be ordered via the Mill Hill Music Festival Box Office website, or picked up from Mill Hill Wines. 

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Tweets of the week in the London Borough of Barnet - 11/06/2017

This spot is a politics free zone today, so if you were hoping for lots of pictures of campaigners standing with Vote for Me posters, or rather unfunny tweets by failed Stephen Fry wannabee's I apologise! I just think we are all a little bit sick of the subject and there has been other stuff going on!

1. We start with a request for info about the Pie and Mash shop in Burnt Oak. I knew the answer to this one, as I knew Sid from his days running the car wash next to the studios .


2. A rather more alarming story in Golders Green

3. I rather like this little piece of artwork Thanks to Jason Wallace for bringing it to our attention.


4. Interested in things Finchley? A date for your diary


5. A nice piccie of Mill Hill Broadway from Sarah Burr from


6. A shout out for @WestWayNissan who deserve great credit of this act of generosity

7.And a shout out to our local Police volunteers, putting in a shift at Brent Cross

8. Barnet Police trying out some new equipment and tactics?

9. Mill Hill has a new chippy and very good it is!

10. And Finally, Vic Sharma has been making some great music in Mill Hill

Thats all folks!!!!