Monday 29 November 2010

A public service broadcast from sunny Burnt Oak



Sunday 28 November 2010

Barnet Libraries Petition featured on Politics Show

Internationally renowned author Kate Mosse was featured on the BBC TV Politics Show today. The Save Barnets Libraries petition was discussed. We are pleased that the country is waking up to the threat to this vital service. The campaign in Barnet has lead the way. Do your bit and sign the petition online (see the sidebar) if you haven't done so already

Barnet Libraries Protest - Update

Make sure you catch todays Politics Show. Author Kate Mosse features our campaign against Robert Rams plans. Kate has been invited to meet Ed Vaizey (the government minister responsible) to discuss the value of libraries as a result of her campaigning. Lets hope that the local press takes note and starts giving the campaign the coverage it warrants.

Saturday 27 November 2010

Email from a Barnet Council Employee to the Barnet Eye

Dear Roger,

On Monday, Cabinet will be voting to proceed with privatisation of the Council's Development and Regulatory Services. To you and me, it is Planning, Environmental Health, Building Control, Land Charges, Cemeteries and Crematoria, Highways, Regeneration, Trading Standards.

I am a member of staff in this bundle of services.

The process to get there has been a total joke. The project team has refused to involve staff and trade unions. Like most Future Shape / One Barnet projects, the published documents are a real insult to staff's intelligence and residents. The report to Cabinet is based on assumptions and clearly driven by ideology rather than facts. Staff in those services are really worried about their jobs and the services that residents will receive in the future if our departments are privatised.

Some of those services are amongst the most efficient in London and provide very good value for money. Staff are dedicated and understand that cuts will have to be made but also want to ensure that they are done in a way that will not affect the quality of the service to residents. Residents and the democratic accountability of decisions are totally ignored by the project team and this has to be exposed. 

Last month 80+ staff stormed out of a staff meeting when our Director, Stewart Murray, refused to answer reasonable questions from a Union official.

On Monday, staff from those departments will be outside the Town Hall to protest against the proposed privatisation.  We will be presenting Cabinet with a petition endorsed by a huge majority of staff.

I read your blog daily (as do a lot of my colleagues!) and I would be grateful if you could help staff in the affected services by publicising the protest and expose the Council's mad rush towards privatisation at all costs! I am sending this message to a couple of other Barnet bloggers.

Many thanks.

Brian Coleman, Erotic enemas and Cheese and pickle Sarnies

Welcome to the Barnet Eye weekly roundup of news.

First stop, Brian Coleman central. Following Colemans latest outburst, even the normally apolitical Mill Hill Broadway blog has had enough of Mr Coleman - - They have called for Mr Coleman to resign. We've been doing that for years here, we just hope that The Broadway blogger has more success with his campaign. Let's hope Coleman wakes up and thinks "Gosh, even the Mill Hill Broadway blogger doesn't like me anymore. I must resign immediately". I know it's cold here in Mill Hill, but I think we'll have to see similar temperatures in Hell before that happens.

Anyway, on to a completely different subject. You may have noticed the advert in the sidebar. These are placed by google ads. A couple of weeks ago, I spotted an offer I couldn't refuse there. It was "The Daily Deal" and it offered a heavily discounted dinner at a rather nice looking restaurant (some of us have to pay for their own dinners). Yep, I thought, it's free, I'll sign up for that. Anyway, having signed up, I've had all manner of offers, sadly none of them seem to offer nice cheap dinners at anywhere too convenient. In fact most of  the offers don't involve food at all. This week, there was much myrth in the office when the latest one arrived. It was a two-for-one deal on colonic irrigation. Not quite what I'd had in mind. It reminded me of an advert that used to be in the window of the news agent by Finchley Road Tube station. The advert was for "Erotic Enemas". Now I'm sure that some people go wild for such things, but it always struck me as a rather strange sort of fetish. In a drunken dare, I persuaded one of my friends to ring up and go along for one. In hindsight (no pun intended), he seemed a bit keener than maybe I'd anticipated. Sadly when he rung the number, it turned out that the service was no longer available. I suspect I'll be more circumspect in signing up for such offers in future.

Anyway, having put you off your lunch with that little anecdote, let's get back  to the big news in Mill Hill. The Adam and Eve reopens this week, on Wednesday under it's new owners. I wish them the very best of luck. They seem to be going down the dining route, but are committed to retaining the pub as a community pub. I wish them the very best. Their A la Carte menu is here -

- in my youth, fine dining at the Adam & Eve consisted of a pint of best and a cheese and pickle Sarnie. How times change.

It's been a sad week for me. I've buried one friend, Barry Worman and lost two others. I hope your week has been better.

Boris Johnson insults Londons Firemen

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson seems to have it in for our brave firemen. One of his lackeys this week said the following about the Fire Brigade Union :-

Most of the union officials, if they had half a brain cell, they’d be dangerous. Most of them are thick, can’t string a sentence together and frankly are incoherent.
Given that this particular lackeys job is to negotiate with this union, one must question why the incompetant dolt wasn't immediately and summarily sacked. The only conclusion can be that Boris Johnson endorses his stand and believes this to be the way to achieve good industrial relations. Boris Johnson is very good at distancing himself from the gaffes of his staff. His mantra is "Nothing to do with me mate". Contrast this with David Cameron who immediately sacked Lord Young for a far less offensive outburst.

BTW The incompetent lackey happens to be a Barnet Conservative Councillor - Brian Coleman

Friday 26 November 2010

Great Britain : Sexist, Racist and unfair at every level of society

When was the last time you heard someone say Queen Elizabeth II (or the 1st) for that matter was crap at her job? When was the last time someone said "It would all be different for us if Elizabeth had had a brother?" Prince William, second inline to the throne is getting married. Just suppose he has a boy, then a girl. Who will become Monarch when Wills dies? Easy answer? His son. Hang on a minute, just suppose his son is a deeply religious man and decides, that like the vast majority of previous English kings, he wishes to become a Roman Catholic? Well then he can't become King, so who does? Nope, not his little sister, but his Brother Harry.You see, Girls aren't allowed to become Monarch, if there's a bloke around. They are not allowed to become King if they are a Catholic or if they marry one. They can be all sorts of things which we may consider unpleasant, but these conditions seem to be dealbreakers. You would think that in the year 2010 we'd have moved beyond such discrimination, but no. If Wills eldest son wants to marry a Roman Catholic, we have a constitutional crisis. If he has a perfectly able daughter first, we have discrimination. Not only that, but discrimination that our national experience with  QEII has proven to be ridiculous.

Oh well, you might say, we live in a democracy, the monarch only has a ceremonial role. It is just a tradition. Well if we have sexism and discrimination at the top and no democratic accountability, what does that say for the system. My view is that before any new monarch takes the throne they should be formally ratified by a public vote. I used to be a full blown republican, but as the years have gone on, I've come to quite like her Maj, she pulls in the tourists and is good for business. None the less, as we pay her wages, I'd like a say in who gets the job, even if it is just a rubber stamp.

The truth is that if it's unfair at the top, it will be unfair all down the line. This is most certainly the case in this country. At every turn, the establishment seeks to remove democratic accountability. In the USA, you get to vote for your judges, your police chief, everything. All politicians have to go through a system of elections, party primaries, where votes occur. Last night, the supposedly libertarian Conservatives presided over a star chamber and appointed Brian Coleman as GLA candidate for Barnet and Camden. This job gets a £50,000 salary. I'm sure many able Tories would like a chance, but the Conservatives care nothing for their membership and a star chamber re-annointed Coleman. This is repeated up and down the country at all levels in all parties.

What is the net result. How many MP's are there from Ethnic minorities? What percentage of MP's are women? Does Parliament reflect society? Even worse is the number of senior politicians from public schools and Oxbridge universities. Compare this to society in general. Does the make up of parliament reflect the make up of society? You might say that going to University at Oxbridge reflects a sharp mind. It is more likely to reflect the social status of your parents. Often when the playing field is levelled, you suddenly find out that those people pushed to the back actually have far more to offer than you realise. My father,w ho was born in the outback of Australia, used to boast that when he joined the Royal Australian Air Force and took his pilot exams, he acheived the highest mark in his year. He was the only one in his class not to have a University education. Whenever he was asked which Uni he went to he'd reply "University of Brisbane, to read the meter". Because the country was in dire need it didn't matter and he passed out an officer. Like many people, he was easily intelligent enough, but until extraordinary circumstances of a war intervened, he was denied opportunity.

It's not only politics and public life where discrimination and racism have a firm grip. How many premiership managers are black? How many managers full stop? Think of all our Olympic stars over the years. How many of those who are black disappear once they've won their medals, without a trace. Who fronts our Olympic bid - Seb Coe. Seb was a great athelete, but would he have the job if he'd been a black kid from a council estate, who won the same medal? How many CEO's of FTSE top 100 businesses are black? How may heads of NHS trusts are black?

I believe everyone should get their job on merit and capability. In Great Britain today, merit and capability are a distant third to how well you chose your parents. Until we address this issue, we'll never move on as a Nation.

Thursday 25 November 2010

Barnet Eye Exclusive : Brian Coleman selected as Tory GLA Candidate for Barnet and Camden

Hot off the press. Brian Coleman has just been selected as the GLA candidate for Barnet and Camden by the Conservatives. His selection was confirmed at a meeting tonight.

Brian Coleman announced shortly afterwards : "Wejoice, Wejoice, I am weally pleased"

His prospective opponent for Labour, Andrew Dismore is also reported to be "Weally, Weally pleased" that Coleman has been selected.

The Barnet Eye warmly congratulated the local Conservative Associations in choosing Brian Coleman. There is no better exponent or example of Conservative morals, values and standards and we are committed to keeping you up to date with all of his exploits.

And we have one final thought, if the six associations who chose him think he's the best candidate, what on earth was the second best candidate like?

BBC Politics show to cover Save Barnets Libraries petition on Sunday

Got an email from a reader who has been in touch with the BBC Politics show. They got a reply from Kate Mosse who tells that she's recorded a piece about the Save Barnets Libraries petition on the Politics Show.

This is how people feel in Barnet. They care about the libraries and they care enough to go out of their way. The BBC recognises the value of the libraries and the strength of the public campaign. Let's just hope that Barnet Council and Robert Rams finally take note.

And a note to the Barnet Times and the Barnet Press. This is becoming a National Story, we have 3,900 signatures and YOU GUYS HAVE IGNORED THE PETITION COMPLETELY !!!!!

Do your job boys and girls and tell the people what is happening, this is the biggest petition in Barnet for years. It is shameful that you haven't been keeping people informed.

And for the rest of you - if you haven't signed up yet - now is the time. We're getting dozens a day at the moment, don't miss out, sign up now and tell your friends.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

If Tories hate Quangos, why does Barnet Council want to set one up?

One of my loyal army of readers asked me this question :-

I was having a look at the Cabinet meeting papers as regards Adult Social Services. It looks like there is a planned transfer of Adult Social Services to an arms length management organisation, an LATC (Local Authority Trading Company). Any idea what the implications of this are?

Now I'm not an expert, but here was my answer :-

It means that Barnet is setting up a Quango, so that there is no democratic control. It means that we'll have to pay for a whole new level of senior management. It means that when something goes wrong, it's not the fault of the council so they don't get booted out or have to pay the political price
Well that's what it means to me. If Tories are so keen to get rid of Quangos, why are Barnet so keen to set them up? If David Cameron thinks Quangos are a waste of money, why does Lynne Hillan and Robert Rams think they are such a good idea?

Barnet Council - Another day, same old cr*p

Barnet Council have just published the One Barnet framework :-

A few initial thoughts :-

- Still no detailed business case, with worked examples of savings to be achieved
- Cost of OneBarnet/Future Shape/EasyCouncil implementation £9 million, so no real savings for 3 years, by which time project may have failed and need unwinding!
- Savings calculated down to extremely accurate figures, ££1.175 million -  "other"
-  £1.27 mill saving through procurement - The better procurement may materialise but is based on squeezing contractors and one can't assume future savings from this. I am not sure if any inflation assumptions have been built in, among other reservations regarding budgeting on future negotiation

Here's a nice quote from the press release :-

Councillor Robert Rams, Cabinet Member for Customer Access and Partnerships, commented:

"One Barnet shows how we can provide better services for many residents even as we make cumulative savings of £100 million over the next decade."

As ever, it seems that judging from this comment, Young Ramsbottom hasn't read the actual document (I suspect he had trouble reading the press release put before him to announce the release). If he had, he'd realise that the document shows nothing of the sort.

One Councillor who has seen through the BULLSHIT is my old friend Brian Coleman. Apparently he read the papers and promptly announced that the figures were all made up. For all his faults (which are many and extensively catalogued) Coleman (unlike most other Barnet Tories) knows BULLSHIT when he smells it. Let's hope he has his revenge on young Ramsbottom who is his bag carrier at the GLA. Maybe Brian could take 5 minutes out of his busy schedule to explain to him that if you don't want to look stupid, read documents before you open your mouth. Of course we all know Ramsbottom's attitude to reading, given his comments about turning Barnets Libraries into branches of Starbucks.

One Barnet Framework papers -  read the papers here for One Barnet

Whilst we're on the subject of Saving Barnets Libraries, today we hit a milestone on the Online petition. We now have over 500 signatures, to add to the 3,400 we've got on paper. Please sign this if you haven't already. The Link is in the sidebar at the top. Please make sure you've Facebooked it, Twittered it, emailed all your friends with the link. 3,900 signatures is good but there are plenty of you still to sign.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Matthew Ashman Tribute Gig - The Scala, Sunday 21st Nov 2010

Nipped down to the Scala on Sunday night for the tribute gig to former Adam & The Ants / Bow Wow Wow guitarist Matthew Ashman. The gig was to mark 15 years since he tragically died from side effects of his diabetes. Matt, like me was a former pupil of Orange Hill. His place in the Ants line up for the gig was taken by another OH Alumni, Boz Boorer for the tribute. Adam headlined the show and played material only from the time Matt was in the band. Bow Wow Wow also put in an appearance as did "The Chiefs of Relief", the band Matt fronted after the demise of Bow Wow Wow.

It was great to hear the old Ants songs, the ones from before they hit the "big time". Some of them, I hadn't heard since seeing the Ants at the Marquee probably circa 1978/9. I went to Orange Hill in 1978, having departed FCHS. One massive difference I spotted straight away at my new school was how many people were in Bands. What was even more surprising was how good those bands were. I'd just started the False Dots with Pete Conway and we could hardly play. Being in an environment where everyone seemed to have a band was inspiring.

At the time Matthew was a bit of a hero as the Ants were at a level we could only dream of (we didn't gig for another 18 months and that was at the Harwood Hall in Mill Hill). Matthew split from the Ants to form Bow Wow Wow under the guidance of Malcolm MacLaren (oddly another Orange Hill old boy - albiet from a different era).  I must confess that I was rather disappointed at the time. I wasn't a fan of talcy Malcy. I blamed him for the demise of the Pistols, who were my favourite band. Although I quite liked Bow Wow Wow, I sort of boycotted them, in protest with the Malcy connection. Sunday was the first time I'd seen them and they were brilliant. The music isn't at all dated and sounded as if it could have been released yesterday. I'd love to hear a new album.

The other band Matt was associated with were "The Chiefs of Relief". They passed me by completely at the time. On sunday they were brilliant. People who don't really know music or punk always say "The Sex Pistols couldn't play their instruments". Whilst this may have been true for Sid, I happen to think the rest of them were brilliant. This was yet again confirmed by Paul Cook, drummer for the Chiefs. What always impresses me about Cook is just how much he seems to enjoy playing and how good he is. I doubt he'll ever truly get the credit he deserves, but if I could have any drummer in the world (apart obviously from Romi, who plays with us), I'd have Cooky in the band.

It was great to see Adam Ant back on form. Back in the late 1970's, the Ants used to rather polarise Punk fans. As they were more about sexual politics, many punks didn't like them at all. Those that did, loved them. When Adam went for a more commercial approach, many of the old fans were totally alienated. I can remember seeing them on Top of the Pops and thinking "What has he done!". I reacted quite violently against the new sound for a while, until one day I found myself listening to the songs on a jukebox at the Railway Pub in West Hampstead. A punter had put them on and I suddenly realised they were great songs. I announced this to a stunned table of highly beligerent Punk Rockers and a mini riot ensued.

A couple of years later, one of the wrecking party admitted to me that I'd been right and the Ants made great music. Boz has collaborated with Adam Ant on and off for a while. I was gutted to see him onstage with Adam, but only because in a perfect world it would have been Matthew up there. The band rocked, a great night.

Matthew Ashman 1960 - 1985 - Wherever you are, I hope there's a Grestch Guitar and a mighty loud amp and you've got them angels boogieing on down.

Monday 22 November 2010

Barnet Councils very own Hyacynth Bucket - Step forward Brian Coleman !

As ever, the genesis of this particular blog started with someone telling me something uttered by a Senior Barnet Tory. As ever, a little digging shows that in actual fact there is a bigger truth seeking to be exposed.

This particular blog is the result of something I was told a couple of months ago, which has been causing me to emit the odd random snigger in the most inappropriate of places. The particular indescretion was repeated, third hand to me. Apparently, Barnet Councils deputy Leader, Andrew Harper was having a few drinks with a few other Tories from other parts of London (where and why I don't know, but it seems a social gathering ensued and some libation may have been taken).

Anyway, one of the assembled Tories happened to comment to our esteemed Deputy Leader that his colleague, Councillor Brian Coleman, could at times (how can we put this politely), affect certain aires and graces. Now Councillor Harper is certainly one Councillor who doesn't put on anything. Whatever you think of him, he's a pretty down to earth sort of guy. If he wasn't Deputy Leader of Barnet Council, I could quite imagine whiling away an evening in the pub, discussing Englands prospects for the Ashes (something which I doubt Brian Coleman has ever wasted a second thinking about). Anyway, it appears that Councillor Harper, tongue possibly loosened by the relaxed company and a sherbet or two, quipped "Yes he can come over as a bit Hyacynth Bucket at times".Now this legendary quote made it's way back to the offices of the Barnet Eye.

Whilst it caused me much myrth in the pub when it was relayed, I hadn't thought about writing a blog about it until now. I have however realised that Councillor Harper was closer to the mark than he realised. You see the reason Hyacynth Bucket is so funny isn't because she's posh, but because she isn't. She just pretends to be. Now our Brian is known for his love of bling, flaunting his wealth and status. He enjoys the finer things in life, such as £350 Harvey Nicks Hampers (courtesy of Assettco, whom the Fire Authority he chairs have awarded multi million pound contracts to). He loves a spot of nice dinner, especially when he's being treated.

But what makes the whole thing funny is that fact that Brian Coleman isn't really posh. He isn't rich, in fact he's virtually destitute. He is so poor that is it wasn't for all of his friends treating him, he'd probably never go on holiday at all. Brian Coleman is so poor that he has to live in a flat owned by the Methodist Church (a charitable organisation). The flat has a controlled rent and I think it's great that the Methodist Church is able to support a penniless councillor, who barely scrapes together a living, allowing him to lead a lifestyle which would normally be way beyond his means. I mean how can any single bachelor survive without some help from a charity on a mere £114,000 per annum?

No wonder he "Comes over a bit Hyacynth Bucket". The poor dear is probably terrified that all of his rich Tory mates, so impressed by his bling will find out that he's not really all he seems.  I mean, lets face it, the Tory party are always banging on about spongers. How embarrassing would it be for poor old Hyacynth Brian to be exposed as one himself.

I wonder if keeping up appearances is on any of the satellite channels? I wonder who the "Onslow" in the Coleman family is? I've always wondered where our Brian picked up his rather affected accent? I mean, I used to go to school only a couple of miles down the road from him. I even did a "Building Studies" O level at the curriculum centre in Byng road, next door to Colemans old school QE boys. Now I realise, he got it from old Hyacynth Bucket repeats.

By the way, Hat Tip to David Hencke for the copy of Colemans rent details

Sunday 21 November 2010

Brian Colemans lucky escape from the Angry Brigade

Barnet Councillor Brian Coleman (AKA "The Nemesis of the Firemen","Mr Toad","Hyacynth Bucket"....) had  a lucky excape from a bunch of well known local troublemakers known as the Angry Brigade. The Leader of this bunch of revolutionary troublemakers is known as "Mrs Angry" and she broadcasts coded messages to her dedicated band of followers via blog called "Broken Barnet". Although her true identity is shrouded in mystery, certain facts are known about her. She has a penchant for ageing Tories who ar fluent in Spanish and have moustaches. Her second in command is known as "Mrs X" and she has infiltrated several local panels set up by Barnet Council, leading to their closure. She refers to other members of her terrorist cell as "her family" (a rather sweet Mansonesque touch).

Anyway, "The Angry Family" recently managed to infiltrate the Finchley Catholic High School prizegiving ceremony. They had been made aware of the fact that Councillor Bucket Coleman would be attending. It is beleived that Mrs Angry had managed to obtain scandalous pictures of certain member of staff using techniques gleaned at a Womens Institute training camp. She then used this to ensure that "her son" received an award and would get near enough to Councillor Bucket Coleman to execute their evil plan (details of which are still cagey). Now the ever efficient Barnet Tories had sent two "heavies" to act as minders with Councillor Bucket. These were Councillors Braun and Cornelius. Braun is what is known in the trade as a "clean skin". Nothing at all is known about her. Her file on Barnet Councils website is completely clean. She has no address, no home and no income. She doesn't even belong to the Conservative Party. Rumour has it that she's skilled in the ancient art of Origami, which is why her Boss, Lynne Hillan sent her for the assignment. As for Cornelius, it is believed that Hillan mixed his file up with that of Jerry Cornelius - Mythical figure known as the English Assasin.

Clearly, these two would be no match for a full strength hit squad from the Angry Brigade. Fortunately a hero stepped into the breach. Former Gordon Brown sideman, Damien McBride, is now the man responsible for organising dinners and prizegivings at FCHS. Using skills gleaned as the sideman for Great Britains most popular ever Prime Minister, he was able to tap into the MI5 security network and rumble the plan. Now if you were organising a prizegiving and you knew Barnets No 1 dissident was attending with her crew, what would you do? McBride played a blinder. He recruited former Norther Ireland Police Chief, Hugh Orde, to organise security. As a masterstroke, he made Hugh Orde guest of honour and he even made a speech.

The Angry Brigade were thus completely stymied. "Son of Angry" meekly accepted his prize. As the evening finished, the Angry Brigade somehow managed to sneak past onsite security and escape. Whilst Councillor Bucket Coleman, never talks to the Barnet Eye, we did manage to get a quote from a third party.

Here are the words of Brian Coleman :-

I owe my life to Damien McBride. His father taught me at QE Boys School and I can now honestly say I owe the McBrides everything I have. Hugh Orde is a shining example of a policeman and his wise words about the art of negotiating will live with me forever. I have long said that I will thwart the plans of evil, malcontent bloggers in Barnet and I'm pleased to be able to annouce that yet again, with the help of Mr McBride I have triumphed.
Of course my friend who interviewed Mr Coleman was a bit tipsy at the time, so it's always possible that these weren't Colemans exact words. The people of Barnet owe Mr McBride, Hugh Orde and the staff of FCHS a huge debt for saving Mr Coleman. Without their efforts, who knows what terrible fate may have befallen Councillor Hyacynth Bucket. Rumour has it that Mrs Angry had planned to lock him in her shed, pin his eyes open with matchsticks and force him to watch "Londons Burning" on a 24 hour loop until he succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome and joined her nasty gang.

The Barnet Eye has managed to find this broadcast from Mrs Angry for her followers.

Clearly this account has been heavily distorted to play down the terribly humiliating defeat that Brian Coleman has inflicted upon her. Personally, I think if Mrs Angry really was a proper anarchist, she'd be far better off leaving Councillor Bucket where he is. He's doing far more damage to the Conservatives with his buffoonary than could possibly be acheived if he was brainwashed into being a reasonable human being

The Pope agrees that condoms have a role to play in the fight agianst AIDS

Of all the stories I expected to see in the media, this one was probably the last one. The Pope has stated that in some circumstances it is responsible to use Condoms. For members of the Roman Catholic Church, this represents a sizemic shift in his stance. This story is of huge interest. It may surprise you to know that a blog I wrote on the subject is the second most popular blog I've written.

Over 10% of all hits on this blog are visiting this particular entry. I've no idea what anyone thinks of my views as no one has ever left a comment. That is a huge amount of hits. So what does it mean, the Pope having changed the official church position so radically. Well for English Roman Catholics, I doubt it really means very much. When I was a child, most families had huge numbers of children. I'm one of six and two of my first cousins had 10 in their families. Any visit to a Catholic Church on Sunday will soon reveal that we've all become less procreative. I've never asked, but it is pretty clear that Londoners followed Cardinal Heenans advice in the 1960's when asked what he expected his flock to do in respect to the Pill. When asked Heenan said that it was an issue for the individual and their conscience. I suspect that most Roman Catholics are at ease with their conscience, whatever they do in this respect.

What about the wider world. Sadly I doubt it will make too many people adopt condom usage, even in the specific example given by the Pope of having sex with a male prostitute. I sincerely hope that I'm wrong and people heed his advice and always use one in such circumstances. What it will do is it will remove one excuse which men have used to persuade women (and other men) to take risks.

It is also a strong sign that the Church and this Pope are mindful that the world has changed. All religious leaders should make their primary mission on Earth, one of promoting peace and tolerance. I think the most interesting aspect of the Popes comment and one which hasn't been picked up by any comment I've seen, is the fact that he is not condemning gay sex involving male prostitutes. He's actually urging them, in measured tones to be responsible. I wonder how this will go down with the extremist "God hates Fags" brigade?

I'm sure people will have all manner of views on this. People who hate the RC church, will no doubt find something to hate about what he has said. For me, it is a welcome sign and one which hopefully will have a positive effect on the fight against AIDS and the fight against intolerance. That can only be a good things.

The BBC do a pretty good write up on the subject here :-

Saturday 20 November 2010

Fantastic Day !!!!!

"Anyone own the car outside and fancy earning £100?".

 I was accused yesterday of being a miserable sod. Was this by someone who knew me pretty well? Yes, someone who knows me better than anyone. Regular readers will ask how could such a charge be aimed at someone so full of joy and happiness as me? I've always thought of myself as a happy and cheerful sort of person. Always the life and soul of the party. It seems like I'm wrong. It seems like I'm a grumpy curmudgeon who is never more happy than when I'm miserable. How can this be?

Well Madam asked me yesterday if I fancied a family outing to watch the new Harry Potter film. I responded that I'd rather stick needles in my eyes. She said "The kids really want to go and see it, you're being selfish". I responded "Watching films isn't a social activity, you take them". I secretly hoped that this would be the option as I really fancied sitting in a pub on my own and drinking a few pints of Guinness. At this suggestion the charge of being a miserable sod was levelled. It troubled me. I realised that if I'd rather sit in a pub on my own and drink guinness than watch a film with the family, I must be a miserable sod. When my mum was alive, I'd nip in to see her every night after work and have a couple of pints of guinness with her. We'd chat about this, that and the other. For some odd reason, this week I've really been missing her. She died of a Stroke in August 2008. Since then, I rarely have a chance for a quiet chat and a nice pint of guinness. I've realised just how civilised the arrangement was.

For all my mums many faults, she was always good company when I visited. She had a massive stroke in December 2000 and after that tended to be a bit anti social with friends and even other family members at times. Strangely this never extended to me (apart from when she was very ill). Anyway I was asked today "If you could do absolutely anything in the world for 2 hours, what would it be?".

It's a difficult question. Night of passion with Uma Thurman - yep that would be good. What about watch Manchester City beat Manchester United 5 - 0. That would be even better. Watch England win the world cup? That would be great. Watch the Ramones play at the Roundhouse? Now you're really talking.

Strangely enough, and I guess it must be something to do with being a miserable sod, I suddenly realised that what I'd really like to do most, is what I did many times and never even appreciated. I'd like to sit down in my front room and have a couple of pints of Guinness and a chat with my Dad who died unexpectedly in 1987 and my mum. Such moments seem as nothing at the time, but once people are gone, you suddenly realise just how precious these moments were. About a year before my Dad had a heart attack and died unexpectedly, I had a massive row with him. We didn't talk for six months. My old business partner and friend, Ernie Ferebee (who also sadly died in 2001) took me to the pub one night and said "Sort it out, you never know when people will pass away. He won't live forever, so treasure your time with him". I was really angry at Ernie for having the nerve to interfere in a family matter, but when I sobered up, I realised he was right and made up.

Six months later my father was dead, but we were on great terms. The last time I'd seen him, I'd treated him to a curry in the Mill Hill Tandoori and we'd had a great night (mum had been away). I suspect that the day he died was the day I grew up. I was always grateful to Ernie for taking the trouble to put me right. That is what a true friend does. Ever since then I've tried not to bear grudges. I may be a miserable sod, but I'm not one who bears a grudge (for too long).

Readers may be puzzled by the rather odd quote at the start of this blog. The video is of Haircut 100 performing fantastic day in a 1982 video. The car in the film, the white triumph Herald ULN699F belonged to my sister Caroline. She was out in Soho and was asked the question. She replied "Yes, if I can come along with a few friends to watch the shoot". She'd paid £100 for the car so she was chuffed. I think we managed to drink the £100 before the end of the day. I guess I wasn't always such a miserable sod.

Have a great Saturday night

Barnet Council Scandal - Snow White and the seven Political Dwarfs

As readers of this blog will know, barnet Council put online the interest and gift register of all Barnet Councillors. Well nearly all of them. Being Barnet, they were allowed to opt out. So who did?

Councillor Brian Coleman
Councillor Barry Evangeli
Councillor Sachin Rajput
 Councillor Joan Scannell
Councillor Daniel Seal
Councillor Mark Shooter
Councillor Andrea Tambourides

I'm sure they all have their reasons, but yet again it has put Barnet Council in the spotlight. It is ultimately futile as I'm sure some naughty blogger will soon go and "inspect the paper register" and reveal all. It shows these councillors to be arrogant and out of touch. It shows that they have no regards for the electorate. Whilst it isn't against the rules, the Conservative party have promoted "openness and transparency" and so they are out of touch with even there own party.

Now as the rules allow them to, but their party policy is against it, this leaves a dilemma for Lynne Hill. What should she do. Well the answer is simple. They have been elected by the people and they are following the rules, so they have every right to sit in the council chamber. They are however members of the Conservative Party and they are at odds with national policy and an embarrassment. Hillan has a big enough majority to survive without 8 Councillors and there are only seven of them. The answer is simple. Hillan should strip them of the Tory whip and all of their responsibility. It won't stop her running the council and it would send a strong signal that she's a firm leader. It would also remove her chief antagonist Mark Shooter, who has done himself no favours by this shameful display.

Lynne Hillan would at a stroke gain instant credibility. The whole of Barnet would no longer be able to say she had no leadership qualities. It would send a strong signal out that Barnet Tories believe in openness and transparancy. Of course that pre-supposes she's actually a decent leader

**************** Stop Press ********************

I wrote this blog on Thursday night, with a forward posting date for today (Saturday). Since I wrote these words, Councillor Mark Shooter has recanted and announced that he will publish his details. Hi excuse? "I'd only just been a councillor and I was to dopey to understand the implications of my actions". Well, fair play, at least he's wised up. Shame really I liked the term Seven Dwarfs to describe them.

  1. Sneezy - Scannell  
  2. Sleepy - (Imber) Seal (ronk ronk, wake up, wake up)
  3. Dopey - Shooter
  4. Doc - Rajput - (went to one of my old schools so he's obviously brighter than the rest of em)
  5. Happy - Coleman (laughing all the way to the Bank no doubt)
  6. Bashful -Evangeli  -(watch his entry for berk of the year here  -
  7. Grumpy - Tambourinees - ( Dan Hopes best mate)

Friday 19 November 2010

Guido Fawkes - A bully, a liar and a twat?

The one thing I despise more than anything is a bully. Well actually that's not completely true, even worse is a lying bully. Yesterday a 16 year old pupil of my old school Finchley Catholic High School, Alexander Clayman organised a rally for sixth formers to converge on the Conservative Party Offices in Finchley. The Hendon Times reports that the rally was a success. They also reported that the Barnet Police Chief of Police, Neil Basu praised Alex for hiswork to ensure a peaceful demonstration. Basu told the Times
The most important thing is it passed off peacefully and I must praise the way Alex has organised this. He has been in constant contact with us throughout.
Full Story at  -

I published a flyer for Adam to help him publicise the march. I understand how angry he is that people who have had a free university education wish to saddle him with tens of thousands of pounds worth of debt in fees. I happen to agree with him, that it is a ridculous way to prepare young people for the future.

Rather sadly, not everyone thinks it a good thing that intelligent young people such as Alex are prepared to get off their but and make their voices heard. Some people have sought to drag Alex into their own little rows, not even having the good grace to check their facts. One such person is blogger Guido Fawkes. He had a spat with former Gordon Brown advisor Damien McBride (he who launched a campaign of smears and misinformation against various Tories spouses and loved ones). So how does Fawkes seek to get back at McBride, who now works at the School which Alex attends? By smear and innuendo, implying that McBride rather than Alex is the organiser of the march. Given that Alex had widely publicised his phone number and email address, how hard would it have been for Fawkes to at least have the good manners to ask Alex if McBride was involved.

Sadly "big cheese blogger" rather seems to enjoy monstering a schoolboy and his campaign. Even more repulsive are the 100 odd "Tory Sheep" who jumped in to stick the boot in with ill informed comments. It strikes me that Fawkes has shown himself to be a bully, a liar and twat with his behaviour. If he were a man, he'd give Alex a bell and apologise for his knobbish behaviour and print a retraction. He may totally disagree with Alex, he may think it's great that students are saddled with debt ( although he himself got a free University education), but surely he should be above telling porkies and not checking his facts. I do wonder if his rather bitchy comments about FCHS are born from prejudice as he is an ex pupil of Salvatorean College - another RC school which is decidedly more middle class than FCHS (a fully comprehensive school) has ever been.

Anyway if you've got absolutely nothing to do, you can read his twattish rant here - 

And no, I'm not a mate of Damian McBride, I'd left the school before he started at infants.

Barry Worman RIP

I received some very sad news today. Barry Worman, Dad of Tim Worman (AKA Tim Polecat) has passed away. Barry was the first manager of the Polecats and guided them to their record deal with Mercury Records. He was also a top bloke in the true sense of the word. When I first got to know Barry, I guess I was about 15 and the Polecats were still called "The Cult Heroes". Whilst most of my friends Dads in the 1970's were rather aloof and distant figures, Barry was never like that. He was one of the boys. In the summer of 1977 I had a job painting my sisters flat in Hale Lane. Tims Mum used to work in the newsagents over the road. Barry would pick her up every day, but would always stop and have a chat. Over the next 33 years nothing ever changed. If I saw Barry we'd have a chat. It might be about music, local characters, Tims Career in music & film, other band members, people we'd bumped into, anything. Barry also used to work for a local chemist and would drop my mum's medication off for her. His first question would always be "How's mum getting on". The best thing about Barry was his pride in what Tim had achieved.

The last time I saw Barry was in Mill Hill Broadway. As ever we had a chat. he told me Tim was on the lookout for a certain Amp and could I keep an eye out. I saw Tim about a month ago and he told me Barry wasn't well. I just assumed that a guy like Barry would go on forever. Sadly I was wrong. He was a top bloke and Mill Hill will be a worse place with his passing. My thoughts are with Tim as I know his Dad was also his best mate.

Thursday 18 November 2010

The Barnet Council List of Shame

And on to the next Barnet Council Tory scandal. My favourite type of scandal is one where everyone agrees that Barnet's Tories are completely wrong and real Tories are the ones most upset. Now some naughty Tories like to portray me as a swivel eyed trotskyite, but given I support many initiatives lead by Conservative Councils, this is somewhat wide of the mark. One such initiative is that lead by Windsor & Maidenhead Council, for open government.

Sadly, we are still in the age of the dinosaur in Barnet. Yesterday Barnet put the register of Councillors interests on line. In true Barnet Council style though, they've allowed some Councillors to opt out.

Who are these people skulking in the shadows :-

Councillor Brian Coleman
Councillor Barry Evangeli
Councillor Sachin Rajput
 Councillor Joan Scannell
Councillor Daniel Seal
Councillor Mark Shooter
Councillor Andrea Tambourides

Well guys, you are now a boil festering on the bum of the Barnet Conservative Party. As ever the offer is open to you to defend your position here with a guest blog. I hope you realise that we will all now think the worst of you. There is also a race on between all the bloggers of Barnet to get hold of your list and publish it.

I suspect that whatever you've been trying to hide will now become far more widely known than if you'd just fessed up in the first place. Now I know Councillor Brian Coleman likes the notoriety publicity, but how on earth has he persuaded his mates to follow suit.

I'm especially impressed to see Councillor Barry Evangeli on there. Given that he's spent the last 30 years trying to make a public berk of himself, I'm surprised he's so shy about his finances.

Barnet Council register for Councillors with nothing to hide is on line !

Barnet Council has set up a register of interests for councillors with nothing to hide. Just follow this link.

It may not surprise you to see that certain names do not appear. I wonder why? I rather suggest that we should insist that the council make this compulsory. I daresay one or two residents will be interested to see Councillor Brian Coleman has to declare. Tough luck. Odd how all of the opt outs are Tories

Wednesday 17 November 2010

3,500 Reasons why I know Councillor Daniel Thomas is full of CR*P

Nice digital watch & strap ????
The rather odd chap, holding himself in a rather unbecoming manner (which brings to mind the old proverb "man with hand in pocket feels cocky all day") is Barnet Tory Councillor, Daniel Thomas (I wonder if his middle name is "John").

Mr Thomas is the Barnet Councillor responsible for organising a public consultation into the Tories proposed budget cuts. Would you be utterly flabbergasted if I told you that Johnny boy  Councillor Daniel Thomas, didn't do a very good job of this. Guess how many people expressed an interest in going along to have Barnet Council completely ride roughsod over their views (like they did in the Sheltered Housing Consultation, where 85% of respondents said they disagreed with the councils plans, only to be completely ignored).

I'll tell you how many - four people. What happened next? Johnny Boy Councillor Daniel Thomas announced that the process was a great success and nobody wanted to come because they all think the local  Tories are marvellous and totally agreed with his bonkers plans to waste money. Now you probably think I'm making this up (as if) -  Well I read it in the Edgware press so it must be true -  Here's the link :-

Nowyou may ask how I can be so sure that the good people of Barnet are not as happy with Johnny Boy Councillor Daniel Thomas as he makes out? Well, I've been conducting my own little bit of consultation. I've been collecting signatures for a petition against the planned Tory Library cuts. We now have over 3,500 signatures. Most of these are on paper copies, but over 400 are on the on line version. If you haven't signed it, please do. This has beebn acheived with NO COVERAGE WHATSOEVER from the local press. They have ignored the library petition, despite the fact that it has now received twice the number of signatures that the ALLOWANCEGATE petition received, which they backed to the hilt.

I know the local papers are aware of the petition. The Press sent a photographer to East Barnet, but never ran the story. The Times check my blog every day (I can see the stats) and usually publish the best bits a couple of weeks later.  How sad is it that they let Johnny Boy Councillor Daniel Thomas spout cobblers unchallenged, but won't print a word about the biggest campaign in Barnet right now?

If you haven't signed the Library petition, please do now. Email your friends, twitter it. Facebook it.

It is rather sad that people have given up on Barnet Council and their consultations. It is however completely understandable. What sickens me most though is the fact that a couple of local Tories have criticised students for smashing up their headquarters last week, whilst condoning the wanton destruction of Barnets library service, which is far more valuable to most of the people who pay their allowances. I think destruction of any building is deplorable, be it a library or a Tory head office. Sadly our local Tories only care if this sort of Vandalism affects them.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Barnet 2010 - March, March, March, Demo, Demo, Demo, Petitions Galore

I thought I'd look up Conservative in the Cambridge On Line Dictionary :-

conservative adjective ( AGAINST CHANGE )
Click to hear the UK pronunciation of this wordClick to hear the US pronunciation of this word/kənˈsɜː.və.tɪv//-ˈsɝː.və.t ̬ɪv/ adj
often not liking or trusting change, especially sudden change
a conservative society/outlook
Older people tend to be quite conservative and a bit suspicious of any supposed advances.
Compare: liberal
If you are conservative in your appearance, you usually do not like fashionable or modern clothes or hairstyles
He's a very conservative dresser - he always looks like he's wearing his father's clothes!
I guess this is final proof that the Tories in Barnet are a totally illiterate mob. They don't even know what a Conservative is. I don't think I've been to a Council meeting where they haven't repeated the mantra "Doing things the way we have always done them is not an option" ad nauseum. They have inflicted the Future Shape program. They are so obsessed with change, they've changed the name of it more times than Brian Coleman has paid for his own lunch. 
An Ex Barnet Tory Councillor left a comment on another blog this evening, saying that the opposition to the local Tories were stuck in the 1970's. I don't recall online petitions, blogs or video rants in the 1970's.  Whilst the opposition have kept the best of the old and added the best of the new, it is patently clear that Barnets Tories have forgotten nothing and learned nothing from history. Let me remind them that in the 1980's Barnet Council privatised many things. Most of these contracts lead to worse service. They were booted out of power. When the bin collection service was brought back in house, one prominant local Tory COuncillor quipped "Well at least I can park my car outside my house without fear of a dustcart crashing into it and driving off". 

There is no shame in trying things and making mistakes, it's how we learn. The shame comes when you repeatedly make mistakes and never learn. That is real stupidity

Monday 15 November 2010

Watling Boys Club - A question for Matthew Offord

PMQs 3 Nov 2010 Matthew Offord hon gent from Barnet Bugle on Vimeo.

First off, many thanks to Dan Hope for posting this clip. Whatever you may think of Dan, he's one of the few Barnet Tories not to skulk in the shadows.

Anyway on to the clip of Matthew Offord at PMQ's. I have extremely mixed feelings about this intervention. Firstly I fully agree that we need clubs like "The Watling Club" (to give it it's proper name) or "Watling Boys Club" (to use the old name). I applaud Offord for raising the subject and he's right to raise it.

Before we get too carried away with all of this, lets consider the actual history of Watling Boys Club and why the building is shut. The club was supposed to move to Burnt Oak leisure centre. An upstairs area was designated for the club. Sadly the Council (of which Matthew Offord was Deputy leader) reneged on the deal. As  result, Watling Club, which used to be a premier football and boxing club, found it virtually impossible to function. Wheras before it provided an outlet for the energies of local boys from one of the poorer parts of Barnet, it slowly started to die. Spurs great Steve Perryman was one of the graduates from the Watling Football team. The team was still a force, but there was no infrastructure to support youth football.

As a result, last seasons under 16's were the last team to come through. They were Harrow and District under 16 league champions last year -

Many of these boys have gone on to well established non league clubs. It looked for all the world as if the club would die last May. A group of local parents then approached the club in 2008 to see if they could help form and under 8 team. This was successfully established and we now have under 10, 9 & 8 teams up and running. I know all this as my son was one of the boys in that under 8 team. It is abundantly clear to anyone who has been involved that there is a huge need for the team. I regularly drive 4 of the boys to away matches, as do other parents.

What help have we had from the Council? Very little. We have no clubhouse, we use the Burnt Oak leisure centre as do many other clubs on a similar basis, boys turn up and they go home again. It's all very well for the Matthew Offords of this world to ask questions at PMQ's. How much better would it have been if he'd given the club some help when he was at the Council and actually in a position to change things.

As with many youth football teams, they run on the goodwill of parents, who go out of their way to make sure things happen. Sadly clubs often fold when a hard working parent moves, gets ill or loses interest. In his answer, Mr Cameron said that he'd set up a new £100 million fund to support clubs like Watling. I immediately thought "hang on, that is less than the turnover of a middle ranking premiership club" with maybe 40 people on the staff. Not quite so impressive when you look at it like that. Of course it's a start and in this climate it's £100 million more than it could be. If it is properly directed, it could make a big difference.

Barnet has an atrocious record of supporting football. Watling FC isn't the only club to have problems with the Council. Barnet FC have been rebuffed in favour of Saracens Rugby Club, despite having a far stronger association with Barnet. Hendon Town FC have been forced out of their ground as have Edgware Town FC.
Local Conservatives even put out an election leaflet in Mill Hill criticising Kentish Town FC, who play at Chase Lodge for planning to put up a clubhouse for a hundred or so people. Why is a 10,000 seat stadium fine for Rugby, but not for Football?

Anyway at the start of this blog, I said I had a question for Mr Offord. It's this - How much of Mr Camerons £100,000,000 will be winging it's way to "The Watling Club" and when can we see some decent facilities for the boys my son plays football with every week.

Sunday 14 November 2010

Remembrance Sunday - It matters now more than ever

British Soldiers have been fighting a war in Afghanistan for nine years. That's roughly the same length of time as the first and second world wars combined. Today is the day when we focus on this and recall the sacrifice of those who have passed away in service of this country. Long time readers of this blog will know we always pay our respects. I just reread the blog I wrote in 2008 - - in it I paid tribute to the minutes silence respect by the boys of Watling FC and Ruislip Town FC Under 9 team. By a strange coincidence, Watling Under 11's (the same team) again played Ruislip Town today. Again the same boys observed the minutes silence to honour those who've gone before us and to who we owe  a great debt.

After the match, played in fine spirit, I dropped a few of our multi national squad back home. My car contained my son, who is a mix of English, Irish and Australian. Also in the car was a boy born in Madagascar, a boy born in Nigeria and a boy who's half Croatian and half Chinese. Also present was our coach who is a Londoner. I look at the boys and wonder what the future holds. When I was their age, there were two significant conflicts. For the British, the big story was Northern Ireland. On the world scene, the story was Vietnam. In some ways Afghanistan has parallels with both. For us Brits, the seemingly never ending announcements of soldiers killed and injured. For the Americans, a seemingly unwinnable war (one we are stuck in as well). I do wonder how many wars there will have to be before we eventually find a more civilised way to sort out our differences. My Father told me that the Norther Irish conflict would go on forever, because the causes were too deeply rooted. Events have proved him wrong. As to Afghanistan, I suspect ( I may be wrong) that historians will view it as we view Vietnam.

Having said all that, our soldiers are there. They deserve our support. Those that our injured should be treated as heroes and not have to suffer any financial hardship. In my studios, we have several collection boxes. This week, we added a Royal British legion Poppy appeal collection. It was dropped off last Saturday and is now half full. The one next to it, Help for Heroes is three quarters full. I'm proud to make this small contribution to these causes. I asked my shop manager how the customers have reacted to the Poppy appeal collection and he said "It's been great". Wherever you are, I urge you to spend a minute thinking about our servicemen, present and past. I urge you if you are religious to say a prayer for them and if you are not to commemorate them however you see appropriate. This country has a  volunteer army, navy and airforce. Our soldiers are widely recognised as the worlds most professional armed forces. In his later years, my father became friendly with a former Luftwaffe fighter pilot. My father was a bomber pilot. They had great mutual respect for each others courage. They would drink scotch and talk into the early hours. I'd sit and listen, transfixed. One day the German pilot said "You know, the saddest thing for me was how many fine German pilots died for such a terrible cause". He confessed that he'd never really thought about it until after the war. He said one day he was talking to a friend. His friend had said "We are lucky to live in a sector where the British are in charge". I asked why he felt this. He responded "The British were completely fair with us". He then confessed that he doubted that the British would have said that had the Nazi's won the war.

I suspect that was the moment that I vowed to make sure that I would take the trouble to always wear a poppy. My daughter asked me a few weeks ago, if I had any unfulfilled ambitions in life. Strangely I couldn't think of a single one. There is one which I will do before I die. My father flew a Wellington bomber. He was shot down on 30th June 1944 near Bucharest. His rear gunner F/O Andrew Murphy was killed and is buried in a war grave somewhere in Romania. My one unfulfilled ambition in life is to say a prayer at his graveside, in thanks for his sacrifice. He was 21 when he died. My father always felt great guilt for his death. The night before the fatefull mission (the 38th for the crew), F/O Murphy had a terrible nightmare. He dreamed that they were bombing the Ploesti Oilfields and their plane was shot down. He was dying in agony in flames, unable to get out. When the target was announced, he turned white and asked if they could skip the op. My father wouldn't have it and told him they couldn't duck the mission because someone had a nighmare. Sadly the dream was a pretty accurate preminition and my father went to his grave feeling guilty.

I once asked him if he'd have ducked the mission, had he actually known what was going to happen. He said that of course he wouldn't, they had signed up to do their duty. I asked him what he would have done. He said he'd have flown 2 mph faster so the fighter wouldn't have seen him. We can't change the past, but we can affect the present and shape the future. We can help those that need help and that is what really matters.

Whatever you think of the conflicts, past and present, never forget the bravery of our armed forces. Without them the world would be a far worse place

Rant-a-Vision Launch - Official Barnet Tory Response

Yesterday I launched the Rant-A-Vision service on this blog, with a rant about tuition fees. I then emailed Barnets leading Tory blogger (since the retirement of Don't Call Me Dave) for a response. I am mindful that I don't want this blog to become the "internal house magazine of the hard left" in Barnet as one correspondent described it. Given that I don't actually understand the Tories support for tuition fees, I thought maybe Mr Dan Hope, Blogger, Ex Councillor and Barnet Tory might be just the man. Anyway, he has done a response of sorts, although you may need the password - swiveleyedtrot (can't think why he chose a password like that) - to access it  -  enjoy -

Unlike most of our Barnet Tories, Mr Hope isn't completely without humour (except when it comes to his ex Tory Councillor Colleagues,  especially Andrea Tamborineplayer, winding him up). Sadly though, I must surmise that he agrees with every word I've said as his response consists entirely of my original broadcast.

It is very hard to start a debate when everyone seems to agree (apart from a few MP's more concerned about their career than their communities).

Saturday 13 November 2010

Live Broadcast from Mill Hill Music Complex

If you've nothing to do and you've wondered what I do when I'm not writing blogs, check into and watch a live podcast now until 9.30am from Mill Hill Music Complex. I'll be on about 8.45pm with the False Dots and Connie. Before that we've got Radfax

Official Launch of Rant-A-Vision - Incendiary rantings of a deranged lunatic? (or not)

This morning we are pleased to announce a brand new service. We are launching Rant-A-Vision. Got something on your chest, which you want to have a rant about. Record it, stick it on you tube and then let me know and I'll post a blog on it here. To launch the service, I start with a rant from myself about Tuition Fees. I believe they should be scrapped completely and funded from Income tax. Here's why :-

Dave Hill of the Guardian called me "Incendiary". Brian Coleman called me "a deranged ranting lunatic". What do you think? Anyway hope you enjoy it

It would be rude not to

There's an old boy who lives up the road from me. He's lived there as long as I can remember and I've lived in my road on and off since 1962. Yesterday he knocked on my door and told me he'd been given a leaflet at Mill Hill Broadway Station on Wednesday Evening. He said "I voted for you at the last Election. Can you do something for me?" I said "Depends what it is". He said "Put this leaflet on your website". I looked at it and said "It would be rude not to". Here it is.

Friday 12 November 2010

Failed Borough Safety Officer Brian Coleman attacks Barnets Police Chief

Councillor Brian Coleman used to be the Cabinet member responsible for community safety and community engagement, although he preferred the title of "Borough Safety Officer". Sadly he was such an embarrassment that his chum Mike Freer, then council leader had to move him to the ceremonial role of Mayor, where he'd be out of the cabinet, out of harms way and doing what he does best, wearing bling and scoffing free buffets (sadly for Freer this didn't work out too well either as Coleman became the first Mayor to lose a standards case).

Anyway, less poliically astute Lynne Hillan made the tragic mistake of moving Coleman back to the cabinet as transport guru. He's back to his old tricks of embarrassing the Tories, by announcing Barnet was free of Potholes (a fact every Barnet Motorist knows to be cobblers). Sadly it seems that Coleman has a score ot settle from his role as failed Borough Safety Officer. He tried to get Barnet Police Chief Neil Basu in trouble with his boss, the Met Commissioner at a recent GLA meeting. Happily the  Boss was wise to Coleman and slapped him down in no uncertain terms, describing Basu as "outstanding". I've met Mr Basu at a "Leader Listens" breakfast organised by the Leader of Barnet Council.  He certainly impressed me, something Brian Coleman has yet to achieve. Full story at the Hendon Times.

It seems rather sad to me that Coleman chooses to attack Barnets police force at a time when his own party is cutting their budget and generating loads of extra work for them. Shameful really

Guest Notice - Notice to all Barnet Sixth Form Students

Sixth Form Students 

Join with other 6th formers to protest against tuition fees on November 18th 2010. We rally outside the Arts Depot at 4pm and march down to the Conservative Party office to hand in the petition.
Contact Alex Clayman on 07804252843 or email to confirm numbers from your school

It is our education and our future.

Thursday 11 November 2010

Guest Blog - Millbanks lovely windows

By Alex S,
Yesterday, a bunch of angry students got together and smashed the pot noodle out of Tory HQ, making Daily Mail readers quiver in their armchairs and everyone else form rational opinions. People are already looking back to the 1980’s with nostalgia, particularly at that long employed cry of ‘Tory Scum,’ and everyone is sitting in two categories: for and against.

While it’s all very well saying shut up to those who don’t agree with you but that’s not actually a real argument. You see, violent protest in not a new thing. We haven’t conjured it out of pent up rage from lack of masturbation and waiting for the new series of Breaking Bad. In fact, violent protest has, believe it or not, been around forever and it has actually worked. What the mummy’s boys on the left who can’t handle a bit of fire don’t realise is that peaceful and violent struggle often walk hand in hand, one being essential to the other to work and vice versa.

In the early 20th century, women were seen as accessories to the house, as tools for the benefit of males and as such they weren’t very happy about it. They weren’t allowed to vote and so they decided that the best way to get equal was to get the vote and so this is exactly what they did. The Pankhursts were notable suffragists/suffragettes who initially started to campaign peacefully, through leaflets and marches. However, a few soon realised that this wasn’t working and all the government were doing was force feeding them through their noses and laughing at their puny attempts to take power. Thus, a militant wing was born and they smashed windows (sound familiar?) burnt down buildings and generally caused havoc for the government at the time. Women were eventually granted the vote and so it can be argued that this violence was essential in making the government sit up and realise what it was the public wanted. At the time, newspapers across the country vilified them and damned their actions as despicable. Now they are looked back on as important figures in British history that were unhappy with the state of affairs and did something about it. The gift of hindsight is a great one and maybe in a hundred years times, those masked lads will be figures of importance. Who knows?

Now, when innocent people start getting hurt, then you know you’ve gone to far. This is one of the reasons the IRA didn’t achieve a unified Ireland. Once you start causing serious casualties, people start to lose sympathy with you. A lot of students are angry at what’s going on and this is just one way of venting this beef with society. We don’t deserve to be raped by a government that is completely going against everything that people voted for. The fact is that those in charge now are the ones that benefitted from a free university system and yet they’re the ones with the audacity to want to charge us extortionate amounts of money. It’s important to make your views heard. You’ve only got to look at today’s papers to see where the attention lies; it’s not with the 50,000 voices that marched, it’s with the 15 broken panes of glass at Tory HQ.
Alex S. is a first year student at a London College. Guest Blogs are always welcome

Funding Higher Education

As it seems that everyone wants a debate about higher education, lets have one. My views are quite clear. I believe we should raise income tax to fund higher education. I've no idea how much of a raise would be required to abolish Tuition fees and reintroduce grants, but lets just say I'd consider this sort of taxation an investment in the future. I do however have a couple of caveats on this. Firstly, I believe too many people are going to University. I don't think that these people should be chicked on the scrapheap at 18, but I'd prefer to see maybe 15% of the people currently going to University doing apprenticeships with engineering companies and the like. There is a real skill shortage in these areas and I don't believe that the current system is addressing these. I would make these apprenticeships "Practical degrees" with the same status.

I also believe that many courses are a complete waste of time. I'm not talking about Arts courses, which encourage creativity, but some so called practical courses are not fit for purpose. I see this in my own line of business all of the time. I've interviewed many students who have done degrees in Sound Engineering over the years. Invariably the students haven't got a clue how to actually run a recording session. I ask them what they learned on the course and often they can't tell me. Our recording operation was set up by a graduate, but one who had not studied the subject. She was a superb engineer because she was prepared to learn. She now works as a live VT editor and earns a fortune. She had never run a mixing desk on the day she turned up, but put the studio together, with assistance from the rest of us. Many students with degrees turn up for interviews and the first part of the interview consists of them asking why we haven't got this, that or the other software or gizmo which they've used on their course, the second part of the interview consists of them telling us why they don't know how to mic up a drum kit and the third part of the interview consists of them telling us why they wouldn't be interested in recording the type of stuff which pays the rent - "Oh, actually I'm really only interested in Jungle and Drum n 'Bass". When you tell them that recording jingles for telephone systems or parties for 11 year old girls to record singing to kareoke discs, is the bread and butter which pays the rent, they often inform us "I'd prefer to work for  a proper recording studio", not realising that the commercial world ain't like that. Many are also completely lacking in the people skills required to deal with stroppy musicians. If I was running a sound engineering course, I'd have a module where people worked in a drug or alcohol rehab centre for six months. This would prepare them for a career in recording where you can be stuck with very objectionable people for weeks on end (of course most of our customers are lovely, but the ones that aren't really aren't). I once did a recording for a Soul band from Essex, their manager told me that "The singer has decked every engineer we've ever worked with". I explained exactly what would happen if this occurred. Strangely enough, the singer did punch someone. It was a girl in the band who played saxophone, at which point he was ejected from the studio and banned.

Anyway, that's my views on education. I didn't go to University and I don't regret it. My good lady did and got a degree in Russian Studies. Properly funded by taxation, more apprenticeships and a focus on making practical degrees fit for purpose. If I was an MP, which I'm not and  I don't want to be, I'd not vote for anything which didn't conform to that. I think MP's need to discover their testicles and vote with their consciences. Unlike many people, I'm not shocked. Most parties don't rate having principles as high on the list of attributes for selection. I'm actually more shocked when they rebel.

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Barack Obama raised by Gay Transvestite nanny !

I kid you not. I just came across this article in the Telegraph - - Normally this blog doesn't do international politics, but I find this a fascinating story. Unlike many commentators, what interests me most is the tone of the Telegraphs commentary Here's one extract
His nanny was an openly gay man who, in keeping with Indonesia’s relaxed attitudes toward homosexuality, carried on an affair with a local butcher, longtime residents said.
The tone intrigues me. The detail about the affair with a butcher confirming many of my suspicions about the Telegraph. Whilst the article is clearly designed to get everyone "Tut Tutting" it says something quite interesting to me. Whether you love or hate Obama, he's clearly an exceptional man. Unlike George W, he didn't have a Daddy who was president to help him. I must confess when I first heard he was going for the nomination, I thought "No Chance, Hillary is a shoe in". He proved me wrong. I thought America was too racist to elect a Black man. He proved me wrong again. I wonder if Barack Obamas upbringing and his interesting and exotic nanny might well have actually taught him that you shouldn't give a stuff what anyone thinks about you. Obama is clearly a strong family man with an attractive wife. Many right wing commentators claim being around such "terrible people" would corrupt youngsters beyond redemption. Clearly this hasn't happened either.

I'm not really sure what exactly the Telegraph were trying to say, but it's pretty clear to me that whatever nastyness they were up to, any rational person would think they've actually proven the complete opposite.

Watling Boys club - Matthew Offord gets sensible

This blog has been one of Matthew Offord MP's fiercest critics. It is however our policy to give praise where it's due and it is good to see him supporting efforts to reopen the old Watling Boys club. As my son plays for the footballing side of the club Watling FC Under 11's, I fully support the sceheme. Matthew Offords intervention has given the campaign to reopen the building impteus.

I passionately believe that we need more, not less youth clubs. Watling FC nearly folded a few years ago. The Under 16 team last year was highly successful, winning the league. Sadly, there was no under 15,14,13,12,11 or 10. If it hadn't been for the fact that a friend of mine, Andrew Livingstone started an under 8 team for Watling three years ago, the club would have folded. We now have under 8,9 & 11 teams. It's fair to say we've had no help from the council. Maybe Offords intervention signals a recognition that we need youth clubs such as Watling.

It would be nice to be writing things all the time saying what a good job Offord is doing. Maybe the positive coverage will inspire him. We can but hope. Here's a link to the story on the Times

Yes Councillor Hart, it's very funny indeed

A few weeks ago my good lady wife attended the funeral of a friends mum. Also there was Councillor John Hart. Councillor Hart told the missus that he thought it was absolutely hilarious that the Tories had told a stack of porkies about a new football stadium at Copthall during the election and this had helped them defeat the LibDems in Mill Hill. You may recall that they said that the LibDems were planning a Football stadium for Kentish Town FC at Copthall. This was a complete fabrication, but it did the trick.

I wonder what all of those people scared into voting Tory by Mr Hart and his team of porkiemeisters think now that it has been announced that a 10,000 seat Rugby Stadium is planned for the site. Oh and before you deluge me with comments about the Lib Dems and tuition fees, I take the same view of these as Ken Livingstone and Robin Cook took of Labours illegal war on Iraq, which resulted in 100,000 deaths. Whilst the student loan reversal is a rotten policy, hopefully it won't kill anyone. I lost count of the commitments Labour broke, the porkies they told and the crap they spouted before I finally quit the party last year. I don't think they are in any position to lecture anyone on anything.

I'm really not that interested in national politics. I buy into the "Act local, think global" philosophy.

Save Barnets Library Service - Petition reaches a milestone !

Great news. We now have 3,000 signatures on the Save Barnets Libararies petition. Many thanks to everyone who has helped so far and who has signed so far. Of these 2,632 are on paper and 390 are on the electronic version. This has been a great effort by everyone, however we are less than half way to our target of 7,000 signatures, which is needed to compell the council to hold a full debate on the future of the Library service. 2,000 was enough to get senior officer review, which we have exceeded by 1,000 signatures.

Something puzzles me here. I've stood on street corners for the last six weeks collecting signatures. I would estimate that at least 75% of people who walk past and see it sign the petition. How come is it that the people on the street are so receptive, only approx 10% of signatures are online? Since I launched this petition, this blog has had 30,000+ hits. Of these 17,000 are unique. By my reckoning if everyone who was bothered had signed we'd have 10,000 signatures on line. My guess is that the vast majority of people who read this blog, do so because they care about Barnet. How much is it, to ask people to click the link and sign the petition?

If everyone who cared about Libraries had signed this, then emailed all of their friends to sign, twittered it and put a link on Facebook, we'd easily have had the 7,000 signatures on line by now. Then the council would have to listen and would have to take account of our views. The amount that it would cost each Barnet Council Taxpayer to save Barnets Libraries is far less than the cost of one Starbucks coffee a week. Could you spare one coffee to save such a fantastic service for future generations? One the council has flogged off the librarys, they won't come back and the borough will be a poorer place for it. If you have 1 minute spare today, please sign the petition. If you have two minutes spare, forward the link to your friends. If you have 5 minutes spare, please link to the petition from Facebook or Twitter it. If you have ten minutes, have a look at the petition and the comments left by people so far. They sum it up far better than a dyslexic, illiterate idiot such as myself ever could do. If you want a paper copy, please email me, my email address is in my profile bar - Here's the link, what are you waiting for :-

Every Barnet citizen, who reads this blog today and doesn't sign is implicitly agreeing with Councillor Robert Rams, the man behind the Library closure program. He's the man who says that these days people can order books on-line from Tescos and Libraries should be turned into Starbucks. That's the company you are keeping if you haven't signed.

A gig in your front room live from Mill Hill Music Complex

A very special Event - Next Saturday - 13th November - we are staging the Festival in your front room live at Mill Hill Music Complex. Koni will appear live with the False Dots, as well as appearances from Radfax, The Hamptons, The Sway and a host of other guests Just Click on this link to watch this event, Live on Saturday between 18:30 and 21:00 As a preview, here is the brilliant new track - Spotlight featuring Koni and the False Dots

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Free food and drink for Barnets Homeless courtesy of Mike Freer MP

If you know of any homeless people who could use a nice warm place to have a bit of food and a snooze in the warm for a couple of hours, then check the Future Shape Leaks website for a fantastic special offer :-

No booking required, just turn up and munch away. I hear Mike Freer MP will also be explaining relaxation techniques to those of you who are suffering from insomnia. 

Brian Coleman and the missing fire engines - Barnet Unaffected

Am I the only person to notice that when the Fire engines were removed (a move Brian Coleman seems to want to make permanent) to Assetco, None were from Colemans own Borough of Barnet. Here's the list of stations which have lost out. Seems like Brian is happy to remove engines so long as they are from other Boroughs. FYI Barnet is Londons second biggest Borough. It stinks


North Kensington
Old Kent Road
West Hampstead

Monday 8 November 2010

A naughty German has been trying to interfere with Matthew Offord MP !

Oh dear, oh dear. Poor old MP for Hendon, Matthew Offord has been interfered with by a German hacker! Mr Offord reports of this violation on his fascinating website -

I had to chuckle as  I read Mr Offords prose. He seems to be affecting Royal pretentions with his "My wife and I..." turn of phrase. Do you suppose he's bought a few corgi's?  I wonder what fascinating story we'll have next "I received a charming email from someone telling me I'd won £600 million pounds in the lottery" or the suchlike.

Mr Offord goes on to boast that he has 19,635 Facebook friends. Now I thought "My word, our Matthew has a lot of friends" so I checked his profile to see who all these people were -

Rather strangely, it only shows 419 friends on his profile ????? Where have the other 19,616 gone? I decided to have a look. Rather oddly, it seems that he isn't friends with some of his own councillors in Hendon. One wonders if Mr Offord "de-friended" them for their impudence in challing his mentor, Council Leader Lynne Hillan during the recent leadership scrap at the Town Hall.

I was rather impressed to see that Matthew is a member of the group "surfers against sewage". Whilst I hardly expected him to be a member of "surfers for sewage" it is good to see him standing up for green causes - hopefully not knee deep in the brown stuff. I bet he's glad he's no longer associated with his other "like" Barnet Council if he's not to keen on the concept of being swamped with S**T.

Anyway, the good news is that the naughty German who tried to interfere with Matthew failed, so he can go back to spending his days playing with Facebook with impunity.

Before we leave Matthews lovely site, it's worth checking his post about community Policing.

In his discussion about Tory plans to cut community policing he says :-
“Past Labour MPs were already planning 20% cuts before the last General Election but they just hadn't told us where they would come from. So these cuts are Labour cuts. If Labour don't like what we're doing, they need to come up with an alternative plan beyond putting up the Council Tax or ‘taxing the bankers’. Both these options are a cop out by those who haven’t got a clue about the lives of real people in this constituency”.
The whole post is rather odd. He seems to be saying "don't blame us for the cuts, the other lot thought about doing it as well". Not exactly the most convincing line of arguement. I've thought about running away with Uma Thurman on many occasion, does that mean that if Matthew Offord does it, it's my fault (not that there's too much chance of that)?

Then he goes on to criticise Labour for plans to tax bankers? Didn't he listen to George Osborne's budget (or was he too plastered to care?). Anway, just to bring our MP up to speed, George Osborne introduced a Bank Levy tax at the last budget. Matt the Prat should check his own party policy before sounding off.  I suppose he must include himself in the description of people who don't have a clue about the real people in Hendon. If it wasn't for the fact that this useless idiot is meant to represent all of us in Hendon, it would be quite funny.