Wednesday 31 August 2011

Back in Barnet - What have i missed?

Just walked in the door after 10 day on a cruise in the med and in Barcelona. What have I missed?

Having been in self imposed blog exile, I have much reading to do to catch up. Had a lovely cruise on NCL cruise lines on the Norwegian Epic. The possible higlight (as a Barnet blogger) was the guy who noticed my "Barnet Eye Bolloxvision" T-shirt (a present from my big sis for Xmas). He said "Are you anything to do with the Barnet Eye blog?". I replied "Yup, that's me". He went on to explain that he's the head of a Tory council & a good mate of Eric Pickles. When Pickles made his famous "Barnet bloggers" speech, every sane and rational Tory council in the land checked out why Pickles had picked on a Tory Council as an example of why bloggers are a force for good. Seems like they all hauled their CEO's in and said "Can this happen here?" (in reference to Metpro). It also seems like the response is "Nope, we run our affairs professionally, Barnet are a basket case".

Seems like they all think Barnet is a basket case. I won't embarrass my new found friend by divulging the details of what he said, but he confirmed something I'd been wondering. Yup, Barnet are a pariah council

Monday 29 August 2011

The generosity of large companies knows no bounds

Large multinational companies come in for a lot of stick. Some of it is entirely justified, but one of the cardinal sins of the left is to ignore the many truly awesome charitable activities of many of our largest private companies. Quite by chance, I happened upon a couple of cases of such generosity which truly brought a tear to my eye.

In Barnet, despite there being many extremely well off people, there are also people for who life is a constant struggle. A couple of stunning acts of generosity really caught my eye. Let me tell you the full story, which I'm sure will rekindle your faith in humanity. There is a young man who lives no more than three miles from my front door. His name is Brian. Unlike many wealthy people in Barnet, Brian doesn't own his own home. If it wasn't for the generosity of the local Methodist Church, Brian may well not have a home at all. Happily they have provided Brian with a nice flat, at well below the market rate. Brian is a kindly soul. He has devoted his life to helping other people. Whilst many people are tied up in the rat race, Brian does a whole string of part time jobs, solely with the intention of helping his fellow man. As he doesn't have a real job with a real company, Brian is lucky that he gets a little help from the taxpayer. Whilst Barnet is full of many millionaires, Brian has to survive on a paltry £114,000 a year, generously given by his many friends who make up the taxpaying public in return for his public service.

Because Brian finds it hard to survive in this cutthroat world, it seems lots of people are very generous and like to buy him dinner to cheer him up. Not only that, but they take him to the swankiest restaurants to cheer him up. One of the nicest restaurants in London is the Butlers Wharf Chop House. Brian is so lucky that he was taken their two days on the trot in June by his friends at large companies.

21/06/2011 - Dinner at Butler's Wharf, Chop House, 36e Shad Thames, London SE1 2YE. Estimated value: £50.00 - Allan Larsen, CEO, Falck Danmark A/S.

22-JUN-2011 - Lunch at the Butler's Wharf Chop House - Mr Pierre Jeanjean JCDecaux

Isn't it nice that these companies take poor old Brian out for big slap up dinners in this way? Some people are cynical, but personally I applaud such generosity towards the less well to do members of society. We at the Barnet Eye think it's great that Brian had such nice dinners two days on the trot as such a fine establishment and got someone else to pay. Unlike many more cynical people, we see nothing wrong with companies involved in the supply of services to the GLA and the LFEPA taking out Assemly member Brian Coleman for such lovely meal. As he's the chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, he's a very important chap and he needs his dinners. It is only natural for companies involved in the provision of services to such authorities to want to buy the chairmen of the authorities a nice lunch and have a cosy chat and cheer him up.

I say to all of those who criticise poor unfortunate Brian for the crime of just enjoying himself at other peoples expense  - "Get a life" - why shouldn't he have a bit of fun if big companies such as these are happy to splash out. It's not like things like fire and emergency services are important, is it? We just think it's sad he can't eat at the chop house every day.

It is also good to see that Brians friendly tax payers helped him with his travel arrangements into town. It makes me proud that the British Taxpayer is so kind and generous.

21/06/2011 Travel Members' car mileage - Meeting with Fire Commissioner at Union St.£11.44 21/06/2011 Congestion Charge - Meeting with Fire Commissioner at Union St. £9.00

I think it's scandalous that Brian's fellow members of the LFEPA committee are not wined and dined as much, the poor darlings must feel so left out.

It also scandalous  that his fellow assembly members on the LFEPA don't claim any of their expenses with quite the same gusto. What is wrong with these people?

So lets hear it. Three cheers for the generous multinationals making sure that our politicians aren't starving.

Sunday 28 August 2011

ARRANDENE WALK - One of Mill Hill's hidden gems

Just thought I'd drop in a few pictures taken on a recent walk around Arrandene openspace in Mill Hill. I love living in Mill Hill when the sun shines. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that we actually live in a nice part of London and it is worth defending

Saturday 27 August 2011

The Mill Hill Self Hate Club

A cracking toon from Edward Ball - Sadly not featuring very much of Mill Hill, but I think we know what he means (those of us from Mill Hill)

Friday 26 August 2011

The Friday Joke 26/8/2011 from the One Barnet joke book

Q: In OneBarnet, how many Barnet Council Employees does it take to change a lightbulb?

A: None, because there won't be any, but it will take a head of legal services to instruct a Lawyer to draw up the contract with the firm to change the lightbulb, a senior vendor manager to manage the team of vendor managers, who manage the contract to change the lightbulb, a team of accounts payable staff to process the invoice to change the lightbulb and a team of senior executives to make sure all of this happens. Oh and there will be a whole team of consultants on £1,500 a day to design the "changing a lightbulb process", not to mention the team managing the "changing the lightbulb risk assessment" or the team managing the "change a lightbulb call centre".

Oh yes then there's the team of senior managers overseeing the transfer of employment of the bloke who changes the lightbulb for Barnet to the outsourced company, and the team of lawyers drawing up the contract
to make sure he isn't shafted too badly.

Yes, I know, jokes are meant to be funny. Sorry.

Thursday 25 August 2011

Thought for the day

A thought occurred to me that I'd like to share with you. In Barnet we are seeing all sorts of changes to the area. Buildings are shooting up all over the place, landmarks and facilities are disappearing at a rate of knots. Parking charges are hiked, pay and display machines phased out etc.

Last year there was a Council election. Did you see any party promising all of this? Why the big secret? Oh, i know, because they would have been slung out on their ear

Wednesday 24 August 2011

The view from the mixing desk

Here's a few pictures I took from the mixing desk of Shir, playing at the Mill Hill music festival. This is how it all looked to me. I find a strange beauty in watching the lights flicker on a mixing desk !

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Calling all Hendon residents - does this sound familiar?

I happened to notice this on Wikipedia. It reminded me of a rather curious local character, prone to telling tall tales. I was just wondering if you'd ever come across a character like this?

To quote :-

Walter Mitty is a fictional character in James Thurber's short story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", first published in The New Yorker on March 18, 1939, and in book form in My World and Welcome to It in 1942. It was made into a film in 1947.[1]
Mitty is a meek, mild man with a vivid fantasy life: in a few dozen paragraphs he imagines himself a wartime pilot, an emergency-room surgeon, and a devil-may-care killer. The character's name has come into more general use to refer to an ineffectual dreamer, appearing in several dictionaries.[2] The American Heritage Dictionary defines a Walter Mitty as "an ordinary, often ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs".[3] The most famous of Thurber's inept male protagonists, the character is considered "the archetype for dreamy, hapless, Thurber Man".[4]
Although the story has humorous elements, there is a darker and more significant message underlying the text, leading to a more tragic interpretation of the Mitty character. Even in his heroic daydreams, Mitty does not triumph, several fantasies being interrupted before the final one sees Mitty dying bravely in front of a firing squad. In the brief snatches of reality that punctuate Mitty's fantasies the audience meets well-meaning but insensitive strangers who inadvertently rob Mitty of some of his remaining dignity.

Monday 22 August 2011

The False dots live at the Purple Turtle

Just found this test post of a video of a gig we performed at the Fiddlers Elbow in Camden Town last year. As it's my 100th Birthday today, I thought I'd remind myself of what I looked like when I was only 98 years old. Forgive my self indulgence.

P.S I'm not really 100, I just feel like it - Thanks to Joe Graham for the vid.

Ed Milliband, the best Labour Leader since Michael Foot

Bumped into an old friend last night for a pint. Dougless is a man of high principle and a lifelong trades unionist. We were discussing the riots, their causes and the fallout. Dougless was highly impressed by the thoughtful response of Ed Milliband. He is pleased that Labour have chosen a leader who is more concerned with providing an intelligent analysis than a sharp soundbite. He said that his response to Cameron in the commons reminded him of the statesman like performance of Michael Foot in the commons debate, when Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. I asked "So you're saying he's the best Labour leader since Michael Foot". Dougless replied "I suppose he is, when you put it like that. He certainly is in terms of intelligence and integrity, although John Smith was also very good".

Sadly, I suspect that many Conservatives will also agree with his assessment. I suspect that 85% of Labour supporters would say Blair was the worst ever Labour leader. His record in elections - won 3, lost 0. Unsurpassed by any of them. I'm not a fan of Blairism and consider it a massive missed opportunity. The harsh truth is that you cannot do anything in opposition, other than  talk with intelligence and integrity and let the government nick your best ideas.

Sunday 21 August 2011

Sometimes people get out on the streets of Barnet for the right reasons

As it's Sunday and we've all had to ask ourselves a few questions about what sort of society we live in, I thought I'd post this clip. It's the Mill Hill Churches Good Friday walk from the Trinity Church in Eversfield Gardens to the Sacred Heart. I always like seeing videos of Mill Hill. It is also good to see people out on the streets of our town for the right reasons, rather than the wrong ones. Even if you aren't religious, I hope it brings a degree of reassurance that we are, in the main, a cohesive society and the London Borough of Barnet is a great place to live.

Saturday 20 August 2011

Letter from Andrew Dismore regarding Riots & Police & Brian Coleman AM's response

Dear Editor,

After the riots, there is a clear consensus amongst the public, that the Conservative–led coalition Government’s cuts to the Metropolitan  Police are ill-thought out, dangerous and should be cancelled. Belatedly, even the Mayor has questioned the cuts ( though the officer numbers he proposes for the Met are still a cut,  and SNT sergeants are still being reduced, with 9 fewer in Barnet and Camden). However, we have heard nothing on this from the Tory GLA member for Barnet and Camden. We already know he made no written representations to the Met about the cuts before the riots. Where does he stand now? Does he agree with the Government that the cuts should proceed? Or does he now intend to properly reflect the views of the people he is supposed to represent and oppose the cuts? It is not normally Brian Coleman’s line to keep quiet about anything!

And whilst he may rightly praise the fire-fighters for their work during the riot, will he bring back into service the fire engines he has locked away from them? And will he  resist any more transfers of millions out of the fire budget to the police as happened earlier this year, which is just robbing Peter to pay Paul? We need our fire service just as much as the police!

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Dismore
Labour London Assembly candidate for Barnet and Camden

Friday 19 August 2011

A memo to Brian Coleman - Strikebreaking is nothing new

As we've seen pickets, strikebreakers and chants of scabs at NLBP, I found this intriguing clip of strikebreakers in action at Mill Hill Gasworks, during the general strike of 1926

If you go the the very end, is that a Young Councillor John Hart, on the right of the picture?

Quite odd really. I don't think we'll see our Brian Coleman acting as a Coalman any time soon though, do you?

The Friday Joke : 19/8/2011

As ever, here is our Friday Fuuny 

Q: What is the difference between Kylie Minogue and Councillor Brian Coleman

A: When Kylie wins the "Arse of the Year" award, it is meant as a compliment !!!!!

Have a lovely weekend, one and all

Thursday 18 August 2011

Matthew Offord MP

As most Hendon residents (who read this blog) will know, your local MP, Matthew Offord is on holiday in Belize. I think it is important to state that MP's, like everyone else, are allowed to go on holiday. If Matthew left before the riots broke out and only found out when it is impractical to get back, then we take no issue with him and hope he thoroughly enjoyed his break.

If, as he has said, he was assisting with counter terrorism, anti narcotics intelligence and hurricane preparations, then this is a commendable way to spend his break. A question was asked as to his experience for dealing with this, of the chair of the Hendon Conservatives, who helpfully replied that he's a member of the national geographic society. Again this is highly commendable.

As such, the Barnet Eye is looking forward to Matthew's return, when he will doubtlessly answer all of the questions posed about the trip. We then look forward to giving him a ringing endorsement for all of his hard work, on behalf of the people of the tropical haven of Belize.

The Damned in Mill Hill Music Complex - an interview with Captain Sensible

It was my pleasure yesterday to catch a few words with Captain Sensible of the Damned, during a break from rehearsing at Mill Hill Music Complex. As the Damned are one of my all time favourite bands, this was a true pleasure.

RT - What are you rehearsing for?
CS - We're doing a tour and we're polishing up the material. We're playing the first album (Damned Damned Damned) and the fourth album (The Black Album). We haven't played some of the songs for 30 years and some of them we never wrote endings for as we faded them out in the recordings. The first album was the one the Pistols hated as we got it out first.

RT - Why those two albums?
CS - The first one is iconic, the first punk album and the Black Album is our first real gothic album.

RT - I actually liked the second album
CS - We hated it. The bloke who was the guitarist from Pink Floyd produced it and didn't get the rawness we wanted. I'd love to get the tapes and remix it. We wanted the old singer, so we could do a real psychedelic punk album.

RT -  I really liked a couple of the numbers on the second album, especially Don't cry wolf and the one slagging off Television.
CS - Do you know why we wrote that? We were meant to be supporting them in LA. The fee was going to pay our fare home.  We were stuck. We hired another hall and we put a big bucket with a sign saying "If you want the send the Damned back to the UK, please donate generously". We had all these people like Rod Stewart on the guest list, so we scrubbed them off and told them they had to pay. Basically they left us in the shit so we wrote Idiot box in retaliation".

RT - Any plans to record an album?
CS - Not at the moment, we've all got ideas but we're keeping them to ourselves. We're not signed, although we could put something out ourselves. I'd like to do something raw. This is a great room, we could get a rig and just put the stuff down really cheaply. It's a band decision though".

RT - Are you doing any London gigs?
CS - Yes, at the Roundhouse

RT - How's it been down here with all the building works?
CS -  I love the old Irish guy who is about a hundred and is supervision all the work (Fast Eddie), he cracks me up.
This blog also appears on the Mill Hill Music Complex blog -

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Barnet Council are failing our young people - Wholesale sell off of sports facilities

I noticed this advert on page 28 of the Hendon Times

Yes, at this time when young people all over London have been rioting, Barnet Council are selling off the facilities which may give them a useful or creative outlet for their energies. In the week in which we launched the petition to save Mill Hill Sports club, we see the social vandalism of this Tory regime at it's worst. Do they ever wonder why we have social problems and youth crime. These facilities should be preserved and cherished as vital parts of our community, not flogged off with positive encouragement to build yet more rabbit hutch flats.

As if the whole sorry tale couldn't get any worse, I then clicked the link to the Barnet Online commercial properties page -

Imagine my despair to see these adverts?

Community Centre to let
Grange Community Centre, Red Lion Hill, N2 8EB

  • Type: A single storey community centre of around 167sq metres, (1805 sq feet) located within a residential area. Suitable for community and other uses - subject to planning
  • Expression of interest to: Amin Soorma
  • Tel: 020 8359 7367
  • Email:
  • Grange Community Centre  Help on Downloading PDFs (PDF: 486KB)

Land for Sale Former Watling Boys Club, Dryfield Road, Burnt Oak, Edgware HA8 9JU
  • Type: We are offering for sale, by way of non-binding tender, the freehold interest in  the site of this former community use property which is suitable for redevelopment, subject to planning permission. Site Area Approximately 0.335 hectares (0.828 acres)
  • Location: The site is located on the northern side of Dryfield Road approximately 130 metres north of the Deansbrook Road
  • Expressions of interest to: Richard Malinowski, Property Services on:
  • Tel: 020 8359 7539
  • Email:
  • Former Watling Boys Club (June 10) Help on Downloading PDFs (PDF: 163KB)

Community Centre for let - Noel Lounge, Great Field, Grahame Park Estate, Colindale, NW9 5TS (under offer)
  • Type: A well constructed single storey community building with a gross internal area of 380 sq feet (35.30 sq meters) and in need of some work
  • Location: The property is situated adjacent to the Noel residential block and close to The Concourse on the Grahame Park Estate.
  • Expressions of interest to Amin Soorma, Property Services on:
  • Closing date for tenders 25 February 2011
  • Noel Lounge Community Centre (Jan 2011) Help on Downloading PDFs (PDF: 396KB)

Large Community Hall for let - Market Lane (off Watling Avenue, Burnt Oak HA8 (under offer)
  • Type: A large community hall measuring 1,951 sq ft with outside space.
  • Location: Adjacent to Burnt Oak’s commercial area and near to Burnt Oak Underground Station.
  • Expressions of interest to Simon Shaer, Property Services on:
  • Market Lane former scout hall (July 2009) Help on Downloading PDFs (PDF: 428KB)

Pavilion to let - West Hendon Playing Fields, Goldsmith Avenue, West Hendon, NW9 7EU (UNDER OFFER)
  • Type: A two storey pavilion which can be let as a whole or in part for a variety of uses that may include a park cafĂ©, community, leisure or business space uses (subject to planning)
  • Location: The property is located in West Hendon, west of the Edgware Road and Brent Reservoir and is accessed from Goldsmith Avenue.
  • Expressions of interest to Simon Shaer, Property Services on:
    • Tel: 020 8359 7357
  • West Hendon Pavilion (July10) Help on Downloading PDFs (PDF: 314KB)
Words fail me. As cuts bite, what are these madmen doing? It is completely sick. I am totally disgusted to see the decimation of these facilities in some of Londons worst areas of social depravation. These are just the sort of facilities we desperately need as we battle social unrest, drugs and violence on the streets of our Borough.

I cannot possibly find the words to adequately describe my disgust at our council. I cannot describe my contempt for the people who make such crass decisions. And what makes me feel physically sick is the way buffoons like Brian Coleman, the man responsible for inflicting this anti family, anti society right wing dogma, never take any responsibilty for the mess they cause, as they sit in their church subsidised flat, siphoning over £114,000 from the public coffers for a string of non jobs. The man can find £400,000 from Boris Johnson to do up a churchyard in affluent Chipping Barnet ( )
  -, subsidising private business, whilst these vital community facilities are flogged off, lock stock and two smoking barrels to pay for his allowances. Sick, JF sick

A poll tax on wheels !

Today we hear that train fares are set to rise by 30%. For us in the commuter belt, I have one sentence for our Conservative government "Poll Tax on Wheels"

Tuesday 16 August 2011

22 Questions for Matthew Offord MP regarding his "official trip" to Belize

Having read this - 

- it seems to me that there are a few questions Matthew Offord MP may like to answer


1 when did you go to Belize? ( there have been two differing accounts in the local papers, one says  before and one after the riots started)

2 who is paying for the trip and how much is it costing?

3 if it is an official trip, why is it so long?  (normally they would be 4 to 5 days at most and they don’t happen in August)

4 Were you invited to go and if so by whom, and when?

5 Are you a member of the All Party Group for Belize? If so, when did you join?

6 Why is Belize interested in your views on counter terrorism, when the FCO website says there is no specific terrorism problem and easy research on the internet reveals that Belize has had only 1 attack between 1968 and 2006 and is ranked the 161st safest country for terrorism out of 165?

7 what specific knowledge and expertise do you have on counter terrorism ?

8 what specific knowledge and expertise  do you have of illegal drugs and trafficking in them ?

9 what specific knowledge and expertise  do you have of hurricanes?

11  How does your experience on counter terrorism compare with your predecessor, former MP Andrew Dismore? (Dismore had an international reputation as an expert for parliamentary work on terrorism in the UK based on his work to expose extremism prior to 9/11 and was asked to go to New York to meet the police and FBI there and for talks with the US counter terrorism command at West Point the year after 9/11)

12 If this was official parliamentary business, what support in organising the visit was given by the House authorities?

13  Who did you meet, on what dates,  and how long were the meetings?

14 When were the meetings arranged ( presumably such meeting would be set up in advance for something as serious as this?

15 Will you release any emails,  notes  or correspondence relating to organising the meetings?

16 What dealings with Lord Ashcroft have you had or have been had on your behalf ( as he is based in Belize for tax and business purposes)?

17 Will you register the visit in the register of members’ interests and if not, why not?

18 With hindsight do you now regret not returning to the UK when riots hit Hendon?

19 With hindsight do you now regret not returning to the UK when Parliament was recalled?

20 How do you think your conduct compares with former MP Andrew Dismore, who cancelled his participation in an official recess Parliamentary visit he was scheduled to lead to the Caribbean  the week after Kiyan Prince was murdered, so he was available to his constituents at a time of local tension?

21 Was your wife on the trip ( and if so who was looking after Max the dog ) ?

22 How is the soup in Belize?


I think the people of Hendon deserve answers to a few of these questions. One can only wonder what Dismore makes of all this. I hope Matthew doesn't work too hard on his trip and manages at least one cocktail on the beach in amongst all of that hard work.

If he's a historian, I'm a rioter and a looter

Guest blog by The Poet,

A certain Professor David Starkey has claimed that rioting and looting is black behaviour. Mr Starkey lists his job as "historian". He ain't much good is he? A cursory look at any history book will tell you that the British were rather good at riotin and a' lootin long before there was a large black population on these isles. Like Mr Starkey, I have spent my life with my head buried in books. History is a fascinating subject, hopefully it teaches us lessons for the future. Children realise things can get better. I wonder what history books Mr Starkey has read to decide that murdering, robbing and looting are black behaviour.

When I look in the mirror, I see a face looking back at me that has a rich history. It tells a story of people transported across a great sea. When my great, great, great, great, great grandmother arrived in chains in the Caribbean, what awaited her? Was it a life of luxury, with slaves to tend to her, all the food she could eat, prepared and brought to the table? Or was it a life of slavery, eating the leftovers from the masters table, being sexually and physically abused, being worked to an early death? My face tells me that it was both, because I have a white family and a black family tree. Sadly, they collided during an act of sexual violence.

And the male side? Owning a plantation, being a rich man, or working as a slave? My face tells me that all of those things are in my genes. Is the anger and violence I feel my white anger or my black anger? When I read Mr Starkey and what he has to say, I know for sure he's a white historian. I don't believe in white history or black history, just the history of the human race. This teaches us that injustice and ignorance is a dead end philosophy. Sadly much black history was lost, there was no one to record it. Just oral history, family mythology and half remembered tales. How much of the violence, injustice and hurt lived and died with the victims?

In the USA decendents of slaves are asking for reparations. The question that the white establishment asks is "Why should we pay for the sins of our forefathers?". The answer is "I am poor, because your granddad robbed my granddad, your great granddad robbed my great granddad, and your great great granddad robbed my great great granddad, and until I can get a decent education, I will never be in a position to even start to catch up". This isn't begging, it's asking  to have my stolen inheritance back.

When I was a child my family was poor. I discovered books at an early age. I learned that I could escape from the drudgery of my daily life into a world of excitement, wonder and awe. As I grew, I started to read history books. I started to understand why the world we live in is how it is. When I was 14, I started to write poetry. What has always puzzled me is how I notice things that others miss.  A flower, a sunrise, social injustice, sexual violence, repression, love, hatred. Why does everyone turn the other way? I wonder why we miss all of these things?

Then I see someone like Mr Starkey, an expert in his field, as we are told? Then we realise. Was it Kipling who said "In the land of the blind, the one eye'd man is king". When you look at me do you see a rioter and a looter? I hope not. I have read ten thousand books and I hope I read ten thousand more before I die. I have learned one thing. I don't judge them by their cover.
The Poet has been writing poetry about life for the last 42 years and is a great friend of this blog. This blog was dictated over a pint of Guinness in one of Londons finest hostelries. Guest blogs are always welcome at the Barnet Eye. Usually people send them via the email link in my profile, in the grey sidebar, but you are welcome to buy me a pint and dictate them if you know a decent pub and have a great blog to dictate.

Trust & FoI responses

Here is the response to from Barnet Council to an FoI response. As the other relevant emails were sent in confidence, I cannot persue this further right now. I guess you can imagine my views on the issue.

Dear Mr Tichborne,

I am writing regarding your request to the London Borough of Barnet (the Council) under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the FOIA) for access to the following:

-        Does the council keep a record of all emails sent/received using official email addresses?
-        Is there an audit trail of correspondence?
-        Details of the searches performed to satisfy this request.

My response to your request is below.


I can confirm that e-mails sent and received from e-mail addresses are stored in accordance with the council’s internet and e-mail usage policy and records retention and disposal guidelines. Copies of these documents are attached.

I can confirm that there is audit trail of correspondence to and from the Standards and Information Rights team related to your request.

I can confirm that the Standards and Information Rights team asked the following members and officers to search their records for the information requested by you:
-        Chief Executive;
-        Deputy Chief Executive;
-        The Leader’s Office;
-        Conservative Group Political Assistant;
-        Chief Internal Auditor;
-        Chair of the Audit Committee; and
-        Director of Commercial Services.

Your Rights

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been handled, you can request a review by writing to the FOI Officer at: The London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London, N11 1NP (email

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF (telephone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45; website:

There is no charge for making an appeal.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine Wilson Pointer
Governance Officer
Corporate Governance Directorate
London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP
Tel: 020 8359 7757
Barnet Online:
P please consider the environment - do you really need to print this email?

From: Roger Tichborne
Sent: 14 August 2011 09:44
To: Wilson Pointer, Catherine; Freedom of Information Act
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information Request
Dear Freedom of Information,
I sent this email to Catherine Wilson Pointer on Sunday 31st July. I asked if the request could be processed as an FoI request, in the event that Ms Wilson Pointer could not answer it otherwise. This email has not been acknowledged. Please confirm receipt of this request.
Roger Tichborne
----- Original Message -----
From: Roger Tichborne
Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2011 1:57 PM
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information Request

Dear Ms Pointer,
Please can you confirm one thing for me. Does the council keep a record of all emails sent/received using official email addresses?
Is there an audit trail of correspondance? If there is, then I will be requesting a personal meeting to discuss your response, as I have evidence to the contrary. I would also like to have details of the searches performed to satisfy this request.
If it is necessary, please consider this as an FoI request.
I am most concerned that there appears to be no effective audit trail of important messages.
Roger Tichborne
----- Original Message -----
To: Roger Tichborne
Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 1:55 PM
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information Request

Dear Mr Tichborne,

I am writing in relation to your email to the London Borough of Barnet (the Council), received on 12 July 2011, requesting an internal review of the Council’s handling of your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the FOIA) for access to the following:

‘Yesterday I sent the attached email to the CEO of Barnet and all Barnet Councillors. I have been informed that shortly after, an email was sent to councillors asking them not to respond to this communication. Please send me a copy of this email, detailing who it was from and who it was sent to. I would like to remind Barnet Council that the chair of the audit committee praised my efforts (and those of other bloggers) in exposing the Metpro fiasco. I trust that all concerned would like to expose bad practise in Barnet Council’.

You have requested a review as you do not agree with the Council’s initial response that the Council does not hold this information.

I have reviewed your request and my response is below.

I have reviewed the searches for the requested information that were undertaken by the officer who prepared the initial response to your request.

I am satisfied that the officer conducted appropriate searches and that no information was found.

In conducting a review I have contacted the Leader’s Office and the Chief Executive a second time and can confirm that the information you requested is not held.

I note that the FOIA does not apply to emails sent between Councillors for representative or political purposes. The Information Commissioner’s Office has published some useful guidance on this point that you can access here:   

Your right of appeal to the Information Commissioner
We consider we have complied with our obligations under the FOIA. However, if you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF (telephone: 084 56 30 60 60 or 016 25 54 57 45; email; website There is no charge for making an appeal.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine Wilson Pointer
Governance Officer
Corporate Governance Directorate
London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP
Tel: 020 8359 7757
Barnet Online:
P please consider the environment - do you really need to print this email?

From: Roger Tichborne
Sent: 12 July 2011 17:46
To: Humphreys, Louise
Cc: Cornelius, Cllr Richard Conservative; Walkley, Nick
Subject: Re: Freedom of Information Request

Dear Ms Humphreys,

I would ask you to reconsider the response to the email below. I have had confirmation from the individual who sent the email and this email was sent to me using a Barnet Council email account. Can I suggest that you discuss your response with the two people copied on this email before replying. I am concerned that the procedures you are using to identify such correspondence may be flawed. I would be most troubled if this was anything other than a genuine mistake.

Roger Tichborne
----- Original Message -----
To: Roger Tichborne
Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 9:49 AM
Subject: Freedom of Information Request

Dear Mr Tichborne,

I am writing regarding your request to the London Borough of Barnet (the Council) under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the FOIA).

Your request was as follows:

Yesteday I sent the attached email to the CEO of Barnet and all Barnet Councillors. I have been informed that shortly after, an email was sent to councillors asking them not to respond to this communication. Please send me a copy of this email, detailing who it was from and who it was sent to. I would like to remind Barnet Council that the chair of the audit commitee praised my efforts (and those of other bloggers) in exposing the Metpro fiasco. I trust that all concerned would like to expose bad practise in Barnet Council’.

My response to your request is below.


We have searched our records and the London Borough of Barnet does not hold the information requested.

Your Rights
If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been handled, you can request a review by writing to the FOI Officer at: The London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London, N11 1NP (email

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint, you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF (telephone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45; website:

There is no charge for making an appeal.

Yours sincerely,

Louise Humphreys
Information Governance Officer
Corporate Governance Directorate

London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP
Tel: 020 8359 7072
Barnet Online:
P please consider the environment - do you really need to print this email?

Monday 15 August 2011

Save Mill Hill Sports Club - full petition text

From the Hendon Times
Background (Preamble):
The Mill Hill Sports club in Grahame Park Way, Mill Hill, has been an integral part of the local community for many years. It is the home of local football, cricket, hockey, boxing and squash clubs. It has gym facilities available at a reasonable price and is well used by residents of Mill Hill, Burnt Oak and Grahame Park. It also plays host to the Mill Hill Jazz Club and the Mill Hill Music Festival.

At a time when many people are suffering from problems associated with an inactive lifestyle, we desperately need more, not less, open access sports facilities. Barnet Council has not supported attempts to improve facilities at the site. As a result, the company managing the Sports club has sold the lease and announced the closure of the club. This petitions calls on Barnet Council to support local sports and local people and ensure that the closure plan is scrapped.

We call on Barnet Council to work with local people to develop the site into a premier facility for local people. We call for Barnet Council to commit to no change of use for the site, so that it may only be used for sports, music and as an open facility for all local people.
We the undersigned, call on Barnet Council to support Mill Hill Sports club and to ensure that the site is retained as a sports ground with social facilities for music.

We call on Barnet Council to commit to ensure no change of use for the site. We call on Barnet Council to work with local people and interested stakeholders to develop and improve the facilities at the site for the benefit of all local people.

We call on Barnet Council to recognise the wider benefits for the population of Barnet, in retaining and developing sports facilities in the Borough.

Sunday 14 August 2011

Boris 2012 - The most stupid political leaflet ever?

I got this leaflet through the door today, from the Mayor of London. Have I ever seen a more ill timed and stupid leaflet? Let me think about that one. What has been the big London story this week? Riots & looting. Guess what Boris says in the leaflet "By working closely with Brian Coleman, we have so far delivered 75 more police officers on your streets and cut crime by almost 13% in Barnet and almost 14% in Camden". On the other side of the leaflet, Boris proudly boasts of "a fall of 20% in robberies". Hmm, I wonder if the figures include last weeks crimes?

Ok Boris, let's just take this really easy. On Monday night, the streets of London were nearly completely out of control. Were there adequate numbers of police? No, of course there weren't, that's why we have Welsh bobbies patrolling the streets of London. That is why tonight, one of my friends couldn't play five a side football, because all of his leave has been cancelled. If Boris thinks that sending a leaflet boasting about his successes preventing crime, in a week when many London landmarks have gone up in flames and many shops have been looted bare, is a good idea, we have to ask whether he is up to the job  (It is great to see that he's chosen to use Brian Coleman as a big vote winner in Barnet - at least everyone knows to blame him for the riots as well).

As I read the leaflet, was I the only person in London who got this who thought "Mate, you should be apologising for losing control of the streets for three nights, not crowing about what a marvellous job you've done". A couple of the guys I play football with are Conservative voters. They told me they'd read the leaflet in total disbelief. Surely Boris has someone on his team with enough savvy to say "This ain't a great leaflet to send out right now".

Anyway, just in case you weren't lucky enough to receive it, here it is. Click on the images for a more readable version.

The only rational explanation I can think of for putting such a stupid leaflet out and sticking Brian Colemans mug next to his, is that he wants to lose the mayoral election, so he can go back to the Commons and take "Dave" Camerons job? If anyone has a better idea what he's up to, please leave a comment

Save Mill Hill Sports Club

Today we have  started the campaign to Save Mill Hill Sports Club. The club is situated in Grahame Park Way and is a vital hub for many of the best things in Mill Hill. As well as cricket, football, hockey, squash and boxing, there is a  gym and a social club. It also plays host to the Mill Hill Jazz Club as well as the Mill Hill Music festival.

Sadly, whilst most people recognise the importance of good sports facilities for young (and older) people, the message doesn't seem to have gotten through to the people running Barnet Council. It seems that not a year goes by, without us losing another local sports ground. It seems that Barnet Council just doesn't care about providing activities for our children. It is a proven scientific fact that regular exercise reduces the probablity of developing all sorts of chronic ailments, which place a huge burden on Barnet Council social services and the local NHS. When I see young people rioting, I ask myself why providing activities for our youngsters, where they can learn the value of work, understand the importance of team spirit and get themselves fit, are not our no 1 national priority.

I am disturbed to hear that the closure of Mill Hill Sports club has seemingly been brought about by intransigence at Barnet Council. We cannot afford to lose these facilities, which is why we are launching the petition today to try and persuade Barnet Council to think again and save the centre. If our councillors are not prepared to step up and fight for local people, I intend to make sure that they pay the price at the next council elections. As Boris Johnson is standing for mayor next year, I'll also be seeking his opinion.

The campaign will continue. Sign the petition by clicking here - - It's in the sidebar. Please forward this to your friends

Saturday 13 August 2011

Tender - A Saturday night special

What a week it's been in London (and other cities). Many people have speculated on how such trouble breaks out and what is the route of it. I have my theories about it, but I happen to think a massive part of the problem is the fact many of the people involved are emotionally unable to relate to other people. They don't realise that when they trash shops and burn down houses, it hurts other people. As a musician who tries to keep up to date with what is happening in the wider music scene, I have to wonder just how rap music has affected the emotional intelligence of many of the young people. The themes of rap are centered on misogyny, sexism, homophobia and materialism. I quite like rap, but am truly amazed how little of it has any sort of a message at all beyond "Smack up me bitch, look at me trainers,like, look at me piece, yeah, I'm tha gangsta in th' hood"

Music can be all sorts of things. It reflects society. There is an argument that violent rap lyrics are an outlet for aggression. If nothing else, it does get young people to start thinking creatively. My hope is that as people develop their styles and technique, they also broaden their minds. What is unarguable is that some of the very best rappers such as Tupac met violent deaths, immersed in gang culture and many young people actually want to emulate that. I'm a fan of such punk songs as "Anarchy in the UK" by the Sex Pistols, "Hate and War" by the Clash and "Babylons burning" by the Ruts. These songs can be seen as quite nihilistic. Sid Vicious of the Pistols and Malcolm Owen of the Ruts both died in the most awful of circumstances. Topper Headon, drummer of the Clash was jailed for drug dealing. MI5 tracked many leading punks. Musical subversion really is nothing new. I see much of the nihilism of punk in rap, without the positive aspects of self reliance, self confidence, equality and independence. Punk spawned "rock against racism", the independent music scene, an independent publishing scene, a new breed of film director/producer and a group of highly politicised and intelligent leaders. Perhaps the greatest moment of all of these was Bob Geldolf and live aid, which saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

What we really need to see is young leaders emerging from the communities which have been most troubled. We need mentors to go in and identify them and help them. We need a few bad boys to to start sending out a few positive messages and doing something for their communities.

And just to remind you, edgy bands can produce beautiful music - here's Tender by Blur. I hope you have a peaceful and tender Saturday night

There's a hurricane a' comin' - call for Captain Useless -Hendons Souperhero !!!!!!!

Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid day Sun !

Why did I think of this as I read of the tropical antics of our very own Souperhero MP - Captain Useless AKA Matthew Offord. You too can read all about his escapades here :-

Seem's like the good Captain is on a highly secret undercover mission to sort out the local drugs cartels in Belize, or at leas that's what he's told the press. He's also highly involved in undercover counter terrorism work. I do hope that the Belizian drug barons and terror overlords are not readers of the Hendon Times or his cover will be blown. He's also taken time out to advise the Belizian government on hurricane protection.

Now it may surprise you to know that the Prime Minister of Belize, Dean Burrows is an old family friend of the Tichborne family. He recently got in touch and said "Hey Rog, it's coming up to the Hurricane Season, being a tropical country, we have no experience of such events. Can you recommend an expert to help us?" I of course replied "Well our local MP, Captain Useless is a souperhero. He can fix anything. Get him over on holiday and he can fix your hurricanes, sort out your terrorism and your narcotics industry". Job done.

Of course, you do realise that I made up the last paragraph, don't  you? Just to prove that when it comes to spinning tall stories, we can all do it, if we really want.  Of course, you'd think with Captain Useless being an expert in combatting the narcotics industry, Burnt Oak, Graham Park and Hendon would be completely drug free, wouldn't you? I do know one thing though, given the previous record of Captain Useless, I'lll be buying some hurricane shutters and storm lamps ASAP. If he's in charge of hurricane planning in Hendon, what could possibly go wrong?

***************** Late Update ******************

Just got another call from my old mate Dean Burrows. He's rather cross

"Hey Rog, your hurricane expert you sent out here. I asked him what he'd recommend and hey said "Well the celery and tomato soup is pretty good, but my personal favourate is the brie and butter bean with a smidgeon of parmesan!" I replied "I'd stick with the celery and tomato if I were you".  

Brian Colemans plan to sneak in abolition of pay and display is foiled

The blogs of Barnet are suitably chuffed to hear that the attempt by Brian Coleman to sneak through the abolition of pay and display parking in Barnet has been foiled. The decision has now been called in for review by the cabinet. I've no idea whether anyone in the cabinet has the cojones to stand up to Coleman and throw his plans out, but at least there will be a discussion. I am looking forward to videoing the meeting, using our newly won powers.

I'd love to claim the credit for throwing a spanner in the works, but I got an email from Lib Dem Councillor Jack Cohen almost immediately after sending the email to the councillors, saying he'd already spotted it and called it in. Labour & Tory Councillors also got in touch to say the same thing pretty promptly.

It is pretty clear to me that no one has been too impressed with Colemans cunning stunt. A Tory councillor (who asked to remain anonymous) confided that he was most unimpressed with the way this has been handled. He said "I don't agree with most of what you write in your blog, but I can't argue with you that this needed a proper discussion". I put it to him that as Brian Coleman is one councillor that officers generally don't push around, this clearly has Colemans fingerprints all over it. His response "Heh Heh, you may say that, I couldn't possibly comment". indeed

Friday 12 August 2011

Rog T on Londonist podcast

If you want to hear Rog T talking about the issues of the week on Londonist Out Loud podcast, just click here

Riots, planning, and a whole host of other topics are covered. Also featured is the West Hampstead blogger Jonathan Turton. Hosted by N Quentin Woolf.

Brian Coleman abolishes pay and display parking in Barnet – bloggers call for Cabinet call-in and consultation

This was emailed to all Barnet Councillors at 07:30 this morning by the Barnet Bloggers on behalf of local residents.
Brian Coleman abolishes pay and display parking in Barnet – bloggers call for Cabinet call-in and consultation
It has been brought to our attention that Councillor Brian Coleman has signed off, using delegated powers, a decision abolishing pay and display parking in the London Borough of Barnet. We believe that this is much too important an issue to be left to just one councillor to use delegated powers, and we call for the cabinet to call the paper in for review by the full cabinet.
The relevant report states that call-in must be done by 15th August. []

The people of Barnet deserve better than to have such important decisions passed without debate. This change affects many residents, businesses and visitors to the Borough. We call on the cabinet to reject this change and follow the example of other Boroughs, where residents, businesses and other impacted organisations are properly consulted, before such changes are approved.

12 August 2011

Derek Dishman
John Dix
Vicki Morris
Theresa Musgrove
Roger Tichborne