Monday 29 February 2016

The 2016 Barnet Council governance project - No 20 - Barnet Council relationsip with Re

Today we examine the Councils relationship with Re, the company set up by Barnet Council and Capita to administer various council functions at an "arms length". We want to see just how transparant Barnet Council are prepared to be about this relationship

From: Roger Tichborne
Sent: 29 February 2016 07:10
To: ''
Subject: Freedom of information request - Barnet Council relationship with RE

Dear FoI Barnet

Please provide the following.

1.       Directors salaries for all politically appointed directors of Re (such as Richard Cornelius)
2.       Expenses of all politically appointed directors of Re
3.       List of all hospitality and gifts received by politically appointed directors of Re
4.       A list of all political appointees to Re from Barnet Council.

For the purposes of clarity, please take as a definition of a politically appointed director, someone who is an elected representative in the London Borough of Barnet, or someone who has been appointed due to their political affiliations rather than their business acumen.

Roger Tichborne

Sunday 28 February 2016

The Sunday Roast - Glam Rock Special!

So today, we ask what was the greatest ever Glam Rock Track. The three contenders are

1. Sweet - Blockbuster

2. David Bowie The Jean Genie

3. T Rex - 20th Century Boy

In our humble opinion, Sweet, Bowie and Bolan were the top of the pops when it came to glam. With all of these bands, there were any number of tracks we could have chosen, but we really wanted iconic TOTP videos to accompany the tracks. Perhaps another interesting topic of debate is that Blockbuster and The Jean Genie both have the same riff. Reviewing the discography, I was surprised to note that the Sweet only achieved one UK No 1 single, with Blockbuster, although Co Co, Hellraiser, Ballroom blitz, Teenage Rampage and Fox on the Run were number 2's. Their final UK top ten hit was "Love is like Oxygen", although this was a big departure from the rampaging pop of the earlier materials.Whilst many musical snobs derided Sweet as lightweight, due to their connections with songwriters Chinn and Chapman, they were icons of many in the Punk movement, with The Damned covering several of their tracks. I am eternally grateful to Captain Sensible and the boys for giving us permission to fess up to liking Sweet!

T Rex acheived four number ones, with Hot Love, Get It On, Telegram Sam and Metal Guru. In 1971/2, when I was first developing my musical identity, Bolan was the man. At primary school, we used to sing Telegram Sam whilst waiting for the 240 bus home. Even Pete Conways dad telling us that Marc Bolan had fleas did not deter us! I chose 20th Century Boy, even though it only reached no 3, for two reasons. It was one of the first songs I learned to play on guitar and secondly because I think it has aged far better than most of the others. It sounds as if it could have been released yeserday, rather than 43 years ago. Whenever I watch this video clip, I am reminded just how good Bolan was. Sadly Bolan stopped getting top ten hits in 1973. For me this is a travesty as he was far more creative and original than all the dross that was getting chart success.

Then there is Bowie. How many number ones Did Bowie have in his glam period in the 1970's? The answer may surprise you. He didn't achieve a single number one hit. Space Oddity was a number one, but this was in 1969, and not really in the Glam rock era. The Jean Genie got to number 2 and Drive in Saturday, Sorrow and Life on Mars made number 3. My personal favourite single from that period was Rebel Rebel, which made number 5. Reviewing Bowies discography, just illustrates what a strange bunch we, the record buying generation of the 70's really were.

So in terms of Glam chart hits, Bolan was the King, Sweet were the runners up and Bowie got the Bronze. Of course there's far more to it than that. Bowie was always more of an album artist than Bolan or Sweet, but that wasn't really what Glam was about for many of us, was it?  We wanted to sing the hits, whilst running around the bus stop!

Saturday 27 February 2016

The Saturday List #81 - The things I Need

I was listening to the Another Music In A Different Kitchen by The Buzzcocks and the song "I Need" came on. I was pondering what Pete Shelley's listed.

I Need - (The Buzzcocks)

I need X 4

I used to only want but now  (I need)
To get by with what I got but now (I need, I need)
I used to only want but now (I need) 
(I need) Sex

(I need) Love
(I need) Drink
(I need) Drugs
(I need) Food
(I need) Cash
You to love me back

I need X 4
I just can't do without 'cos now (I need)
The things I care about 'cos now (I need, I need)
I used to only want but now (I need) 
(I need) Sex

(I need) Love
(I need) Drink
(I need) Drugs
(I need) Food
(I need) Cash
(I need) You to love me back

I need X 4
And now I have to dream because (I need)
Of a necessary scheme to get me what (I need, I need)
I used to only want but now (I need)

I need X 4
The things I used to crave for now (I need)
Have made me just a slave for what (I need, I need)

Seemed to me that this would be a good starting place for a Saturday list!

So if we take Sex, Love, Drink, Drugs, Food and Cash as the basic list, is there anything else we need to add? 

Well I think for me personally, I'd add music and sunshine. What would you add to the list?


Friday 26 February 2016

The Friday Joke 26/2/2016

A man returns home a day early from a business trip. It's after midnight so he catches a taxicab. While en route home, he asks the cabby if he would be a witness.

The man suspects his wife is having an affair, and he wants to catch her in the act so for  £100, the cabby agrees.

Quietly arriving home, the husband and cabby tip toe into the bedroom.The husband switches on the lights, yanks the blanket back and there is his wife in bed with another man!

The husband puts a gun to the naked man's head.  The wife shouts, 'Don't do it!  I lied when I told you I inherited money. Think about this:-    HE paid for the Porsche I gave you. HE paid for our new cabin cruiser.  HE paid for your football season ticket.   HE paid for our house in France.
HE paid for our African holiday, all your golf trips and even the Range Rover. HE paid for our Golf Club memberships, and he even pays all my Credit Card bills!

Broken mentally and shaking his head from side-to-side, the husband lowers the gun. He looks over at the cabby and says, 'What would you do? The cabby replies, 'I'd cover him with that blanket before he catches a cold.

Have a great weekend

Thursday 25 February 2016

Dumb and Dumber - The Tory Eurosceptics of Barnet

I know quite a few people who are going to vote Out in the EU referendum who are intelligent people, who can present coherent arguments to justify their decision to vote OUT. It would be highly insulting and quite wrong to brand all who want to pull out as a "bit dim" or incapable of making rational rather than emotional decisions. I have to confess that most of the arguments my friends have made, who want to leave, seem to me to be based on emotional rather than solid economic or factual reasons, but that isn't to say there are not arguments and there are not people who live in Barnet who can present them.

Sadly the Barnet brigade of the Conservative Party who are supporting the Out end of the argument do a rather good impersonation of Dumb and Dumber. First of all, look at this map of Europe. Have a look at the bit shaded blue.
click on image for readable version
Click on image for a readable version
 The Orange bits are all of the countries which are currently members of the EU. What does the map tell you? Well it seems our local Tory MP, Matthew Offord is not really up on Geography. He has said on his website "we are an island nation. We have access to overseas markets that those in land-locked Europe can only dream of." Now how anyone can look at the map and conclude Europe is landlocked is beyond me. Granted that the Czech republic, Slovakia, Austria and Luxembourg have no coastline, but can anyone with even a basic education claim "Europe is landlocked". It will come as a very big surprise to countries such as Ireland, Malta and Cyprus who are islands. It is a fact that there is no major trading partner of the UK that does not have a closer EU member with a coastline. I've no idea why Matthew Offord made such a claim on his website, but it is clearly plain daft!

Then there is his old buddy from Barnet Council, former Tory GLA member Brian Coleman. He has been on Twitter chastising his former friend Mike Freer, MP for Finchley for his decision to support the Stay in camp.

I am going deaf from the noise of Lady Thatcher spinning in her grave

Brian Coleman clearly wants you to believe that Lady Thatcher was an anti European. Nothing could be further from the truth. Thatcher signed the single largest piece of Pro Federal Europe legislation into law. That was the Single European Act.  What did this do?
"A core element of the SEA was to create a Single Market within the European Community by 1992, a date by which, it was hoped, the legislative reforms seen necessary would have been completed. In order to make this objective possible the SEA reformed the legislative process by introducing the Cooperation procedure and by extending Qualified Majority Voting to new areas. Measures were taken to shorten the legislative process. The SEA intended to remove barriers and to increase harmonisation and competitiveness among its countries."
How anyone can claim that someone who signed legisation called "The Single European" act which enacted this legislation, would not be supportive of an in vote beggars belief. Thatcher won three elections and had sizeable majorities (far greater than Camerons). She campaigned for the Yes campaign to stay in in 1975. Despite the hyperbole of those such as Coleman, Thatcher was an arch pragmatist. Whatever your view of her, she always acted in what she perceived was the best interests of the UK. She clearly wasn't a Euro Federalist, but was most definitely a very pragmatic pro European, who saw the benefits of UK membership.

If this is the best the anti European Tories can do, then we are in for a hysterically funny campaign. One of my Tory friends who was on the train and saw Offords quote told me "It is a bit embarrasing really, I am surprised he hasn't reworded it". It would be nice to have a sensible debate about Europe in the London Borough of Barnet. I would suggest anyone thinking of organising such a public event to give these two a wide berth. Barnets answer to Dumb and Dumber really wouldn't help anyone make their mind up.

Councillor Daniel Thomas - Sitting in a glass house throwing stones?

Barnet Tory Deputy Leader took to twitter yesterday to attack the property interests of Andrew Dismore, the Labour candidate for the GLA. He said

Makes sense, it's just round the corner from his second home and a new school which he tried to block.

So we had a look at Dans interests register on the Barnet Council website

He lists his profession as "Property Development outside the Borough". This begs the question, if Dismore owns two homes, how many does Dan own? Where are they? Dan has previously stood as a Parliamentay candidate for the Conservatives in Wales, we wonder if he owns any in this neck of the wood.?.  It is interesting that the Deputy Leader of the Council chooses to conduct his business outside the Borough. Does he not think Barnet is a great place to do business?

We always say "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" and wonder if Dan would be well advised to heed this. Or maybe tell us how many homes he owns and where they are.

Tuesday 23 February 2016

How will the three Barnet MP's vote in the Euro referendum

As Great Britain prepares to vote in the EU referendum, many people have been asking where Barnets MP's stand. We thought that we'd round up what they'd have  to say. Our highest profile and most successful MP is Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet. She is the Northern Ireland minister and has caused a bit of a stir by declaring for the Out camp.. The BBC features the story here

Image result for theresa villiers mike freer
Then we have the Hendon MP, Matthew Offord. Matthew is well known as a hard right member of the Out camp. Matthew outlines his position on his blog -  in summery he concludes "I shall be voting to leave the EU." His reasoning is what some may consider a trifle unusual "So it remains, we are an island nation. We have access to overseas markets that those in land-locked Europe can only dream of." I'd love someone to translate this particular statement into common sense. There are many reasons I can understand as to why people may vote "out" but the idea is that we have special access to markets "landlocked countries" do not is a new one on me. I do love Matthew, he is so full of surprises. I wonder if Matthew is planning to ban French cheeses for his long planned cheese shop in Mill Hill Broadway? Maybe only cheeses for "non landlocked countries" is allowed.

Then finally we have Matthews former boss Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green. I was rather perplexed by this report in the Ham & High - - where Mike says he supports remaining in the EU but won't actively campaign for it. Am I the only one who thinks this is a cop out. Mike has however been active on twitter explaining his stance on Twitter

the EU has many faults &reform is my preferred option -I'm not convinced that in an increasingly globalised world 'out' is right

BTW - our GLA member, Labours Andrew Dismore is a committed member of the In camp. I will be writing to each councillor to ascertain their position and will report back in a separate blog.