Friday 30 December 2016

Review of 2016 - An awesome year, full of surprsies

When I was at St Vincents RC Primary school, bad things happened. We had an old Irish spinster teaching us called Miss O'Donovan, who was a legend. Any conversation about anyone who remembers St Vincents will always reference Miss O'Donovan at some point. My fellow Barnet blogger Mrs Angry still has nightmares about her. What has all this got to do with the year in review? Simples. Whenever bad things happen, Miss O'Donovan would say "it's all part of Gods plan and as far as I'm aware God doesn't make mistakes".

As a child in a Catholic family, this seemed to be the start and end of how you look at any problem. When my mum was diagnosed with what we thought was terminal cancer in 1970, Miss O'Donovan sought me out to reassure me and remind me that "it was all part of Gods plan".

High hopes last January
God doesn't make mistakes. But what about the electorate? My sister lives in the USA. I commented to her that I really didn't think I could visit her living in a country that elected Donald Trump. Her response "They didn't, Hillary decisively won the popular vote". And then there is Brexit. Six months on we are faced with a situation where we don't know what Brexit means. We have an unelected prime minister who has no plan, and despite having not been elected, doesn't want to share her ideas with Parliament. But it wasn't all doom and gloom. There have been a fewpolitical  high spots, mostly provided by Zac Goldsmith. Am I the only one who feels like Sadiq Khan has been mayor for years? He seems to have stepped up and hasn't put a foot wrong.

It is pretty clear that Gods plan for 2016 involved having all the best musicians turn up in heaven for the 2017 New Years party. I certainly can't fault him for his taste in selecting this years line up. Looked at purely from a celebrity death perspective, I guess 2016 was a terrible year, however if we look at the good rather than the bad, there has been some great stuff out there.

As ever, our review is looked at through the microcosm of Barnet blogs. So here we go.

We had disgraced, convicted criminal, Conservative ex Councillor Brian Coleman claim that the Barnet bloggers had "shot their load" and were no longer relevant (I guess the truth of that was soon exposed in the Freedom pass scandal).

For me personally it was a difficult month. I ended it with a cathater in following HiFu treatment for prostate cancer. In hindsight, it was a rather difficult period and far more difficult and draining than I'd ever expected. I did however take some time out to write some music and make some videos. My band the False Dots had planned to release an album in 2016, but this didn't happen, mainly due to a technical issue that meant we lost most of our mixes. Oh well, means we'll have to release two in 2017!

On the Barnet Council front we exposed some shoddy road markings. Anyone hazard a guess as to whether they've fixed them? (answers on a postcard please!). We also had the Kafkaesque scenario where Barnet Council denied that they kept a file on Barnet Bloggers, but revealed an email asking for her blog to "be kept with the other stuff".

On a personal note, I had a bit of a wallop on the head and a strange near death experience. This blog was followed by a series of friends and relatives insisting I went for an assessment at A&E. Well the good news is I am still here and it is all alright! (a small reason for the rather obtuse preamble perhaps at the top of the blog).

My highlight for March was the Saturday list of great ideas for our Borough that never made it. On the council front, we exposed how Dr Julia Hines had warned in 2011 that oustorucing planning risked a conflict of interest and this has come to pass.

On the music front, we had a major victory for the #SaveLondonMusic campaign.

A massive story broke on this (irrelevant? Eh Brian) blog in April. The story of how Barnet Council has illegally removed freedom passes without even notifying the holders for local disabled people. This grew into a major scandal. 

In April we also had the crash of the Barnet Council IT systems, taking out the library service computer system. We also had the rather bizarre story of how Barnet Council destroyed a site containing fossilized mammoth bones in Colindale.

On the musical front, we saw the first gig of the year by The False Dots at The Midland hotel. A raucous night of fun for all! I also saw the best play of the year. The Man in womans shoes at The Tricycle theatre in Kilburn.

The big story was the election of Andrew Dismore as GLA rep and Sadiq Khan as Mayor. Many had thought Dismore doomed after his election loss in Hendon in 2015. Of course the real story wasn't the result but the huge cock up at the polling stations. The Barnet Eye broke the story. The CEO lost his job for his efforts.

I posted my Hillsborough remembered live video from The Midland Hotel. As afootball fan and hopefully a decent football fan, I've long been angry at the injustice and the coverage of the disaster by The Sun. In hindsight, I wish I'd written something more eloquent though.

The Euro Referendum
Mystic Rog. I accurately predicted the fall of Cameron and the rise of accession of Theresa May to the Tory throne before the Euro referendum. You wouldn't believe the emails I got after that. It was fun saying "told you so!".

Roy Hodgson got the sack as England manager.  Of course the tabloid journalists who made his job impossible never get the sack, do they?

A couple of nice blogs. I love the one with my top ten summer garden flowers from my garden. The False Dots played at The Chandos Arms.

We had more evidence of the crumbling council on our doorstep.

On a happier note, the sea cadets of TS Broadsword celebrated a 75th anniversary. Here's to the next 75 years.

We had one of my favourite Friday jokes. We also asked if the local suburban pub is dead? Given the appalling service I've seen at some local hostelries, I do wonder.

We saw the kick off of the Save Barnet Diving campaign. A huge community response to a heartless council closure. We also saw the start of the Save The Railway in Edgware campaignThameslink also announced that it was to close ticket offices.

As I do most years, I went to Lourdes with the HCPT 560 group as a helper.

Interesting to note that Barnet Council rejected outsourcing for Adult Services in September. Are they starting to listen?

Every week we feature the tweets of the week. I think that September had the best tweets of the week of 2016?  L
oved all of these.

Lots of news on the Save London Music front in September

In October we asked if Fred Flintstsone was moving to Edgware!
We had a fine guest blog detailing an alien invasion in Angel pond!

We also had the 100th Saturday List, which was a list of all the Saturday list!

We also started a new regular feature. The Wednesday poem.

The Barnet Eye held its 8th Birthday party in October! Here is some of the back story. Some fine music was heard!

Trump Elected (AKA Judge Cal)
In our series of Cancer blogs, we were devastated to learn that the government is not funding PSA tests. This is true folly.

I was interviewed by Barnet TV about Mill Hill Music Complex. 

A small miracle happened in Mill Hill.

I rather liked one of the Saturday lists in November!

So here we are at the end of the year.

The Barnet Eye Xmas Party
The year ends but the UNISONGATE scandal, where local Barnet Unison Branch Secretary is at war with is own union over electoral malpractice in the Union General Secretary election grinds on.

So was 2016 your worst year? It was only my 7th worst (assuming it gets no worse).

We documented the sad, slow death of the Barnet Library service.

We dished out our awards. Some great winners. And we had a great party! And a few words from the Barnet person of the year.

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