Wednesday 20 December 2017

The Wednesday Poem #35 - 13/12/2017 - Conflict of Interest by Keith Martin


I declare a small conflict of interest.
It’s an interesting place to be at.
With one hand I’m assaulting the Council,
With the other evicting the squat.

When I started to try a discussion,
I was clear and direct in my aim.
‘Twas to keep Friern Library open
And spare the poor readers the pain.

Oh, Democracy, where are you going ?
Will it end with the freedom we crave ?
Right to work, right to act, to protest,
Or shiver and die in our grave ?

What we share are the rights to our freedom.
When we walk from this Court, we walk tall.
We proclaim, be we rich or impov’rished
There’s no conflict of interest at all.

Copyright Keith Martin

Keith Martin
Five years ago today, we woke up with a sore head, following two days in Court listening to Barnet Council trying to justify the closure and sale of Friern Barnet library. As I am sure everyone will know, the council now are trying to market themselves as the council that doesn't shut libraries. As we remember, they can only say this due to a monumental battle with their own residents. 

Keith Martin, a local Barnet Resident and retired accountant bravely put himself on the line, becoming a named respondent in the eviction case, exposing himself to the risks of personal bankruptcy. 

Although it wasn't really clear on that Wednesday five years ago, the council had comprehensively lost the battle. The judge clearly recognised that the council had not acted in good faith and that their was a case. The council, although technically got what they want, their lawyers knew the game was up. As a result, the Library stayed open and the community asset was preserved.

The Barnet Eye made a special edition of our childrens program "Up Jacksies Nory" to commemorate the reopening of the library, explaining the whole story.


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