Saturday 27 January 2018

The Saturday List #162 - Ten Reasons why I want to represent Mill Hill in the Council Chamber

Roger Tichborne - My personal agenda
In May, you may not realise it, but if you live in the London Borough of Barnet, you will have the opportunity to elect three people to represent you in the Council chamber. This is a huge privilege for the people elected and offers a great opportunity to put something back into our community. I've lived in Mill Hill since 1962 (I spent my first three months in Edgware General, but moved to Mill Hill in Late October 1962). I went to St Vincents Primary School, did a paper round in Bunns Lane, Flower Lane, Highwood Hill and Marsh Lane. I started a business in 1979, which now employs local people and is a world class organisation. My parents are buried locally in Hendon Cemetery (which is now run by Capita on behalf of the council and looks ever more run down). I have a deep commitment to Mill Hill. I believe we need local councillors who care.

Many people say that they never hear from politicians until six months before the election and then they can't escape them. Last year you saw nothing on social media from them, this year it is full of pictures of grinning teams of leaflet droppers and canvassers. The three people pictured on your left are your current councillers. Have you seen them (apart from just before election time?). Whatever you may think of me, you will see that this blog works for you 365 days a year. We have been to council meetings, raised issues and done the best we can to ensure that Barnet Council Tax payers and businesses are heard. Over the life of this blog, we've exposed all manner of scandals and probably saved the taxpayer over a million pounds, in exposing bad practice such as the Metpro scandal. This resulted in an audit committee enquiry that exposed chaos in council procurement and over payment of suppliers.

Have the current councillors done a good job? That is for you to decide.  When I see the neglect at Hendon Cemetery, whilst laying flowers for my parents, I am personally enraged by the neglect, of what was once a beautiful and serene place to pay respects. Make no mistake, such things are things our councillors should be shouting from the rafters to ensure are well kept. I believe that the job of a councillor for Mill Hill is to make sure Mill Hill gets the very best council services, has the cleanest streets, that old ladies get their meals on wheels, that young people who are at risk are dealt with compassionately and professionally by social services, that Council housing is provided to those in need of accomodation, to ensure the council and police use CCTV to ensure that Mill Hill Broadway is a safe and secure place, that your rubbish and discarded Christmas trees are collected in a timely and efficient manner. I could go on, but I suspect that you get the idea.

My top priority will be to get a more visible police presence on the streets of Mill Hill and to get the police and local community working together to lower vandalism, anti social behaviour and crime. I believe that the Metropoiltan Police are a marvellous organisation, but they are being forced to fight crime with one hand tied behind their back by  lack of funding from the Conservative government. We have to address this both locally and nationally. Electing people on a clear mandate to give the police the resources to do their job properly will make a compelling argument, when our lazy MP's awake from their slumbers or leave their barstools to campaign for the next election.

1. I've already saved you money as a taxpayer.  There are many examples of this, the most demonstrable is the Metpro scandal, exposed by myself and fellow bloggers. As a result of the pressure we raised, the Council was forced to conduct an audit enquiry into procurement. This resulted in a whole host of findings that resulted in huge savings to the taxpayer. Our efforts were commended by the Conservative governments Local Authority secretary Eric Pickles, who mentioned the "armchair auditor bloggers of  Barnet" as a shining example of how communities can make a difference.

2. I am extremely hard working. I will see it as an honour and a privilege to serve the people of Mill Hill. I will work tirelessly for them. I have a track record to prove it. If you count the words written on this blog since 2008, there are over four million of them. I don't think anyone else in the Borough can claim to have put so much love and effort into trying to improve our area over the last ten years for free. I'm not saying that this makes me more deserving, but it does at least show I'll work for my dosh.

3. I enjoy meeting people. Anyone who knows me knows that I enjoy meeting people.  Well how many times have you set eyes on any of your local politicians? How can they know what needs doing if they lock themselves away?

4. I am Mill Hill through and through. My family moved to Mill Hill in 1948 after my Dad left the air force. He was a bomber command pilot and former POW. He started a business in Bunns Lane and employed a whole stack of local people. I was born at Edgware General Hospital and went to local Comprehensive schools. I started my business, Mill Hill Music Complex in 1979 and I now employ twelve local people. I play football every Thursday at Power League and I drink in local pubs and eat in local restaurants, all of whom know me by name. My children all attended local schools and I am a member of the Sacred Heart Church Parish Council.  I think that a deep commitment to our area is vital.

5.  I am one of the organisers of The Mill Hill Music festival. For the last 20 years, we have held the Mill Hill Music Festival. I've been a member of the organising committee since 2004, having previously been a helper. The festival has gone from strength to strength and is now recognised as one of Londons leading independent festivals. I am proud of this achievement and hope that the people of Mill Hill appreciate these efforts. The festival is run on a not for profit basis and the organisers are not paid.

6. I run a successful business. Mill Hill is now recognised as a centre of musical excellence. Musicians travel from around the world to use the facilities at Mill Hill Music Complex. I have built the business from scratch, without grants or assistance from anyone apart from my staff and business partners. I am proud of this achievement. I think it demonstrates that I can get stuff done.

7. I run a successful campaign to protect Londons music venues. In 2015, I started the Save London Music Campaign. Our incessant lobbying has persuaded the Government to enact Agent of Change legislation, to protect venues. Last year was the first year in a decade that the number of live venues in London did not decline. I have been supported by Robert Elms at BBC Radio London in this work. If I am elected, I will be the (presumably) unofficial minister for music in Barnet. I will work tirelessly to improve the cultural offering of the Borough of Barnet.

8. I will fight passionately for the rights of homeless and disabled people in Barnet. I volunteer for several charities working with homeless and disabled people. I will put their rights at the heart of every decision I can influence. I will work to get Barnet Council to commit to end homelessness in the Borough. I will also work to ensure that disabled people are treated with dignity and respect. As  a person with learning difficulties (I'm dyslexic) I know all too well what it is like to be discriminated against and bullied. I don't believe that anyone should have to put up with this.

9. I will fight to defend the local NHS services. As a cancer sufferer, I know all too well the value of the NHS. I have received first class treatment, which would have cost me over £40,000 so far. As far as I am concerned, there really is no alternative which is fair or equitable. The NHS deserves proper funding.

10 . I am part of an excellent team. If selected, I will be standing for the Liberal Democrats in Mill Hill along side Donna Pickup and Richard Logue. Both are probably far more competent in many areas than me. I believe that we are all very strong candidates, who together make up a very strong and complementary team.  I am aware that some people may have issues with the party, especially over issues around the coalition. I had some of my own, but I honestly believe that in Mill Hill we offer the best possible choice. No political party is perfect and all have made horrendous mistakes over the years. I believe that The Liberal Democrats have learned from these mistakes. I believe that the post coalition period has shown just how much damage the party prevented the Conservatives from making and how much better the decisions were when the cabinet was not simply a rubber stamping exercise. Whether the next government is a Tory one under Theresa or Boris or a Labour one under Jeremy, I believe that a coalition will mean better decisions and a stronger Britain. But this election is not for the leadership of the country. It is to decide who best represents Mill Hill residents in the council chamber. I suggest that when candidates come knocking you ask them three questions.

1) What achievements they have on their CV for making Mill Hill a better place?
2) What proof they can offer that they will put the interests of Mill Hill first?
3) What their top priority will be when elected to improve the locality?

If you think I'm not the best person to choose, that is fine. I respect democracy. If  however you like what I've said, please join us and help us win in Mill Hill. Get in tcuch and help us make a difference.

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