Saturday 13 October 2018

#SaveTheMidland - Join us tonight for the Barnet Eye Tenth Birthday party at the Midland Hotel

The Barnet Eye is ten years old in October
The False Dots live at The Midland Hote;

On Thursday, the 11th October, The Barnet Eye blog was be ten years old! To celebrate, we are having a party at The Midland Hotel in Hendon. What better way to celebrate the birthday of a campaigning blog than at the site of a well loved landmark we are trying to save.

There will be live music and I am hoping for a few of our team of guest bloggers to say a few words about how the Barnet Eye has helped their campaigns. We will have the Barnet Capita wall on site for you to sign. I will also be distrubuting a special, limited edition Barnet Eye brochure, which I am sure will one day sell for millions on Ebay.

My band, the False Dots will be performing live. Also appearing is the amazing artist Kidwondr, one of the amazing new generation of talented performers from the London Borough of Barnet. We kick off at 8pm.

We specially selected this pub, because it is under threat of closure and demolition. It will be a great opportunity to sign the Save The Midland petition. 

If you're not familiar with the Barnet Eye or how we started, this is the story, I can't really believe I've been writing this for 10 years, or that we've had over 2.5 million hits. When I penned my first blog as The Barnet Eye, on blogger, I assumed that no one would even bother to read it. I had previously written a blog for four months for the Barnet Times. To my amazement, the blog became the most read feature on the Times website. Sadly, this upset the then Leader of Barnet Council (Now Finchley MP), Mike Freer, the then Barnet and Camden GLA Rep (now a convicted criminal) Brian Coleman and Coleman's press secretary and Former Brunswick Park Tory Councillor (most recently allegedely a curtain Salesman) Robert Rams. They launched a campaign to get me sacked from the Times. On Monday October 6th, they succeeded. The then Editor of the Barnet Times bowed to the pressure. The blog which caused the incident was entitled "Barnet Councils incompetence puts Nazi propoganda on Youtube". As this was taken down followin my sacking, I reprinted it as the second blog on this site here (with a brief commentary).

You may wonder how on earth a local paper could bow to pressure from the council to pull a story about how their incompetence put a BNP supporter spouting anti semitic propoganda on the Councils own Youtube channel? I certainly did. Once the Jewish Chronicle got on the case, the Council backed down, but to my amazement, despite this vindication, I stayed sacked. I find it hilarious that the local Tories just won a huge local election victory on the back of fear of anti semitism, when they got me sacked for supporting the local Jewish community.

I was told that Coleman, Freer and Rams had a celebratory drink to celebrate the end of my blogging career. Sadly for them, it had the opposite effect. At the Times I had been given guidelines. No criticim of Mike Freer (as he was also a Times blogger, not that anyone read his blogs). Only criticism of Brian Coleman if it was a current news story. Once I set up the Barnet Eye, I could write what I liked. In hindsight, I regret that one of my initial main aims was to settle the score with Brian Coleman. I don't think anything I wrote was unjustifiable, but I am sure that I could have put some of the time to better use in hindsight. Coleman became rather paranoid about the whole thing. A couple of weeks ago, I had dinner with ex Childs Hill Lib Dem, Jack Cohen. Jack recounted how Coleman had become convinced that Jack was responsible for much of the internal information I was being fed. Coleman managed to get his lawyers to get Jack to hand over all of his email correspondence which mentioned Coleman. Amusingly this amounted to three emails. To Coleman and his teams surprised Jack wasn't interested in him. Two of the emails were general round robin type emails and the third was a reply to a constituent from Jack telling them that actually Coleman had been very helpful in regards to an issue in Childs Hill.

Oddly, all of the real bile and nasty info I got sent about Brian Coleman was from Barnet Tories. This has been a recurring pattern. There is an interesting blog from November 2008, which I recount one bit of advice that I got from a senior Tory. We had had a discussion about One Barnet (then called Future Shape. Following our conversation I wrote
"I'm rather hoping that pressure will be brought to bear in other quarters. I'm not a fool and I realise that a Tory Council will try and implement Tory policies. What both I and (it seems) some rather senior Tories agree about, is that the "Future Shape" discussions should be carried out in a more open and honest fashion. Oh and by the way, what did he tell me off about? Well he said that he thought the future shape blogs were very interesting and informative. He said that I really should lay off the gratuitous Brian Coleman bashing if I wanted the blogs to be taken as seriously as they should be. I think "Future shape" is important enough to listen to this advice for the time being."
In hindsight he had a point. The only small issue was that I thought Coleman embodied everything that was wrong with the Tories at the time. I really didn't think the council could do the right thing for ordinary people whilst he was a senior cabinet member.

Over the course of the blog, I found that people were actually far less interested in Coleman and his cronies than the wider issues affecting our community. The Top Ten most read blogs on the site show this





Aug 12, 2010, 1 comment

May 30, 2009, 17 comments



The pubs of Mill Hill and why the pub scene is goi...                                                                3975
Jan 2, 2018, 3 comments

 Interestingly, the one Coleman related blog in this list got there by accident. Most direct hits were via a picture search, which featured Star Wars villain "Jabba The  Hut". I suspect that those clicking through are disappointed. What is also good to see is that this year has seen three of the top ten most read (The entry at three was updated this month, so it is originally from April 2012).

Of course the vast majority of hits are not on individual blogs but on the man page. My stats show that some people check the blog every single day. Here is one of my favourite regular customers (sadly they don't work weekends). Hopefully my blog helps them with their job.

Finchley, Barnet, United Kingdom, Capita Business Services Ltd    
(2 returning visits)
Win10, Chrome 69.0, 1920x1080
28 Sep12:32:06
28 Sep12:32:58
28 Sep12:33:21
28 Sep14:58:13
28 Sep15:13:42
29 Sep13:19:32
(No referring link)
1 Oct13:08:17
1 Oct13:22:09
1 Oct13:27:11
1 Oct13:28:41
2 Oct09:26:25
2 Oct10:33:10
3 Oct10:12:42
(No referring link)
3 Oct11:29:25
(No referring link)
3 Oct11:50:40
3 Oct11:53:58
(No referring link)
3 Oct11:55:22
3 Oct14:13:09
I am pleased that the blog is still capable of providing a valuable service to the people of Barnet (and those Capita employees running our council for us). I'm proud to have helped people dealing with bereavement, suffering from Cancer (the Cancer blog series are also well read), dealing with dyslexia and trying to save our local heritage. I am also pleased that the blog has brought some fun into peoples lives on occasion. Please join us on the 13th. It should be a fun night.

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