Thursday 30 September 2021

Sarah Everard and what we can all learn and what we should tell our daughters

 As the father of two adult girls, I have to admit that I am horrified by what we learned about the Sarah Everard murder. A serving police officer, who had the nickname of 'Rapist' amongst his colleagues, showed Sarah his warrant card, 'arrested' her, handcuffed her, raped her then murdered her. As a father, I cannot think of a more perverted and sickening misuse of power. What on earth should I advise my daughters to do if a Policeman shows them their warrant card and tries to arrest them? What does this do for trust in the police?

However, the problem is wider. About fifteen years ago, I had to sack a member of staff for gross misconduct. It was nothing to do with issues sexual. I have to admit that I didn't really like the chap, but as an employer, you have to put such feelings to one side and behave in a professional manner. After he left, the two female staff that I was employing at the time told me that they were extremely releived he'd gone. Both said he made them feel extremely uncomfortable. I asked why and both told me that he repeatedly made offensive remarks of a sexual nature. I was horrified. I asked why this had not been raised previously. Both said that they didn't want to 'cause trouble'. Both said that he hadn't actually done anything of a physical nature or anything that they could have pinned down as gross misconduct. As the owner of a small business, it caused me a lot of soul searching. I issued staff with a 'code of conduct' and asked them to sign this. It stated that any breaches would be considered an act of gross misconduct. Amongst other things, this stated that all customers and other staff members should be treated with respect at all times. No comments of a racial or sexual nature would be tolerated. Several members of staff asked if this meant 'Banter was banned'. In each case, I sat down with  them and explained that our two members of staff had told me that they'd been made to feel uncomfortable, to the point both had considered leaving the company. As they were huge assets, I made it clear that people's right to feel happy at work was more important than the right to make silly jokes at other people's expense. 

The Metropolitan Police is a huge organisation. I have several friends who are serving and recently retired. I know all about 'police banter'. I know many officers are highly resistant to the 'woke agenda' and 'Political correctness'. These same officers are horrified by what Wayne Cousins did. I asked one about the nickname of 'Rapist'. He said that this was coined, not because anyone thought Wayne Cousins was a rapist, but because they thought he could be a bit inappropriate at times. They also told me that some officers (not all) were less than keen to work with him. I suspect that, like the individual who worked for us, much of this came out after the event.

What can we learn? Should Wayne Couzens have been kicked out of the Met just because a few officers were reticent to work with him? Of course there is far more evidence that he's a wrong un, but for me that is the difficult part of the equation. Where do we draw the line on what is acceptable and what gets you the sack? And if you complain and the complaint is dismissed, then how does that affect your career. You may be 100% right and vindicated years or decades later, but that is too late for you and your career. 

In answer to the question, I'm not qualified to draw up HR processes etc for the Met Police. It is a totally different beast to a music studio that employs 11 people. What I do know is that they have to address this and demonstrate to the public that they have learned. Many of us are asking 'what should I tell my daughter to do if she is approached by a lone police officer. I will be advising my daughter to call 999 and get them to verify that the officer is a real officer and that there is a proper audit trail. If the officer is genuine, they should have no objection. The Met should put this in the process, it aint rocket science. 

Wednesday 29 September 2021

I've never felt so terrified for the future in my whole life

Am I alone? I am feeling absolutely terrified for the future.  Maybe I'll feel different tomorrow, or next week. I certainly hope so.  I'm a natural optimist. Life has worked out pretty well for me thus far, but I have three children in the twenties and when I think about what the future holds for them, it fills me with dread. Not only that, but we are going into the Winter with fuel shortages at the pumps, the energy industry in crisis and massive gaps on shelves. My own business, which last week had recovered to normal levels, after 18 months of pandemic restrictions, has been plunged back into loss, as musicians cancel sessions, unable to get fuel to get their gear over. We've only just brought our staff back from furlough.

It becomes clearer every day that the whole fiasco that is #Brexit is ripping the economy apart. Those who foolishly claim that Brexit has nothing to do with the fuel crisis, they have had the rug pulled away as the govt has eased Brexit induced work restrictions on foreign HGV drivers. It is clear that there is an empty vessel in government when it comes to managing the logistics of running a major economy. No one has any idea whether Xmas will be a time of plenty or a mad scramble to find a few stocked shelves. Will those presents we've ordered arrive? If there is a cold winter, will there be enough energy to stay warm? We have no energy security and our supplies are controlled at the whim of Paris and Moscow. It might all work out fine, but no one should be surprised if Crimbo dinner is spaghetti and spam by candle light.

As to the longer term prospects. The free world is lead by Joe Biden. His only redeeming characteristic is that he's not Donald Trump. Trump is waiting in the wings for his next shot at the Presidency in three years time. He has stated that only a difficult call from his Doctor will stop him. There is a report about the dying days of his presidency in todays Daily Express. It is terrifying. If it is to be believed,  his top general had to phone the Chinese to reassure them that the US wouldn't launch a pre-emptive strike. The implication was that the US military would prevent Trump launching an attack if he ordered one, technically an act of treason (albiet a very sensible one). 

In Russia, we have a government that is happy to use nerve gas against opponents in the UK and we can do nothing about it. If that wasn't bad enough, they control our energy supplies. Afghanistan now has a regime that is in league with Al Qaida, an organisation that perpetrated the worst attack on the West in peacetime. It is surely only a matter of time before the terror camps open again. 

Then there is our relationship with Europe. It is 100% clear that this has gone wrong. I am off to Portugal soon. Although I am double vaccinated, the Portuguese don't recognise the UK NHS certificate as proof, so I have to get a covid test. This will cost a minimum of £50. Just one little bit of the expense of 'taking back control'. My eldest daughter was lucky enough to study in Italy under the Erasmus scheme. Boris promised that this would be retained, but renaged on his word. If my daughter has a daughter, she will grow up in a very different world. She won't have Erasmus. She won't be able to work in Europe without jumping through huge hoops. Many of my studio customers are bands that used to survive by touring in Europe. I am not aware of any going any time soon. Of course some of this is down to covid, but they say there it is no longer economical. 

Covid has cost the country trillions. Sooner or later, these bills will have to be paid. It is clear that the govt has no interest in getting the winners from covid (Amazon, Paypal, etc) to pay, so it will fall on the poorest (those getting a £20 cut in their benefits). 

Try as I might, I can see little to be optimistic about. We have a government that has shown it couldn't run a whelk stall. The opposition is no better. Watching the Labour conference, with the opposition arguing about how to stack the deckchairs on the sinking dredger, rather than holding Boris Johnson to account for the mess he is making, it is clear they do not provide a credible alternative. What does Keir Starmer stand for, a free pot noodle for anyone who can tell me.

My Dad used to always say "Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die". I'm finding it pretty hard to be merry at the moment. 

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Urgent - Please beware of this Internet/Instagram/Facebook/Paypal/Twitter Scam

One of the things we do is try and keep the readers of the Barnet Eye safe. When we learn of Internet Scammers, we tell you how to stop yourself getting scammed. Yesterday, one of my engineers at the Studios, who makes a living selling beats he has created, was contacted via Instagram by a supposed potential customer. The customer claimed to want to buy a track which was being sold for £249. The buyer asked for my engineer to send him a Paypal Invoice, a perfectly normal way of paying. Once the invoice was sent, he recieved a message saying that my engineer would have received a confirmation code from Paypal and this was required to complete payment. My engineer checked his phone and sure enough there was a confirmation code. As he is a savvy guy, he also noted that the confirmation said "Do not share this code". It became apparent that the supposed buyer had tried to access my engineers account, presumably to do a password reset. 

The only time you will ever receive a paypal confirmation code, is when you have tried to access Paypal. If you have not and you receive a code, someone else is trying to hack you. Never reveal a confirmation code to anyone. It is for you and only you. My engineer did some research and found articles on Reditt that this particular scammer has been active for a year, several people have been scammed and both Instagram and Paypal have done nothing. I found another example of this scam documented on the site

Thus far, my engineer has had no response from Instagram or Paypal about this fraud. When will these social media platforms start taking these issues seriously. Users who commit fraud are clearly no asset to the brand. So finally, a reminder. Do not share confirmation codes. 

Monday 27 September 2021

Environment Monday - How to recycle/freecycle in Barnet

 Reuse and recycle electrical items

You can recycle anything with a plug, battery, or cable, including:

  • smartphones
  • charging cables 
  • broken kitchen appliances such as toasters or blenders
  • electric shavers
  • electric toothbrushes
  • hair dryers 
  • computers
  • laptops
  • tablets
  • games consoles 
  • televisions
  • speakers
  • remote controls

Use the electricals recycling locatorExternal link to find shops or electrical recycling points near you.

If you’re getting rid of an old phone, laptop or another device that holds personal information, make sure you delete your dataExternal link first.

Large electrical items

Barnet is in the North London Waste Authority Area, which means residents can book a free home collection of large electrical items from ClearabeeExternal link

You can book a free collection service onlineExternal link or telephone 0330 088 1085

The Clearabee telephone lines are open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

To cancel a booking, you can either reply to the booking email or email Clearabee on link with your booking reference number.

Small electrical items

Small electrical items can also be taken to the Summers Lane Reuse and Recycling Centre or one of the other North London Reuse and Recycling CentresExternal link.

Give away items

There are many websites where you can give away electrical items you no longer need if they are in good working order:

The person receiving the item may be required to collect the item from the person giving the item away.

Check your waste carrier is licensed

You can check whether a company is registered as a 'carrier of waste' by visiting the Environment Agency online register

This information is reposted from the Barnet Council Website

The Barnet Eye is committed to supporting sustainability, recycling and environmental awareness.

Sunday 26 September 2021

The Tweets of the week in the London Borough of Barnet - 26 September 2021

 It's that time of the week again where we look at the best of the local tweets this week. Some good ones for your delectation. 

1. We start at Mill Hill Rugby club. Great friends of ours and we are delighted to see it's just got even better

2. And while we are looking at local sports teams, Hadley FC are the Spartan League team of the month

3. Nice shot of the old De Havilland factory in Stagg Lane. I used to work there back in the early 1990's when it was BACS Lts

4. This looks fun!

5. As does this

6. As long as Mark Amies keeps highlighting the plight of the Railway Hotel in Edgware, we will support him.

7. A little bit of local music history

8. One to check out

9. Does anyone know what these are?

10. Some impressive wildlife in Mill Hill earlier in the week

That's all folks

Saturday 25 September 2021

The Saturday List #323 - Ten simple ways to save money on your household bills

Over the coming year, we are looking at huge hikes in our household costs. The price of electricity, gas, petrol, food and drinks. As inflation ramps up, we are also likely to see our mortgages starting to increase in price. As we start to think about Christmas, we may find that this Christmas we have a lot less money in our wallets than for many a year. As we find our bills starting to bite, we start to look for savings. We are not financial advisors, but we like to watch the pennies and there are many things we can do to claw back a few savings. I thought I'd make a list of a few things, all of which can be done quite easily and will save you a fair few pennies. You can check the average cost of running your household appliances here.

1. Fridges. Fill up your fridge and freezer. Fridges and Freezers use a fair amount of electricty just keeping the air in the fridge cold. The less air, the more efficient they are. If your fridge is full, it can use up to 30% less energy. If you put a few woolly jumpers in the freezer (in bags)  when it is not full, this will make the fridge far more efficient. The average fridge freezer costs about £75 a year to run, so this will save you £25. 

2. Kettles. Only boil the water you need in a kettle. When we make a tea or coffee, we generally boil at least 25% more water than we need. If you are making two cups of coffee, fill the kettle by filling 2 cups of water from the tap and tipping them into the kettle. Your kettle uses around £50 worth of electricty a year, so that will save you £12.50

3. Credit Cards. Are you paying interest on your credit card balance? You don't need to. There are always great 0% credit card deals. If you have a balance of £1,000 and you pay 10% that's £100 a year you could save. We are big fans of Martins Moneysaving Tips. Here are his pick of the best credit card deals. We would recommend that if you need to pay something, buying on a zero percent card deal is far better than taking out a bank loan or having an overdraft. 

4. Insurance. It is a very unfortunate but true fact that insurance companies reward customer loyalty by ripping you off. Whenever our car or household insurance ends, we shop around. Invariably, we find that we can save up to a couple of hundred pounds a year by simply shopping around. 

5. Vegetables. So how can you cut your food bills? We pay a huge premium in supermarkets for the privelige of having the supermarkets chop our mushrooms and other veg up. Next time you are in a supermarket and you are tempted to buy the pre chopped ones, check the price per kilo compared to the unchopped ones. You will also find that the unchopped ones last longer, as they do not dry out so quickly and are rot less quickly. Virtually all food loses flavour as it dries out, so you'll find the food tastes better. I estimate that you will save at least £100 a year if you buy the unchopped veg. 

6.  Satellite TV. If like me you love football and subscribe to satellite packages to watch it, and you've not had your tariff changed recently, ring up, say you want to cancel your subscription and they will invariably cut your costs and offer you a better deal. I reckon this saves me around £300 a year. 

7. Shop locally. I was speaking to a friend who had nipped down to TESCO's in Mill Hill to buy a pint of milk and a loaf. He'd driven down from his house near Apex corner. Apparently TESCO's is cheaper than the garage. I did wonder if he'd factored in the cost of petrol to his equation. Short journeys, with constant stop starts are hugely inefficient for cars. His car does around 20 miles to the gallon and a gallon of petrol costs around £5.50. His journey is a two mile round trip, so the petrol cost 55p. I check the prices and the net costs (without wear and tear and servicing etc) and I estimate that he actually paid 10p more, taking this into account. It would have also been good for him to walk five minutes to the garage and back! If he does this five times a week, that's £25 a year he's spent. 

8. Food. Just buy the food you need. It is estimated that people in the UK throw away approximately 30% of the food they buy. How can you stop wasting food? It is quite easy, just plan what you are going to eat. If your household food bill is £100 a week, then you could save £1,500 a year if you cut out the waste. Aonther hint is that I always buy loose items, as I plan my weekly cooking. If I go to Boucherie Gerard, he sells me four slices of bacon and four sausages, which does me for my Sunday fry up with my son. If I bought pre packed meat from Tesco I wouldn't eat half of it. It would also be nowhere near as tasty. 

9. Eating out. If you are planning to eat out and you are looking to try somewhere new, check to see if they are doing any deals. Often you find they do 2 for 1 deals and the like. When I used to work in the City, I had a friend and every Thursday, we'd meet for lunch. The rule was one of us would pay one week and the next week, the other would pay. We'd see which restaurants were doing the best deals that week. As a result in two years, we visited just about every decent restuarant in the City and paid well under the going rate and had a damn good time to boot. 

10. Hotels. I think we have all reached the point where we need a break! Many of us are planning 'staycations'. This minds finding hotels etc.  I much prefer staying in hotels that are not part of large chains. I find that the food is better and the service more friendly. If I am going away, I will try and find an independent. I always check the reviews. I don't mind the odd bad review, so long as the majority are positive. I find that if I ring up and say a friend stayed recently and recommended it and said if I rang them directly, they'd give me a discount, they usually do. Try it

Have a great weekend. 

Friday 24 September 2021

Barnet Council - failing and unable to do even the basics

Barnet Council have been committed to the concept of outsourcing since 2006. Back then, Barnet were well run and one of the best councils in the country. They were highly rated by the audit commission, etc. They boasted of how good they were in 2009, even giving staff an extra day off to celebrate being a four star council. Barnet was judged the best council for education by OFSTED. 

Fast forward 15 years where are we? In 2018 a government inspectors report from OFSTED resulted in Barnet having to get another council in to run childrens services for them.

Today I had to look up something on the Barnet Council website, there were not one but two apologies today from the Council for being useless.

We have a council that can't answer it's phones and can't fix the roads. Luckily for Barnet, the Govt abolished the Audit commission, so there is no body to keep an eye on them.  Strangely enough, these apolgies are not on their twitter feed. 

The phone system is now run by Capita and the roads were being fixed by Kier (the construction company not the Labour Leader). I hate to say "I told you so" but this blog warned of the dangers of mass outsourcing from day one. The Council has got rid of so many staff that it simply cannot effectively manage its contractors. A senior Tory member of the adminstration told me this, he asked that I didn't name him. I'd strongly suggest that if he wants to still be running the council this time next year, he pulls his finger out big time and sorts this mess out. He also confided that he thought it was highly unfair when Barnet Labour claimed that the Barnet Tories don't care about the Borough. I'd suggest that if he wants to show that he does care, he gets to work and fixes the structural problems that have allowed this crazy neglect to get to this state. Over the next six months we will see a lot of councillors campaigning. I suggest that you ask them what they are going to do to get Barnet Council to be able to effectively manage its contractors. Next time you are stuck in a traffic jam in Barnet beacuase of badly managed road worksor need to phone up to sort out a problem with your council tax and can't get through, just remember that this situation has come about because Barnet is not managing their contractors properly. 

Thursday 23 September 2021

Why Brexit will benefit the hard left, not the hard right

 I regularly talk to people from all across the political spectrum. People often say that those on the ultra hard left are much the same as those on the ultra hard right. Both definately share one thing in common, the inability to see any of the shades between black and white and the belief that just about everything is a binary choice. Both saw #Brexit as a huge opportunity to advance their particular viewpoint. The question that has been interesting me is whether it is the hard left or the hard right that will reap the benefits of Brexit.

For those on the right, they saw Brexit as an opportunity to roll back regulations, to shake off the restrictions on trade placed by the EU, allowing us to move to a free trade nirvana. They also loved the idea of the UK taking control of its borders and restricting those who could live and work in the UK. Those on the left took the view that restrictions on cheap migrant labour would strengthen the position of workers, promote organised labour unions and ultimately see more state control of industry as the UK economy struggles to adapt to the shock of Brexit. 

So where are we right now? Well it seems that if we want to sell to the EU, our largest market, we need to follow their rules anyway. We just don't have any say when they are drawn up. As to the free trade nirvana, this pipe dream is slowly fading, when the reality of having to actually negotatiate dozens of highly complex trade deals with nations we have trading links with. For big trading partners such as the USA, it has become clear that they do not share the view of Boris. The USA has no interest at all in entertaining a mega trade deal. 

From todays Daily Express

This position will not change whilst Joe Biden or anyone of his viewpoint is president, which effectively means for the next three and a half years. Whilst we are likely to see small deals, the dreams of a new free trading Great Britain has all but gone up in smoke. As to taking control of the borders and stopping free movement of people. This has not exactly been a stunning success. About a million people have gone back to EU countries by some estimates. Most of them were hard working and we now have a labour shortage. We are starting to see empty shelves as a result. Supply chains developed over decades with the EU are no longer functioning properly. The right wing press are still going bonkers about refugees entering. As Boris Johnson has developed a penchant for antagonising the French, they are doing nothing to assist the UK in stemming the flow. From a hard right perspective, there is little to crow about on the Brexit front and it is likely to get worse. Of course many of them blame the pandemic, but in many ways this has softened the blow of Brexit as the economy was semi shut down when we left. It is only as we recover the real damage becomes clear. Even Nigel Farage is now admitting that the trade deal with the USA isn't happening. Farage knows damn well that any chance of this disappeared when Trump left the White House.

From the hard left perspective, the picture is altogether different. The Labour market has tightened, giving workers the whip hand. Whereas previously, wages were suppressed by cheap labour, now firms are having to pay decent wages and offer good conditions if they want to retain staff. Trades Unions are starting to organise in a way we've not seen since Margaret Thatcher came to power. It is in the interests of employers to work with Unions, as if staff become disenchanted, then they can easily find other jobs. The government is also having to take urgent action to prop up key sectors of the economy. No one seems to have noticed, but railways have by and large been renationalised, energy companies are seeking bale outs and we are having to face up to a national plan to resecure energy supplies. With each crisis, the hard left can add more fuel to the argument that the liberal capitalist economy is failing. None of us know whether we will see power cuts and food shortages this Xmas, but if we do, it will be very difficult for Boris Johnson to maintain his Teflon coating. The one thing Boris has in his favour is that the Labour Party, under Sir Keir Starmer are not really looking to push a hard left agenda. From my perspective, they look like Conservatives who've had a makeover to make them more palitable. 

As we see empty shelves, power supplies in chaos, we don't see Sir Keir on TV laying out why it's happening and what and who is to blame. Sir Keir has the rather quaint view that people in the North of England don't want to be told that the empty shelves are a very real sign that #Brexit isn't working. When Sir Keir Starmer became Labour leader, I expected his forensic debating skills as a top Barrister to soon expose Boris Johnson and his inept government for what it really is. Instead what has happened is that Boris has realised that Sir Keir never proposes a solution for anything and never takes a stand on anything. Sir Keir has been leader for a while now and no one knows what he stands for, what his solutions for the problems facing the UK are and why we should vote Labour. It is the perceived wisdom that Labour are simply standing back and hoping the Tories make such a hash of it that they can simply walk in at the next election. One thing we should all realise is that if the Tories believe Boris starts to look like he'll lose the Tories seats, they will dump him as quickly as possible. 

In many ways, it seems to me that we are lumbered with a government that is incapable of doing the job and an opposition that is incapable of holding them account for landing us in this mess. The hard left must be absolutely gutted that it got it's timing so wrong. If they can ever move away from the public perception of being a cabal of anti semites, which seems highly unlikely in the short term, they might get some traction as they would have strong Union backing and organisational support. 

The UK really has two options. One is to somehow make Brexit work. How this can be done with labour shortages, energy shortages and empty supermarket shelves is difficult for me to envisage. The other option is for is to figure out a way to rejoin the EU club without the country falling apart. I can only really see this happening when there are real life day to day impacts on ordinary voters everyday lives. It seems to me that Boris has taken a punt on President Macron losing the French election and a new incumbent being more amenable to him. This seems unlikely. 

Finally I can't finish off a bnlog about the EU without mentioning Ireland. President Biden is very keen to push his Irish connections and this means that we not only have to deal with the EU, we have to try and keep Biden onside.  Back in January, I predicted, semi jokingly,  that in October the following would happen

Elisabeth Truss flies to the USA to try and negotiate a trade deal. Joe Biden tells her that this can only be completed if the UK cedes Northern Ireland to the Republic. Truss agrees and Irish Nationalists everywhere celebrate. Truss claims that her action is only a practical recognition of what Boris had put into effect with the Brexit treaty.

To me this doesn't seem as far fetched as it did in January. In short, we are in a mess and I don't trust either the Conservatives or Labour to get us out of it, with their current crop of incompetents. I can't see the EU wanting us back in the short to medium term and I can't see us ever getting the trade deals we were promised by vote leave, the billions for the NHS or any of the other benefits that swung the country behind the pipedream. Of course Farage and his crew will blame the EU (for defending their key interests), Biden (becauase he isn't Trump), and everyone else, when it is clear where the problem lies.

Ultimately, it seems to me that the only people who really will benefit from Brexit will be the hard left, who will gain many of their objectives without coming anywhere near power. The world is a funny old place.

Tuesday 21 September 2021

What Boris Johnson should be saying about Covid 19

I've not posted a blog on the subject of the pandemic for a little while now, but as I've been talking to someone who knows what they are talking about recently, I thought I'd just summarise what their opinion is on the way the government is currently handling the pandemic. I always find it fascinating talking to people who have a deeper understanding of such subjects.

So when and where might you want to consider wearing a mask.  There is an infectious virus circulating in our society. Lets consider what this means. Firstly lets consider what the term infectious means. It means that the disease is spread by being passed on from one person to another. Unlike cancer or lumbago, one person can infect a lot of other people in a short period of time. It is largely spread through airborne contact. The virus is usually dispersed in droplets when a host (infected person) coughs or sneezes. This is propelled through the air and if it is breathed in, it can cause an infection. When you see claims about the size of a virus, bear in mind these travel far further when propelled in droplets of flem from your nose and throat in the action of coughing. In open spaces, the virus is fairly well dispersed, in badly ventilated, confined spaces this is less true. So what should Boris Johnson be telling us to do if we don't want to get infected? Well the first thing is meet people from outside our household outside where possible. As to masks, if you are in a badly ventilated, confined space with lots of people, it would be wise to wear a mask. It would be wise to sanitise your hands when taking it off. It would be wise to disinfect it when it has been used or dispose of it. If you are outside and no one is coming within 2 meters of you, it will have no effect and is in effect a fashion statement.  Bear in mind, the main reason for wearing a mask is to stop your own coughs and sneezes spreading the virus to other people. We should consider it an act of good manners to wear one in confined, busy spaces. It is not a macho thing to wear or not wear one. It is just good manners and considerate. It may stop you causing harm to others.

Vaccination. There are many myths about vaccination. Some people talk about 'trusting their own immune system, rather than a vaccine'. This is a complete misunderstanding of science. A vaccine simply trains your immune system to recognise a vaccine. This means that when you come into contact with a virus, the immune system has a head start and knows to attack it. Vaccines do not make you immune to anything, they mean that your body deals with the infection more quickly. If you have a robust immune system, your body will deal with it very quickly, you will most likely have no symptoms and the infection will not develop to a level where you can pass it on. If your immune system is less robust, you may have mild symptoms and might pass it on before your body gets to grip with it. If your immune system is compromised, you may still get serious illness or die. You may also simply be unlucky and be more susceptible to the virus than other people. Whatever the situation, a vaccination will make you more, not less able to deal with an infection.

Why are people still getting infected when 80% of the adult population has been vaccinated? One in five adults haven't. We tend to associate with like minded people, so if you are vaccinated, it is likely most of your friends will be. If you have decided not to vaccinate, more of your friends are statistically less likely to be vaccinated. If you are not vaccinated, if your friends are not vaccinated, you are more likely to pass it on and suffer ill effects than a social circle that are vaccinated. In the UK there are nearly 60 million people, so millions are not vaccinated and many hang out together. That does not mean they will all infect each other, but there is a well of potential spread.

Why should fit, healthy people under 60 bother with vaccination as they are unlikely to die? There are three main reasons. The first is that it is possible that a mutation will emerge that will have more serious effects on that group. Vaccination reduced the prevalence, so mutations become less likely The second is that people under 60 can still become seriously ill and die. The third is because we really shouldn't want to risk passing it on to vulnerable people. We shouldn't push the vulnerable to the margins of society. In short it is the community minded thing to do.

Is there anyone who should not get vaccinated? I would recommend that everyone ha a doctor they trust. I trust mine. He stopped me from dying of cancer. If he says don't get vaccinated I wont. I don't know anyone who has been told by a GP not to get vaccinated, except one person who was pregnant during the early stages of the vaccination program. Ask your doctor if there is a genuine medical reason to be vaccinated. If you don't trust your doctor on the subject of vaccination, then you need a new doctor who you can trust.

Why are there so many anti vaxxers if the vaccine is safe? The internet is full of very loud anti vaccine campaigners. In the west, we live ina  free society and people have the right to be sceptical about anything. Many do not trust governments and 'big pharma'. Given the behaviour of some of our leaders, who can blame them. However, vaccines are not developed by Dodgy Prime Ministers. They are developed by large teams of people, many of whom have spent decades working for the benefit of humanity. I know a few people involved in medical research and they are sane, sensible people. They produce peer reviewed research and they place their professional credibility on the line when they do so. Sadly, the sceptics do not work under the same constraints.

Given the short development time, how can we be sure that vaccines are safe? Nothing is ever 100% safe.  Of course some people will get an adverse reaction to the vaccine, but statistically, this is far less likely to happen than a bad reaction to the virus. Given that over a billin people have been vaccinated, if it wasn't safe, we would start seeing hospitals filling up with people suffering side effects. We are not.

What are the chances of another lockdown? Boris Johnson does not want another lockdown. We are having what appears to be a rather strong economic bounce back, and the last thing he wants is that to grind to a halt. From what I can ascertain, the only reason Boris would want another Lockdown is if the NHS became overhwhelmed. It seems that the UK's high vaccine take up may spare us this.

So what should Boris be saying? I think his position on masks is absurd. We should be wearing them on crowded public transport services and other places where people are in close proximity in badly ventilated spaces. We should be sanitising our hands still. Vaccination is our way out of this mess and if we want to fully get back to a normal life, the more who are vaccinated the better. We need to take the heat out of the debate. When Aunty Peggy sends you an alarming Youtube video, respect the fact that she has a different view and don't get cross if she won't 'listen to reason'. Personally I'd give friends who have no vaccinated a bit of a wide berth at the moment, but that doesn't have to be done in an obvious way. Boris should set up a task force to counter vaccine scepticism with proper information produced by mainstream scientists. Personally I would like to see medical professionals called to account if they make claims that cannot be verified. It is the Prime Ministers job to show leadership. 

Monday 20 September 2021

The £5 billion UK industry that doesn't exist

London has a huge publishing industry, many important labels, a superb technical base and some of the worlds finest musicians. Our venues are iconic and artists such as Bob Marley, The Ramones and even Tom Petty have chosen London venues for live recordings. In other countries in the EU such as Germany, hey have introduced all manner of measures to help local musicians to survive. The Germans famously put a levy on blank tapes, that was paid to local artists to help support them. UK musicians have had zero help.

As our business fully reopens after lockdown, we are seeing a huge surge in bookings. For us, some of these are hugely exciting, but it will take us at least two years to get back to where we were in 2019. Last week Nadine Dorries replaced Oliver Dowden as culture. I've written to Mr Dowden (and his predecessors in the role) on numerous occasions. All I've ever managed to receive in reply are a few stock responses from junior officials. You may ask "Why should he expect a minister to bother with what he has to say, he's a busy man?" Well the answer is quite simple, our studio is the oldest independent rehearsal studio in London, we are one of the biggest and we have a track record of success. We have contributed to the DCMS enquiry on Live music, via the Save London Music Campaign, which we joined forces with other studios to set up, our contribution is recognised in the finakl report. I also contributed to a consultation on the Millenium Dome set up.  This was before it was built. You may be interested to note that my view was the govt should partner with a company with a track record of delivery of events, such as Tussauds group, as well as having spaces for small artists, regional and diverse art, etc. Small performance spaces for up and coming artists, to showcase them as vistors went to the main exhibits would have been wonderful. Instead, we got a hugely expensive space tha only started to work when a private operator came in to run it properly. It is now the most successful venue on the planet. So many years were wasted before this was achieved. 

Many readers will be surprised that as someone who has championed public services, I am a strong proponent of private enterprise in music and the arts. This is based on the fact that my music career was launched and has been supported ever since by small independent promoters, venues, labels and management companies. The Uk has a rich history of our independent sector. My band worked with amazing grass roots promoters all over the UK (and even in Scandinavia). London clubs such as The Roxy and the Vortex and the Blitz were not brought about by government bodies or councils. It was individuals who wanted to take risks and do what they loved. Independent record labels such as Factory and Peter Gabriels Real World records are just two iconic labels that have recorded at our studios. 

Some small scale promoters etc, such as Richard Branson ended up running global empires, but most get ground down and give up. Some do it for love of a genre such as local promoter Pete Feenstra, who cut his teeth at the Torrington is a good example. Some do it to make a quick buck and soon disappear, when they realise just how much hard work is involved. At present, we sponsor events such as The London International Ska Festival and the Mill Hill Music Festival. All such events have taken a massive hit because of Covid, being cancelled completely. The government set up the "Cultural Recovery Fund" but this is very much designed for more mainstream organisations. It seems to me that most MP's have no clue about the £5 billion music industry. 

Nadine Dorries is the 6th Culture secretary since 2017, that is a new one every 8 months on average. There is no continuity and the job is clearly seen as unimportant. It is clear that no one takes the job seriously. How can an industry build a rapport with a secretary if they are gone just as they get their feet under the table. 

I have no idea whether Nadine Dorries will be a good secretary of state. I've no idea if she'll take more interest in the sector than her predecessor. I have no idea if she'll last longer. For me it is the perfect job, what could be better than trying to keep the UK music and sport industry at the top of the Worlds Premier League? 

The Culture Secretary has a standing invitation to visit our studios, meet musicians and artists and get some sort of grassroots view of what it is like being involved in music in the year 2021 in London. We need a culture secretary who cares and who understands the issues. Does the Rt Hon Member of Mid Bedfordshire? I've no idea, but if she wants to find out, I am happy to host a meeting so she can learn about our industry. I'll even buy her a pot noodle if the rules allow it! But whatever she does, it is vital she takes the job seriously and champions UK music.

Sunday 19 September 2021

The Tweets of the week in the London Borough of Barnet 19th September 2021

 Lets start by casting our minds back five years to 2016.  What were the tweeters of Barnet getting concerned about? Have a look, it is quite interesting -

So enough of that fun. On to September 2021.

1. Five years later, and the Railway Hotel in Edgware is still in a terrible state of disrepair. Sadly five years of inaction from Barnet Council and a total lack of interest by the local Edgware Councillors has seen it in an even worse state.

2. On a more positive note, Boost Barnet are still around doing great work!

3. And the Golders Green Police are still fighting the good fight!

4. Mark Amies is still doing around, still fighting for the Railway Hotel and stillf inding time to take long walks around our locality

5. Funny to think that back in 2016, the National Instititue for Medical Research was still standing, a well known landmark with it's green roof. Now the area is better known for the lack of enforcement by Barnet Council on the local developers, leading to dangerous road conditions

6. 2016 was the year we voted for Brexit, this is Finchley now

7. A fine victory for our local rugby club this weekend. Well done boys!

8. It was great seeing this amazing machine over Hendon earlier this week

9. RIP Jimmy Greaves - A legend

10. Great to see live music back at one of our favourite local grassroots music venues. Even better to report a full house

Thats all folks!

Saturday 18 September 2021

The Saturday List #322 - Ten things to do on a Sunny autumn Saturday in the Borough of Barnet

 This morning was a truly beautiful morning. As I always do when I have the opportunity, I took our two trusted hounds for a long walk over the Totteridge Valley. The views are truly stunning and it is hard to believe that you are still within the boundaries that is the sprawling metropolis that is London. 

The Totteridge Valley

We may not get too many more days like this in 2021, so I thought I'd collate a list of some of the better things that can be done in our locality to enjoy the weather.

1. The Totteridge Valley and Darlands Nature reserve walk. There are many starting points, but perhaps the best is at The Orange tree pub. More or less next to the pub is a private road and you can gain foot access to the reserve through here. I'd recommend a walk down the hill and around the lake. The Orange Tree is not a bad place to rehydrate after the walk.

2. Arrendene Open space in Mill Hill is another great place to go for a walk. There are entrances on Wise Lane and Milespit Hill. When I was a child, we called them "The Donkey fields" as the Middlesex Regiment used to use the fields to graze Donkeys from the Inglis Barracks at Mill Hill. Sadly the donkeys were long gone by the time I appeared. 

3. Another walk that is highly enjoyable is a walk across Moat Mount Open Space to the Gate Pub. There are some wonderful views on this walk. Although not an option today, you can also walk from Mill Hill to the ground of Hadley FC and see the Borough's finest football team at their Brickfield Lane ground. 

4. Edgwarebury Park on Edgwarebury Lane is also well worth a walk around. It has a pleasant little cafe where you can get a coffee in the middle of the park. 

5. The Welsh Harp is the largest stretch of open water in the Borough. There are all manner of birds, etc that nest there. There are also some spectacular views of Wembley Stadium, which look rather incongruous from the waterside. You can also do aquatic sports at the site. 

6. Whalebones Park. This is a real jewel in the crown. The entrance is through the jawbones of Blue Whale, brought back by a seafaring Captain. It is worth seeing this while you still can, as the trust that own the site want to redevelop it, against the wishes of the kindly benefactor who set up the park in the 19th Century.

7. A question many people ask is where is the best place to eat Al Fresco in the Borough of Barnet? Street dining is all of the rage these days, however if you want a nice piece of cake and a coffee, it is hard to beat the little Cafe at Finchley Nurseries

8. As to the best pub garden? Well I've already mentioned the Orange Tree which is hard to beat, however I'd pick the Duke of York in Barnet

9. Of course, if you have your own garden, then there is always the option of a barbeque. The secret to a good barbeque is to get the best quality food. I would recommend the amazing selection of sausages, cuts of organic meat and marinaded chicken at Boucherie Gerard in Daws Lane Mill Hill. For Fish, Elias fish at Mill Hill East are excellent. Finchley Nurseries have a shop selling organic fruit and veg, which are also delicious on the barbie!

10. And Finally.....  If you  want to just chill out in the garden and have a nice glass of wine or a decent beer, checkout Mill Hill Wines.  They deliver to local areas and all of their wines and beers are top notch.

Friday 17 September 2021

A blog you should read about how much we are paying Capita for their services

If you are a citizen of Barnet and you've ever wondered whether Barnet Council are being efficiently run, I would strongly recommend that you read John Dix's Reasonable New Barnet Blog. Mr Dix has put together a very detailed blog detailing the difference between what we were told Barnet would be paying Capita and what we actually are paying. Mr Dix does a blinding job of exposing just how the taxpayers of Barnet are being taken to the cleaners and reminding us of how the Conservative administration of Barnet have done everything possible to hamper anyone from shining a light on what is going on. Please have a look.

Mr Reasonable: Just what we pay Capita - How they billed £555 million to one council 

Mr Dix sums up by saying

To all of this you may say "So What?" My concern is the lack of transparency about so much of the goings on in Barnet, something they have been making even more difficult as the years go by. We are gagged at meetings, and the amount of information they used to produce has been reduced. For example, Barnet used to produce a quarterly, one page summary of the benefits the Capita contract had generated (Benefits Realisation). When I started asking questions about the numbers, Barnet's response was to stop publishing it. I used to analyse the senior council staff salaries from data they published. One day they just stopped publishing it. I never published staff member names even though it was available only ever their title. Now we haven't a clue other than for the top handful of staff. Even worse they removed years of historical salary data that had already been published.  

I do this because someone has to try and hold the council to account!
Reading Mr Dix's blog and final comment, it is great to see ordinary citizens holding the council to account. Why didn't someone think of that sooner!

The Friday Joke - 24 hours to live

 Morris returns from the doctor and tells his wife that the doctor has told him that he has only 24 hours to live. 

Given the prognosis, Morris asks his wife for sex.

Naturally, she agrees, so they make love.
About 6 hours later, the husband goes to his wife and says,
'Honey, you know I now have only 18 hours to live.
Could we please do it one more time?'
Of course, the wife agrees, and they do it again.
Later, as the man gets into bed, he looks at his watch  and realizes that he now has only 8 hours left.
He touches his wife's shoulder and asks,
'Honey, please... just one more time before I die.'
She says, 'Of course, Dear,'
and they make love for the third time.

After this session, the wife rolls over and falls to sleep.
Morris, however, worried about his impending death,tosses and turns, until he's down to 4 more hours.
He taps his wife, who rouses.
'Honey, I have only 4 more hours.

Do you think we could...'

At this point the wife sits up and says, "Listen Morris, enough is enough.   I have to get up in the morning... you don't."

Have a great weekend!

Thursday 16 September 2021

Does anyone understand the rules for testing and travel to Portugal?

 We are planning a trip to Portugal in October. I am trying to make sense of the rules and what we have to do to travel. They seem to change every five minutes. I was under the impression that the UK and EU countries had a reciprocal agreement regarding vaccination status, but it appears we don't. Portugal is on the green list, but it seems you still need to follow all sorts of rules. It says you need an EU digital covid certificate. I've checked and it seems the UK NHS one won't do (although this is less than clear). It says that UK Citizens don't need to be vaccinated if we have this. It is yet another sign of the folly of Brexit that UK citizens have to jump through all manner of costly hoops to gain entry to Portugal that EU citizens don't. I can understand why the EU is cross with the UK, but surely this will be rather self defeating in the bigger picture as UK tourists decide it simply isn't worth the cost and bother of travelling. 

I fully accept and support the need to control Covid, but surely these should be based on a scientific necessity, not arbitrary rules made up with one eye on the political backdrop of relations between the two nations. 

Holding teachers to account for historic sexual abuse

This morning I was perusing my Facebook account and I came across the most disturbing post on an  alumni group for a local school I used to attend. 

I was quite devastated to read that, on what has been, up until now a pleasant chit/chat group exchanging memories. The poster has been incredibly courageous in posting this. There are over 230 replies on the post and it is pretty clear to me that the problem goes far deeper than I had realised. 

I was aware of some low level issues, but nothing like what is coming out now. I recall one girl, who was a good friend, asking if I could sit next to her on a coach trip, as the teacher leading the trip had 'wandering hands' and she'd feel uncomfortable sitting next to him. When the coach was about to leave, he came up and asked me to move. I replied that I wouldn't be moving as I was sitting next to my girlfriend, at which he shuffled off. She thanked me profusely for getting rid of him. I didn't really go into it with her, but it was clear that she was not at all comfortable around him. 

At recent reunions, other unpleasant incidents have been recalled. One of the teachers from my era went to prison for offences against young boys. It is now absolutely clear that there was a much bigger problem than I could have imagined and far more people were affected than I realised and the effects on them far worse.

The sad truth is that any cursory search of google in your locality will turn up all manner of offences where teachers have been convicted for involvement in such revolting behaviour. What is good is that people are realising that the stigma associated with this behaviour is not on the victim. They are blameless and deserve nothing but support. Those brave enough to go public are to be applauded and supported and I urge anyone who has information that could help any police investigation to get in touch with the Police or anyone posting such appeals. 

I think that the aim of holding the perpetrators to account is one that all decent people should support. No one who has sexually abused children should ever be able to get away with it. People in positions of power and responsibility need to know they will be held accountable. The only way to stop this is to speak up.

Wednesday 15 September 2021

Railway Edgware Hotel latest - Planning application to turn the pub into a restaurant

 The Barnet Eye has been made aware of a request for planning permission to convert the Railway Hotel into a restaurant. The details are here

This request was submitted at the same time as the pub had a fire. We couldn't possibly comment on whether this is an unfortunate coincidence. All we can say is that whatever the site will be, it looks unlikely to ever reopen as a pub.

Monday 13 September 2021

Why you should be concerned about the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021:

The above bill, currently going through Parliament will place some very unnecessary restrictions on public protest. I would urge everyone who cares about democracy to write to your MP to raise your concerns. I would recommend everyone read what these changes are. Here is a summary from a Government factsheet. My comments are in Red Italics.

  • Widen the range of conditions that the police can impose on static protests to match existing police powers to impose conditions on marches.

This measure will enable the police to impose conditions such as start and finish times and maximum noise levels on static protests. The police already have the power to impose such conditions on marches. Barneteye comment -  This is a totally unneccesary limit on freedom to protest and is likely to be abused by the authorities. Large demonstrations and protests often see people come from far and wide. Crowds build up over a period. The only time when the police should ever impose time restrictions is when there is a clear and present risk of serious disorder. There is no reason why the Police should be able to impose rules on assembly, just to suit their own agenda. Back in 2012, the Barnet Eye led protests against the closure of the Friern Barnet Library, by announcing we'd be holding a People's Library on the green outside the Library on the Saturday Morning following the closure. 400 people spontaneously turned up. Under this law, the Police would be able to stop what was a perfectly peaceful and joyous protest.  This protest ultimately lead to the saving of the library. Under the new rules, I could have been carted off to jail.

HMICFRS’ inspection found that “protests are fluid, and it is not always possible to make this distinction [between static protests and marches]. Some begin as assemblies and become processions, and vice versa. The practical challenges of safely policing a protest are not necessarily greater in the case of processions than in the case of assemblies, so this would not justify making a wider range of conditions available for processions than for assemblies”.


  • Broaden the range of circumstances in which police may impose conditions on a protest.

This measure will broaden the range of circumstances in which the police can impose conditions on protests, including a single person protest, to include where noise may cause a significant impact on those in the vicinity or serious disruption to the running of an organisation. The Home Secretary will have the power, through secondary legislation, to define and give examples of “serious disruption to the life of the community” and “serious disruption to the activities of an organisation which are carried out in the vicinity of the procession/assembly/one-person protest”. These regulation-making powers will clarify ambiguous cases where, if they arise, it may not be clear whether the threshold for the use of such powers have been reached. This will enable the police to make use of their powers with the confidence that they are doing so legally. Barneteye Comment - This is complete overkill. It states that it can be used where "serious disruption to the activities of an organisation which are carried out in the vicinity of the procession/assembly/one-person protest" Clearly one person with a megaphone can be rather irritating to some people. However, we have a tradition of tolerance for such protests in the UK. This blog has been involved in all manner of protests, sometimes on our own. What is the definition of 'serious disruption?'  Having to walk around the block, having to move to another area to make a phonecall? Not enjoying someone calling you a beastly monster as you go to Work? Just about every right that has been achieved that has improved the quality of life for the majority of UK citizens from the right for women to vote to the decriminalisation of same sex intercourse, justice for wrongly convicted Irishmen and ending of racist police actions has been the result of someone or some organisation having disruption to their business. If this law is passed then all of this progress will be stopped and authorities will be given carte blache to do as they please. You may not like it when protests affect you, but you will like it less when you start to lose your hard earned freedoms.

  • Amend the offence relating to the breaching of conditions

This measure will close a loophole which some protesters exploit. Some will cover their ears and tear up written conditions handed to them by the police so that they are likely to evade conviction for breaching conditions on a protest as the prosecution have to prove that the person “knowingly fails to comply with a condition imposed”. The Bill will change the threshold for the offence so that it is committed where a person “knows or ought to have known” that the condition has been imposed. Barneteye - This is simply outrageous in a free society. It seems that if you 'ought to have known'  of a condition or regulation and you breach it, then you are breaking the law. I recall when we started the Save Barnet's Libraries campaign, we lobbied Conservative councillors at their surgeries. I recall a couple of little old ladies, who saw us, asked what we were doing and joined in. Under the new law, they'd could be carted off, if they'd unknowingly breached a 'condition'. The prosecution can claim, and it would be impossible to refute, that if they joined in they should have known. To me this is what police states do, not liberal democracies.

  • Restate the common law offence of public nuisance in statute

The Bill will implement a recommendation by the Law Commission to introduce a statutory offence of public nuisance and abolish the existing common law offence. This will provide clarity to the police and potential offenders, giving clear notice of what conduct is forbidden.  Barneteye - I've lived 60 years in the UK and seem a whole raft of progressive measures adoopted as a result of protests that could be deemed public nuisance. Of course, at the time some people were inconvenienced. But can anyone seriously argue that measures such as votes for women and abolition of Victorian laws around sex, were not worth a bit of public nuisance?

  • Ensure vehicular entrances to the Parliament Estate remain unobstructed

This measure will enable the police to direct an individual to cease, or not start, obstructing the passage of a vehicle into or out of Parliament and make it an offence not to comply with such a direction. This will protect the right of access to the Parliamentary Estate for MPs, Peers and others with business there, as recommended in the Joint Committee on Human Rights in their 2020 report on Democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of association: Threats to MPs. Barneteye - In some ways, I find this the most offensive provision of all. I am sure MP's hate hearing what the public think of them, as they zoom past in their limo's, but they are accountable to us all. Sitting down peacefully in front of the PM's car, may irritate him, but it is a completely valid form of protest. It seems to me that Parliament is where people should have an inalienable right to protest. To put restrictions on this is totally outrageous. We have plenty of laws if people are being violent, indulging in incitement, harrassing people etc. I am not aware of any instances where MP's have been barricaded in Parliament for weeks on end, starving to death. This is a typical example of out of touch politicians wanting the public kept at arms length. 

So you may ask, what happens if you commit a public nuisance offence?

We are introducing the offence in statute, and abolishing the common law offence, in line with the recommendations of the independent Law Commission. In doing so, we are narrowing the scope of the offence and lowering the maximum penalty from unlimited crown court penalties, to 10 years’ imprisonment. Barneteye comment - Ten years is more than a local paedophile was sentenced to after conviction for assaulting a 7 year old girl. It is completely draconian in its nature. There has been no case made to justify such harsh penalties for causing a bit of nuisance. If people are involved in activities that place life in danger or incite others to do so, there are already laws to deal with this. 
You may ask why the government feels it needs these changes

The highly disruptive tactics used by some protesters cause a disproportionate impact on the surrounding communities and are a drain on public funds. For example, during Extinction Rebellion’s protests of April and October 2019, some of London’s busiest areas were brought to a standstill for several days with the policing operation for the two extended protests costing £37m - more than twice the annual budget of London’s violent crime taskforce. Barneteye comment - The only justification is that it is expensive to police protests. It is telling that Extinction Rebellion are specifically named. I do wonder if there has been a cost put on the damage caused by climate change?
What is public nuisance?

The new statutory offence of public nuisance will cover the same conduct as the existing common law offence of public nuisance. The offence captures conduct which causes serious harm to, endangers the life, health, property or comfort of the public, or obstructs the public in the exercise or enjoyment of rights common to the public. An act or omission is considered to cause serious harm if as a result, a person suffers serious distress, serious annoyance, serious inconvenience or serious loss of amenity. Conduct captured here will include nuisances such as producing excessive noise or smells, or offensive or dangerous behaviour in public, such as hanging from bridges. For instance, previous convictions have been for throwing oneself into a river, or for threatening to jump from motorway bridges. Each of these caused unnecessary burden on, and distraction for, emergency services, in particular the use of police resources that could not be used elsewhere in the community. This denied an amenity to a cross section of the public. Barneteye Comment -  So you can get ten years for causing 'serious annoyance'? Ten years for producing 'excessive noises and smells'? My house backs onto the M1 Motorway and the Thameslink Railway. I was kept up all night last Saturday by work on the Railway. But that is OK. Having a noisy protest, to ask the government not to destroy the environment isn't. Make no mistake, this legislation is not a benign act of tidying up a raft of outdated laws. It is a concerted attack on freedom by a very authoritarian adminstration that believes the public should not hold it to account.

Please sign this petition to oppose this bill

You can find out more at the Liberty website