Monday, 26 September 2016

What planet is Boris Johnson on?

Do you remember Lord Carrington? He was the foreign minister who resigned when the UK went to war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands in 1982. Carrington resigned as a matter of principle (remember when politicians did such things).

There was a time when Prime Ministers appointed Foreign ministers on the basis that they were competent, experienced heavyweights, who could walk into a room full of foreign politicians, some of whom don't like the UK and some of whom have large weapons of nuclear arsenals pointed at us, and you'd know they would not upset anyone or start a row or even a war through stupidity and incompetence.

Now we have Boris Johnson. I have been staggered by his inept handling of the crisis in Syria. Please correct me if I am wrong, but however nasty President Assad may be, he is no threat to the UK. He is however fighting a war against ISIS who are. I dare say I will upset many when I say this, but it should be plane to all that Assad in Syria, with Russian support, is a far less globally dangerous than an ISIS caliphate. 

The UK should get ourselves out and let Assad deal with ISIS. Of course it would be a betrayal of our allies in the moderate anti Assad groups, but the truth is we betrayed them long ago. All we are doing is prolonging their misery. We have no means to do anything to materially help them. If pulling the rug from under them is the price to be paid to get Assad and the Russians to destroy ISIS in Syria, then best pay it quickly. Russia is the only nation that seems to have the stomach to actually defeat ISIS. Assad allowed people to follow the faith of their choice. He is the best of a bad bunch. If our foreign minister is too stupid to see that, then we need a man of competence who understands pragmatism. Not a buffoon.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Tweets of the week in the London Borough of Barnet - 25/9/2016

Winter is here and it's going on two years! So said the Ramones back in 1977. We've now passed the equinox and so we've seen some rather nice seasonal tweets in our manor. We've also seen a few others that I think need a wider audience! So here it is, our most popular regular feature.


1.We start with a fantastic photo from Hugh Schermuly

2. And on the theme, the seasons turning has been noted in Long Lane

3. And another of our regulars won't be getting sloshed on the home made plonk this year.

4. Who'd have thought Burnt Oak would be a hotbed of marrow cultivation! Lovely picture and tweet.

5.  Mark Amies is none to impressed with the neglect of the historic Railway pub in Edgware

6. A rather sad tweet from another regular. We have to agree
7. Can you answer this question? We can't, but we'd love to know


8. It seems that I'm not the only one who has noticed how grubby Mill Hill is getting. This is a shout out we support to the hilt.

9. Very big smiles from the boys and girls in blue following a big cannabis find. They seem very chuffed at the rewards for all their hard work.

10. Seems like we've had some talented drummers in Mill Hill this week!

That's all folks! Have a great week!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

The Saturday List #98 - Ten most memorable things I've seen at London Railway Stations!

I travel by train every day. This week I saw something rather strange on my journey. It caused me to reflect on the strange things I've seen at Railway Stations.
Image result for hawker Harrier at St Pancras
Harrier at St Pancras

1. A Hawker Harrier jump jet landing at St Pancras Station in 1969! (for The Daily Mail Great Air Race - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daily_Mail_Trans-Atlantic_Air_Race ) - My dad took me to see the event as a special treat.

The event happened when I was nine. I was obsessed with trains and planes and this was perhaps the happiest day of my life. We rounded it off with an ice cream. What could be better in life!


2. Two men taking a piano onto a train at Hendon station. This was pre the electric train service, probably about 1979. The old DMU's had a guard van area, where the piano was loaded into. The train was heading north.

3. A steam engine on the Underground at Baker St. I was awaiting a tube train last year and a steam engine chugged through, with a train full of people. I knew these excursions occurred sometimes, but as I was simply getting a train, it was quite a surprise. So much so I didn't even get a picture!

4. The Royal Train passing through Mill Hill Broadway in the early 1980's. I arrived to catch a train and found that there were a whole bunch of enthusiasts at the station. The train had very pretty carriages, but was pulled by a fairly ordinary diesel engine. I thought it was a bit of an anto climax.


5. I found myself in the early 1980's in the queue for a ticket at Paddington station between Mick Jones of The Clash and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Sadly it was in the days before selfies. Mick Jones is a bit of a hero of mine and he'd just left the Clash. I plucked up the courage and said "Hi Mick, you getting anything going?" He was really friendly and said "Yeah, doing some stuff with  Don (Letts)". He then said "You know I hope theres a buffet car on the train, I really need a tea" Sadly the Bish didn't join in.

6. I was picking up the train from St Pancras. There was a pair of buskers outside. The bloke was playing guitar and was quite good so I missed the girl next to him with a huge python. I am really phobic of snakes and nearly had a heart attack.

7. I arrived at St Pancras once (before it was Eurostar terminal) to find a set of Russian carriages in the platform. I was quite intrigued. I looked closer and realised they we BR carriages dressed to look like Russian carriages. They were actually being used in a film and the station was meant to be in the USSR. I am pretty sure it was a Bond film.

8. I was waiting in Blackfriars station on the River, when the Royal Barge passed underneath. I assumed it was a rehearsal for the Queens Flotilla pageant. It was rather spectacular.

9. I was at Euston Station once when a train of Manchester United supporters and a train of Wolves supporters arrived at the same time and the station turned into a riot. I was having a cup of tea at the Travellers Fayre and the Police were just walking around bashing everyone under the age of about 40. My Dad had advised me that if ever I was in a pub and there was a fight and the Police came in, to stay sitting down as they wouldn't bash you. It worked a treat. What was even more interesting was all the trouble stopped as soon as it started. My strongest memory was a rather snooty Margaret Thatcher type, turning to her rather snooty husband and saying "Bloody football hooligans, they should ban it". I later heard a Policeman saying that British Rail had sent the Wolves supporters train to the wrong platform and it wasn't meant to be let in until the Man U fans had gone. It rather reinforced my view that football hooliganism could be avoided by proper planning.

10. I'd been out for a night out in London and I got to St Pancras and decided to have a beer in the pub on the station concourse, to steel me for the journey. The bar was stuffed full of transvestites who were making their way back to Leicester and Nottingham (as I recall) following Pride. They were all having a raucous sing song. It was absolutely hilarious and I think everyone missed their train, and ended up having a couple more pints. As a committed people watcher, it was fascinating to observe the behaviour of people entering the bar. Some just turned around and headed straight out, others sat uncomfortably in the corners, but most people joined in the spirit and it turned into an impromptu party. Perhaps the thing which surprised me most was whilst I was queuing for a beer, one of the ringleaders of the choir said to me "My wife is going to be bloody furious at me being late home pissed as a fart". It reminded me that when we sterotype people we usually are way off the mark.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Barnet Council rejects outsourcing for Adult social services

Interesting press release in Barnet Council website. Interesting to see the acknowledgement that outsourcing is not the answer. The press release, concerning adult care says

"Other options, including outsourcing the service to a third party supplier, were previously discounted."


Interesting also to note that Capitas share price today is 989p. Last November it hit 1300p. The council earlier this week revealed it had fined Capita for poor delivery.

Is sanity breaking out amongst the Barnet Conservatives? We can but hope. Click below for details

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Mill Hill Neighbourhood forum meeting report

Last night in the Hartley Hall the Mill Hill Neighbourhood Forum held one of their bi-annual PUBLIC MEETINGS.  The event was very well attended with a full hall hearing about the latest news and plans for the Mill Hill area.  Also in attendance were representatives from Barnet Council  - GLA Member Andrew Dismore and various representative of local organisations and business leaders.

This is a brief summary of what happened and we suggest you watch the videos.  There was no lighting in the Hartley Hall for filming so the projector can sometimes lead to our HD camera losing definition but we hope you enjoy the videos and please share them.

The next meeting will be in March. We intend to cover it - but we hope you can be there in person.  We all need to make a difference by getting involved in our area.


INTRODUCTION

John Gillett the Chair of the Mill Hill Neighbourhood Forum introduced the topics for the evening.  This short 2 minute video sets the scene for the evening.


BARNET COUNCIL PRESENTATION about RUBBISH COLLECTION, BINS & STREET CLEANING on Mill Hill Broadway

Representatives from Barnet Council gave a very good presentation about their proposed plan to improve the Broadway and this is worth watching.  Just under 15 minutes.  We think this is an excellent plan.  But they want YOUR views - so watch and then email the council with your thoughts.

BARNET COUNCIL QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION

The meeting then questioned the Barnet Council representatives for about 10 minutes.




THAMESLINK MILL HILL BROADWAY STATION LIFTS PLANS

A 10 minute presentation about proposals for a set of lifts at Mill Hill Broadway costing between 5 and 25 million pounds !   Hopefully this will happen as soon as possible with the 2018 8 trains an hour service and the new stock of 8 and 12 car trains many of which are the new style with no doors between carriages making it easier to find a seat. These trains also have digital displays and wide aisles and look fantastic.



PENTAVIA DEVELOPMENT
The area next to the Dual Carriageway where B&Q and ARGOS used to be has been purchased by a developer for 27 million pounds.   They are proposing a 9 storey complex which is striking fear into everyone because it lacks access - will block views and add 7% to the local area population.  This is a must watch video so you can see what is proposed. Needless to say the meeting was very vocal in their opposition to the plans as they stand.  We highlighted this plan last year in our article SKYSCRAPERS FOR MILL HILL?  when it was first proposed in an even bigger plan.  Even this new plan seems totally over the top and we think it looks like the development next to West Hampstead Station.....which is massive and overbearing.

 



NIMR DEVELOPMENT | IBIS DEVELOPMENT | HASMONEAN SCHOOL


There are several other major developments planned for Mill Hill and John Gillett outlined several of them and you can see them in this video.
 



MILL HILL CIRCUS PLAN

There is one major road development which will reconfigure the Mill Hill Circus Roundabout. To find out the details watch this video.







MILL HILL NEIGHBOURHOOD FORUM PROJECTS

The Neighbourhood Forum has several projects including : THE POCKET PARK - SALCOMBE GARDENS - SARACENS FIREWORKS DISPLAY - MILL HILL GUIDE PUBLISHING - THE LIBRARY HUB - THE MARKETS and THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS SWITCH ON.  These are all explained in this video.




GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE AREA FROM MEETING MEMBERS


Finally before the meeting drew to a close there was a question and answer session which included contributions from Barnet Council representatives and Andrew Dismore from the GLA.  This video shows the main questions.



The meeting ended at about 9.25p.m with a vote of thanks from the meeting to John for putting together such an informative evening.  The next meeting will be in March and it is important everyone who can attends.

This report is republished courtesy of The Mill Hill Broadway Blog 

Do you want to destroy our local community?

What is the London Borough of Barnet? It is Londons most populous and diverse Borough. We have a whole range of people from all manner of ethnic backgrounds, and we have some of Londons most and least desirable housing. We have some of the countries busiest roads (A406,A1,M1, etc) and some leafy country lanes. We have people who are billionaires, living in mansions off Totteridge Lane and we have people living in social housing in Graham Park, a mile or two down the road.

We have some of the UK's busiest railways (and worst operators) on the Thameslink route. We have some of the most interesting churches, such as St Pauls on the Ridgeway in Mill Hill. We have beautiful parks and open spaces. We also have allowed some of our high St's to rot and become strewn with litter.

Yesterday, I was disgusted with the state of Mill Hill park. It was strewn with litter. Whilst it is the responsibility of the council to clear such mess up, a task they seem to be failing miserably to do, it is a responsibility of all of us to clear up our own mess. Does any of us really want our neighbourhood to resemble a pigsty?

It breaks my heart to see litter strewn next to empty bins. Anyway I have a heartfelt plea to everyone. Please can you pick up your mess and put it in the bin. And maybe you can also do what I did and spend two minutes putting other people's mess in the bin as well. I remember back in the 1960's when St Josephs college in Mill Hill used to hold annual garden fetes. At the end, there was a prize for the child who collected most rubbish. Maybe the council could organise a similar scheme in our parks and open spaces. We have a great community, let's treat it with the respect it deserves.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Suicide - Labour Party style

Just suppose you were a member of a political party and in the last year, your party had, for the first time in decades, attracted hundreds of thousands of new members, Just suppose that for the first time in a generation, teenagers and young people were genuinely enthused by your party. What would you do?

I ask because the current behaviours of the Labour Party tell you just how divorced from reality our political classes are. A year ago, they did not respond to the rush of Corbyn supporters to register by trying to appeal to those they perceive as their natural supporters. If you believe the Blairites, there is a huge army of moderates simply waiting for a Tory lite Blairite to pick up the torch of moderation. They say 'look at the disasterous opinion polls'.

It is rather odd that in a year when opinion polls have been widely discredited, Blairites bestow such enormous credibility in them. What is so difficult for them to explain, is that if the proposition is true, that there are millions of Blairite leaning voters out there, why none of them are prepared to shell out £3 to 'Save The Country'.

Everyone I speak to, and most are apolitical, were disgusted and embarrassed by Blairite politics. They know full well we were lied to about Iraq and that the average Brit has been shafted by both Labour and Tories. Most are sick of all politicians.

Many have said to me that they would vote Labpur with Corbyn, but the action of the Blairites, being completely disloyal to an elected leader and sticking two fingers up to the party at large has completely put them off.

Theresa May has benefitted from being herself. Like Corbyn she was lukewarm in support for remain. Many people who voted Labour in 1997 for Blair are comfortable with May. They are glad to see the back of Cameron's Etonian Clique.

During last years Labour leadership contest, we had Liz Kendall, an arch Blairite. She failed to inspire anyone to pay the £3 to vote for her. Why could this be? There has been no explanation. 

Labour seems hell bent on alienating the huge influx of members who are prepared to put their hand in their pockets. I find it truly bizarre that none of Lanours right has even bothered to make a pitch for these new members. They are simply smeared as 'militant tendency type entryists'. This is nonsense. Most are teenagers and young people who saw in Corbyn a chance to reverse the disasters of student loans and other policies that will guarantee a life of debt.

Most have no clue who Militant were or the battles of the 1980's, because most weren't born. They just want a party who cares. The Labour Party, by disrespecting them, is not only being patronising and elitist. They are writing a suicide note for Labour. If they want to see what happens when you ignore your party and your voters, look no further than the Lib Dems. In 2010 they won a large block of seats based on pledges to students. They were the party of young voters. They then shafted them. Now they have 8 MPs. 

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Mill Hill Neighbourhood Forum - Open meeting to discuss future of our neighbourhood

Mill Hill Residents and Business Leaders are invited to our Public Meeting on 21st September at 7.15 for 7.30 PM at Hartley Hall, Flower Lane, NW7 2JA
We would like to update you on our projects and activities since our meeting on 16th March 2016. It has been a very busy summer and Mill Hill is changing in so many ways!
We will be covering the following topics and more:
• Mill Hill Broadway's new Waste Management Scheme
• Mill Hill Broadway Station Regeneration feasibility study
• Air Quality Survey
• Pentavia Park -Possible developments
• National Institute for Medical Research -development plans
• Our Markets
• The "Pocket Park"
• "Uplift Salcombe Gardens" Project
• The "Library" Project
• The 36 page A4 Colour Brochure/Directory for Mill Hill
• Other Planning matters
• The progress towards our Neighbourhood Development Plan
• etc etc
We hope to finish at 9.00pm having allowed a little time for questions.
You can always e-mail your thoughts about the future of NW7 to chairman@millhillforum.org.uk

We hope you can be with us for this key update.

Follow us on Facebook for all the latest community news - https://www.facebook.com/MillHillForum

Monday, 19 September 2016

Barnet Council social care outsourcing disaster

It seems that Barnet Council have undergone a massive failure in provision of social care, following a change over of care providers. This story, which has been broken by the Hendon Times  - http://m.times-series.co.uk/news/14745911._Disaster____care_company_changeover_goes_badly_wrong/ - is just the latest in a sorry list of failure.

The Conservative councillor in charge,  Sachin Rajput, chairman of the adults and safeguarding committee, said: “We are very disappointed the transfer of our enablement service from our former provider to our new provider Aquaflo Care did not go as we had planned. This falls below the level of service our residents should expect and we are working closely with Aquaflo to make sure our vulnerable residents are safe. We are taking this matter very seriously.”

The programme which provides a six-week period of care to people who need help regaining their independence, was taken over by Aquaflo Care two weeks ago (September 5). But errors which arose from the takeover of the service, which was previously outsourced to Housing 21, left social service staff overworked and many people expecting care not knowing why they were going without.

The Barnet Eye is making its own enquiries and will report in more detail later. 

Saturday, 17 September 2016

#SaveLondonMusic Campaign - Lots of news to update you on,

Many readers of The Barnet Eye blog are musicians, music lovers and music fans. Most are aware of the huge pressure and threats that our live music venues face. We launched the #SaveLondonMusic campaign last year and we've been highly successful in using this to promote the aims of campaign.

The campaign is working to make the case to protect London music venues and studios Specifically we want to see the following
1. Special protection for important London music venues from redevelopment. This should take two forms. The first should grant important venues the same protection as listed buildings. The second is that where large infrastructure projects destroy venues (such as the Astoria), the venue should be resited elsewhere in equivalent or better premises at zero cost to the operator.
2. Established venues should be protected from noise and disruption complaints from neighbours. Soundproofing etc should not be the responsibility of the venue, where the venue is an established music site.
3. As creative industries are a key component in the UK economy, tax breaks, planning assistance and grants should be made avaialble to any company or individual investing in infrastrure to support creative industries.  This should be done with a view to ensuring the UK maintains its leading position as the centre of world music.
From a music perspective the following should be available.
* Capital Tax allowances for investment in venues and studios
* Free or discounted planning costs for studios,  music venues and other music related companies (such as instrument manufacturers etc).
* Rates holidays for start up businesses involved in the music and creative sector. A six month period of zero rates and a six month period of 50% rates would give businesses a great
opportunity to get off the ground and generate employment
* Offer grants to creative industries to assist with the costs etc of starting a creative business, specifically for assistance with the cost of consultants for noise control and other issues which
are specific to the music industry.
* Enact legislation to ensure that major new developments include an element of light industrial space suitable for creative industries and studio space at low rent.
* Offer mentoring and assistance to young people wishing to set up SME’s focussing on the creative sector.
Much has happened since we started in February 2015. We set up the campaign website to keep people informed of the campaign developments - http://savelondonmusic.org/news/ - and we've also got a FACEBOOK page

There have been some seriously interesting developments this week. One of our partners in the campaign is the Music Venues Trust. They have launched a "gig with no acts (yet)" at The Roundhouse on 18th October.

 The event will support the launch of a brand new nationwide service from Music Venue Trust which willdirectly stop music venue closures by tackling the number 1 cause of those closures; the cost and complexity of legal advice and expert opinion on planning, development, noise and licensing issues.

We also have two other really great gigs coming up that we are supporting. The Luna in Walthamstow is working tirelessly to promote live music and if you like a bit of Country and Honky Tonk music, there is a truly amazing gig coming up featuring East Lonesome Drifters and Special Guest  Nashville singer/songwriter Stewart Eastham!!!!

Then on September 30th we've got the London Launch of Musicians Against Homelessness. This campaign has been launched by Alan McGee of Creation Records fame. There are some great bands playing the London launch at The Mau Mau Bar