Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The Peoples March for the NHS is on it's way to London - Join the march in Barnet to save the NHS



SATURDAY 6th Sept 3.30pm


We need volunteer stewards to help run the London Rally. If you think you can work ith 250 dedicated helpers in a fun, friendly and calm manner and would like to help this event to be a safe, enjoyable and memorable please get in touch.
Thousands of people have marched with us and supported us. The People's March is growing every day. Click on the dates below to find out more about the People's March in your area and how you can join us.

The march started in Jarrow in protest at cuts and privatisation in the NHS. The march arrives in comes through Barnet on Friday 5th, on our St Albans to Edmonton leg. We are aiming to lunch in Ravenscroft Gardens between 1 and 2. 

Our website is here:

And Facebook event here:

If you can, please come along and give your support

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Barnet - A great place to do business?

I've run a business in Barnet for 35 years. We are one of the leading studios in London, if not the world. Many world famous artists started their careers rehearsing and recording at our studios. One thing which has struck me over the years is just how bad our local council is at telling the story about what a good place to do business the London Borough of Barnet is. We have great tube and rail connections to London and to the rest of the country and we are ideally placed on the road network as well. We have a great mix of urban developments and green belt, making the borough a great place to live and work. Contrary to the myths of the time, economic prosperity is not generated by housing. It is generated by jobs and business. without this, there would be no economy to support the mortgages and rents. Therefore it is vital that Barnet Council should play its part.

In Barnet, we have a vibrant branch of the Federation of Small Business. Every month, on the first Monday (Yesterday), they hold a networking meeting at Cafe Buzz in Finchley. The meeting is free to attend and dozens of local traders turn up to exchange details and discuss matters. There is a presentation. I was pleased to see a representative from the council at yesterdays meeting. I've recently been lobbying the council to do  its part and amongst the suggestions I've made have been]

a) Improve the visibility of business services on the council website
b) Have pictures on the front page of the site talling what a great place Barnet is for business
c) Business friendly parking policies.
d) Better and more identifyable corporate branding
e) Details of local businesses and services in the Borough on  teh council website

You may think that point d) is irrelevant, but the NHS style corporate logo for Barnet is tired and looks like the NHS logo. It is ideal for a sick borough. I'd like to see Barnet Council encourage businesses based in Barnet to display the Barnet logo on their website and have a link back to the council pages on what a great place Barnet is to do business (which don't currently exist).

There are many challenges facing the London Borough of Barnet, but local businesses providing local jobs will make a significant difference to solving them. For single parents with school age children, often a local job is the only realistic option to benefits. The more such jobs we create, the less tax we'll all pay. Surely our Conservative cuncil should recognise this and proactively be promoting policies to which create prosperity? Making it easy to do business in the Borough and telling our story would be a good place to start. Every job on the highstreet is potentially one less person claiming benefits and every job destroyed by bad policies such as the Brian Coleman era parking regime is another call on your wallet in tax.

I would like to invite the Leader of the Council, Richard Cornelius to the next Cafe Buzz business network meeting in October, so he can see for himself what the council should be doing and who they should be talking to.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Guest Blog - David Cameron and the enemy within - by John Sullivan

By John Sullivan

Cameron attempts to frighten us with ISIS the enemy within , and there is no doubt we have much to fear from the likes of ISIS.

What Cameron fails to understand is for millions of us he and his millionaires cabinet and his wealthy backers that he is handing over our public services and our NHS to further line their collective pockets, represent a far greater threat to British working people than ISIS.

They have brought poverty, starvation, homelessness, slave labour , part time employment they call employment, a hatred for the poor and the disabled , suicides and unnecessary early deaths due to benefit cuts and bedroom taxes. I for one fail to se what we have to fear from ISIS who threaten sudden death. Rather than the slow painful death of poverty and despair Cameron and his ilk have brought us in such a short space of time..

Cameron should be careful what he wishes for, his cry to stand and fight ISIS, might encourage us millions to take up arms against our true enemy within, which is Cameron and a few hundred pocket lining MPs of all political persuasions, us millions verse those hundreds. Be careful what you wish for Cameron, we might decide to reinstate the democracy in our country you have destroyed by your non mandated cruelty to the many, whilst lining the pockets of the few.

John Sullivan is a Barnet resident and carer for his daughter Susan. Guest blogs are always welcome

Sunday, 31 August 2014

It's not clever to celebrate George Galloway getting a smack

I awoke yesterday to year that George Galloway MP had been beaten up. I am not a fan of Mr Galloway and my first thoughts were "Ha Ha Ha, he deserved it". Then I thought about what actually happened a little bit more deeply and I realised that my gut reaction was completely wrong. We live in a democracy. That means we sort out political issues via the ballot box. The report I heard indicated that Mr Galloways assailant shouted something about the holocaust before the attack. The implication was that the assailant was enraged by Mr Galloways opposition to Israel and perceived anti semitism. Many of my Jewish friends were rather chuffed in their responses on Facebook and Twitter. I think they should step back and think about it. Sure Mr Galloway is offensive. He actually strikes me as a bully. On several occasions on TV I've seen him actuallyask "invite" opponents out side to settle things "man to man". He revels in his image as a tough, Glaswegan ex boxer. Usually the people he's picked on are slightly built academic types, who are not exactly likely to take up the offer. As such it is extremely hard not snigger at him getting duffed up. However we must. No matter how good it may feel to see an obnoxious bully get put in his place, it demeans us all to sink to his level and use the violence to settle arguments. Every tweeter and facebooker who has revelled in Galloways misfortune is in effect condoning violence.

If it's OK for Galloway to get a smack because he disagrees with the policy of the Israeli govt, then no one can complain if someone gets a smack for the opposite point of view. The logical conclusion for such behaviour is ISIS and Hamas. The biggest bully wins. In the UK we have always rejected violence as a legitimate way to settle such disputes. There is an interesting piece in the Sunday Times today that says armed police in the Met have only shot dead one person in the last three years. for such a large city that is extraordinary. We don't condone violence and we dont believe in thuggery.

That is why, however tempting it may seem at the time, we should condemn anyone whoe beats someone up for their political views, even if that person is George Galloway

Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Saturday List #67 - The ten fatal mistakes that have doomed Manchester United

This morning there are further reports that Lois Van Gaal has stated that things can only get worse for Manchester United before they get better. Is this kidology or is it a frank acknowledgement of the scale of the crisis facing Manchester United. One has to ask how things could get this bad this quick. This time last year, they were Champions. They have spent more money than any other premiership club and they have a manager who took his team to the brink of winning the world cup.

In truth though, the situation is not something that happened overnight. The crisis has been building up for several years. Here are the fatal mistakes that United have made.

1. Underinvestment in the squad under Sir Alex Ferguson. Fergie worked a miracle winning the league two years ago, but he did it with a threadbare squad. Bringing in Van Persie was the catalyst that allowed the feat to be pulled off, but it was clear to everyone that United had an ageing defence and midfield. With Scholes, Giggs, Evra, Ferdinand and Vidic getting long in the tooth, all should have been replaced by then, or at least have credible replacements lined up. Take that out of the League winning team and you don't have a team.

2. Bad succession planning in the business. It was clear that Fergie would go at some point. To lose the Chief Exec at the same time was catastrophic. All businesses need  a degree of continuity in their team. United lost the plot, by allowing themselves to get into this situation.

3. Flawed process for appointing a new manager. United are one of the worlds top brands. They could have their pick of managers. It seems the process was that they simply let Fergie pick a name out of the hat. Worse than that, they picked a manager with no trophies and no Champoins league experience.

4. Bad signings. We listed the five key players who were past their sell by date. They replaced none of them, instead indulving Moyes by signing Fellani, a player they didn't need and who doesn't fit in. It was clear what United needed, they left it too late and picked the wrong players.

5. Inept clearout of backroom staff. The first act of Moyes was a clearout of backroom staff such as Mike Phelan. As such he had no one around who could offer any insight into how to get the best out of the players, why things may not be working.

6. Ineptitude in conducting transfer business. The debacle of the attempt to sign Leighton Baines and Fellani showed the world that United were there for the taking. This has resulted in them paying top dollar for all subsequent signings such as Di Maria and Mata signings.

7. Panic buys in the transfer window. When it was clear that it was going wrong under Moyes, United made the classic mistake of a big name panic buy, bring Juan Mata to the club. Whilst it is true that you can't have enough great players, Mata addressed none of Uniteds problems and unsettled the existing attackers.

8. Showing a lack of class in sacking Moyes. United sacked Moyes the day after they technically couldn't qualify for the Champions League. This was done to save the compensation bill. This type of behaviour saves money in the short term, but in the long term sets down a marker which shows the club are more interested in bean counting than running a football club. Ryan Giggs was brought in as a temporary manager to get the club through to the end of the season. Whilst this may have given him a bit of experience and may assist him in his ongoing role at the club, the whole sorry episode tarnished United.

9. Lack of planning for managerial appointment. Whilst Louis Van Gaal is an excellent manager, with a great track record, given the mess United are in, I believe he was the wrong appointment. The reason is simple. United needed a root and branch rebuilding. the timing of the sacking of Moyes showed that they had clearly been planning the change. They chose someone who couldn't come in until almost the end of the Pre Season. With Van Gaal being totally wrapped up in the World Cup, the pre season was wasted. Had they brough a new manager in when Moyes was sacked, they could have gone into the pre season with somone who'd actually seen the players in action. Transfer targets would be identified and the players could be prepared. As it is, Van Gaal turned up and half the squad were missing. I believe his current predicament is caused by the fact that when the real business started, he hadn't got a clue what his squad could actually do. As such, by the time the transfer window reopens and he actually knows what he needs, United may again be out of the chase for a Champions league place.

10. Chosen the wrong man again? It is too early to say, but for me the signs are not good. In the first point, I listed the players United need to replace. You could argue that Di Maria may be a suitable replacement for Ryan Giggs. That still leaves the other four to replace. Not only that, but Van Gaal has tried to implement a 3-4-3 system with players who clearly are not up to it. Watching the first three games, it was clear to me that the players look terrified. Johnny Evans looked particularly uncomfortable against the mighty MK Dons. Van Gaal has a rep as a stern disciplinarian, to me it looked as if the United defence were scared stiff of making mistakes, so were nervous and jumpy. In the opening PL games, on numerous occasions defenders would receive the ball in space and simply look for a quick sideways pass. Under Fergie in their pomp, they would drive forward and create space elsewhere. Another disturbing feature of Van Gaal is the way he publicly attacked Luke Shaw. Shaw is a young player with a lot of expectation. His manager has put the boot in. How will this help build him up. I cannot imagine Ferguson making such a statement ever. I also think that Van Gaals statements about United not being fit for purpose don't help his cause. Other teams are losing their fear of facing United and these sort of statements don't help. It also undermines his existing players. How must they feel?

Of course, I'm a City fan so I find it hilarious, but that is really by the by. I don't think a single thing I've said hasn't been mentioned by friends who are on the dark side of the football divide.

Friday, 29 August 2014

The Friday Joke - 29/8/2014 - Biker special !

We know you've been waiting for it!

Big Mick  says to his mate Greasy Jeff 
'My mate came off his bike today'.
'Oh really?' Says Greasy Jeff'
Yup' Big Mick answers 'He has brain damage, 2 broken arms and is blind in one eye!'
Greasy Jeff says ' Feckin Hell, no wonder he fell off!'