Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Wednesday Poem #9 - Angel


When our eyes met across a crowded room,
 I knew, with certainty in my heart, that she was an Angel.

The scars still sear,
That angel was Lucifer.

Copyright 2017 Roger Tichborne
Every Wednesday, we feature a poem and a picture about our neighbourhood. If you have a poem and a picture you'd like to feature, just email to me using the link in the sidebar. I've written poetry for many years, for my own amusement. It was suggested that I share some of it. I hope you enjoy it, I'd love to feature anything you have written.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Barnet Council moves into the 1970's!!!!!!

What were you doing on the 9th June 1975? I most likely got on a 221 bus to Finchley Catholic High School. Two days before Sony had launched the Betamax video recorder. Harold Wilson was PM. The previous week on June 6th, the UK had voted to remain in the Common Market. John Denver was top of the charts. Oh yes, and we had the first radio broadcast of Parliament!

You may ask what that has got to do with the price of fish. Well a mere forty one and a half years later, today is a histric and momentous day in the history of Barnet Council.  Barnet Council have decided to follow suit, move into 1975 and provide a digital audio transmission of council meetings! We congratulate Barnet Council on their groundbreaking move to use the very latest technology in their headlong dash for openness and transparency.

The Past

One cannot help but wonder when Barnet will move into the 1980's and start their own video coverage of meetings. The rumour has it that some councillors worry that if meetings are televised, they may actually have to bother to look interested and participate in business.

The Present
Of course as a Barnet blogger, I feel duty bound to have a little fun about such issues. On a more serious note, it is a step in the right direction and Richard Cornelius (leader of the council) should be commended for taking the first steps towards bring the council towards the level of openness and transparency that we expect from a local authority.

Anyway, it's been a long day. In homage to the council's move towards the brave new world of 1976, I think I'll  jump in my Ausin Princess, have a nice can of Watneys Party 7, a tasty Vesta curry and even maybe..... some Smash potatoes.

The future?

Monday, 16 January 2017

Barnet Council dumps the Brian Coleman dangerous roads legacy

 When the Tories got elected to run Barnet Council in 2002, the council embarled on a frenzied program of ripping up road humps, removing traffic calming measures and generally turning Barnets roads into something resembling a race track. As a result moggies disappeared as they were squashed by speeding cars, Barnet slid down the table of safe London boroughs and parents became even more paranoid about letting their children walk to school. My own children had the horrific sight of the air ambulance attending an incident at St Vincents school, as a child fell victim to a speeding motorist.

The man who drove this policy was Brian Coleman, who was later convicted of assaulting a woman on Finchley High Road. During his time in power, before he was kicked out of his GLA and council seats by the electorate and thrown out of Conservative Party, he proudly stated that his policy was "roads, roads, roads". He was even banned from driving for speeding, although this didn't bother his colleagues, who clealry thought he was wonderful.

Since his departure, the Conservative Party in Barnet has slowly started to come to its senses. They have realised that in a modern suburb, it is good for no one but the very selfish driver, to have such a policy. The Barnet Eye is therefore most pleased to see that at last, Dean Cohen, who seems to have a bit more sense than his predecessor as roads supremo, is taking road safety seriously. Barnet Council has a press release on its website detailing a whole raft of changes, designed to role back the legacy of Brian Coleman and his championing of  awful, inconsiderate drivers.

We are also seeing proposals for 20mph areas in front of the Boroughs schools. Unlike Mr Coleman, we welcome any move which keeps children safe. We offer our heart congratuulations to Dean Cohen for his initiative.

The full text of the council press release is detailed below. It is just a shame that it has taken 15 years and the demise of Coleman for such sensible measures to be adopted.
Barnet Council has approved plans to extend Moving Traffic Contraventions enforcement to 14 additional sites in the borough where traffic restrictions exist. The council will also be introducing more schools into the programme throughout 2017.
The plans form part of the council’s Parking Policy, implemented in January 2015, to make Barnet’s roads safer, keep traffic moving and reduce air pollution. The new locations follow the success of recent enforcement actions which has seen a two-thirds increase in the number of people complying with parking regulations around schools.
From April 2016, the council has been using CCTV traffic enforcement to monitor nearly 60 locations in a bid to improve road safety. The latest roll-out includes tackling areas where offenders ignore no entry signs, park on school zigzags, block yellow box junctions or exceed weight or width restrictions.
Barnet forms part of the transport network into and out of central London, with a number of significant roads running through the borough including the M1, M25 and A406.
Councillor Dean Cohen, Chairman of the Environment Committee, said: “Protecting children is one of our biggest priorities, and ensuring the roads around schools are kept safe is absolutely vital to achieving that. Already, we’ve seen an improvement in people’s driving habits with the number of motorists complying by not parking on yellow zig zags around schools increase by 67%.
“Increasing the number of sites allows us to target specific areas where we know there is a particular problem around road safety and congestion, and then move on once people start complying with the law.
“By improving road safety, traffic congestion and air pollution in this way we know we are making a real impact on residents’ lives.”
For more information on parking controls and moving traffic contraventions in Barnet, visit

Sunday, 15 January 2017

The Tweets of the week in the London Borough of Barnet - 15/01/2017

Without further ado.

1. The Burnt Oak Tune staff are well known for their helpful messages

2. Mr Reasonable puts in stark terms the decline of the NHS in our neighbourhood
3. Our railwaymen are working hard in the rain to keep us moving
4. Some nice pictures of a foggy Totteridge from Derry Thorburn
5. Mill Hill Residents Association are worried about loss of green belt

6. Debbie Tanner is rather keen on the rolling stock that passes through Mill Hill Boradway.  Usually when I visit the station there are no trains and loads of people. She is lucky!

7. Nice Tweet from Finchley Horticultural Society

8. The Cricklewood Station robin is looking for his breakfast
9. Barnet FC have a friendly this week
10. We had a rather talented artist in Mill Hill this week

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Saturday List #112 - Ten things that are seriously wrong in our Borough

Yesterday I had a nice chat with a friend of mine who's son requires a motorised wheelchair to get around. He is currently studying at University. He travels to and from his Uni in the Midlands by bus and train. The first leg of this journey requires him to get a 113 bus from Mill Hill to Hendon, then the Northern Line from Hendon to Kings Cross, as there is no disabled access at Mill Hill Broadway. This adds approx 30 minutes to his journey. To install disabled access at Mill Hill would be extremely easy. A simple overbridge with lifts, as per the one at West Hampstead and a disabled access on Platform 4. It is scandalous that neither Mill Hill Broadaway or Mill Hill East have disabled access. So todays Saturday list is things I consider seriously wrong in our Borough, that impact the lives of many people.

1. No disabled access at Mill Hill Broadway Station

2. No disabled access at Mill Hill East Station

3. No disabled access at Burnt Oak Station

4. No disabled access at Colindale Station

5. No disabled access at Brent Cross Station

6. No disabled Access at Hendon National Rail Station

7. No disabled access at Totteridge Station

8. No disabled access at East Finchley Station

9.  No disabled access at Cricklewood Station

10. Brent Cross, Mill Hill East, Colindale and West Hendon all have huge mega developments going, on where developers are making billions of pounds of profits. Not one of these developers have been compelled to spend a penny on making any of the above stations disabled accessable. This is totally disgusting and shows exactly what is wrong with our community.

Friday, 13 January 2017

The Friday Joke - 13/01/2017 - Engineers and Managers

It's Friday, so it is time for the Friday joke!

A man is flying a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts, "Excuse me. Can you help me? I promised my friend I would meet him half an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."
The man below says, "Yes, You are in a hot air balloon, hovering approximately 30 feet above this field. You are between 40 and 42 degrees N. Latitude, and between 58 and 60 degrees W. longitude".
"You must be an engineer," says the balloonist.
"I am," replies the man. "How did you know?"
"Well," says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost."
The man below says, "You must be a manager." "I am," replies the balloonist, "but how did you know?"
"Well," says the man below, "you don't know where you are, or where you are going, You have made a promise which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now it is somehow my fault." 

Daniel Hope Funeral Arrangements and Tributes

Former Barnet Councillor and Blogger Daniel Hope tragically passed away earlier this week at the age of only 44.

As many friends, colleagues and associates of Dan read this blog, I've been asked to publish the funeral arrangements.The funeral will take place 11am today (Friday 13 Jan) at 

Bushey Jewish Cemetery
Little Bushey Lane
Herts WD23 3TN.

All will be most welcome.

Perhaps the best tribute to Dan was not surprisingly written by his friend and co-conspiritor David Miller AKA Don't Call Me Dave -

There have also been nice tributes in the Barnet Press and The Barnet Times.  The Evening Standard has also been tweeting and put an article online.

In his short life, perhaps the thing Dan will probably best be remembered for his dedication to filming Council business and other public events in Barnet. I think the best personal tribute I can make is put a link to his video channel on Vimeo.  Dan posted a total of 466 videos on the site. That is a huge body of work. Without doubt the loss of Dan and his video camera is something that will do nothing for transparency in politics in Barnet. Whatever disagreements anyone had with Dan, one can only applaud his efforts to improve council transparency. 

Maybe a fitting memorial would be for the Council to make arrangements for a proper Barnet Council video channel, to ensure that all meetings are available for Barnet residents to review, in his honour. In line with Dan's views on such matters, maybe this could be run by volunteers and perhaps could be done as a  joint venture with Middlesex University or local schools. Such a channel would provide young people with an opportunity to get experience of filming/editing and broadcasting and would be a huge innovation. The one thing Dan proved beyiond doubt is that a video record of Barnet Council meetings is a highly useful resource. Lets make sure that this lesson isn't lost with his passing.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Dan Hope AKA The Barnet Bugle RIP

The Barnet Eye today learned of the sad news that former Barnet Councillor and Barnet Blogger Daniel Hope AKA The Barnet Bugle has passed away. We send our condolences to his family at this time. The news was broken in an email by Conservative Councillor Joan Scannell who said "I have just received the very sad news that Daniel Hope, after a period of serious illness, has passed away." His former Conservative Council colleague, Councillor Hugh Rayner added "Shocking news. A lovely guy. Always a worthy adversary."

Several Barnet Councillors have added tweets about the passing of Mr Hope.


The Wednesday Poem #8 - The empty chair at the table

There's an empty chair at the table,
There's a place we didn't set,
There's a spare christmas cracker left in the the box,
Mum isn't with us this year,
Mum won't be joining us for dinner,
All we have is an empty chair at the table,
And a memory of someone we love.

Copyright 2017 - Roger Tichborne

Happier times

This was going to be the Xmas poem, but I thought I didn't want to upset anyone before Xmas. I think Christmas is a difficult time for us when we lose someone we love. That chair will always be empty. All we have is the memory.

In Memory of Celia Tichborne 1925-2008.
Every Wednesday, we feature a poem and a picture about our neighbourhood. If you have a poem and a picture you'd like to feature, just email to me using the link in the sidebar. I've written poetry for many years, for my own amusement. It was suggested that I share some of it. I hope you enjoy it, I'd love to feature anything you have written. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

How Jeremy Corbyn can win the next election

The Labour Party is in a mess. I am not entirely convinced the sickness isn't terminal. If it is, then it would be a tragedy for the UK. I believe that the problem is fairly and squarely down to treacherous MPs working to shaft the elected leader.

I also believe that Corbyn has not helped himself. Over a year into his leadership and no significant and identifiable policies. Unlike his treacherous MPs, this is an issue he can solve. All he needs is to be bold. Here are five policies I believe would changes his fortunes overnight.

1. Renationalise the Railways. The fiasco that is Thameslink and Southern shows that privatisation has failed. Kick out failing companies and set up a new national rail operator.If a franchise can be demonstrated to be working then I have no objection to them running services, but most are aweful.

2. End the NHS internal market. This is a costly failure driven by bonkers right wing ideology. End it now and spend the cash wasted on lawyers, accountants and bureaucracy on doctors, nurses and patients.

3. Abolish student loans. This is a tax on education. As a developed economy, we need a skilled work force. Bring back proper apprenticeships and give them degree status. Many parents and young people recognise the unfairness of the system. We need to match the needs of our economy to the education we are giving. At present many graduates are not fit for the workplace. Ensure that when they leave Uni they are employable.

4. Cut inheritance tax to 5%. This may seem anti socialist but it would be a pragmatic step that made avoidance pointless and would bring in cash. It would also end the penalisation of hard working parents in pretty average properties in London who's estates are being stung.

5. Scrap Trident. It serves no military purpose and is a white elephant.Use the saved cash to fix the airforce and pay for the above policies. If we had a decent sized Air Force and a few air dropped nuclear bombs, that would be enough deterrent. That is the opinion of the former chief of the RAF. It would allow us to fix our economy.

If Corbyn is truly radical, then this program would go a long way to fix the nation.