Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Exciting news for library users in Finchley

Finchley Church End library is a well used community facility but its first floor does not offer proper disabled access and, in my opinion, it’s in great need of a refurbishment which many would rightly consider a luxury in the current climate.

I therefore welcome proposals to move the library just a short distance away into a modern, fit for purpose, DDA compliant building as part of the Gateway House redevelopment. 

If the proposal goes ahead, following public planning consultation and approval, local Councillors will ensure the move will be as smooth as possible.  Service at the current site will need to be suspended for a very short period in order to facilitate the move of stock etc. but this would be a very small price to pay for a much enhanced community facility.

Watch this space!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

The juvenile Left

It must be hard being a left winger these days; defeated by Thatcherism and almost, but not completely, abandoned by the Labour Party when it finally realised there weren’t enough socialists in the country to vote them into government.  It would not have been easy for any true socialist to witness the amendment to Labour’s Clause IV during the party’s presentational shift to ‘blue Labour’.  Clause IV may mention ‘socialism’ but not in the way the old version did.

Labour, however, did not let down socialists with its thirteen year spending bonanza which now, thankfully, is being significantly curbed.  Socialists must be wincing at the public spending cuts, welfare reform and general disdain for left-leaning principles which put this country’s public finances in such a mess.

So there are plenty of things for socialists to protest about at the moment and the passing of Baroness Thatcher reminded them how well they were beaten some 30 years ago.  How did they react to her death?  Were they keen to show they’ve ‘got over it’ and can now present us with socialism for the 21st century?  Or were they keen to resuscitate 30 year old arguments and grudges?  We all know the answer to that one which reminded me of some advice from an old friend, “never bring up an argument you’ve lost!”

During the last couple of weeks, a significant number of people on the left let their comrades down by how they chose to react to the death of the former Prime Minister.  Rather than simply state their opposition to Thatcher’s policies, many socialists gleefully expressed their pleasure that a woman who had the audacity to implement policies they disagreed with has died.  It’s a childish mindset beyond belief: ‘I disagreed with her. I thought her policies were wrong and I didn’t like their impact, therefore, I’m glad she’s dead’.  Many on the left have plunged to a new low in a desperate attempt to get some false sense of ‘revenge’ over the Conservative standard bearer who democratically and successfully led the charge against them.

In Barnet, we’ve become accustomed to the juvenile left, a faction of socialists and anti-council activists who resort to name calling, personal attacks (as opposed to just attacking policy), trivial pursuits and scaremongering.  Not all on the left act like this of course but a significant number do.  Small groups have tried to halt meetings of democratically elected councillors by uncouthly shouting and screaming.   Apparently, not doing what a small group of screamers and shouters want is undemocratic!  They completely miss the fact that the councillors they scream at have been elected by thousands of residents who clearly wanted a Conservative administration and expect it to do what Conservatives do; run efficient services and keep council tax under control.  Protest is one thing, but interfering with the right of elected members to conduct official business by screaming at them is quite another. 

Irrationality, uncouth tactics and comments, name calling, personalisation of arguments, speculation giving over to ‘stirring’ – these are the tools of many on the left borne out of desperation, defeat and the knowledge their policies don’t really strike a chord with the majority of people in this country and this borough.  In British politics, this sort of behaviour comes with the territory and is water off a duck’s back for those of us used to it.  The only other place it’s expected is the playground.  What the practitioners of juvenile politics don’t appreciate, though, is that their methods backfire: any ordinary resident witnessing such childishness will run a mile from them and their ‘ideals’ – and that applies to those on the right as well as the left.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Finchley's First Lady

Baroness Thatcher, Finchley’s first lady MP, will be sorely missed by many local residents and members of Finchley and Golders Green Conservative association.  Residents and conservative activists saw a different side to the ‘Iron Lady’; a warm, caring, thoughtful mother and dedicated MP who also happened to be the best post-war Prime Minister we’ve ever had. 

Even after she stepped down as MP in 1992, Baroness Thatcher remained interested in the area and regularly saw old friends.  Not too long ago, I enjoyed a chat and cup of tea with her at Avenue House where she was obviously very pleased to be back in Finchley.  

For me, her passing symbolises the slow loss of a generation of great, heavyweight politicians.  She told it like it was and stuck to her beliefs regardless of what the latest focus group said or how loud the vocal minorities screamed at public meetings and the picket lines. 

Some of her critics have said awful, distasteful and childish things the last couple of days and I will not give them attention they don’t deserve except to refer you to this excellent article explaining their motive.  These people hate Thatcher because she defeated them.  The public at large backed her, they wanted the leadership and direction she so strongly provided.

Baroness Thatcher was inspirational and she made a huge positive difference to the UK and the world.  Without her perseverance the 80s would have been a repeat of the 70s with Britain never making the transition from a limping laughing stock to a major world economy. 

Baroness Thatcher is an example to all in public life; if you believe in something and know it to be the right way forward, you must persevere, stand firm and not let the vocal minority and vested interests detract you.  May she rest in peace.