Sunday, July 30, 2006

In Support of Israel

As a Jewish Councillor and strong supporter of Israel I think it is vital that I show my support for Israel at this difficult time. Whilst it is important to remember that many innocent civilians are dying on both sides in this war, it is important to that Israel is defending itself against Hezbolah and Hamas enemies, supported by Iran and Syria that are intent on wiping Israel off the map.

Israel therefore as any other State has a right to defend itself when its cities are attacked killing civilians and soldiers are killed and kidnapped from inside their own country. Therefore Israel has to strike back against its enemy which cowardly attacks from inside civilian areas. This is because they are not concerned about the amount of casualties on either side as long as they can destroy Israel

At this time it is important to remember the words of former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir when she said
"We will have peace with the Arabs when they learn to love their children more than they hate us."

I was also pleased to be at the British Rally in support of Israel last week when we said Yes to Peace and No to Terror. The Chief Rabbi summed up the messsage of the day when he said

What Hizbullah and Hamas have said in word and deed is:
We will kill you if you stay
And we will kill you if you leave.
We will kill you if you retaliate
And we will kill you if you don’t retaliate.
What can Israel do but to seek to end the terror
That threatens and is meant to threaten its very existence?
When alone among the 192 nations that make up the United Nations, after 58
years it still finds its very right to exist denied?

Alan Senitt z"l

As many of you know may know, a friend of mine, Alan Senitt recently died in tragic circumstance. He was a friend and colleague and will be deeply missed by many who knew him as the website testifies to.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Weekly Update

Let me tell you what I have been up to over the last week an a half.

Last Tuesday I attended a meeting organised by the Leader of the Council and representatives from the Edgware Jewish Primary School on Hale Lane. I thought this was a very useful meeting and will allow the school to find a way to revise their plans that will see the development of the school to go ahead.

On Wednesday I attended the Planning and Environment Committee where we talked about trees. It is amazing how this can cause such a long discussion. Thursday was the Crime and Housing Scrutiny Committee.

Thursday - I will be attending the Crime and Housing Scrutiny Committee.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

What am I up to this week w/b 2 July 2006

In order to encourage myself to post regularly I am going to start letting you know my timetable for this week and also to review the previous week.

Tuesday - Following the failure of the Hendon Planning Committee to approve the planning application for Edgware Jewish Primary School on Hale Lane. I will be attending a meeting with the Leader of the Council, representatives from EJPS, other councillors and planning officers, to see if a way forward can be found to allow this school to start a development to allow this new school to have the buildings they require when they open as scheduled in September.

Wednesday - I will be attending the Planning and Environment Committee the main business of which is to decide on the planning application at the Sternberg Centre in Finchley.

Thursday - I will be attending the Crime and Housing Scrutiny Committee.

Sadly with England being knocked out the world cup yesterday there will not be the excitement of hoping England win the World Cup.

What happend at my first Full Council

I attended my first Full Council on Tuesday 27 June. It was very exciting and nice to see that the Conservatives won all the votes. I feel that Labour and the Lib Dems did not realise that they had not won the recent election and if they want to become more popular with the residents of Barnet have to learn some important lessons, such that people want high quality vaule for money services, but where possible also lower levels of Council Tax. I hope as a Councillor I will help to be able to achieve this.

At the meeting I made my maiden speech which I think went well and was supported by my fellow Conservative councillors. I spoke about why Barnet Council should not attempt to be awarded FairTrade Status until we can afford the extra cost or is funded by central government. The text of the speech can be seen below.

In addition I asked 2 questions.

1- In which I found out that none of Barnet's secondary schools are in special measures. This is excellent news and down to the staff of Barnet Council and the indiviudal schools in helping to improve the education facilities that the children of this borough receive.

2- I found out that Barnet has managed to reduced the number of road casualties in Barnet by 46% since the introduction of the policy to remove road humps. This should encourage critics such as the Mayor of London and others to apologise for the harsh critism of this policy and maybe they will even feel free to learn from this policy.


Below is the text of my speech speaking out against Labour's motion on FairTrade.

Speech Against Fair Trade Motion - 27 June 2006
Thank you Madam Mayor.
Before turning to the subject of this motion, as this is my maiden speech I would firstly like to pay tribute to my predecessor Councillor for Edgware Ward.
Before he stood down at the elections in May, Malcolm Lester had served Edgware Ward for 24 years and was seen as a distinguished councillor that always served his constituents well.
And I understand most importantly stood up when their democratic rights were being questioned.
I wish him well and many happy years in a hard-earned retirement
Madam Mayor, you might like to know that I was not even 2 years old, when Malcolm Lester was first elected a Councillor.
Although I’m a little older now…. I hope as a Councillor for Edgware I will continue to serve the area well together with my colleagues Councillor Hart and Councillor Scannell.
As a Councillor I will hope to ensure that this Council spends the money it raises from our residents in a wise and value for money way, which is why I am speaking against this motion and supporting the ammendment in the name of Cllr Freer.
Madam Mayor I would love to be able to support this motion, indeed the principles behind this motion are very valid.
As someone who has worked on a farm often in excessive heat, I know how difficult a job it is and why it should be valued.

In order to allow the development of some of the less developed countries in the world, producers should be able to get a fair price for what they sell.
I would go further though, arguing for proper free trade around the world and the reduction in trade barriers such as the European CAP that will allow these farmers and other producers to get a fair price for what they sell.
Therefore, it is important for all of us as individuals to support the Fairtrade campaign.
However, I can't support this motion proposed by the opposition and would urge Members to support the amendment in the name of Cllr Freer.
I do not see how as a responsible Council that is committed to providing high-quality front-line services for our residents we can support this motion that would require recruiting an extra member of staff.
And result in tens of thousands of extra pounds in costs for the Council year on year.
Let me ask those members who were thinking of supporting this motion.
While being a responsible Council and having a balanced budget, where would they sooner the money go?
Would they want a fair-trade employee to replace a librarian?
Would they want a fair-trade employee to replace street cleaners?
Or would they want a fair-trade employee to replace a teacher?
I know where I want our resident's hard-earned Council tax to go.
Turning to the Liberal Democrat ammendment which I also urge members to oppose. There is no point in the Cabinet waisting resources researching the value of achieving Fairtrade status, until we know the Council can afford it.
This will not be possible until the Labour Government gives Barnet a fair deal.
This Council has scarce resources and whilst that continues to be the case, we should be continuing to prioritise front-line services.
As long as Barnet continues to be under funded by the Labour Government, I am afraid this will continue to be the case.
I therefore urge members to support the amendment proposed by Cllr Freer, so that this Council will only campaign to be awarded Fairtrade status when the necessary resources are made available from central Government.


I apologise for not writing an article and keeping you updated for the past month, but I have been busy getting use to life as a councillor.

So what does life as a councillor involve. There are really 2 main jobs. Firstly it is to take part in the committee meetings for which I am a member. The list of Committees which I am on are:

Full Council - This is the main decision body (basically the Parliament) of Barnet Council, which meets approximately every 6 weeks. (Please see a later message about my first Full Council on 27 June.

Planning and Environment Committee
Hendon Planning Sub-Committee
Hendon Environment Sub-Committee

These 3 committees make decisions on planning development applications, decisions for road works and how road facilities can be improved, refuse collection, parks and many other issues.

Education Scrutiny Committee - This committee reviews the standard of school and childcare facilities in Barnet. One of the issues I have particularly requested to discuss over the coming year is to see how our high quality schools can encourage the children in Barnet to take up science as they continue their education. If our industries in this country are going to develop and science is able to be continually taught well in schools we need good science graduates and so it is important to ensure that a high proportion of Barnet's pupils are not now put off Science at school as seems to be incresingly happening around the country.

Crime and Housing Scrutiny Committee- This committee reviews crime and housing issues of which the first meeting will be this week.

All meeting agendas and minutes can be found on the Barnet website at

The second role of my work as a Councillor is to try and resolve issues that the residents of Edgware raise with me. I have had quite a few issues raised with me so far, which is helping me further to understand the issues in Edgware. I hope I have helped to solve some problems and if not at least explained why some things occur and can not be changed.

If there is anything I can help with or if you would like me to raise an issue at one of the committees please feel free to contact me at or call me on 020 8958 0640.