Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Would you want the BNP in your house?

This week the BNP have been making the news both nationally and locally here in Edgware.

At the national level there has been much debate about whether Nick Griffin the BNP leader and David Irving should have been invited to speak at the Oxford Union. Those who said they should have been invited, claim that denying them a chance to speak at the Oxford Union is denying them free speech.

This argument though misunderstands what free speech is. Here in the United Kingdom we believe and allow everyone to express their views no matter what it is as long as it does not encourage harm to others. We therefore often have to hear in the media the awful things that Nick Griffin and David Irving come out with. We also allow the BNP to stand in elections. This is freedom of speech.

However, to invite these two disgusting men to the Oxford Union, one of the most prestigious private clubs in this country for debate, does not allow them freedom of speech, because they already have that. What it does is give a platform for racist views to be expressed and so accepted and valued while also upsetting millions of people including many members of the Oxford Union who saw their institution accepting racist white supremacist views.

At a local level I will also be out campaigning in a local Council election in Stanmore, next door to my ward of Edgware, where the BNP have decided to stand a candidate. While, we allow the BNP have every right to stand for election, I hope I can encourage the people of Stanmore to turn out on mass to vote for democratic parties (I hope the Conservative Party). This will then show how the local residents dont want anything to do with the BNP in North West London.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Labour Oppose improvements at Edgware Libarary

I apologise for not writing an article recently, but I just haven't had time.

However, the debate and vote last night at the council meeting has really spurred me into action.

A motion was put forward and won by the Conservative Group to re-invigorate libraries as centres for community life, which will see:

- Edgware Library refurbished, with improvements to its facilities, including the provision of public toilets, disabled access, new RFID technology to allow self-service and new IT facilities.
- Savings being made to allow for Edgware Library to open on Sundays.
- Burnt Oak Library upgraded to become a major hub for local residents.

However, for some reason the Labour Group condemned this new innovative library strategy and then did not vote for the important improvements to Edgware and Burnt Oak libraries. However, before deciding to abstain in the formal vote, they had initially voted against the proposals, before realising that they would be criticised.

However, they should not only be criticised for not supporting these proposals, but I can see that the local Labour Party can be seen to be just as chicken as Gordon Brown who also a chicken and was too scared to call an election.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Wembley, Wembley - Traffic Traffic?

As a result of the traffic gridlock caused by the England-Germany match on 22 August i have been working with Council officers to try and resolve the traffic problems caused by the new Wembley Stadium.

The night of 22 August, experience worse traffic conditions than normal because of the normal commuting, plus the England match with supporters trying to park in nearby stations. This was made even worse by an emergency road closure in Harrow due to a burst water main.

However, as matches and events at the new Wembley have caused traffic problems in Edgware caused by people trying to park in Stanmore and Canons Park, we have been working with Harrow Council to try and resolve the situation.
We are working with Harrow Council and local residents to try and find the optimum parking solutions around their tube stations. While we are also trying to work with Brent Council and Wembley Stadium to encourge their visitors to avoid parking locally which causes gridlock between Edgware and Stanmore.

Monday, August 20, 2007

When will Ken start helping the people of Edgware?

In February I explained how I had received the support of Barnet Council and Matthew Offord, the Barnet Cabinet Member for Envrionment and Transport to request that Ken Livingstone the Mayor of London and Transport For London consider re-zoning Edgware Station from Zone 5 to Zone 4. By being in Zone 5 commuters to and from Edgware Station are penalised with a higher cost of travel compared to customers using similar stations in the suburbs of Londo, while also receiving a poorer service as trains often don't go to Edgware but instead terminate at Golders Green and Colindale stations.

I therefore recently wrote to Transport for London to see if they had considered my request for an improved service at Edgware Station and for the re-zoning of Edgware to zone 4. If you also want to see improvements to services at Edgware Station you can contact TfL at
020 7126 4071

I will keep you informed of any responses I get from TfL.

Below is a copy of my correspondence.

Dear Sir/Madam

Last February I received support from Barnet Council to lobby Transport for London to move Edgware Station from Zone 5 to Zone 4. By being in Zone 5 commuters to and from Edgware Station are penalised with a higher cost of travel compared to customers using similar stations in the suburbs of London. At the same time as having to pay more to travel to and from Edgware Station, these same customers also receive a lower quality service. This is because many trains terminate at either Golders Green or Colindale stations and so have to change trains and have their journeys delayed, which is becoming an increasing occurrence.

As I have still not heard whether Transport for London have considered the request from Barnet Council to move Edgware station to zone 4 I hope that you have not forgotten about this request and I look forward to a favourable decision.

Yours Sincerely

Richard Weider
Cllr for Edgware Ward

83 Highview Avenue, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 9TY Tel - 020 8958 0640


Dear Councillor Weider

Thank you for your recent enquiry, about whether Edgware Station might be re-zoned for charging purposese, from Zone 5 to Zone 4.

This issue was , as I am sure you are aware, raised with the Mayor by Leo Boland, Barnet's Chief Executive, earlier this year . The Mayor replied on 15th February - a copy of that letter is attached.

As the Mayor explains, we need to bear in mind that if some fares go down, as would be the case if we re-zoned Edgware to Zone 4, other fares must go up to maintain London Underground’s revenue overall. This revenue is essential if we are to continue to invest in the modernisation of the Underground.

As promised in the letter, we have looked at the zoning of Edgware station in comparison to other stations in north London, on the basis of distance from Zone 1. This showed that, overall, the allocation of Edgware within Zone 5 is correct . As a result, the level of fares from that station are not such as to warrant other fares going up to make up the consequential revenue loss were it to be re-zoned. Therefore, we do not intend to re-zone Edgware to Zone 4.

I am sorry this response is not what you were hoping to hear.

Yours sincerely

Chris Widgery

Borough Liaison Manager
10th Floor, Windsor House
42-50 Victoria Street
020 7126 4071


Dear Mr Widgery

Thank you for your response to my email. While I can understand TfL's desire to maintain the overall revenue of the underground, what I can deduce from this is that TfL does not care about the concerns about the residents of the outer suburbs of London, as much as it does those residents living in the centre of London.

While you have addressed the issue of why Edgware Station can not be moved to Zone 4, you have not addressed my other concern about trains regularly terminating at Golders Green and Colindale stations. As a result, while commuters travelling to and from Edgware Station have to pay a higher price, these commuters leaving from Edgware Station have fewer trains per hour leaving from Edgware Station than further up the line, despite it being a busy station. While when travelling northbound trains often terminate at Golders Green or Colindale stations, many times unexpectedly, meaning that commuters travelling to Edgware have to wait for another train and than struggle to get on to what is already a crowded train.

I look forward to you letting me know that TfL will be providing a better service of trains to Edgware, if given your argument the price of the journey can not be reduced.

Yours Sincerely

Richard Weider
Cllr for Edgware Ward

83 Highview Avenue, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 9TY Tel - 020 8958 0640

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Science in Barnet

As I have previously reported over the past year I have chaired a working group examining the quality of science teaching in Barnet schools. Last week I was pleased to present a report to the Education and Children Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Over recent years there has been lots of controversy that fewer and fewere students are studying science beyond GCSE's as it is seen as too difficult a subject to study at A-Level and university. As a result some university science departments were shutting and there have been worries that we will have a lack of science graduates to work in Britain's scientific industries and to teach science at school.

In Barnet other councillors and I were worried that if the excellent pupils of Barnet were not studying science beyond GCSE, where would the future science graduates come from in this country.

One way in which the Government has tried to reverse this trend is to introduce a new GCSE science curriculum. Therefore, as part of our review into how science is taught in Barnet's schools the committee decided to look at how successful the new curriculum had been.

We carried out a number of interviews with science teachers and pupils across Barnet.
What was heartening to see was that in Barnet the state of science does not seem to be as bad as some news reports have suggested. In a number of schools there is already a high take-up of science courses at A-Level and many schools also offer more vocational science courses. In addition all schools which we went to had a full compliment of science teachers who had science degrees.

We also found that exam results were also high and so the subjects may not be as hard as the perception that may exist.

In producing our report we found that schools in Barnet were happy with how Barnet Local Authority had helped them in preparing for the new GCSE science curriculum.

An interesting area of our findings were that pupils and teachers found the new GCSE curriculum more interesting than the previous traditional curriculum. This was one of the aims of the new curriculum to open pupil's up to the real world nature of science, by showing how science affects our diets, our climate, nuclear power and many other interesting areas.

However, we found that this change in style compromised the success which our more able pupils can achieve. We found that the more able students were not being challenged by the new curriculum and so may struggle to have a strong understanding of scientific theories if they are to carry on to study science at A-Levels and university. We therefore called on the local authority to offer support to science teachers to provide a challenging curriculum for all pupils particularly for the more able pupils. We also called on the Cabinet Member of Children's Services to write to the Secretary of State for Schools to advise that in Barnet we feel the GCSE science curriculum need to provide a more challenging option for the more able pupils.

In working on this report I found it very interesting looking at how science is taught in our schools and the hard work that the local authority employees and teachers put into helping our pupils to achieve to their potential.

It was also important to note know that it is important to make subjects enjoyable to encourage students to work in school but at the same time, theories and issues must be taught properly so that they also get a full understanding of the subject.

The full report can be found at:

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Good News for Edgware Library

At last years local elections my colleagues Cllr Hart, Cllr Scannell and I as councillors in Edgware pledged to campaign to improve Edgware Library. I am pleased to say that our hard work has paid off.
John Marshall the Cabinet Member for Libraries this week announced a new Leading Libraries policy, to go to Cabinet for agreement this week. The policy follows the similar successful Premier Parks policy recently introduced by Matthew Offord Cabinet Member for the Environment.
Edgware Library has been chosen has one of six leading libraries in Barnet. Over the next six months Edgware library will be enhanced to provide wi-fi provision, and self-service machines amongst other benefits including better information about council services and more disabled access. As a result the library will be more modern and brought into the 21st century by being equipped.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Helping to Free the 3 Israeli Hostages

Last night with about 2000 other people, many of whom were from Edgware and Barnet, I attended a rally outside the Syrian embassy calling for three Israeli soldiers to be released from being held hostage.

These three soldiers are:
Gilad Shalit who is being held in the Palestinian Territories
Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev who are being held hostage after being captured from sovereign Israeli territory by Hizbollah

These 3 soldiers were all captured a year ago, which was one of the causes of the Israeli war with Hizbollah. However, one year on despite the UN Resolution which ended the war calling for these soldiers to be released we are still waiting for their return.

However, let us hope that just a few weeks after we heard the good news that the BBC reporter Alan Johnson had been released from also being held hostage in the Gaza strip, these 3 soldiers and all other hostages around the world can also be released.

One thing really struck me though when I was at the rally last night with 2000 other people and also about the rally's to free Alan Johnson. Why are people that attend these rally's able to protest peacefully. However, when ever we see protests by Moslem organisations, usually against our and other democratic governments, we see the people attending calling for people to be killed and flags being burnt. Therefore, while these more aggressive and violent protests may gain more media attention in the short term, it shows that they find it harder to justify their argument peacefully, and so I am sure in the long term it means they wont be able to win the argument.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Latest on Selecting your Conservative Candidate for Hendon

Last night four excellent candidates were nominated by Hendon Conservative Association to take part in the Open Primary to become the next Parliamentary Candidate for Hendon.

The 4 candidates with their websites as they come in are:

Rebecca Harris
Sheila Lawlor -
Matthew Offord -
Bob Seely

Attendance at the Open Primary and participation in the vote is open to all registered voters within the Hendon Parliamentary Constituency (Edgware, Hendon, Hale, Mill Hill, Burnt Oak, Colindale and West Hendon).

If you would like to attend and vote you must pre-register by 5pm on Monday 9th July via
telephone on 020 8445 4292
email at

The Open Primary will take place on 10 July at St Mary's High School, Sunngingfields Road, Hendon, NW4 4QR.

Anyone who wishes to take part in the voting must be in their seat by 7:15pm.

Monday, June 18, 2007


I am pleased to let you know that Hendon Conservative Association will be holding an Open Primary on 10 July to select the next Conservative Candidate for the Hendon Parliamentary Constituency at the next General Election.

Attendance at the Open Primary and participation in the vote is open to all registered voters within the Hendon Parliamentary Constituency (Edgware, Hendon, Hale, Mill Hill, Burnt Oak, Colindale and West Hendon).

If you would like to attend and vote you must pre-register by 5th July via
telephone on 020 8445 4292
email at

The Open Primary will take place on 10 July at St Mary's High School, Sunngingfields Road, Hendon, NW4 4QR.

Anyone who wishes to take part in the voting must be in their seat by 7:15pm.

Further details on the candidates will be available shortly.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Links to new blogs in Israel

In my last article I wrote about why the academic boycott of Israel is wrong and should be abandoned.

However, while I am not (yet) living in Israel it is difficult to fully articulate what it is like for Israeli's living there at the current time. I therefore recommend three blogs which I have added in my links. These are excellently written by former Londoners who have made aliyah (gone to live) in Israel.

These are by

Jonny Lipczer -
Jonny Steel -
Calev ben-Dor -

Sunday, June 10, 2007

I felt ashamed to be British

Last week I was visiting Israel as part of the Adam Science Leadership Group.

This visit was 40 years since the beginning of the 6 day war. In 1967 Israel a new country of only 19 years old and at some points less than 10 miles wide was under threat of extinction from its Arab neighbours who were threatening to wipe it out, Israeli’s and the Jewish people around the world were fearful for the future of the country worried that Israel would be wiped out. Thank G-d, Israel was able to win the war and in defeating its attackers was able to strengthen itself and the size of the country.

Visiting Israel last week I realised that again after 40 years Israelis were worried about their country existing into the future and I recognized that the Jews of the world and even the rest of the world should have this same fear.

A fear that Israel will again be attacked by its Arab neighbours but also a fear that the rest of the world no longer believes that Israel should have a right to exist.

This was highlighted while I was in the Israel when the British Universities and Colleges Union voted for an academic boycott of Israel. Through voting for this policy the academic union of British Universities decided that Israeli educational institutions, Israeli Professors and Israeli students should not have a right to exist and should not gain any support from British academic institutions.

As a British person in Israel, Israeli’s were asking me how the British people could have a view that their country should not have any rights. Yet as a British person I was not able to justify the vote and it made me feel ashamed to be British.

Why has this union chosen to vilify Israel, only one side of a dispute lasting decades that will not be solved by supporting one side over the other?
Why Israel, when it is a democratic state, when there are many more countries with much worse civil rights offences?

I do not know the answer to these questions. Yet I can tell you why this academic boycott of Israel is wrong.

I am not going to concentrate on the diplomatic and legal reasons why these questions are wrong, which are fully explored in many places elsewhere and which I believe in as well. Instead I want to tell you about how these boycotts will destroy Israeli society.

During my visit to Israel I saw many excellent projects of voluntary organisations and support groups that are helping to build a better society in Israel. Many of these charities and organisations are made up of young Israeli’s either still at university or just out of university.

We saw young Israeli groups trying to build communities where young people that were excluded from mainstream society were helped to reinvigorate their lives, we saw university students living in deprived towns in order to help re-build and reinvest in these towns to assist in developing these areas to make them more prosperous. We also saw ways in which Israeli Jewish citizens and Israeli Arab citizens were working together. We even heard that the Dean of Haifa University is an Israeli Arab who proudly believes in the State of Israel.

All these groups and different projects made me proud of the country that Israel has become and is continuing to develop into. However, boycotts such as by the UCU are putting all this under threat and threatening of the future of the State of Israel, a state for the Jewish people that should continue have the right to exist peacefully and safely.

I therefore call on the UCU to end there boycott of Israel.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Andrew Dismore and his Parliamentary Colleagues should be ashamed

Yesterday was a bad day for democracy in this country.

Andrew Dismore, Labour MP for Hendon was one of 113 MPs to pass a bill which would block the public from finding out information about the work they are doing and how much of the public's money they are spending.

Could Andrew Dismore have supported this policy, because he is fed up with the the media showing that he is an MP, which claims the most amount of tax-payers money for his office.

Andrew Dismore and his colleagues should remember that they are not special, rather he should remember he is a public servant and so should not stop the public from trying to find out information on how much he spends....

and is there anything else he is trying to hide?

Monday, April 30, 2007

Become a friend of Edgwarebury Park

Last night I attended the inaugral meeting of the Friends of Edgwarebury Park. This group has been set up by a group of residents in Edgware who want to ensure that the park can be maintained and improved for their's and everybody's enjoyment. I thought the meeting was very productive and came up with some good ideas for how the park can be used by more people and improved in the future.
If you are interested in how the park can be improved and would like to have your say why not get involved in this group. If you would like to get involved please let me know or you can contact the Council's park team on 020 8359 7870 or and they will put you in contact with the group.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Why Barnet doesn’t need fortnightly refuse collections

Given the recent coverage about waste collection, I welcome the announcement this week by the Council that in Barnet we will not be introducing fortnightly refuse collection.

Unlike some members of the Labour Government, I do not believe there should be a nationally imposed policy of waste collection being cut back from weekly to fortnightly. Though I can understand why some local authorities may wish to introduce refuse collection fortnightly, to encourage greater levels of recycling, I do not believe this is needed in Barnet at present.

As a result of the excellent management of the refuse service by Cllr Matthew Offord, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, who has made recycling compulsory, the service is cost-effective, while at the same time leading to higher levels of recycling. As a result last year and thanks to the conscientious residents of Barnet, 30% of waste in the borough was recycled.

The continued growth in recycling by Barnet residents - so that by 2010 it is likely that 40% of waste will be recycled - means that in Barnet fortnightly waste collection is not required to increase levels of recycling.

I therefore agree with the Leader of the Council Cllr Mike Freer, who has said that it is vital that high achieving councils continue to innovate as we have done in Barnet. This is better than follow the unpopular trends as many councils seem to do.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Happy Birthday Israel

Happy 59th birthday to Israel.

As a strong supporter of Israel, today is a happy today for me. I am able to look back and think of the successes that have taken place in this small country in the world, which is a homeland and safehaven for the Jewish people.

Last night I was privileged to attend the service at Kinloss Shul, organised by Bnei Akiva and Mizrachi. The Chief Rabbi reminded us of how after 2,000 years of exile, a Jewish country, a Jewish language and a Jewish culture has been reborn in Israel. This is much to celebrate especially when we think of all the achievements that have come out of Israel to help the world.

Yet this has all been achieved while Israel has been under constant attack for the past 60 years from its neighbours and enemies around the world, which now even include the British National Union of Journalists who have called for a boycott of Israeli goods.

However, today lets forget this and just celebrate all that is good about Israel.

Councillors Surgery

My Edgware colleagues and I will be holding our regular monthly Councillor surgery this afternoon at 5:30 to 6:30 at Edgware Library.

This takes place on the last Tuesday of every month.


As you may have noticed, Three Valleys Water have started work at the corner of Broadfields Avenue and Hale Lane in Edgware, which is seeing them dig up the road to modernise the pipe network.

This has caused major congestion for people travelling into and through Edgware. As the councillor I am working with the councils Highways Staff and Three Valleys to see if the congestion can be minimised as the work is due to carry on in Edgware until August.

Sadly as water, gas and electricity utility companies are not governed by the local authority and do not require a permit before digging up roads. Therefore, as councillors all we can do is try and minimise any disruption they cause.

Below is a letter to me from Three Valleys.

Dear Councillor

Replacing the water mains in Stonegrove/Edgware
Further to my letter dated 21 February 2007 regarding the new strategic water main from Totteridge to Fortis Green, please be advised that Three Valleys Water started work on 5 March 2007 to renew the water mains in the Stonegrove/Edgware area. The existing iron pipes are in the region of 70 years old and we will be replacing them with more flexible plastic pipes which will improve and safeguard the tap water supply serving the residents in that area.

This £4.2 million investment scheme includes four areas (Edgware Way, Barnet Way, Highwood Hill and Stonegrove/Edgware) within the borough where the pipes have been identified for replacement.

Work on the first three schemes is well underway and now our contractors, Hollerans have started work on 5 March 2007 to replace the water pipes in the residential streets north of Station Road and will then carry out the necessary work in Hale Lane and Station Road from 16 April 2007 onwards.

Due to the nature of this area, which is heavily occupied by commercial properties and a major east-west route way, we will be working within the hours of 9.30-3pm, Monday – Sunday to avoid peak traffic congestion but carry out the work as quickly as possible to minimise any disruption to businesses. Subject to no major complications it is anticipated that the work in the streets listed on the attached residents’ letter will be completed by early July 2007.

All residents affected by these works are being sent an introductory letter about the scheme and those directly affected by work in their street will receive a second letter with more specific details about how the work will affect them.

We are in close liaison with the London Borough of Barnet Highways Department regarding traffic management throughout the works and have planned communications to ensure that all people in the area of kept informed of our works.

If you need any further information about any of these schemes please do not hesitate to contact me or one of my colleagues in the Public Relations office on 01707 277110.

Yours sincerely
Sally Howe
Public Relations

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Campaign for a better NHS

This weekend I will be out campaigning in the Hendon constituency to highlight the increasing failings in the NHS caused by 10 years of mismanagement by Gordon Brown and the Labour Government.
I will be highlighting David Cameron's message that over the last 10 years under Gordon Brown's management the NHS has become a vast inhuman machine resulting in failing staff morale and patient care.
Instead of the increasing amount of central control which as seen millions of pounds waisted on a failing computer system and training thousands of doctors who are then told there are no jobs for them, I will be highlighting the Conservative alternative.
I believe in an NHS run locally by doctors for the needs of their patients.
Please contact me if you would like to join me this weekend in the campaign for a better NHS.

New Hendon Conservative Association Website

I am pleased to let you know of a new Hendon Conservative website at

The website will provide you with all the latest local news about the Conservative Party, its activities, events and campaigns in Hendon.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How to join Hendon Conservative Association

Hendon Conservative Association are currently recruting new members.

If you want to play your part by joining the Conservative Party and helping to elected the next Conservative Government and Conservative MP for Hendon Constituency with David Cameron as Prime Minister you can do so.

All you have to do is send a cheque for £25 marked for 'Hendon Conservative Association' addressed to:

Hendon Conservative Association
212 Ballards Lane
N3 2LX

You can also call the Membership Hotline on 020 8445 4292 or the Membership Department on 020 8445 4292. Please ask us if you wish to pay by direct debit.

You can also contact us by email at if you wish us to send you a membership form.

If you don't want to join the Conservative Party but just want to help out with campaigning please use the same contact details. You can help with campaigning by offering to:

- deliver leaflets and letters
- stuffing letters into envelopes
- door to door campaigning
- telephone campaigning
- helping on election days
- putting a poster in your window

We look forward to hearing from you and helping to elect the next Conservative Government and Conservative MP for Hendon Constituency.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Warning about extra traffic in Edgware

I have been informed by Transport for London that they will be carrying out improvements to Edgware bus station from today. As a result all buses will not be starting or terminating in the bus station but rather on Station Road. Therefore, expect that for the foreseeable future that there will be extra congestion on Station Road, Hale Lane and the surrounding roads.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Why I am against ID cards

I am against the plan for ID cards which could cost the government as much as £20 billion. However, not only will the whole system be hugely expensive but it will also require

everyone in Britain to go to a regional centre to be fingerprinted and interviewed to prove who they are.
everyone in Britain to pay at least £93 for a combined ID card and passport package.
You will have to pay at least a further £30 if the card is lost or stolen, or if you get married and change your name.

No longer will people be free to be citizens of this country.

They will do nothing to improve our safety. They are not the answer to the threat of terrorism, to benefit fraud, illegal immigration, human trafficking or to identity theft. They are a waste of money, and so I am pleased a Conservative Government will abolish them.

Update on Science Review

Last year I reported that I was working on a review into how science is taught in schools in Barnet. The committee which I am on has decided to concentrate by looking at the affect of the new GCSE science curriculum which has been introduced for year 10 students this year, while comparing it to the old curriculum.

We are about to embark on looking at a few case studies schools where we will be answering the following questions.

Questions to Staff

1. What science qualifications do you have? What initial training did you undertake?
2. How well prepared are you for the new GCSE courses?
3. How well do you understand the new pedagogy for teaching science?
4. What are your views on the new GCSE compared to the previous curriculum?
5. What are resource implications of the new GCSE?
6. Apart from the new GCSE what range of science courses are available to students in your school?
7. Do you think the new programme is likely to increase science take up post 16?

Questions to year 10 students:

1. What difference do you find between science classes in Y9 and Y10?
- more internet access
- more use of computer programmes
- different resources

2. Is it helping you understand issues around you?
- global warming
- environment

3. Does this course help you to be enthusiastic about studying in science post 16 – even at college/university?

Questions to Post 16 science courses students

1. Why did you choose science (specific subject?)
2. What aspirations do you have for science after school (college/work?)
3. How relevant do you find science to the world around/you?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Scotland copies Barnet

Last night I attended a very interesting training session on the Looked After Children (children in care) services in Barnet.

We were told about the council's innovative Education Champions scheme, which the Scottish Executive have advised their local authorities to copy.

All of the senior staff in the Council are given a looked after child in order to monitor their educational achievements and ensure they are helped to achieve the best results that they are possible of achieving. The senior staff act as educational champions by encouraging all the staff that work with the child to work harder to encourage the child to succeed and ensure they get all the support they require.

This is helping the children most in need, while also benefiting the experience of council staff and at no extra cost to the taxpayer. It also ensures that looked after children in Barnet have been achieving better educational standards than children elsewhere in the country.

I think this is a really positive scheme and something that should be encouraged across the country.

NHS Failings

As I wrote about back in December, one of the reasons why it is not possible to cut council tax in Barnet is because the NHS is failing and is requiring local councils to carry out more work.

London Councils the representative body of local authorities in London is now highlighting this issue and is calling for an urget meeting to discuss this with the Secretary of State for Health.

Across London, local authorities are having to find an extra £15 million to cover the costs of NHS failings due to the NHS deficit of £120 million in 2006/7.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Congratulations Joanna

Congratulations to the newest councillor in Barnet.

On Thursday a by-election was held in East Barnet, following the sad death of Olwyn Evans.

I am pleased that the Conservative candidate had a resounding win, to that the new councillor for East Barnet is Joanna Tambourides. With a turnout of 31%, the result was

Conservatives - 1666 - 49.1%
Labour - 1025 - 30.24
Lib Dems - 552 - 16.28
Grens - 147

This huge support for the Conservative candidate shows that in Barnet as is the case around the country, the Conservative party is the choice for increasing numbers of voters, as we offer a positive and modern approach to the issues of the 21st century.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Why doesnt' Transport for London care about Edgware?

Transport for London has rejected my proposal supported by the Conservative Administration of Barnet Council for Edgware Station to be reclassified from Zone 5 to Zone 4.

I proposed the rezoning idea so that the commuters to and from Edgware on the Northern Line would be reimbursed for the often horific service that commuters experience when travelling to and from Edgware .

The rezoning proposal would save a commuter £264 on their annual bill.

However, for no clear reason TfL have rejected this proosal, despite agreeing to rezone some other stations in east London.

If you want to support my campaign to get Edgware Station rezoned let me know.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Holocaust Memorial Day

"Never Again"
"Never Forget"
This weekend as we commemorate the Holocaust, these are two quotes that are often said about the Holocaust, but do enough of us really mean it? That is why we need Holocaust Memorial Day.
Just over 60 years ago, while Germany were trying to win World War Two, they were also putting huge efforts into another major operation. An operation to destroy an entire people, the Jewish people. The aim of the Nazis was to murder every Jewish person in the world. Thank G-d they failed in both their aims; to win the war and to destroy an entire nation.
However, while they might have failed in their aim, the Nazis were able to kill 6 million Jewish people and millions of other people, inclusing homosexuals, gypsies and many others.
That is why we need a Holocaust Memorial Day, to remember that it is possible for us, human being's too hate another group of people enough to kill an entire people. We need to keep remembering so we never let it happen again.
However, sometimes we do let it happen and let it drift from our memories. That is why not enough of us have stood up to stop further genocides in the last 15 years; in the former Yugoslavia, in Rwanda, and currently in Darfur, Sudan. We should all stand up and speak out so no genocide is possible anywhere in the world.
However, while these are in far away countries, and we might say it is not possible to stop these, lets start nearer to home. In the last year or so I have noticed a growing resurgence of racism in this country, which was most recently highlighted on Big Brother. I believe the experience on Big Brother is just mirroring what is increasingly happening across Britain.
Therefore I am pleased that this year the theme of this year's Holocaust Memorial Day, is Dignity in Diffence. Racism exists because we do not accept that people can be different but rather everyone should be the same. Therefore, in Britain, while encouraging respect for Britain, we should also respect cultures and experiences of different people, allowing us all to live together, while not hating others for being different. This is how we can stop racism from ever happening again.
I hope I have made my message clear, but I believe, the Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, writes this a lot more clearly and so I include his idea below.
“The message of Holocaust Memorial Day is simple. There are many faiths, cultures, languages and races, but we have only one world in which to learn to live together and it is getting smaller every year. How many more people will have to die in the Middle East, Kashmir, Northern Ireland or the Balkans before we learn that those who are not in our image are nonetheless in G-d's image? That in diminishing others we diminish ourselves? That we are enlarged, not threatened, by diversity? Looking back on the past half-century, one fact stands out like a beacon of hope. Those countries and faiths that have genuinely confronted the Holocaust have made real progress in fighting prejudice and rendering it inadmissible to the mainstream of politics and culture. Holocaust Memorial Day is a way of ensuring that this message will not be lost with the passing of time. We have walked too long through the valley of the shadow of death. Once a year let us remind ourselves and our children what happens when we forget that the people unlike us are still people, like us.” (From The Times - January 2001)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Campaigning for better services on the Tube

At last night's Council I made a speech in support of a motion condeming the quality of the sevice on the tube and the high cost. I was also pleased that my amendment was supported which called for Edgware Station and other Barnet stations in zone 5 to be reclassified as a zone 4 station to save money for commuters. My speech is below.
"I want to take you on a journey of what it is like for the residents of Edgware travelling on the tube. However, unlike the Northern Line, I hope to get to the end. Traveling on the Northern Line to Edgware, is often like taking the lottery and guessing how many trains you will need to get from central London back to Edgware.
As someone who travels on the Northern Line everyday I have heard stories from fellow passengers, who have had to take 3 or 4 trains from central London back to Edgware. High percentages of trains either terminate at either Golders Green or Colindale and with no explanation except for that the train is running late.
And, over the last three years delays on the Northern Line have doubled.
All this means that even more passengers are squeezed on to the next train, ensuring that we again benefit from the London Underground experience of being treated like sardines.
And this is the all too familiar story that passengers have to deal with when traveling on the underground everyday. However, while the service that we the customers experience on the underground get worse every day, Ken Livingstone, the supposed friend of the Londoner, feels free to raise the cost that we have to pay every year.
This year the cost of getting a years season ticket from Edgware to zone 1 is £1592 a year a 5.3% increase on last year. While, if you can’t afford this as a one-off payment, you have to pay £153 pounds a month, which is £1835 a year, which is again an increase well above inflation and is likely to be more than £2000 next year.

This all means that while our public transport is getting worse, London is the most expensive place to travel in the world. Traveling in London costs 56% more than the world average and is well over twice the cost of traveling in comparable cities such as Tokyo, Paris, New York and Rome.

However, when it comes to the more vulnerable in our society who are unable or unwilling to use an Oyster card, the cost is even more exorbitant. It now costs £2 to jump on a bus in London or £4 to go one stop on the tube.

It is now cheaper to get a taxi than use public transport. What message is this trying to send when we are trying to find ways of reducing congestion on the roads. And lets not forget London is now an Olympic city. Are we really going to encourage more tourists to London when they see how much they have to pay to travel around our city.

However, should we really be surprised at these inflation busting price rises of between 5 and 35% percent for public transport, when we see the current state of the economy. One thing is for certain, when Tony Blair reluctantly lets Gordon Brown become Prime Minister, he won’t be able to say that … “We have never had it so good”.

Inflation is at its highest level for 16 years, interest rates keep on rising, utility bills keep on rising and moving house is now unaffordable for many. Virtually everything seems to be rising in price especially Gordon Brown’s taxes, but I am looking forward to see that Council Tax bills in Barnet will rise by less inflation or in real terms actually fall.

This shows that as with Conservative Councils all around the country we are trying to help our residents live for less. However, even before the Conservative Party wins the next General Election, I believe that we can do more to help our residents have a better economic well being by spending less. Therefore I urge the Cabinet to support the Conservative Live for Less Campaign, which helps people save money on how they live.

I therefore urge all members to support this motion condemning the cost of public transport and other costs of living for our residents, imposed by Gordon Brown’s mismanagement of the economy.

Thank you"

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Barnet helps to save the planet 1

We are increasingly hearing scary reports about how due to the pollution we cause the world is warming up which could have dangerous implications for the future of the planet even in the next few years.

I therefore think it is important that when-ever and where-ever we can we should make changes to the way we do things to reduce the amount of pollution that we cause. I specifically think it is important that we use technological innovations to reduce pollution levels when it is possible to do so.

For these reasons I am please that the Conservative run Barnet Council has changed the fuel technology used by its fleet of 265 commercial vehicles. Since September 2005 when Barnet was one of the first local authorities in the country to sign up to the ChemEcol Diesel Fuel Combustion Technology, also known as Additone EC-1500,the dangerous gas emissions released by the Council's fleet has been cut by more than 100 tonnes. At the same time the technology change saved the Council £20,000 in fuel costs, which has been used on other front-line services and keeping the council tax rise below the rate of inflation.

Lets Make Edgwarebury Park a Green Flag Park in 2007

Last year the success of Barnet's Premier Parks policy began to be seen, with 4 of the Borough's parks being granted Green Flag Status.

This year I hope that Edgware's Premier Edgwarebury Park will also be able to join the list of Green Flag parks. This will be due to the amount of work that our Conservative Council has done and will do to continually improve the park.

However, to help this, I believe it would be useful to set up a Friends of Edgwarebury Park group so that we know from its users what improvements Edgwarebury Park requires. If you would like to get involved in this please contact me.