Friday, November 21, 2008

Do you have a question for me to ask?

On Tuesday I will be attending the Council's Environment and Transport Scrutiny Committee.

The agenda can be seen here

and includes items of discussion on:

- the Council's Performance Indicators
- a review of the Council's street cleaning service
- a report on tree protection in Barnet

To give the public a chance to have a question answered, I am happy to consider asking any questions on the agenda, that are posted in my comments section.

So over to you!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Life for Edgware's Railway Pub

This week at the Planning Committee I was pleased to support the planning application, which gave permission to convert the Railway Pub in Edgware into a new hotel.

This 1930's listed building which opened as a pub at the same time as the tube station opened, has become a landmark for Edgware. However, in recent years the building has been empty as the pub shut down a number of years ago. I am therefore pleased that the pub will soon reopen together with the hotel and will be improved so that it continues to be an important building in Edgware.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Boris or Barkat who is the better Mayor?

Last night Nir Barkat was elected as the new Mayor of Jerusalem, following Boris' election as London Mayor 6 months ago, I now have my preferred choices as the Mayors of my two favourite capital cities.

In his first 6 months as Mayor of London, Boris has done an excellent job in developing new and exciting strategies to reduce youth crime and knife crime in London, developing a better transport strategy for London, and finding plenty of ways to reduce the cost of running London, so that the London charge of the Council Tax will not rise next year.

I hope Boris continues in this excellent way and that Nir Barkat is also as good in improving the living and economic coniditions in Jerusalem. This will ensure that these two cities can rightfully be seen as the two best cities in the world.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Update on Barnet's money with Iceland's banks

Further to my previous post about the position on Barnet Council's savings I point you towards an explanation of the situation from the Leader of the Council, Mike Freer.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Barnet's money in Iceland

As has been well publicised, Barnet Council has £27.4 million invested in banks in Iceland. This has led to much concern amongst residents of Barnet, given the financial situation across the world and in Iceland and the UK in particular.

Next week, the Council's Cabinet will be discussing the issue. Ahead of this meeting, a paper has been published on the Council's website which helps to explain the situation.

There has been much debate about whether the Council should invest it's income in bank accounts and the paper helps to outline the wider circumstance's on why this has been done, which has helped over previous years to increase the Council's income. This has therefore helped to maintain the level of services, while not having to raise Council Tax even more then it has increased.

Following the Cabinet meeting next Wednesday on 23 October. There will be an Extraordinary Council meeting at 6:30pm on Tuesday 4 November at Barnet House, to discuss this issue.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Response to Don't call me Dave

A commentor on my previous post about the Council's new website has asked me some questions about one of the postings which was made on the site, which he has said was rude to Jewish people.

I condemn all forms of attacks on Jewish people, whether they be verbal or physical and if anyone experiences this I urge them to report it to the police or the CST

I am though not able to comment on whether the posting was anti-semitic, as the Council took the posting off before I had a chance to view it, and has referred the comment to the Borough Police Commander. I believe this is the correct action.

What I do know is that sadly a number of residents in the borough are racist and anti-semitic, but I am glad that these appear to be a tiny minority of the population. However, if this comment or other actions do appear to be anti-semitic they should be punished in accordance with the law.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A new way to comment on what you think of the area

I am pleased to say that Barnet Council are always trying to find new ways for local residents to communicate with the Council and to give us all the chance to give our views on what we think of the area and areas which can be improved.

To do this Barnet Council has launched a new You Tube style website that allows you to provide comments or to provide video and pictures of what you like or don't like.

So next time you have a chance why not have a look at

Happy New Year

I would like to wish a Shana Tova to my Jewish readers. I hope we will all have a sweet, successful and peaceful new year.

Monday, August 04, 2008

New CCTV Camera for Glengall Road

I am pleased that this Friday, Barnet Council's Resources Committee will be considering a paper which proposes the installation of a new CCTV camera on Glengall Road, this financial year.

Glengall Road is an area for Edgware which suffers from anti-social behaviour, with a number of teenagers hanging about and annoying the local residents and businesses with loutish behaviour and sometimes more serious criminal incidents.

As one of the local councillors this is an area I have been working very closely with the local police safer neighbourhood team to improve. I believe this CCTV camera will help to reduce the amount of anti-social behaviour and criminal activity in this area. Therefore, making the Glengall Road neighbourhood a nicer place to live.

I am therefore urging the members of the committee to support this proposal.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Salute to Israel

Today I am attending the Salute to Israel Parade in London, to celebrate Israel's 60th anniversary. In just 60 years Israel has developed into a great country and we have much to be proud and celebrate about it.
Israel is a country that has been under constant threat, but today is a today to celebrate it's many achievements. Whether it is in the field of entertainment, science, IT, culture or sport. Israel has been able to punch above it's weight. All while this for hoping for peace. Hopefully in the future we can enjoy many more achievements, while it's neighbours all finally accept that the Jewish people have a right to live in peace and safety in the Land of Israel.
I look forward to letting you know what I thought of the day.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Welcome to your new flats

One of the biggest issues in Edgware before I was elected was the regeneration of the Stonegrove estate on the edge of Edgware.
Thanks to the hard work done by the executive of the Council and my colleagues in Edgware Cllr Hart and Cllr Scannell, much of these controversies went away by listening to the concerns of the residents of Edgware.
This week the first new blocks of flats Chantry Court and Dower Court opened on the estate on a new road called Penniwell Close, off Sterling Avenue. This will now allow for the major regneration to take place with the first of the old blocks being demolished.
I hope these new flats will be the start of a new era for this area of Edgware which until now has been a poor estate.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Am I a victim of Boris' cut down on crime?

Over the last couple of years we have seen the shocking rise in knife and gun crime in London, which during the recent elections Boris promised to crack down on once he became Mayor.

Yesterday, I was one of the first people to face this crack-down, when I was stopped and searched by the police.

Boris promised to introduce knife detectors at tube stations across London. Yesterday on my way home, one of these detectors was in place at Edgware Underground Station. Like every other person I had to go through this detector, and when I did my keys set of the alarm.

Therefore, as the police are required to do, they decided to stop-and-search me. This took about 5 minutes of time. While it may have slightly delayed me I pleased to see this policy is being rolled out across London to catch people with knives and guns, which will hopefully see the level of crime fall.

Well done to Boris and the police team yesterday.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

When will they meet their promise?

Back in October of last year the Labour Party were proudly saying that they had agreed to provide extra funding to ensure security from Jewish schools.

I welcomed this, because sadly and worryingly Jewish schools, such as in Barnet do face anti-Semitic attacks.

However, as with promises from this Labour Government, I didn't believe it would be true until schools received this money.

It therefore came as no surprise to me to see that three-quarters of a year later, this money seems to be non-existent and the Labour MP for Hendon, seems to have to beg for this promise to be met.

When will the Labour Government meet their promise and help protect the school children in these schools.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Yom Ha'atzmaut, the BNP and all that

Last week was Israel’s 60th anniversary of its Independence Day. This has provided an opportunity to look back on the successes of this small country which was created for the Jewish people.

To mark the 60th anniversary I was pleased to attend both a service at Kinloss Synagogue in Finchley and a celebration at Wembley Arena. Both these events made me realise how lucky we are to have a country in the world in which we the Jewish people can have a country which we can call home.

For 2000 years the Jewish people were scattered around the world and faced virtually constant anti-semitic attacks. This culminated in the Holocaust when 6 million Jews were murdered because they had no where to call home where they were able to escape from the Nazis.

However, we now have Israel, which was created just 3 years after the destruction of the Holocaust and over the past 60 years has been built up to become one of the strongest and most successful countries in the world. This is a great achievement, which for which we should be truly thankful.

Not least because as a resident of London, I now have a BNP politician claiming to represent me on the London Assembly, but who really wants me and many other people to leave this country, because we are not really British. However, if the BNP G-d forbid are to grow into a major force in this county, unlike for the past 2000 years, we Jewish residents will at least have Israel to escape to a place we can really call our home.

Mr Dismore what are you so frightened of?

I thought readers might be interested to see this article written by Robert Halfon and published on ConservativeHome yesterday

Some weeks ago, Conservative Friends of Israel was invited by Hadley Wood Jewish Community to speak in a Dimbleby Question Time-style debate. We readily agreed. I myself was due to appear on the platform with a representatives from other parties.

Last Thursday, we suggested to the organisation, that given the Labour Panelist was a local MP, Andrew Dismore, and the Liberal Panelist, a Barnet Councillor, Monroe Palmer, that instead of myself doing the debate, it might be more apt to have Councillor Matthew Offord (Deputy Leader of Barnet Council and Tory PPC for Hendon).

The organisers were initially pleased with this idea, particularly since Hadley Wood Jewish Community is in Barnet. Moreover Cllr Offord readily agreed to do the event instead of me.

On Friday, matters suddenly changed. The organisers, asked if I would stand in again because Andrew Dismore MP refused to share a platform with Matthew Offord. Astonished, I asked why, particularly given that, although Matthew was Mr Dismore's opponent, they would not be discussing any issues to do with Hendon. Moreover I argued that Matthew was not only Deputy Leader of Barnet Council, but was a member of CFI, had been on a CFI visit to Israel and had a wide knowledge of what was happening in Israel.

The response was clear and I reproduce it below for the benefit of CentreRight eaders:

"The difficulty is this. Andrew Dismore has a rule against debating with parliamentary opponents. He tells me this is standard practice. He is quite firm about this".

This really is a remarkable response from the Labour MP, particularly since no such rule exists and PPCs and MPs regularly share platforms up and down the country. In the last few weeks Boris and Ken debated on numerous platforms.

Out of courtesy to the Hadley Wood Jewish Community, and because of the incredible and kind efforts of the organiser, CFI agreed to do the debate this evening as originally agreed and I will appear on the Platform with Messrs Dismore and Palmer this evening.

For a local Labour MP to be frightened and refuse to debate with his opponent - on matters of a serious nature - just shows what has gone wrong.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Help defeat the BNP in Hale

In two weeks time on 1 May (the same day as the London elections) there will be a by election in Hale ward in Barnet.

Hale is the ward I use to live in and has a large Jewish population. It has therefore come as no surprise to me that the BNP a nasty fascist party, has continued its recent policy of targeting areas with large Jewish and ethnic communities.

The BNP exist because they want to drive out people, which they don’t consider ‘normal people’ from this country.

There is only one way in which the BNP can be defeated. That is by showing that the overwhelming majority of people disagree and hate their views, by coming out to vote for other political parties on 1 May.

I believe that the best way to do this is to vote for Tom Davey, the Conservative candidate in Hale ward. Tom, together with the Conservative Party, continues to support the Jewish community and it’s schools in Barnet, as excellent examples of community cohesion.

This is in contrast to the Labour Party, who led by Ed Balls the Secretary of State for Education, (and who has been supported by the local Labour Councillors) has been mischievously attacking the approach Jewish schools take. I don’t need to tell you what Ken Livingstone thinks of the Jewish community.

Therefore, on 1 May I urge you to show the BNP and Labour (including Ken) what you think of them, by voting Conservative.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Labour again criticise Jewish Schools

Today’s papers report that the Labour Government are continuing to attack the excellent Jewish schools in Barnet for no fair reason. The Labour Government and Andrew Dismore the Labour MP for Hendon have unfairly criticised Rosh Pinah, Beis Yakov, Hasmonean Primary and Secondary and Mathilda Marks Kennedy schools for asking for voluntary contributions.

As a councillor for Edgware, where Rosh Pinah is based and where many families of pupils in the other schools live, I feel the Labour party’s attack on these schools is disgraceful.

These schools are not requesting cash for places as the Labour Party is suggesting. Instead these are vital contributions which go towards Jewish studies and to the protection and security of pupils at these schools. This comes in the same week as Labour councillors on the planning committee in Hendon voted to not allow Od Yosef Hai in Hendon put up a security fence.

Yet again the Labour government have shown a complete lack of understanding of Jewish school, while Barnet Council and the Conservative Party continue to support them.

Have your say on London

I believe London is a great city but as a Councillor I know from comments I get from residents that it can always be improved.

Therefore I am pleased that a new cross-party think tank called LondonSays has been set up to campaign for London.

Londonsays has launched its iWant campaign to hear what Londoners want from their Mayor of London, who ever he will be after 1 May.

You can contribute at

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Improvements on the way for Stonegrove

Last night I voted along with the majority of the planning and environment committee to support the overall outline planning application for the regeneration of the existing Stonegrove estate and to give full approval for the first zone of the application.

It has taken along time for this application to reach this stage and I would like to thank and congratulate my two colleagues Cllr Joan Scannell and Cllr Helena Hart for fighting so hard to get the previous planning permission scrapped and replaced with this much better application.

As a resident of Edgware all my life, I will be extremely pleased to see the existing estate fully demolished and rebuilt in what will be a much better design. I hope this will become a pleasant landmark for all the residents of Edgware and everyone who enters London via Edgware.

For many years now the estate has become completely run-down and a horrible place for it’s residents and a no-go area for the residents of the surrounding neighbourhood. This regeneration is therefore badly needed.

The regeneration will see the demolishment of sub-standard blocks of flats, including 6 blocks of 11 storey flats, with high quality flats and hundreds of houses with gardens (there are currently no houses on the estate) and only 3 blocks of 10 storey flats with the remaining blocks at lower levels.

The estate will also be designed and landscaped to merge in with the surrounding neighbourhood, so that it is no longer seen as a separate estate and a no-go area. However, for this to be effectively achieved, it will of course be important for the architects, planners and the council’s planning committee to ensure the landscaping and designs to be of a very high quality and for the public areas to be properly managed in the future. As Edgware councillors I and my colleagues will continue to ensure this happens together with ensuring proper traffic measures are put in place.

I am also pleased that the developers of this estate will also be providing approximately in £1 million to Barnet to help fund extra resources for the local area, which will include funding for health services and to improve the local Edgwarebury and Stonegrove parks.

Last night’s decision was an important landmark decision for Edgware, which will see a much better development than the previous agreement. While, this is not a perfect solution for suburban Edgware, it will mark a drastic improvement on what is there currently for everyone concerned.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Are Faith Schools Safe under Gordon Brown's Government

I have written about the importance of having faith schools in this country before but I think it is important to raise this issue again. This is because over the past couple of weeks the Secretary of State for Education, Ed Balls has been backtracking over the Labour Government's support for these schools.

As a former pupil of Rosh Pinah and JFS both Jewish voluntary aided faith based state schools, I believe that these types of schools which have existed for decades and in the case of JFS for hundreds of years are excellent examples of what schools should be like. These and other faith schools produce children and young adults who can become active citizens in this country helping to make it a better place.

I would therefore be concerned if the Government was to stop supporting them.

I was though heartened to hear the recent comments of Michael Gove, the Conservative Education spokesman in Parliament, who highlighted the excellent success story of Jewish schools.

“As to history, I would like the House to recall the experience of one minority community in Britain. Its members came here, often fleeing persecution, with few resources and little in the way of marketable qualifications more than 100 years ago. They found jobs in sweatshops, retail, low-level commerce and other unskilled or low-skilled environments. Yet within 100 years or so—the space of two or three generations—that community has reached a point where it sends 80 per cent. of its young people to university. That community, the Jewish community, is—in education, as in so many other areas—an example to us all. I see no reason why other minority communities might not aspire to similar levels of participation or why we as a nation should not be inspired by that community's example.”
Michael Gove MP, Shadow Secretary for Children, Schools and Families, Hansard 14 January 2008

Organ Donation

Last weekend the Prime Minister attempted to launch a debate on whether organ donation should be compulsory, unless people opt-out. This would be a change from the current situation where organ's can only be taken from the dead when they and their families have said that they are happy for this to happen. I do not believe this change would be a good thing to see dead bodies without consent.

Therefore some of my colleagues in the Barnet Conservative Counci group have written to the Prime Minister to express our concern. The letter is below.

Dear Prime Minister
We are writing to express our deep concern over the support you have expressed for "presumed consent" to organ donation on death, and for the system of "opting out" of donating rather than "opting in".
We are well aware of the need for an increase of organs for transplant, to enhance medical provision and the health service in general. It is of course the Government’s prerogative, if it wishes, to intensify its publicity machinery with a view to encouraging more people to become donors and carry the appropriate cards. However, the decision to donate should at the end of the day be entirely a matter of individual conscience, and we consider it quite iniquitous to envisage parts of people’s bodies being lawfully removed after death without their clear and positive prior consent.
As you are aware there are also many moral, faith and humanitarian aspects to this issue which affect and concern vast numbers of people, from a wide range of communities. Many of those views have already been expressed very forcefully in response to your opinions in the Sunday Telegraph. With respect, the change you are advocating could cause immense harm to religious freedom and community cohesion in this country – a result that no right-thinking person would desire.
We urge you will reconsider your position and would appreciate an acknowledgement of this letter.
Yours sincerely,

Cllr. Dean Cohen
Cllr. Melvin Cohen
Cllr. Mike Freer
Cllr. Brian Gordon
Cllr. Joan Scannell
Cllr Andreas Tambourides
Cllr Richard Weider

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Edgware Police AGM - Wednesday 9 January

I wish you all a happy new year.

Tomorrow evening I will be attending the AGM of the Edgware Police Safer Neighbourhood Team.

It takes place at 7:30pm at Edgware Masorti Synagogue, Bakery Path (off Station Road) in Edgware.

If you would like a say on how the police conduct their work here in Edgware please come along.