What a novel idea

This contract with the public in the Cambridge constituency has been signed by an independent candidate. Tell us if you don’t think it should be an official contract that all candidates should sign in the comments below. No need to comment if you agree. Note all the points where he says he will resign if he steps over the line.


Constituents Contract

I, Old Holborn, as candidate in the General Election 2010 hereby agree to the following contract with my constituents:

• I will remain a fiercely loyal representative for my constituents. I will not put any party or other interest, before my constituents. If I do, I will resign.

• I will work with any organisation in Scotland, the UK or Europe if it will help the people of my constituency.

• I will never promise what I know I cannot deliver.

• I will endeavour to acknowledge all letters from constituents within 24 hours between Monday and Friday.

• I will endeavour to acknowledge all emails from constituents within 24 hours between Monday and Friday but hopefully sooner.

• I will attend regular advice/consultation sessions which will be widely advertised in the constituency. I will arrange home visits for the elderly, disabled and carers.

• I will never knowingly claim credit for something when the credit is not mine.

• I will tell people my real views, even when I know they will disagree with me.

• I will do my best to keep my website updated every day. I will blog regularly.

• My calendar will be published on my website and kept up to date daily from Monday to Friday.

• I will not claim one penny in expenses that is not absolutely required for me to carry out my job as an MP. If I do not keep this pledge, I will resign.

• I will publish my expenses (if any), in full, monthly or possibly weekly on my website. If I do not keep this pledge, I will resign.

• I will not use any taxpayer funded equipment or office for any other reason that to carry out my duties of MP. If I do not keep this pledge, I will resign.

• I will be a whistleblower against anyone. In this, I will not be anonymous and I will use the press. If I am caught knowing about illegality or sleaze and not whistle blowing, I will resign.

• I will be a full time MP with no jobs outside politics nor will I take any money from anyone for access. If I do work for anyone, it will be in a voluntary capacity which will not infringe on my time as an MP.

Signed Old Holborn 27.4.2010

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Seraphine for jam

Or, as they say, money for jam! Providing you live or work in N3

All you have to do to win a boxed DVD of the award-winning French film “Seraphine” (in my opinion, the best French film since Ri-fi-fi in the fifties) is to be the first person to email the “editor” of the Finchley Arrow the following:

Your name
Your full N3 postal address
A contact phone number

We will get the film off to you by return.

Andrew Ampers Taylor – editor

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2005 General Election results

Finchley & Golders Green

Labour – Rudi Vis – 17,487 – 40.47%
Conservative – Andrew Mennear – 16,746 – 38.75%
Liberal Democrat – Sue Garden – 7,282 – 16.85%
Green – Noel Lynch – 1136 – 2.63%
UKIP – Jeremy Jacobs – 453 – 1.05%
Rainbow Dream Party – Rainbow George Weiss – 110 – 0.25%

Total votes cast 43,214

68,637 voters eligible

Turnout 62.96%

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Votes cast at the last (2006) Local Elections for Finchley

Finchley Central

Greenspan, Eva Conservative Elected: 2604
Freer, Michael Whitney Conservative Elected: 2543
Thomas, Daniel Clive Byron Conservative Elected: 2402

Total Conservative votes: 7,549
Percentage of total vote: 64.33%

Paun, Alay Labour 691
Walsh, Michael Anthony Labour 756
Watkins, Brian James Labour 702

Total Labour votes: 2,149
Percentage of total vote: 18.32%

Davis, Malcolm Brian Liberal Democrat 526
Graber, Ingeborg Liberal Democrat 435
Graham, James Peter David Liberal Democrat 508

Total Liberal Democrat votes: 1,469
Percentage of total vote: 12.52%

Dunn, Miranda Jane Green 567
Percentage of total vote: 4.83%

Total Votes cast: 11,734

West Finchley

Houston, Ross Semple Labour Elected: 1799
Tierney, James Bernard Labour Elected: 1717
Mcguirk, Kath Labour Elected: 1667

Total Labour votes: 5,183
Percentage of total vote: 41,95%

Ableson, Richard Neil Conservative 1618
Knight, Gareth Lewis Keith Conservative 1587
Wilding, Peter John Conservative 1603

Total Conservative votes: 4,808
Percentage of total vote: 38.93%

Blount, Malcolm Spencer Hurlston Liberal Democrat 602
Pawar, Prem Singh Liberal Democrat 537
Turner, Janice Liberal Democrat 575

Total Liberal Democrats votes: 1,714
Percentage of total vote: 13.87%

Gee, Michael Robin Green 649
Percentage of total vote: 5.25%

Total votes cast: 12,354

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Reduced editorial meetings

As from now, we have reduced our editorial meetings from four a month to just two.

We have managed to do this through Zoho.

Zoho is a well established “Cloud” organisations that allows a businessman to be totally mobile by being able to run his business from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. From email, to writing letters, sending invoices to organising projects – in fact at the last count they offer over 20 business applications from the one website at Zoho.com.

We have been offered access for all our team members to Zoho Projects free of charge (a saving of $240 a year) to run our community newspaper. This means a lot of what was discussed at meetings are set out in a clear manner in the project management software – thus saving having to meet weekly. As this progresses we might even cut this down to one meeting a month.

We will continue with our “Meet the team” meetings on the first Wednesday and third Sunday of each month though.


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Finchley: Keeping it local

What our councillors are doing for us

By Sue Walder

Do you know which council ward you live in? Do you know who your local councillors are? Do you know what they do on your behalf?

N3 has two wards – West Finchley and Church End.  West Finchley ward is covered by three local Labour councillors: Jim Tierney, Kath McGuirk and Ross Houston. Church End ward is covered by three local Conservative councillors: Mike Freer, Eva Greenspan and Daniel Thomas.

The Finchley Arrow posed a set of questions to both sets of ward councillors to find out what they’ve been up to and what West Finchley councillors: their main focus for 2010 will be.

What are the main concerns of residents in your ward?

Church End councillors:

The recession, the fear of crime; transport (e.g. Henly’s Corner congestion); the Northern Line being split into two so ‘our’ branch would only be Bank-bound forcing everyone wanting the Charing Cross branch to change at Camden (which is very crowded even at the best of times); access to local GPs; the loss of the Hyper-Acute Stroke Unit and Major Trauma Centre at the Royal Free Hospital.

West Finchley councillors:

The main concern is the lack of affordable housing – we have a lot of residents in private rented accommodation on the council waiting list. Other issues include: local planning issues, school places, parking, the condition of the roads in the ward, general highways issues, public transport, enforcement in relation environmental issues such as pollution, graffiti, noise and rodents (the ward includes the town centres at North Finchley and Finchley Central), and wider concerns about crime and anti-social behaviour, council tax, council services and the economy.

What do you consider to be your main achievements on behalf of residents of N3 during 2009?

West Finchley councillors:

We have supported local residents in resisting overdevelopment. Local residents have formed an action group to campaign for a conservation status for the area between West Finchley tube station and Dollis Brook and we have fully supported this initiative. We hope there will be cross party and community support to take this proposal forward and preserve a classic garden suburb environment from the sort of overdevelopment you unfortunately see elsewhere in the ward.

Traffic congestion and safety is a big issue and we worked with the local police and council highways department to help improve the flow of traffic in Nether Street. Feedback on the changes has been positive. We are all active governors of local schools and take pride in their success. We have campaigned for the regeneration of our town centres and against  council pavement tax. We have successfully opposed the removal of trees and pressed for road and pavement improvements, e.g.in Dollis Road. A big success was Kath’s campaign to get cardboard and plastics included in the council’s recycling.

Church End councillors:

Getting mayor Boris Johnson to commit more than £8m to sorting out the Henly’s Corner Junction; ensuring our local schools remain well supported; bringing forward a town centre plan for Finchley Church End to keep the local economy vibrant; keeping council tax as low as possible despite major inequalities of central government funding; investing capital to improve school buildings; getting plastics and  tetrapak recycling added to the service; campaigning to improve the breast screening service for local women and persuading NHS Barnet to replace the analogue scanners with digital scanners.

What are the key issues for 2010 affecting the people of N3?

Church End councillors:

Helping the local town centres to come out of the recession; ensuring primary schools have enough places for local children; keeping the Henly’s corner improvements on-track. Also, fighting off inappropriate development on backlands (garden-grabbing), e.g. keeping vigilant on The Greensquare.

West Finchley councillors:

Getting a conservation area agreed for the West Finchley area; securing the economic viability of our town centres, local shops and businesses, maintaining the success of our local schools, fixing our local roads – there are far too many pot holes – and getting a review of the 326 bus route. We have submitted our concerns on many of these issues to the consultation on the Local Development Framework.

Which Council bodies are you a member of?

West Finchley councillors:

Ross Houston
Chair of governors at Northside School (LEA governor); Labour Spokesperson on Housing and Community Engagement; Shadow Cabinet; Adult Social Services Committee; Finchley and Golders Green Area Environment Committee; Policy and Performance Overview and Scrutiny Committee; governor of Friern Barnet School; council nominated director of Barnet Homes; Council nominee on Barnet Police and Community Engagement Group.

Kath McGuirk
Labour Spokesperson on the Environment; Shadow Cabinet; LEA governor and Moss Hall School; Licensing Committee; Ad Hoc Overview and Scrutiny Committee; Policy and Performance Overview and Scrutiny Committee; Business Management Overview and Scrutiny Sub Committee.

Jim Tierney
LEA governor of Finchley Catholic High School; Labour Spokesperson on Planning; Shadow Cabinet; Planning and Environment Committee; Finchley and Golders Green Area Planning Sub-Committee; Appeals Committee; Corporate Joint Consultation (Health, Safety & Welfare) Committee; Corporate Joint Negotiation and Consultation Committee.

Church End councillors:

Mike Freer
Pensions Committee; Corporate Joint Negotiating Committee; General Functions.

Eva Greenspan
Planning & Environment; Area Planning; Scrutiny; DT Cabinet; Cabinet Resources; Area Environment.

Daniel Thomas
Cabinet; Cabinet Resources; Area Environment.

How does your membership of those bodies benefit the residents of N3?

Church End councillors:

They cover all aspects of the council’s operation and the key areas that impact residents’ lives – planning, roads, pavements, cleanings, refuse, recycling, keeping council tax down.

West Finchley councillors:

We’re all governors of good local schools. Active and engaged governing bodies make a positive contribution to the success of these schools. All three of us are also in the shadow cabinet as opposition spokespersons on key areas of council work and help hold the administration to account. Our work on planning environment and licensing committees has a direct impact on the local community and we always listen to the concerns of local people. We are all very active in the committees that help to scrutinise the work of the council – vital for a healthy local democracy.  Ross is one of three councillor directors helping to ensure that Barnet Homes, which runs the council’s housing, improves its management for tenants and leaseholders. Jim keeps a tight brief over planning issues and Kath has a formidable reputation campaigning on local environmental issues such as pot holes, recycling, parking and parks/open spaces. We work well with local police and are active in the West Finchley Safer Neighbourhood panel.

What are the best and worst things that central government has done which have directly affected your work on the Council, and how do you think that might change following this year’s general election?

West Finchley councillors:

Best – giving local government a decent financial settlement over the past decade (Barnet got the fifth highest settlement of the 33 London boroughs this year) – reversing years of local government being starved of funds under successive Tory governments. Barnet has also been fortunate in getting generous funding to re-build our schools under the Building Schools for the Future scheme.

Worst – the closure of the Post Office in Nether Street. Although this was not strictly a government decision we were very disappointed that our campaign to save it was not successful. We all remain convinced of the case for a local post office.

Following this year’s general election we fear that if there is a change to a Tory government we’ll have draconian cuts to council funding and services. We need prudence in public spending not a ‘slash and burn’ wholesale destruction of our local services.

Church End councillors:

Best – reducing the amount of targets we have to report on from more than a 1000 to 100;
admitting Barnet to the Building Schools to the Future programme; giving some support to sure start centres.

Worst – adding responsibilities to the council without the funding; persistently giving the council below inflation increases in the grant settlement forcing the council to turn to council tax payers to meet the shortfall.

After the election if a Conservative government is elected we will see council tax frozen for a further two years and powers returned to local councils; the council will be able to retain council tax growth and business rate growth (currently sent to Government) to invest locally.

If there is no change of government we will continue to see council tax taken from Barnet and given to out-of-London councils.

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Finchley WI:

Less Jam, more networking

By Sue Walder

Set up in May 2009 by a group of local women, Finchley WI is one of the newest additions to the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) – the largest voluntary organisation for women in the UK.

It’s one of a growing number of urban-based WIs that have ditched the old stereotype of church fetes and cream teas and instead are focusing on helping women pursue new interests as well as providing networking opportunities.

As President Sara Hitner explained, with 25 active members and up to 40 regular guests, Finchley WI is still very much a fledgling organisation.

“What began as an idea discussed over a cup of coffee with a neighbour has grown largely through word of mouth,” she said.

“We welcome women of all backgrounds and ages to join us and help shape it into something that really reflects our local community.  We’re at the stage where we it can become whatever we want it to be.”

So far, the WI has had an interesting range of guest speakers including a local burlesque dancer.

As well as the regular knitting, sewing and theatre clubs, this month’s guest speakers include: Lydia Sellgett, of specialist publisher Persephone Books and Henrietta Lovett of the Rare Tea Company.

Finchley WI meets on the second Wednesday of each month at St Mary-at-Finchley Parish Church Hall, Hendon Lane between 8 and 10 pm.  However, from next month the group will be meeting at a new venue – Avenue House.

If you’re female, over 18 and would like to join the WI or find out more about future activities, please go to: http://wifinchley.webs.com. 

This is an article from our March 2010 issue.