Our last article on open spaces in Finchley N3 is Victoria Park.

Victoria park is situated in the North part of Ballards Lane near Essex Park. It is a pretty large park as the photographs will show.

Apart from a generous number of tennis courts they also have a public bowling club with two full size greens. In addition there is a large park café with a good choice of food and drink – and they are open from early until dusk.

Before I let the photos do the talking, I will mention that there is a bone of contention from many reisdent that there is only one toilet for the entire park and, should anyone from Barnet Council read this, they can look at our article on the Gordon Road allotments and see how they installed a public toilet without any plumbing and without any sewage outlets, in a perfectly hygienic fashion with this French invention, and in addition, had compost produced for the plants. It is truly amazing. And inexpensive to install!

And now for our photographs.

Photo of Victorial Park, Finchely

Ballards Lane entrance

Our last article on open spaces in Finchley N3 is Victoria Park.

Public Bowls Green

Our last article on open spaces in Finchley N3 is Victoria Park.

Early to dusk Cafe in the park

Our last article on open spaces in Finchley N3 is Victoria Park.

Further into the park

Photo of plaque

Hiroshima memorial plaque below the tree

Photo inside the park

Tennis courts in Victoria Park

Etchingham Park Road end of the park

Etchingham Park Road end of the park

Etchingham Park Road end of the park

Etchingham Park Road end of the park

Etchingham Park Road end of the park

Etchingham Park Road end of the park

Posted in Community, Nature. Comments Off on Our last article on open spaces in Finchley N3 is Victoria Park.

It could be argued that this is nothing to do with Finchley – but it could be!

In fact, it affects all of us.

The following video was shown to a Sony Annual Shareholder Meeting in 2009. I have only just come across it and am still undecided as to whether it is exciting, or frightening. But of one thing I am sure of, the information contained within the video affects us all, whether in Finchley UK, Finchley in the USA, Finchley in India or Finchley in China.

The end of another month – a tale of Finchley and Zululand – and why this is relevant for our Community

April is coming to an end, this is the last day of a three day week, which reminded me of the three day weeks when I was a young man – so long ago!

Anticipating an invite to “The Wedding” on Friday – it might have got lost in the post – I finished my editorial a few days early, and Pam also hurried through getting the events up. If the postie can’t find these pesky invitations, we’ll have to watch it on television like everyone else!

Over two billion people around the world will be watching on Friday. That is a third of the world’s population. There is something very positive about this. That is, a third of the peoples on this planet now have electricity and television. I am not too sure if the latter is a good thing to celebrate, but the former certainly is. Let us hope, by the time “Wills” is crowned King, over half of the world will have electricity!

Come along to our editorial this Sunday, full details in 1 Editorial at the top of the page. We are a friendly bunch and you will be made to feel right at home.

I will end with an illustration of what Ubuntu means. Not the computer operating system, the African word which is the same in both the Xhosa and Kwa-Zulu languages. It is a difficult word to describe and it has taken Bishop Tutu 149 words to describe it below:

“Ubuntu is a concept that we have in our Bantu languages at home. Ubuntu is the essence of being a person. It means that we are people through other people. We can’t be fully human alone. We are made for interdependence, we are made for family. Indeed, my humanity is caught up in your humanity, and when your humanity is enhanced mine is enhanced as well. Likewise, when you are dehumanized, inexorably, I am dehumanized as well. As an individual, when you have Ubuntu, you embrace others. You are generous, compassionate. If the world had more Ubuntu, we would not have war. We would not have this huge gap between the rich and the poor. You are rich so that you can make up what is lacking for others. You are powerful so that you can help the weak, just as a mother or father helps their children.”

Andrew Ampers Taylor

Posted in Community, Editorial, People. Comments Off on The end of another month – a tale of Finchley and Zululand – and why this is relevant for our Community

Road closures and transport information for the Royal Wedding.

The following travel information is being given to those coming to the area or intending to travel through central London on the day:

Roads

The route of the wedding procession between Buckingham Palace and Westminster includes the Mall, Horse Guard’s Road, Horse Guard’s Arch, Whitehall and Parliament Square.

These roads and surrounding areas will be subject to road closures and parking restrictions.  Full details can be found on the Metropolitan Police website at: http://www.met.police.uk/royal_wedding/index.html

Planned road closures include:

  • Birdcage Walk
  • Broad Sanctuary
  • Buckingham Gate
  • Buckingham Palace Road (north of Lower Grosvenor Place)
  • Charing Cross Road (south of Shaftesbury Avenue)
  • Cockspur Square
  • Constitution Hill
  • Horse Guards Road
  • The Mall
  • Millbank
  • Pall Mall (east of Haymarket)
  • Parliament Square
  • The Strand
  • Victoria Embankment
  • Victoria Street
  • Westminster Bridge
  • Whitehall

In addition, the Metropolitan Police have advised that a number of other roads may also be closed for parts of the day.  These include, but are not limited to:

  • Grovsenor Place
  • Haymarket
  • Hyde Park Corner
  • Knightsbridge (east of Sloane Street)
  • Park Lane
  • Piccadilly

Road closures will be implemented from 06:00 on Friday 29 April 2011.  They will be lifted as soon as possible following the events, but road users are strongly advised to avoid this part of central London throughout the day.

Congestion Charge

As the Royal Wedding day has been designated a bank holiday this means that it will be non-charging day.

Buses

A Saturday service will be operating and a number of buses in Westminster, Hyde Park, Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square areas will be subject to diversions or will finish before their usual destination if they are unable to travel their usual routes through the affected part of central London.

Bus diversions and curtailments commence at 05:30 and should be removed at 20:00.

Further diversions may be necessary should road closures be expanded throughout the day.  Extra staff will be on-hand to provide public information and to assist with the diversions.

Bus users are advised to check the TfL website before they travel.

Tube

All Tube lines will be running, with no planned engineering work affecting services during the day.

All of the stations close to the route of the procession will be open on the day, including Embankment, Charing Cross, Waterloo, Westminster, Hyde Park Corner and Green Park.  As normal, station closures and mechanisms to limit stations to entry or exit only may be used if necessary to prevent over-crowding.

The lifts at Green Park are currently being refurbished and will not be available on the day.  The nearest station with a lift is Westminster.

Watford and Croxley stations will not have a train service after 22:00 on the evening, although replacement buses will operate.

A queuing system will be in place for access to London Underground station at Victoria.  A similar system may be in place for access to the Network Rail station at Charing Cross.

Posted in Events, People, Police, Transport. Comments Off on Road closures and transport information for the Royal Wedding.

Play offs secured for Wingate and Finchley Football Club last Saturday.

By Jamie Dickens

The gulf between both sides, in this exciting encounter on Saturday afternoon, was evident as Waltham Forest played victims in a five-nil drubbing at the hands of Finchley’s impressive Wingate and Finchley FC.

Tensions were high at Summers Lane as the play offs were within touching distance for the hosts. David Norman’s side started off confidently as an instinctive long ball from keeper, Bobby Smith, well within his own half caught Forest’s defence napping and found David Laird inside the box. Laird could only volley into the keeper’s hands but it was a sign of what was to come.

The opener was to come shortly after this opportunity which came about after an excellent piece of skill from Wingate’s fearsome striker, Leon smith. Combining strength and nifty footwork to leave three Forest defenders scrambling in his wake, he slid the ball into the bottom corner past on-looking keeper Sidney Anguilley.

Anguilley was given no chance by his defence for Smith’s and Wingate’s second. When an extremely distinctive chipped ball was played into the prolific striker’s path by Gary Burrell, Forest’s captain, Gbenga Sonuga, was left in no-man’s land and could only watch as the ball nestled in the bottom corner once again.

After the interval things only got better for the impressive Leon Smith. He bagged his 27th of the campaign seconds after the re-start. Cleverly, he wrong footed the unlucky Gbenga Ladega and produced an exquisite finish to complete his hatrick. This opened up the flood gates and the fourth was clinched by an outstanding Ahmet Rifat goal on the hour mark volleying in from the edge of the area. The final goal was turned into his own net by former Wingate captain, Marvin Samuel.

This was an emphatic win for the home side and after a slip up by Sudbury they had clinched their play off place by the final whistle. Manager David Norman said “This was the most important game of our season; this is because it could have been a major slip up if we hadn’t got the result. We had a game plan today and the lads responded to it very well. All credit to the opposition, we knew it would be a tough game for us today despite their position in the table, however, after having matched them physically there would be only one winner today and the quality of my squad shone through.”  When asked about a possible man of the match, Norman said “Obviously we cannot ignore the fact that Leon has scored an incredible hat-rick today, but he wouldn’t have been able to do this if we hadn’t worked so hard as a team so I’d put today’s result down to a team performance rather than an individual.”


Posted in Community, Events, Sports. Comments Off on Play offs secured for Wingate and Finchley Football Club last Saturday.

After a desperate attempt to flee, a Hoodie is captured in Finchley

On Good Friday, Finchley resident and international rescue agent, Janet Baker, successfully ID’d escaped fugitive ‘Hoody Doody’ at large, and living rough, in West Finchley for three weeks.

An attempt to capture the villain by grappling the smooth criminal and taking it into custody on Saturday resulted in failure and the ecapee fled. A trap was then set, which saw the successful capture of  the Hoody’ on Easter Sunday.

Now back in custody Hoody Doody is ‘feline relieved’ to be reunited with her family and regrets having catnipped off.  She has lost weight, but no explanation is forthcoming as to how she came to be sporting such a red nose?

Hoody Doody is receiving five star service from her tin openers, who are very greatfull to Janet for her vigilance and for reuniting them with Hoody Doody.

Hoodie being pampers by her tin-openers

Hoodie receiving visitors

Posted in Community, Crime, Humour. Comments Off on After a desperate attempt to flee, a Hoodie is captured in Finchley

An unbiased and helpful assessment of AV versus First Past the Post.

Photo of Paul BinksBy Paul Binks

Alternative Vote, “Yay” or “Neigh”

We’ll be asking ourselves whether to vote Yay! Or Neigh! on May 5th. But do we know enough to be content with our decision. Vociferous publicity is there to aid us, but with so many factions contradicting each other and unqualified celebrities being wheeled out for support, it’s like separating the wheat from the chaff to make sense of any of it.

The last time we were given this chance was in 1931 and we may have to wait as long for another. I’ll try to aid this process by separating fact from fiction.

Despite the perception that AV is a modern system, AV was actually devised by an American Robert Ware in 1871. As a Governmental election tool it was first used by the Colonial Territory of Queensland in 1893. It has been used in the Presidential election of Ireland, regional US elections such as California and our own main political parties’ leadership contests as well a host of others. But it’s only used by three National Governmental Elections; the Melanesian States of Papa New Guinea and Fiji along with our Colonial cousins in Australia. With Democracy being the superior form of Governance in the World this statistic seems peculiar and even stranger in that Australia and Fiji want to abandon the system altogether.

Looking at the systems may shed some light on this.

Most will be aware that AV works by listing candidates in preferential order starting from 1 to whatever number of candidates are standing. If a candidate achieves at least 50% of the 1st preferences then the contest is over and an MP elected. If not then the candidate who came last in the count is omitted and the 2nd preferences of those that voted for they are redistributed. This continues until a candidate achieves 50%.

First past the post (FPTP) works by each voter having one vote and whoever has the most votes wins.

The strongest argument for AV is that MPs will be more representative of their communities with a stronger mandate. This will strengthen the bond with the MP and dissipate the controversy surrounding their decisions. The problem arises when a MP attains say 15% of their votes from 4th or 5th preferences in a contest where they came 3rd initially. How credible could they be?

This will discourage diametrically-opposed debate as parties narrow their positions to win favour from supporters of the middle and the floating voter. A more well-round politics would be more representative of the country. But to have a balanced viewpoint there must opposing views.

In time there would be less to distinguish between the politics which would lead to a surrendering of traditional tribal positions, favouring a selection based on candidates whom are most trustworthy, or rather who are the most convincing performers. We only have to look at the Governorship of California to imagine this scenario.

Elections will appear like fairs as candidates trade their principles to appeal to non-partisan voters. This has been suggested as politicians working harder for their constituents. However, this referendum is upon us only because of the public backlash against the expenses scandal and the association with the Global recession which lead to the first hung parliament since 1974. If this period has taught us anything it’s that we are yearning for politicians with solid ethics and are preparedness to maintain these through adversity.

Tactical voting would be a thing of the past for those in marginal seats. Although the outcome would still be the same, but relying on a voter’s 2nd preference. This point has no relevance other than determining a party’s total support nationwide which would only be useful in a proper Proportional Representation system.

The great advantage is that parties would be able to present several candidates without fear of splitting the vote. This would present power to the grassroots. For examples, Tories could choose a traditional or a Neo-Conservative if they wish.

The heart of this debate is Democracy. There will be many voters who have a clear vision of the community they wish and will choose one preference only. They will be penalised if their preference does not win as they will have no further influence, leaving all others to determine the outcome. Some will have more votes than others.

In contradiction, it has been said that AV will end the hopes of extreme parties gaining a foothold. This could be true, but the supporters of extreme parties will influence the contest even if not by first choice. Winston Churchill expressed his fear of this when campaigning at the last referendum in 1931, stating “AV gives the greatest influence to the most worthless votes for the most worthless candidates.”

Maybe it’s a price worth paying, but do we want a society where no parties can ever break through our ancient landscape? As the BNP would be obliterated so would the likes of the Green Party and UKIP. It should be debate that discourages the contemptible from making a breakthrough, not the system, if we are democratic.

Finally we must consider the implications. The party coveting the central ground would improve its standing by taking seats from the left and right which will create continuous Hung-Parliaments and mean less conviction and more compromise.

It has been said that Politics would become more accountable but the exact opposite could be true. Manifesto pledges can be omitted under the guise of not being part of Coalition agreements. This becomes a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free-Card for any inconvenient or out of favour policy. In some cases they genuinely will be undeliverable as we have recently seen with the Lib-Dems failure to abolish University tuition fees. Either way Coalition partners will have carte-blanche privileges to redefine their Governorship from that promised to the voter.

In summary, AV has advantages and disadvantages. It’s clearly not flawless but then neither is our current system otherwise we would not be having this debate. But the key question is whether this is better than what we have and is it more democratic?

[Ed – Whatever you vote, be assured this is going to have to stay with us for a long time so I guess we should vote for whatever will be best for Britain rather than what will be best for our party.]