Thursday, 28 February 2013

Friern Barnet Community Library - The People's Library

March Calendar

Tue 5 and 12: at 6:30-7:30pm

Wed 6 and 13: at 11:15-11:45am
Drama and Rhyme time for toddlers
(with local mum and Drama Teacher Sinead – CRB checked) 

Thu 7 and 14: at 11:15-11:45am
Song and Story Time for toddlers
(with local mum and pre-school teacher Tanya CRB checked)

Mon 11: at 6:00-7.30pm
Tweeting Workshop

Wed 13: at 10:00-1:00pm
Talk Direct Action/Occupy with Roehampton Uni

Fri 15: at 6:00-7:30pm
Tweeting Workshop

Fri 15: at 7:00-10:30pm
Benefit raising funds for the library and paid librarians.
Suggested Donation up to £5 

Thu 21: at 8:00pm-10:00pm
Open Mic Night

Mrs Angry's Broken Barnet: "Welcome to the House of Fun"

Link to 'Broken Barnet'
through the square window
"Why have senior officers been allowed to move to and from companies involved in the [Barnet outsourcing] tender process? There have been concerns raised about this for a year and a half, and nothing has been done about it, other than the repetitions of assurance that all officers are obliged to make declarations of interest.

"... It should be noted that, of course, the individual officers who have taken employment with these companies are doing nothing unlawful, nor were such moves in breach of any council regulations - because there were none in place.

"The message is clear: please don't ask any awkward questions, Mrs Angry - this is the House of Fun, and we intend to carry on having fun, as long as we possibly can."

"Shall we take a look round London?" (1964-vintage Daleks plan their day out)

Zap to The Guardian web site

"Terry Nation's first Dalek story the previous year had been such a success that a sequel was the obvious move. And this was the story that really ushered in 'Dalekmania' – a different kind of invasion, one of kites, water-pistols and lunchboxes taking over the schools of Britain.

"They were also deemed worthy of Doctor Who's first-ever location filming – the sight of Daleks trundling around Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Bridge, Albert Embankment and the Royal Albert Hall made for some of the most memorable sequences in the show's history.

"Seeing these awful creatures transplanted to your doorstep must have been a terrifying prospect at the time. Although it also must be said that the appearance of the defeated Dalek, its forlorn eyestalk drooping down, is very funny. 

"Sadly, last week saw the death at 84 of Raymond Cusick, the man who brought the Daleks to terrifying life. While Nation invented them, it was Cusick, as a BBC production designer, who came up their iconic look, one that has remained largely unchanged in 50 years."

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

MRW: "Incinerator plan 'would breach law', report says"

Link to MRW web site

"A campaign group and council are locked in a war of words over claims that the case for an incinerator is unsound.

"Pressure group Glosvain is opposed to plans for the Javelin Park incinerator, near Gloucester, which Gloucestershire County Council’s intends to develop with Urbaser Balfour Beatty.

"Glosvain commissioned Rebecca Colley-Jones, of consultant Ynys Resources, who is also chair of the Chartered Institution of Waste Management in Wales, to carry out an independent investigation of the council’s case.

"She concluded that the incinerator would not comply with EU and UK law, that the council had seriously over-estimated future waste requirements and that the economic case for the installation had collapsed following the end of the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS).

"Colley-Jones said the proposed incinerator would be so inefficient that it must be classified not as recovery but disposal, at the bottom of the waste hierarchy."

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Pilot Broadcast of London Borough's Council Meeting

Link to Croydon Radio

"Following calls for greater transparency, Croydon Radio has been given permission to broadcast live from Croydon Town Hall for a Full Council meeting. This is a great opportunity for residents in Croydon, who are unable to attend the meeting in the person, to listen to Croydon’s elected and opposition councillors debate and make decisions on how to provide local services."

"Please let us know what you think during the live broadcast by tweeting @bieneosa using the hashtag #CRCCM (Croydon Radio Croydon Council Meeting). You can also send an email to

LocalGov: "Recycling: A very expensive backward step"

Link to web site

"Next week’s Judicial Review in Cardiff could spell the end for commingled dry recycling collections in England and Wales. That would be a very expensive and unnecessary backward step.

"If, at the end of the three day hearing on 28th February, Mr Justice Barton supports the action brought by the Campaign for Real Recycling (CRR), then hundreds of local authorities could collectively shudder at the thought of spending millions to change their commingled recycling collections to some form of kerbside-sort."

Sunday, 24 February 2013

" 'We got soaked to the skin and nothing worked': how disastrous rehearsals turned into an Olympic revelation"

Link to Evening Standard

"Nobody thought the Opening Ceremony would be any good. I had my doubts. I thought they wouldn’t want me. We got soaked to the skin in rehearsals and nothing worked. It was a struggle.

"But the actual performance was a revelation. It set the mood and lifted the curtain on a remarkable Olympics. As more and more people read the book and say how much they enjoy it, I knew it had to be published, first for the volunteers and now for everyone."

Saturday, 23 February 2013

South Wales Argus: "Could Newport pull out of South Wales waste scheme?"

Link to web site

"Newport council is due next Tuesday to approve a business case for Prosiect Gwyrdd, which will see non-recyclable rubbish burned in a Cardiff incineration plant.

"But one councillor in the ruling group, who did not want to be named, says the multi-million pound scheme has huge implications for Newport, which will be tied into a contract for a quarter of a century. 

"The councillor said:
"The length of the contract is an issue. We are being asked to look at a contract that is going to affect not just our children, but our children's children.

The amount of waste that would be feeding the incinerator has been in decline."

Thursday, 21 February 2013

New York Times: "The Toilet of Tomorrow?"

"The End of Global Warming: How to Save the Earth in 2 Easy Steps"

Link to 'The Atlantic'

"You may not believe me, but I have news about global warming: Good news, and better news.

"Here is the good news. US carbon emissions are decreasing rapidly. We're down over 10% from our emissions peak in 2007. Furthermore, the drop isn't just a function of the Great Recession. Since 2010 our economy has been growing, but emissions have kept on falling. The reason? Natural gas. With the advent of 'fracking' technology, the price of gas has plummeted far below that of coal, and as a result, essentially no new coal plants are being built.

"Although gas does release carbon, it only releases about half as much as coal for the same amount of electricity. This is why -- despite our failure to join the Kyoto Protocol or impose legal restrictions on CO2 -- the United States is now outpacing the rest of the developed world in reducing our contribution to global warming.

"Now for the better news. A technology is in the pipeline that has the potential to eliminate CO2 emissions entirely. Solar power, long believed to be unworkably expensive, has actually been falling in cost at a steady exponential rate of 7 percent per year for the last three decades straight."

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Friends of the Earth: "Make It Better"

Link to Friends of the Earth
"The Make It Better campaign is all about improving the way that our products are made.

"We should all think about the impact the things we buy have on the world. But it should be up to the companies that make them to ensure they don't hurt people and the environment.

"With Make It Better we're calling for tough new rules to make companies come clean about the full impact of their production. This would be a huge step towards reducing the dangerous strain being placed upon our planet.

"We also want to celebrate the positive steps companies are taking, and how innovative design can reduce the environmental impact of our favourite items.

"We'd love you to join in, starting with one of today's most popular products: the smartphone. ..."

Sunday, 17 February 2013

BBC: "Litter Wars"

Link to BBC web site

"Meet the litter vigilantes: the men and women who care so passionately about the cleanliness of their streets and parks that they are prepared to take matters into their own hands, confronting literrers and rolling up their sleeves to clear up your mess.

It is a big problem; 30 million tonnes of litter are dumped on British streets every year. It costs a billion pounds a year to clear up, and hard-pressed councils cannot always cope with the daily tide of dog mess, drinks cans, sweet wrappers and cigarette ends.

"Some vigilantes, like retired teacher and soldier John, in Shropshire, prefer the direct, head-on tactic he adopted when he saw a couple dropping litter: 'I ran up to them and said: "This is yours! We don't want it; take it home or I'll make a citizens arrest".'

"John's approach might seem extreme, but he is not alone in his irritation at anti-social behaviour. Rik mounts early morning video vigils in Cornwall to film dog foulers and passes his evidence to the council. In Derbyshire we meet Mike, who is infuriated by the dog mess which fouls his local park. He collected 27 bags in one 60 minute patrol.

"Some vigilantes adopt a gentler approach; Adrian, in Leicester, has harvested more than 50,000 drinks tins from his local streets. Owen, in Cornwall, loves to spend his spare time blitzing litter-strewn parks with a crew of mates - he finds it a good way of letting off steam from his role as a carer. And Jill, in North Yorkshire, mounts one of Britain's most unusual dog fouling campaigns - highlighting every dog mess on a popular footpath with a pink flag. After marking 72 poos, she runs out of flags."

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Monday, 11 February 2013

[Reposted] Wed 13 Feb: Pinkham Way Alliance: "Another NLWA planning application for Pinkham Way?"


"After very good news just before Christmas it’s definitely time to get back to business. Please read on, and you’ll appreciate why we must continue this campaign with our full attention.

Haringey Council have - already this year - made this alarming statement about Pinkham Way:
“The Council expects a further planning application from the North London Waste Authority and Barnet Council after the Town/Village Green application decision (presuming failure of the TVG application).”

We have spoken to Haringey, and been told that, to be more precise, they expect further moves on Pinkham Way once the waste authority have awarded their overall waste contract for north London.

If this were to happen, it could mean another application for waste facilities at Pinkham Way later this year, perhaps as early as this summer.

This is in line with the waste authority’s own intentions for the site, as stated in their press release just before Christmas:
“The Pinkham Way site remains relevant to NLWA’s service requirements in terms of a delivery, sorting and transfer point for recyclable material and other waste that is collected from local households.

Such a 'delivery, sorting and transfer point' could involve an equally as large, polluting and locally damaging a process as the MBT waste facility that has, for the moment, been withdrawn.

It could also be combined with a council vehicle depot, if Barnet hold the NLWA to their current contractual agreement to include it, as part of any plans for the site.

This is not to say that these threats cannot be countered, of course. But it shows very clearly that we must be vigilant, and remain active. There will be extremely important consultations for us all to reply to in the near future, fundraising must continue, and your help putting pressure on politicians and policy makers will be vital.

PWA members and supporters are already working hard on all of these areas; if you can make it, please come along to the next public meeting:

Bounds Green Residents Association (BGDRA)
and PWA are holding a joint
Pinkham Way
Update Meeting
Alexandra Park School,
Rhodes Avenue, N22 7UT
Wednesday, 13 February, 7.30pm

Please keep an eye out for our newsletters, and let your friends and neighbours know that their help will be needed again soon."

Kind regards,

Bidesh Sarkar
Chair, Pinkham Way Alliance

Sunday, 10 February 2013

New York Times: "Shortage of Engineers a Strain on Britain's Economy"

(Video of one of the featured companies
in the New York Times)

"Engineering has never been truly prestigious in Britain, where traditionally many of the best brains have opted for careers in law, medicine, the civil service or the news media.

"Add to that the more recent lure of London’s financial sector, which, despite recent layoffs, still offers lavish salaries and bonuses. It is little wonder that British manufacturing struggles to compete for the country’s most capable young people.

"... Mr. Reece, an engineering graduate of the University of Cambridge, said:
"Engineers have low status in this country. Historically, there has been a class-based view: posh people think engineers are tradesman.

Lawyers and accountants are regarded as professionals, while engineers are down there with the lumpen proletariat, the tradesmen who fix your toilet'."

Friday, 8 February 2013

North London Waste Authority: 'Wise Up to Waste' full-page ads

"In north London it costs around £120 to send a tonne of waste to landfill but just £40 to recycle it.

"With each home producing nearly a tonne of waste a year, recycling saves money. This means more is available for a range of public services in this time of stretched public finances.

"As a resident of north London, you're already helping us to recycle around 30% of our waste. This is great but a few more tin cans, a couple more glass kars and some extra plastic bottles... It all adds up. With around 70% of rubbish recyclable, there's a lot more we can do to save the environment and save money. [Although that would screw us on procurement penalties*, so don't try too hard.]

"Find out everything you need to know about how to recycle more at:"

* [being confirmed.]

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

New York Times: "Raspberry Pi" (Coding computers again)

"The idea behind a tiny and cheap computer for kids came in 2006, when Eben Upton and his colleagues at the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory, including Rob Mullins, Jack Lang and Alan Mycroft, became concerned about the year-on-year decline in the numbers and skills levels of the A Level students applying to read Computer Science in each academic year. 

"From a situation in the 1990s where most of the kids applying were coming to interview as experienced hobbyist programmers, the landscape in the 2000s was very different; a typical applicant might only have done a little web design.

"Something had changed the way kids were interacting with computers. A number of problems were identified: the colonisation of the ICT curriculum with lessons on using Word and Excel, or writing webpages; the end of the dot-com boom; and the rise of the home PC and games console to replace the Amigas, BBC Micros, Spectrum ZX and Commodore 64 machines that people of an earlier generation learned to program on.

"There isn’t much any small group of people can do to address problems like an inadequate school curriculum or the end of a financial bubble. But we felt that we could try to do something about the situation where computers had become so expensive and arcane that programming experimentation on them had to be forbidden by parents; and to find a platform that, like those old home computers, could boot into a programming environment. From 2006 to 2008, Eben designed several versions of what has now become the Raspberry Pi.

(See also Wikipedia)

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Crossrail 2 - to Alexandra Palace station, and to the Tottenham Hale line

London First issued a Crossrail 2 report today (although, apart from moving the Wood Green station to Turnpike Lane, there is actually little new).

"A major new rail link connecting south-west and north-east London, via a tunnel beneath central London, is recommended today in a new report by London First.

"The new line, Crossrail 2, would transform journeys for commuters from the south-west and the north-east, including Wimbledon, Kingston, Twickenham, Hackney, Islington, Tottenham, Cheshunt and Hertford East. It would also provide essential relief to major London interchanges, including Euston, Victoria and Clapham Junction, and reduce pressure on congested Tube lines. In some cases, journey times would be more than halved.

"Rapid population and central London employment growth will create the need for significant additional capacity on London’s transport networks from the mid 2020s onwards. Over the next 20 years, employment in London – mostly in central London – is projected to rise by 700,000 and the capital’s population is expected to rise by 1.5 million to almost 10 million, its highest level ever.

"If the necessary planning and consultation for Crossrail 2 were to begin now, the new line could be open by the early 2030s."

Evening Standard reports that:
"Boris Johnson backs Crossrail 2 to slash journey times between north and south London"

"The route of a north-south Crossrail 2 through central London, creating an extra 100,000 journeys during the morning peak, was unveiled today.

"The proposed express service would run from Cheshunt and Alexandra Palace in the north to centres including Epsom, Shepperton, and Twickenham in the south-west.

"Much of the route would be via a new tunnel that would be drilled between Wimbledon and Tottenham Hale and Alexandra Palace. The service could be running by the mid-2030s.

"The proposal, in a report published today by business lobby group London First, was welcomed by Mayor Boris Johnson and is a significant step forward for a project that has been talked of for decades.
Also link to:
"Andrew Adonis: We need Crossrail 2 to serve our high-speed city"

Network Rail issued a press release:
"Our projections show that by 2031 we will need to accommodate 36% more commuters into London each day. Network Rail is already delivering the biggest capacity improvement programme since the Victorian era, but even that will not be enough on some routes."

Click on image for:
The Brent Cross Railway
(across outer north London)

Click for video (top-right) of
Sir Terry Farrell's Ninky Nonk
at Old Oak Common

Monday, 4 February 2013

"Our Story In 2 Minutes"

Tues 5 Feb: "Saved !!! Friern Barnet Community Library"

Friern Barnet Library Saved
 – handover ceremony
on Tuesday 12 Noon

Handover of keys from the squatters to the licencees and red ribbon reopening
12.00 midday, Tuesday 5 February 2013

CONTACTS: Phoenix 07769 791387

On Tuesday 5th February, at midday, exactly five months since the occupation began, the community will take possession of the Friern Barnet Library. The local community – represented by the trustees of the library - are on the verge of agreeing a two-year lease with Barnet Council (LBB) to run the library with some funding.

At the ceremony, squatters and supporters of the Occupy movement, who have been keeping the building open and enabling the local community to run a book lending service and community centre in the building, will hand it over to the trustees of the newly formed Friern Barnet Community Library (FBCL). They have now received a licence from LBB to be in the library for two weeks with the promise of renewal of the licence if necessary to negotiate a lease and other matters (eg, who pays the utilities, insurance, and ongoing future repairs). LBB has shown a willingness to amend the licence to their satisfaction.

“This is a triumph for the local community,” said, one of the trustees of the new community library. “Our library was closed in April. And we were told the building would be ‘marketed’. Now we have our library back, with council financial support. We achieved this through constant campaigning, lobbying, and building a broad alliance including squatters, activists, supporters of the Occupy movement, local residents and library campaign groups.

Mike Gee, local activist said, “I do not fully understand this volte-face [by the council] but on the face of it, it’s wonderful. However, we must not forget, this protest is not just about FBL, one library, it is also about the creeping move to a totalitarian state, the irrational, unjust and draconian cuts to vital public services and job losses that are undermining the very way we live, think and breathe. The anecdote is to wake up, open our minds, eyes and hearts and pledge continuing involvement and support to the Occupy Movement. Solidarity!”

Roger Tichbourne, Local Blogger, Barnet Eye, said, “We should all remember that the council is our council. We are all part owners and stakeholders. What has happened in Friern is a massive victory because it has shown the whole community opposes these anti social policies and unethical policies. It is up to each and every one of us to do everything in our power to resist the forces of ignorance and greed. We haven't got what we want, but we've got a community that stands together.”

Housing and Squatting activist, Phoenix, stated: “This campaign definitely shows the success of direct action and squatting. This is a seed of change. The whole country will soon be facing 80% of the rest of the cuts. They can take some inspiration from this direct action. We have collectively helped to save this library from being sold off for development and bulldozed. We would like to see more arrangements between owners of the 1.4 million empty buildings in the UK and squatter/ homeless and community groups, rather than the criminalisation being carried out by this government under the new law. A law we feel strongly is unjust, undemocratic and arbitry."

“We want to make it clear that, the activists support the National Libraries Campaign and that putting in place a paid librarian is a priority. I believe consensus has been reached with the community on this point. As it stands, the funding offered by the council does not cover a full time librarian, but as the two year lease is negotiated and plans go forward, this will be kept at the front of the conversation. The activists would like to say that we are strongly opposed to austerity and all the cuts, especially to the library service. We are also heavily opposed to criminalising the homeless/squatters. The extreme right of the conservative party is seeking to make squatting non-residential building also illegal. This, if it was successful, would affect all our rights to protest by occupying/squatting space, and would make successful community squat occupations such as the library campaign ILLEGAL, thus further removing our rights to shelter and protest.”

Come and celebrate with us, as the keys are officially handed over, from Occupy to the new Friern Barnet Community Library

At Friern Barnet Library building
Friern Barnet Road, N11 3DR

Tuesday 5 February 2013

12 midday

Come and join us afterwards too, for party nibbles and soft drinks!
Party and music afterwards all day and evening as thanks, appreciation and support to Occupy for securing the building and giving the community back their fantastic library space


The Friern Barnet Community Library (Ltd) has been legally incorporated in the last fortnight in response to the opportunity to negotiate a lease with the council.

The library was closed by the Council in April 2012. Community activist squatters reopened it on 3rd September, as a campaign to save the library and also as a protest against the new criminalisation of
the homeless and squatters by the LASPO Act 2012 (enacted on 1 September). NB squatting in non residential buildings is still legal.

For more on the threat to squatters rights by criminalising Commercial squatting.:

The Squatters Action For Secure Homes have just launched a campaign and rapidly growing petition to repeal the LASPO Act 2012. please sign and support.

It was the Direct Action by the squatting community and supporters of Occupy on Sept 5th 2012 that re-ignited the campaign to keep the library open. Despite a two year campaign LBB had refused to negotiate. However at the second Possession hearing on Dec18th, Judge Pearl ordered that LBB should try and negotiate some form of licence to keep the library open, in order to protect the rights of the protesters under Articles 10 and 11 of the Human Rights Act and to preserve 'proportionality' between the rights of the protesters and the rights of the council.

It was this Direct Action combined with the placing of the building on the register as a community asset by local residents that in the end forced the council to negotiate. The supporters of Occupy also acted as caretakers looking after the building and enabling a wide variety of events to take place in co-operation with the local community. They helped to strengthen the bonds emerging between different sections of the community so that at the meeting on Jan 29th many residents from different local groups stepped forward to thank the squatters and occupiers for their crucial help. One local resident Maureen Ivens, Chairwoman of the Save Friern Barnet Library group, said of all the different groups that had come together "We are here as one".

Occupy London is against the cuts and continues to support the National LIbraries Campaign and the local community in their determination to install a professional librarian. This action by the local community in no way replaces or diminishes the responsibility of the council and government to carry out its responsibilities under the 1964 Libraries Act. However as a result of all the work done by an alliance of local residents, squatters, occupiers and legal advisers, the The Friern Barnet Community Library (Ltd) trustees will be handed over the keys by the council for a temporary licence allowing then to keep the Friern Barnet library building open until a full two year lease is signed by both parties.


In order to run the library efficiently once the Occupiers leave, we will need at least 50 volunteers. If you want to be involved:

1) Let us know if you would like to volunteer for a particular slot/time.

2) Or if you are interested in helping in the library and would like to be added to the 'library bank'. (The library bank is a list of local people who can be contacted at short notice to cover the rota or help with specific tasks) *

Send us your name and email and we will include you on the list. Please forward this email to anyone who you think might be interested.

We are Community.
We are Library.
Expect Us!

Our mailing address is:

Image above courtesy of

Friday, 1 February 2013

"What a waste: Eric Pickles slams council's £3.8bn contract." (Wait a minute, isn't the North London Waste Authority...)

Link to Manchester Evening News

"Communites secretary Eric Pickles has attacked Manchester council for its part in a £3.8bn contract to manage the city’s waste.

The Tory cabinet minister claimed the 25-year deal between Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority and Viridor Laing was signed off at double the market rate.

Speaking at the New Local Government Annual Conference, Mr Pickles claimed ratepayers were being hit in the pocket by the ‘shoddy deal’ and said:
"In Manchester, their council tax this year is being forced up by a botched PFI deal signed by the unelected waste authority, a 25-year deal which means they are paying double the market rates to dispose of their residual waste. A shoddy deal by a shadowy, unelected body, with no-one taking responsibility, and local taxpayers left with service cuts and higher taxes."