Friday, 7 June 2019


"The biggest campaign on the Internet this week has been the growing demands from nearly every organisation and group on the Internet linked to Mill Hill for Barnet Council and MP Offord to recommend John Gillett for an MBE for his outstanding contribution to local community work.

In a number of polls on Twitter he gained between 88% and 100% support from several accounts with several thousand followers. 

Imagine our surprise when the infamous small Barnet Eye account (well known for character assassination as Brian Coleman and Richard Cornelius can testify) decided to try a hatchet Job on John.

We have looked into their claims and find that none of them are true.

First.  I can say (because I have the photo) that I was with Caroline when she resigned from the Forum Social Media.  She wanted to expand the accounts to cover local interest but sadly that was not compatible with the Forums brief.   She left on excellent terms and is an amazing person.  The suggestion that there was any bust up is rubbish. Caroline is not like that and nor is John Gillett.

Second.  Roger accuses John of writing tweets on the Mill Hill Today account.  He does this several times.  Sadly for Roger he has this wrong again.  The former Mill Hill Today twitter account was run by Rose but last week I took it over for Mill Hill Broadway and the tweets he quoted were by me.   They were newsworthy and accurate.

Third.  I watched the video of the Licensing Meeting.  It was clear that the people who should be banned from public life are those shouting the odds and intimidating the female councillors.  Such misogynistic behaviour by Roger and Marshall is another reason why they keep losing.  In 2019 they both have attitudes stuck in the 1970s.

Fourth.  Barnet Eye admits that John has achieved huge things.   Yet a few bits of Internet gossip and blatant lies they claim are enough for them to try and stop him helping the community.   I sometimes think these Internet warriors have literally given up on reality.

So here is a small list of what I know John has achieved :

1.A full academic report on the Town Centre in 2015 from London School of Economics which was fully funded and has proved an invaluable tool for the Council and Forum to improve the area.
Evidence : from day one that John consults experts to help Mill Hill. He does not promote an agenda like many others based on political dogma.

2. He created the Town Sq and spent months raising the money and planning it and making it a great resource for the area.
Evidence : Walk past any day at any time and the public are using it. It is incredibly popular. The biggest structural change to the Broadway for residents in its 100 year history.

3. He found Vibe Markets and gained funding to launch them in Mill Hill from 2015 with huge success.
Evidence : Thousands have attended and enjoyed the stalls and festivals. By rights Mill Hill is too small but John found a way with Vibe to get these lovely events to happen.

4.   The planning blight which is happening all over London to build enough housing for the welcome influx of people to the city has been difficult.
Evidence : John has worked with developers on most of the plans in order to make them sympathetic to the area.  He has had successes. Without him I dread to think what would have happened.

5.  The biggest achievement in my view is the most recent.  Our station is a disgrace. However, John formed an action group with Matthew Offord MP to tackle this. His progress was annotated in Mill Hill Today and the Guide over the last few years.
Evidence :  the Government granted to the area £8.5 million pounds for Step Free Access.

6. In addition he has tens of other achievements for the area.
Evidence : he brought the incredible Big Time Academy to the Hub. Without them the Hub would have collapsed.  He helped create the Hub project working 15 hour days to get it opened.
He supported us with our Mill Hill Guide.  We asked for help with it. He turned a small online project into a print run of 15,000 to reach all ages in the area and keep them informed.
In addition he wrote 12 pages a month as a newsletter which was inserted into the community publication Mill Hill Today.

Finally. The Neighbourhood Plan is a complex document. It takes months of research to prepare and write.  It needs someone with serious academic qualifications and detailed knowledge to write.   John has that ability.  The uneducated Internet keyboard warriors do not have such ability.  You can tell by their poor writing skills and loose and often untruthful arguments.

John Gillett will write the Neighbourhood Plan for us all, at great personal cost in time and brainpower.  This document will seem to you and I to be boring, complex, and. Dense.   That is because it needs to be. This document will be all that stands between our area and the destruction of our greenbelt and our way of life.  John can deliver that. His track record says that. His experience says that. His abilities say that.

Ask yourself.  Do you want the guy who props up the bar by his own admission at The Bridge pub writing this vital document?  Or John Gillett who has dedicated 5 years of his life to researching and preparing to write this plan?

For me there is only one person who can protect Mill Hill against the March of overdevelopment and give us all community facilities that we deserve. That is John Gillett. He has proved that time and time again in the last 5 years.   Whilst others moan and snipe, John works quietly and hard to achieve his goals. He is one of life's winners.  Luckily those of us who don't prop up bars for a living know this but we should appreciate John.

So please rally round John in the coming months as he starts to write the plan.  When step free access happens think of John, when you read your Mill Hill Guide think of John, when you buy a pastry or see some music on the square think of John, when you see the beauty of our green spaces think of John.  He is working for you and I every single day with no fanfare and no reward and with no agenda.

In my opinion no local community person in the country deserves an mbe or at the least our thanks, than John.   We are lucky to have such an incredible person in our community. 

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