Thursday, 17 May 2012

Sunset Boulevard: Brian Coleman's comeback

the return of gutter politics?

Some people are not good at handling rejection, are they? Mrs Angry certainly is not, she must admit. And nor is Brian Coleman. In fact it it true to say that our former Assembly Member, Chair of the Fire Authority, and Barnet Cabinet member (is he still a FRSA?) is having an enormous struggle with the process of coming to terms with his sudden loss of status. Take a look at the footage of him at this week's annual council meeting. The Barnet Bugle has included plenty of opportunity to watch Brian's sulky little boy behaviour throughout the course of the coronation of the new Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

Perhaps any readers who may be former social workers trained in lip reading - you know who you are - may care to translate his constant commentary, muttered all the way thorough the ceremony into the ear of a rather embarrassed leader Richard Cornelius, who as usual is too polite to tell him to shut up?

Over the last couple of days, in truth, Mrs Angry has found herself feeling rather sorry for Brian Coleman, and wondering how he will cope with being thrown into a real world, with all the challenges the rest of us all face, and which he has managed to evade for so long. This sympathy, however, is, it would seem, sadly misplaced, and by the way it now transpires that he will get a golden goodbye from the London Assembly of £30,000, to soften the blow ...

And it it true to say that Brian is furious, of course, not humbled by his fall from grace.

The Samantha Brick of Tory London is so convinced of the power of his own attractions, he simply cannot accept that he is not wanted, and is rumoured to be yet again plotting to have his wicked way with the hapless residents of our metropolis, using whatever charms he thinks he has to seduce Boris Johnson and convince him to reappoint him to LFEPA, the London fire and emergency authority.

happier days for Brian Coleman

Mrs Angry read with disbelief - and horror - a tweet today by Paul Embery, Regional Secretary of the Fire Brigade Union in London:

"I hear that Brian Coleman is lobbying fiercely to get back on LFEPA. I cannot overstate what a retrograde step this would be."

Is this really true?

Of course Coleman, reduced to the status and basic allowance of an ordinary councillor, plus a modest allowance for being the chair of a non executive committee, must be beside himself with frustration at his loss of power, not to mention the end of a routine to which he has become far too accustomed, of constant invitations to civic functions, and private lunches, and flattering attentions from all sorts of interesting parties. He will therefore no doubt be trying to figure out a way of keeping his fingers gripped on the window ledge of the London Fire authority. Look: here he is, legs dangling, trousers slowly sliding to his ankles.

How would this be possible? Well, all seventeen appointees to LFEPA must be approved by the Mayor. Eight posts are nominated from the London Assembly, and seven from the London boroughs. In the past the Mayor, that is to say Mayor Livingstone, has acted to withhold his approval, when he considered that the nominations - Conservative and Libdem - from both the Assembly and the London boroughs - were not fairly representative of the wider community, and ignoring the need to nominate women and members of ethnic minorities. (All nominations at the time were white candidates, and only one woman was included).

Would Boris Johnson completely take leave of his senses, and even consider, for the briefest of moments, the possibility that it would be a good thing to bring Coleman back to any position of authority?

Would he ignore the warning of the Audit Commission report published in February 2009, which noted that:

"The Chairman is robust and challenging but staff and some external stakeholders find his style too confrontational."

Would he really ignore the overwhelming outpouring of fury from the electorate of Barnet and Camden which resulted in Coleman's loss of his Assembly seat?

Would he forget that Coleman no longer has any mandate for any elected position other than from a small and declining number of privileged voters in the tiny Totteridge ward, here in Broken Barnet?

room for manoeuvre?

Samantha Brick ... or Norma Desmond?

Brian is poised at the top of the stairs, ready for his big moment ....

'Alright, Mr Mayor, I'm ready for my call up ...'

The body floating in the pool? That'll be us, if he gets his way.

Mrs Angry believes that Boris knows perfectly well now, if he did not already know it, that Coleman is an electoral liability, and must be kept out of power. Just to make sure he is supported in this view, why not email him and remind him why you did not vote for him to retain his Assembly post, and what you think of his Assetco hampers, and the thought of him enjoying more £1,000 lunches for his mates at the Fire Authority ... ?

If the thought of our emergency services being once more subjected to a decision making process which includes this man fills you with deep misgivings, then you will not be alone. Nothing could be more important than that this body has a new start, under the recently appointed Chair James Cleverly, and given the opportunity to forge a new partnership with London's firefighters, so as to work together for the best interests of all Londoners.

Remember to include your postal address.


latest tweet from Paul Embery this afternoon:

Confirmed that Coleman won't return to LFEPA as a borough councillor. Remains possible he will be mayoral appointee, though.

Send that email NOW ...


Don't Call Me Dave said...

There is nothing wrong with the odd comeback now and again

Mrs Angry said...

Indeed, DCMD, and welcome back to the Barnet blogosphere: readers can hop over to the right (in more ways than one) and find you safely returned at 'Not the Barnet Times', where you belong. I hope that your comeback is successful, and that Brian's is not.