Thursday, 28 June 2012
Exclusive: new poster prosecution threat to Finchley parking campaigner
Yes: believe it or not, Mrs Angry has heard that Helen Michael, the courageous Finchley trader and leading activist in the fight against the disastrous Barnet parking scheme, has again been threatened with action over the poster she published regarding the instigator of this scheme, our tedious former Assembly member and Cabinet member, Councillor Brian Coleman.
Helen, who runs Cafe Buzz in North Finchley, produced the poster, and distributed it in the area to other shops and businesses, who displayed it in protest at the new parking rules and charges that Coleman insisted on imposing on the residents of this borough, and refused to retract, despite the devastating consequences for traders and residents alike.
Ms Michael was visited by the police soon after the poster appeared, and was asked to amend them so that they were compliant with the requirement to give details of the publisher. She did so immediately, and the police told her there would be no further action.
Why then, we must ask, was she visited again this week by the police who informed her that they want her to attend an interview in regard to the poster. An allegation has been made, but they refuse to tell her the identity of the complainant. She has been told that they intend to proceed 'with your co operation, if possible'. The implication, one must suppose, is that if she does not 'co operate' she may be arrested.
After taking legal advice, she has responded by sending a statement to them, and requesting them to send it to the DPP. This would appear not to have been done.
This new and anonymous complaint about the poster, after the police had already informed Helen that there would no further action, is very interesting, isn't it? One wonders who on earth would make such a complaint? And why?
Clearly pressure has been exerted on the police for them to take up the issue again, after being satisfied previously that there was no problem with the poster. Indeed, the fact that they informed Ms Michael as much itself was reason to continue with the distribution and it might be argued that they are therefore responsible for this situation. One expects the police to be rather better informed than a resident on the legalities of such matters.
Mrs Angry has been told this morning by a local police representative that there have been no prosecutions for flyposting in Barnet in recent years, and that it is anyway the role of the council to prosecute. In which case, why is valuable police time being engaged in the pursuance of an allegation in relation to this poster, an allegation whose origin they refuse to disclose, when this borough is fraught with a record number of burglaries and robberies and no doubt other even more serious criminal activities?
Is the complaint about fly posting, in which case is the council, whose responsibility it is, going to prosecute the Mayor of London for the Boris posters splattered all over local bus stops and shop windows by highly organised teams the night before the election? Or is it about alleged inaccuracies in the poster - in which case, when will the council be prosecuting the local Tory party over the leaflet distributed in Brunswick Park making claims about the parking issue, in a period of purdah?
Does the complaint come not from the council but from the subject of the poster? If so, what offence is Ms Michael alleged to have committed? And why is it being investigated now, rather than when the poster was on display throughout the borough? Would that not anyway be a private, civil matter, rather than a matter for the police?
Now that Councillor Coleman has been so roundly trounced in the GLA election, lost his post as Chair of the Fire authority and has faced the further humiliation of losing his position of power in Barnet, the snivelling, cowardly Tories who dared not speak out against his policies previously, are now falling over themselves to declare that they always really opposed these dreadful proposals. Luckily they were not obliged to do anything about it, as the Barnet bloggers, activists, and enfuriated residents did it for them.
Wouldn't it be nice to see these Tories now rushing to the defence of Helen Michael, who has done more than anyone to fight the catastrophic parking scheme, while they all sat on their hands and did nothing?
Only in Broken Barnet would a woman who showed such courage and determination in standing up for what was right, and opposing a man who was so clearly wrong, now be subjected to petty bullying over what - a f*cking poster.
Mrs Angry hopes that everyone who opposes the parking madness will support Helen, and continue to resist the thuggish tactics of this administration's obsession with silencing all dissension or quashing any resistence to its dangerously lunatic policies.