Precious Darlings: Brian Coleman - suffer the little children
Not long to go now, until erstwhile Barnet Tory councillor Brian Coleman is up before the beak, at Uxbridge Magistrates' Court, to answer charges, which he denies, relating to the alleged assault of a female resident.
May 3rd, when Councillor Coleman will be standing in the dock, is something of an ominous date, from his perspective: it will be exactly a year since the GLA elections which saw him lose his place on the London Assembly, his chairmanship of Lfepa, eventually followed by the further losses of his Cabinet place, his place on the NLWA board, and even, temporarily at least, his membership of the Conservative party.
It has been a short, sharp shock for Brian: a spectacular fall, and one which has left him, as a lone independent councillor, isolated, powerless and clearly deeply frustrated.
At the last full council meeting, Mrs Angry noted, when Councillor Coleman attempted to move a motion, or to intervene in any way , he was not supported by his former colleagues. The questions he had submitted to council were shoved right to the back of the queue, (rather unfairly, Mrs Angry thought, Brian, as it happens) where there was no chance that supplementary questions would be allowed, due to lack of time.
Interestingly, Coleman's questions were to Leader Cornelius about hospitality, or the lack of it, from Saracens Rugby club, the club who have received such a warm welcome from Barnet Council - and a peppercorn rent for the use of Copthall Stadium, whereas our own Barnet FC club, at home in Underhill for more than a century, has been allowed to depart the borough: the last match was played there on Saturday.
Brian has another outlet for his energies now, of course. He has become a man of letters: not only is he writing his memoirs, but he has become the very thing he has always held in the lowest contempt: a Barnet blogger ...
His latest effort is a real piece of work, combining as it does his favourite subjects of women, children, road safety, nimbyism and faith schools. Yes, Brian is an expert on all these subjects, or at least, he likes to voice his opinions on all these issues, and in this post applies himself to this task with great enthusiasm.
Brian, who has no children, as far as Mrs Angry is aware, is nevertheless an authority on what is best for them, should they have the impertinence to be born, and to be born in the London Borough of Barnet, where a Tory council must be burdened with the duty to provide them with a school place.
(Brian Coleman, it should be remembered, was not born but created in a laboratory by mad scientists intent on creating a superhuman with extraordinary powers of political insight and natural leadership. The experiment failed, but science's loss was our gain, here in Broken Barnet.)
Ah, but: Brian does not want to provide them with a school place: he wants the council to be divested of its responsibilities to pupils: bring on the free schools, and more and more of them, til no state schools are left. Why does Brian want this? Because he LOVES Michael Gove, and, erm ... because one primary school he knows has a bunch of governors whom he says feast on pizza and bottles of wine at their meetings, which have been known to go on AFTER 10.30pm, which is past Brian's bedtime, or longer than his concentration span, not sure which.
Brian speaks fondly of the number of faith schools in the borough, although of course as usual failing to refer to the largest community group, that is to say the Catholic community, which nurtured not one but two of the Barnet bloggers ... and our councillor wants to encourage schools which represent other faiths and communities: an admirable ambition, as we all would agree. Oh dear, though - says Brian: However it seems to me that every time the Community tries to add to the
diversity of schools available for parents in Barnet attempts are made
by the NIMBY (Not in my back yard) element to prevent progress.
Ah yes: Nimbyism. (Good of him to explain the term, btw: have often wondered). Oh dear: take a deep breath and read on: In my view new schools should be opened slap bang in the middle of
residential areas . That is where the demand is and it encourages
residents to use and appreciate their local schools. I am entirely pro
motorist but would make it a criminal offence for parents to drive their
children to school . I and probably the vast majority of my generation
were never driven to school , we walked or took the bus.
Hmm. So. Let's desconstruct that.
Schools should be slap bang in the middle of residential areas. A criminal offence for parents to drive their children to school. Little Brian Coleman walked or took the bus to school.
Yes, Brian, if we were able to demolish the whole of Broken Barnet and rebuild it - and to be fair, your former Tory colleagues are trying their best to do just that - we might be able to start again, and plan a new borough with schools in the centre of local communities. They are not, they have always and continue to be squeezed into wherever your councillor chums feel is most politically productive. A criminal offence? Really? But then we might want to make it a criminal offence for, say, councillors to drive to the Town Hall, or Waitrose, or the nearest cash machine. And one imagines our magistrates' courts are rather busy with more important crimes to address, don't you think? You walked to school, or caught the bus? This may come as a surprise to some, who may have thought your attendance necessitated the accompaniment of an armed escort and a fleet of taxi drivers on standby alert, but we must take your word for it. And now he makes a typically outrageous remark in regard to some parents' reluctance to walk their children to schools:
Among the excuses I have been presented with are that it is not save for their precious darlings to walk the streets of Barnet .
Their precious darlings.
As it happens, Brian, I used to walk my children miles everyday, to school, to nursery and back, endless journeys. Not every parent, however, lives within walking distance of a school, or is able even to obtain a place at the nearest school to their home.
He continues by claiming that parents insist on using their cars to take children to school because of the 'danger'. Ah: danger? From paedophiles. Says our man:
... about one child per year is killed by a stranger , and tragic and
appalling as every child killing is , this is the same level as the
The suggestion that somehow the streets are awash with paedophiles on
the prowl looking to kidnap children and that the only answer is that
they need to be driven everywhere in huge 4 by 4s by women with only a
vague sense of the rules of the road is absurd. Yes: so danger, as perceived by parents is that their children will be attacked from paedophiles, and yet again his views of women reveal themselves in all their sexist shame by his offensive remarks about mothers who do not know how to drive. In fact, this is where he touches on the truth, a harsh truth which he fails to address. The real reason to fear the roads of Barnet is not from predatory paedophiles, but from the appalling standards of safety in some areas of the borough, a danger which he in his former role as Cabinet member with responsibility for roads, has consistently refused to acknowledge, and indeed has taken great efforts to ignore, by removing road safety installations intended to protect our children from harm.
Yes, Brian, they are indeed our precious darlings. What a shame that you seem not to understand the natural inclination to protectiveness which we feel towards our children.
Coleman observes that the killing of one child a year by a stranger is tragic and appalling, yet fails to be moved by the terrible number of children who die on our roads every year completely avoidably. Earlier this week, Mrs Angry took her local councillors, and some council officers, on a tour of Squires Lane, here in Finchley, which statistics prove is the site of numerous accidents involving adults and children: there has unfortunately been one fatal accident right outside Mrs Angry's house, caused by a hit and run speeding driver, but there is a large number of schools in the area, and the road is particularly dangerous due to speeding motorists, unmonitored parking, and most of all, the lack of traffic calming measures.
We used to have mini roundabouts, and other installations here: they were taken out, due to 'council policy', as Cllr Coleman was of the opinion that they were unnecessary.
After they were taken out, residents were consulted as to whether they wanted them removed. When residents objected, and asked for them back, they were told by the council that there was no money to replace them.
Last week, yet another child was knocked down, badly injured, and airlifted to hospital: so, at last, after a suitable number of sacrificial victims, and now that there is a new Cabinet member and the council's opposition to traffic calming has moved, they came to see the road, and are at least prepared to listen and review the safety of the area. But let us return to the issue of Nimbyism: funnily enough, his current robust stance on Nimbyism was not evident when Brian Coleman opposed the Saracens' development of Copthall Stadium. Cllr Coleman opposed this because, he said, of the impact of parking at matches on his own ward, Totteridge, which seemed rather absurd as Totteridge is a long distance from Copthall. Perhaps Brian is not so much a NIMBYist himself as a PRAT, ie Please Remove All Traffic, when it comes to his own backyard?
But anyway .... schools, schools .... Brian wants us to welcome new plans for the Avanti school to move to the Broadfields area of Edgware. Avanti is already based in Harrow, but is now looking for premisies capable of accommodating a whopping 1,680 pupils. Now then: Broadfields is the area where Mrs Angry comes from, and her brother and many friends still live there. Her first year at school, in fact, before attending the dreaded St Vincent's, was spent at the neighbouring Broadfields Primary school - an experience which, after the first day, aged four, she was in no mood to repeat, and indeed one which, she announced to her parents, that she had absolutely no intention of repeating, an decision which was sadly overruled by the same parents, with grim determination, despite sit down protests, pleading, and a good deal of melodramatic sobbing every morning for the entire year. Where the schools are (there are now three in the area) borders the Green Belt, and is extremely badly served in terms of access: not surprisingly, as the area was never intended to accommodate such a density of population. Even in the time of the infant Mrs Angry, a period almost before the age of the motor vehicle, the traffic congestion and parking problems were intolerable: years later, with more schools in the area, to relocate another, huge out of borough school here is madness, and representatives of all political parties agree, as reported in this story in the local Times about a very well attended meeting of residents objecting to the plans: see here
As usual, Coleman has scraped the bottom of the barrel, and resorted to more utterly disgraceful insinuations - and worse - about 'racist and anti-semitic' motivations by objectors to such proposals.
Coleman, who of course was found guilty last year of smearing a female correspondant and a Jewish resident of being 'anti-semites' has clearly learnt nothing and continues to use such abhorrant tactics to try to discredit those who oppose his views. This is truly nauseating.
The Avanti School will be opposed, not because of racism, but because it is an inappropriate development in that area. Coleman will continue to behave in the way he does until next May, and the local elections, when he will, one presumes, try to stand as a candidate somewhere.
Whether or not he will be able to stand as a Tory - if indeed this is still technically possible - will depend on the outcome of next week's court case, which Mrs Angry will attend, along with, we can all be sure, a large number of other interested parties.
Uxbridge Magistrates Court, 3rd May, 10 am: details here
*Footnote Tuesday: Brian Coleman has again covered himself in glory in his latest post, about the departure of Barnet Football Club from the borough, and its relegation: starting with a touching reference to Enoch Powell, and using that venomous phrase of Thatcherite pleasure in the downfall of old enemies,'Rejoice, rejoice' as a heading, he burbles: "The late Enoch Powell recounted how when he came down stairs and picked
up the morning paper the day after the February 1974 General Election(
which he had opposed and refused to stand as a candidate in ) and saw
that Ted Heath had failed to win he sang the Te Deum.
I did exactly the same yesterday afternoon when I glanced at the football results !
If I had the power I would be ordering that the Church bells in Barnet
be rung this morning in celebration of the relegation of Barnet Football
Club from the Football League.
I know I am not the only Conservative adding a little Champagne to my
orange juice over breakfast this morning at what seems like an end to
the 15 year saga of Barnet Football Club ..."
Oh dear. This is a gross miscalculation, on Coleman's part. The wrath of Bees fans, mostly Barnet residents, provoked for so long by the party politics the Tory party have played over the Underhill ground issue, is now incendiary, and may well destroy the remaining chances that several local Tory - and independent - councillors may have retained for re-election.
But they have had the last laugh. Hat tip to the Barnet Bugle for spotting this:
Coleman has never allowed comments on his absurd blog: clearly many are left, of a less than complimentary nature. His ego, however, did not allow him to ignore some supportive comments left yesterday on the Barnet FC post. Mrs Angry will assist you in reading the subtext, with red highlights:
This is good news and I have to offer my support to what is a good point, well stated.
May I take it that this will also mean that there will be no returning for this club in future?
I am sure I am not alone in hoping so!
And that goes for any other football team.
We will surely get those speaking against this but we must remain strong, not crumble and continue to fight in the knowledge that, depite the minority who express to the contrary, that the club really do not add antything to the Borough.
I total agree with above comment being a Barnet man united we must stand against nasty things happening against the rights of the council
Mrs Angry understands that teams of volunteer bell ringers are standing by all over the borough for some more celebrations this weekend. to toast someone very special - and supplies of champagne in all the licensed premises of Broken Barnet are reported to be running dangerously low.
Mrs Angry lives in the Tory run London Borough of Broken Barnet.
Mrs Angry's Fan Club - rather surprisingly - Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government - "Mrs Angry, (as she had every right to be)" ...
Boris Johnson, sidestepping Mrs Angry's probing questions: Who are these people? ... Ah: Socialists ...
"The Finchley Fishwife" ..: "You - you are a nasty piece of work" - Brian Coleman
The rages and reflections of Mrs Angry -Top London blogger', (even though she isn't a bloke, and doesn't write about cycling) - Dave Hill, Guardian ...
'Why do you have to be so embarrassing? And stop swearing.' Mrs Angry's daughter.