Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Brian Coleman becomes Mayor and blames bloggers

Brian Coleman
The above picture is of Brian Coleman AM asleep on the job inside his office at City Hall

Last month I published this picture because:

a) I didn't see any reason not to
b) it was funny

Thinking that would be that, I carried on with my work, speaking to people at City Hall, looking through GLA documents and asking questions.

However, soon after this picture was published, certain high ranking officials close to Brian Coleman started looking through my emails.

My private correspondence with people at City Hall was trawled through, and press officers were warned not to pass me photos.

In fact one of my contacts was told that any pictures sent to me could 'easily be traced to their source'. This was a lie.

Last night Brian Coleman became Mayor of Barnet.

In his acceptance speech he vowed

"to defeat damaging bloggers, and also confront the constant criticism of politicians, both locally and nationally which only serves "to reduce voter turnout and help party's like the BNP".

Mayor Coleman said:

“There are a few people that I would not like to thank, those bloggers that think anyone involved in civic life whether it is an elected politicians or professional officers is fair game for personal abuse and whose mission it is to undermine and denigrate. Whilst mayor of this borough I will not tolerate anyone in this chamber or outside who regard it cool and trendy to undermine democratic institutions, and I do not have time for those who have community criticism rather (than) community service".

During Coleman's time in office his 'community service' has included:


During my time as a blogger I have:


So who's done more to decrease the public's trust in politicians Brian, you or me?

40 comments:

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Talk about wanting to shoot the messenger!

I was listening to Peter Kellner of YouGov interviewed on BBC News last night. He said: “The whole culture of politics has to change if voters are to be impressed.”David Cameron gets it. Nick Clegg gets it. Sadly, the dinosaur on Barnet Council known as Brian Coleman seems to be stuck in a time warp. He still doesn’t get it.

organic cheeseboard said...

An off topic whinge, but Cameron and Clegg don't really get it, either, do they? I find this whole idea that mouthing off about 'things needing to change' and targeting a few no-marks and the speaker as fall-guys counts as progressive really odd. I mean even the Lib Dems weren't suggesting alternatives before the revelations started running, and there's no real sign anyone actually has any good ideas. The tories seem to think that saying 'call an election' is enough, but it's not, especailly because more prominent, rising stars of their party are caught up in it all, and have been really very crap in dealing with it (Alan Duncan in particular has been an utter embarrassment).

Anyway - this isn't linked, but I thought it was worth highlighting - maybe i'm overreacting, not sure. Anyway, the new Evening Standard adverts are currently all over the tube. They're black and white with a splash of muted colour, deliberately retro-looking, and they claim that the standard is (I think) 'the authority on X or Y'. One of them is tagged 'the authority on breaking stories', with a photo of... that police medic brandishing his baton at the G20 protests! I'm fairly sure there's something wrong about a 'sorry' campaign followed by that, given the Standard's behaviour over the G20...

AdamB said...

Organic- The Evening Standard were one of the first to claim that the protestors threw bricks at Tomlinson, so yes it does seem a bit much.

If anyone's got pictures of the new ads, please send them on.

Helen said...

How can I learn how to make that "WEARGH WEARGH WEARGH!" noise that Coleman makes when one of his colleagues on the London Assembly says something "amusing"? I really want to be in with the cool kids.

organic cheeseboard said...

They're on the victoria line for certain, but I won't be taking that for about a week now... I like the styling of the new ads, but i thought that was pretty shabby, especially given the 'sorry for losing touch' angle they've been working...

AdamB said...

It's worth remembering as well that the Police medic picture as well as much of the groundwork on the G20 stories was brought to light by bloggers, not the blogger-hating Evening Standard.

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Organic

I think Cameron and Clegg do get it. Clearly many (most?) MPs would still be troughing but for the Telegraph’s revelations, but now that it is in the open, it is having a very damaging effect on the political system and Cameron knows something has to be done.

One party activist told me last week that when he tried telephone canvassing known supporters, the phone was put down on him. A Euro candidate told me that he is getting the door shut in his face.

Yet in Barnet (getting back on topic) they spent money doing up the flower beds outside the town hall yesterday, they put on a lavish spread for the new Mayor and yet they are about to slash £950,000 from the budget providing wardens for the elderly in residential care. They are spending £31,000 on a conference room booking system that can be bought for £1,000 on-line. And Coleman is receiving a £10,000 legal indemnity, even though the council’s insurers were willing to provide him with a solicitor for free. No wonder he doesn’t like bloggers who dare to speak the truth!

Nick said...

Even better than his attack on you Adam was the news contained in the final sentence of the report:

"Accompanying Mayor Coleman on his duties...Lady Raine Spencer the stepmother of the late Princess Diana."

You couldn't make it up!

AdamB said...

LDN news have got a hilarious picture of the two together as well. Enjoy!

Helen said...

Acid Raine and Mr Toad, super!

Helen said...

In hilariously ironic news, this week's Time Out features a reader's letter in reply to the magazine's recent "Ask Boris" feature, with the heading "The Mayor Of Barnet": "'Where do you get your hair cut?': I imagine the reason that Time Out readers scarcely bothered to ask questions of substance to London's Mayor is because we know he is a person lacking in substance. I would have asked why he didn't bother to cost any of his campaign promises and consequently has broken a whole catalogue of them. The Mayor is basically avoiding unpopularity by looking cute. Lara, by email"

Howard Turner said...

Sleaze may well have been used to the hilt by New Labour MPs. However, they didn't invent it. They were stupidly and greedily taking advantage of a system devised in the days of one Margaret Hilda Thatcher.
OK, it is true that Brian Coleman doesn't have a moat round his house, probably doesn't have his grass cut at the expense of Barnet Council Tax Payers nor does he claim for dry rot repairs for a third home in Southampton.
I'm sure he is completely within the rules claiming thousands of pounds on taxis whilst also claiming his free travel expenses. I am sure that Michael Martin would be the first to agree that he is entirley within the rules.
My advise to Brian is not to talk to Telegraph reporters. Just in case.

prj45 said...

You forgot him (as chair of the LFEPA) laying into a lady MP for evacuating her house and calling the fire brigade when her boiler started making funny noises, despite his collegues stating that she did the right thing.

AdamB said...

I couldn't include every gaffe prj45. The readers would never make it to the end of the post!

prj45 said...

...or the one where he accused local residents of staging car crashes after he opened up a road that had been previously closed due to, er, car crashes...

AdamB said...

prj45 you'll embarrass him!

prj45 said...

...or that he thinks that the green space next to City Hall, Potters Fields Park, with one of the best views in London as well as being one of the Mayor's 100 London spaces should be made into car park...

AdamB said...

prj45!


Actually I wasn't aware of that one...

Don't Call Me Dave said...

I wonder if Cllr Coleman has a view of people earning six figure 'salaries' living in rent controlled homes designed for those starting out in life?

prj45 said...

"When the site is finished it will just be another park for drug dealers and other unsavouries to smash up again. There is a crying need for more car parking in central London, we can try and pretend that life exists on the planet as we’d like it to be or we can experience real life – and Londoners need to park their cars"

http://london.gov.uk/view_press_release.jsp?releaseid=11911

AdamB said...

Oh dear. Boris seriously, what were you thinking?

Brian Coleman (aka Mr Toad) has GOT to go! said...

Adam - great post yet again. Thank you.

Coleman on bloggers according to The Barnet Eye:
"I will not put up with it!"

Didn't King Canute say the very same thing about the incoming tide?

prj45 - that's a great quote - thank you.

Don't Call me Dave - I would love it if you were to expand on your allusion to this apparently very juicy - but so far poorly documented bit of freeloading by Mr Toad. Perhaps another exclusive expose in your excellent blog?

Anonymous said...

I love this photo, repeat as often as you like. A computer keyboard used to protect the desk from the plate and cup is a novel idea.

Tom said...

prj45 - summed up neatly as 'I REALLY REALLY WANT AN OFFICIAL CAR AND AN OFFICIAL CAR PARKING SPACE WITH MY AWESOME OFFICIAL NAME ON IT'.

Well, he's got that now. Could he hand over the rest of his roles to someone who gives a toss, please?

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Adam

Reading through all these messages, we seem to have overlooked your rather startling comment that your e-mails are being read by officials at the GLA. This in itself is scandalous - far more serious than Coleman’s rant against bloggers. There are privacy and data protection issues that need to be addressed.

The GLA is supposed to be a Conservative run authority - not a branch of the KGB!

AdamB said...

Indeed.

prj45 said...

Brian Coleman (aka Mr Toad) has GOT to go! said... "Didn't King Canute say the very same thing about the incoming tide?"

Now, please don't compare King Canute to Brian Coleman.

As I understand it King Canute was demonstrating that he COULDN'T hold back the tide to his psycophantic courtiers who thought he could; he was demonstrating he didn't have godly powers to people that thought he did.

Anonymous said...

I think that the photo will have a long life, like that one of a man and a younger woman that is regularly featured in Private Eye.


Guano

AdamB said...

Ha ha. You mean this one? Now there's an idea!

Helen said...

I had exactly the same thought.

Anonymous said...

More idiocy from Coleman here. Responding to pro-Palestinian activists who have agitated against the contract for Boris's cycle hire scheme being awarded to a company – Veolia/Veloway – which has been accused of building transport links to illegal Israeli settlements, Coleman pontificates:

"It is absolutely disgraceful that these people should attempt to bully ordinary people out of using bikes because of their own political beliefs. Londoners have every right to use these bikes to get around."

Quite how awarding the cycle hire contract to a company that didn't have a record of supporting illegal settlements would deprive Londoners of the right to hire bikes, Coleman doesn't say.

His rant becomes particularly preposterous when you read the last bit of the article, where a spokesperson for Boris is quoted as saying: "There are currently two companies being considered to run the scheme, and neither of these are Veloway/Veolia."

AdamB said...

Love it. As if Coleman gives two hoots about London's cyclists.

Anonymous said...

Too true. This is the man who once stated:

"I put up with swerving around ludicrous cycle lanes in my constituency and I put up with bikes with no reflectors and I put up with cyclists with little or no control over their bicycles. I'm under the impression the roads were intended for cars...." (This is Local London, 9 May 2001)

Brian Coleman (aka Mr Toad) has GOT to go said...

I was wrong about Coleman.

It seems that his keyboard is indeed used as more than simply a stand for his empty cup and plate while he sleeps on the job:
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-2774309-details/City+Hall+politicians+made+gay+%27lust+list%27/article.do

Rayyan said...

Adam, you rock! Excellent post. Well done to prj45 for the additional gaffe coverage.

I can't imagine you're losing too much sleep over Coleslaw's threats, but don't let the Toad to get to you.

prj45 said...

I also forget the one where he dissed london's bicycle based paramedic service.

I'll have to dig out the minutes but he clearly was ignorant of there being bicycle based paramedics. which is strange enough, but when it was re-enforced that there was such a service he said something like "well I hope you don't die waiting for them", when it's clear that they can often get to people in the city far quicker than vehicle based paramedics.

prj45 said...

(I'm starting to worry why I know so much about Brian Coleman)

AdamB said...

Thanks Rayyan. We're getting quite a collection here prj45.

Tom said...

There are bike-riding rapid response plod, too. The contradiction inherent in supporting the police while hating bikes would probably cause BriCo's brain cell to fuse...

Brian Coleman aka Mr Toad has GOT to go said...

Some good comment on Coleman and bicycles here:
______
Mayor’s attendance at bike rally completes the cycle of hypocrisy:
http://www.barnet-today.co.uk/tn/Letters.cfm?id=24601&headline=Mayor’s
______

If only he'd get on his!