I could not believe my ears. I was lying in bed, listening to the Vanessa Feltz show and who pops up to say what a marvellous job Barnet Council are doing? None other than our ubiquitous Mayor Brian Coleman. In the course of the broadcast he made a statement that made me spill my tea. Asked why schools in Barnet were shut, he said that it was due to the problems of staff getting in. No problem there. He then said that pupils generally lived close to the schools and that they could walk in. Again no problem there. Then he said "I'd much rather pupils walked in every day than have their mothers drive them in, in their 4 X 4 cars". Hang on. This is Brian Coleman. This is the man who has spent more public money on taxis than the rest of the GLA put together. This is Brian Coleman who used the Mayor Limo to pick him up from a standards hearing into a complaint against his behaviour. This is Brian Coleman who has the mantra of putting the motorist first in Barnet. This is Brian Coleman who ripped out all of the traffic calming measures designed to slow down cars on roads used by children walking to school. My daughter walks to school every day at Mill Hill County High School. All of her friends who walk from the direction of Poets Corner have to traverse roads with no safe crossings such as Lawrence Street. They have to walk up Uphill road, where Barnet Council removed road humps, even though all but three residents opposed this.
Every child should have a "safe corridor" to walk to school. A route where they do not have to chance their luck with dangerous traffic. Brian Coleman was road safety supremo in Barnet for many years. His policies were the exact opposite of a sensible policy required to get children "out of the 4X4's". Given that Barnet Council has completely neglected to grit sidewalks and sideroads, I'd say that the mums are quite justified in buying 4X4's as these are the only cars it is safe to drive your kids in when it snows.
Brian Coleman then said that anyone having problems caused by extreme weather in Barnet should email him directly via the Council website. Here's a link to his web page if you want to - http://committeepapers.barnet.gov.uk/democracy/council/councillor.asp?intsectionid=9&councillorid=6030 - I just hope he's more polite if you email him than he was to me.
Brian Coleman gets more money from the public purse than any other GLA member or any other Barnet Councillor. Well over £100,000 at last count, for a few part time jobs. I'd suggest that if you have any problems, he's your man.