Saturday, 21 July 2012

Brian Coleman saves Helen Michael's bacon ! (or perhaps not)

Read all about the March on the BBC  Website here !

A rumour is doing the rounds (and I'm sure it is untrue) that the reason Barnet Council refused to allow the BAPS alternative Torch procession into Victoria Park is because Brian Coleman likes to have a cup of coffee in the cafe in the park on a Saturday morning.  Sure enough as the march rolled into town, Brian was spotted in the cafe having a cup of coffee. An excited Barnet Council worker reported this to me and suggested that I might like to drag Charles Honderick, who was filming the march of the sequel to a tale of two Barnets, to run round and ambush Mr Coleman as he slurped his cappucino. Much to the dismay of the activist, I said "Sorry we came to support the march not harass Mr Coleman".  Back in 2009, when I took Mr Coleman to the standards board, he suggested that I travelled the length and breadth of the Borough harrassing him. I stated that I had only ever been in his company twice outside of the council chamber. Once in 2007 when I served him a glass of wine at a Mill Hill Music Festival concert and once in 2008, when he attended the Watling Festival. I was organising a youth 5 a side football festival. I don't ever harass people. It is not what I do. If they are doing their job at the council chamber, I will give them the benefit of my opinion, which is a different thing. I believe that even the Brian Colemans of this world deserve a private life, without harassment.
Helen Michael in the grim dark days of winter with Barnet Traders
I will write up a full blog on the rally, but as I came back, I wanted to make a point about the Councils clumsy attempt to shaft the rally and their equally clumsy attempt to shaft Helen Michael. The march had a fantastic turnout. God smiled on us, we had a lovely day, in beautiful sunshine. Because the council had banned music, childrens activities and cake selling from the event finale, frantic phonecalls were had last night. Helen Michael called me at 10pm with a suggestion. "The bands can play at Cafe Buzz after the rally". So I moved the music to her cafe. She has a music license, so there was no issue at all. As a result, we announced to the crowd that if they wanted to party, go to Cafe Buzz. As the speeches finished, we went back to Buzz to set up. As we were setting up, the crowds started to arrive. Helen Michael was inundated and struggling to cope with the rush. She said "I've never been this busy". Every table was taken, and many people were on the street enjoying the atmosphere and the coffee and food. As she said this a large group of labour councillors turned up. One asked for a sandwich and Helen said "Ok but it will be a few minutes". At this, the new Brunswick Park Councillor, Andreas Ioniddes said "I am a chef", rolled up his sleeves, wahsed his hands and started helping Helen. he was there making sandwiches, serving tables and cooking breakfasts for a good hour until the rush died down. He looked as if he was part of the furniture. When the rush finally abated, he simply took off his apron and rejoined the Labour councillors and had a coffee. There is no way you can fail to like such a man.

I had to stay until the bitter end to take the musical equipment back. At the end, Helen was shattered. A few BAPS people helped her tidy up. I was the last one there and had a quiet beer with her. She was cashing up and said "I don't believe how much I've taken today. It's well over a normal weeks money!". What was amazing about this was Helen doled out free bowls of chips to customers as they waited.

Although I don't believe the rumours that Coleman had a vendetta against BAPS and Helen, I will say this. In the unlikely event that a grown man who alienated the population of Barnet by imposing ill thought out parking policies, without consultation, across the Borough, is actually stupid enough to blame anyone else (and I don't actually think Brian Coleman is stupid), then it has spectacularly backfired, because she has generated enough cash today to revamp and refurbish the cafe. She has been planning this for a while and hasn't had the necessary wonga. Helen said to me that since the visit by S015 officers, people have been popping in from far and wide to have a coffee and a cake in solidarity with her. Whilst business isn't booming, she can now see light at the end of the tunnel.

As to the rally. I'd suggest that the fact that Nick Walkley's council banned the event at the end could not have backfired more spectacularly. We had a massive turnout and it was truly spectacular. Not only that but the Barnet Council ban brought the BBC down (see above). Has there ever been a more stupid and inept council than Barnet when it comes to PR. If they'd ignored the march, then a bunch of people would have had a nioce day out and then gone home. As it is, the whole of the country will know the council is run by mean spirited idiots who clearly worship at the Joseph Stalin alter of megalomania.

I don't know who does the PR for the council, but I'm glad they don't work for me.

1 comment:

Mr Mustard said...

PR - how much does the Tooting Twister get (Chris Palmer the Assistant Director of Communications if you want to know what the title of his non-job is / the man who described Mr Mustard in an internal email as a "sad little johnny no-mates") well, Hays are paid £504 a day for him (the same amount as in the contract with Chris Palmer's company Renouval Ltd before the council tried to hide the figures inside the Hays ones)

Isn't that the first £504 a day that we ought to save. About £115,000 a year that could be better spent on front line services.