As I mentioned yesterday, there were two important events in the London Borough of Barnet last night. One was a fund raising gig, which I'd arranged to raise funds to cover the costs of making the follow up to A Tale of Two Barnets at Cafe Buzz in north Finchley. As I organised it, that was where I spent the evening.
The other imprtant event, was the full council meeting at Hendon Town Hall. We'd times the entertainment at Cafe Buzz, so it would just be starting at the time when people would be drifting back from the Council meeting and needed some refreshments.
My band, The False Dots performed a short set as warm up to Charles Hondericks band "Hamptons". Our brief was to try and give all concerned a good night out. When we finished our set, we came of on a bit of a high. We were greeted by the first contingent from the Town Hall. They were certainly in need of refreshments. Many thanks to our friends at the Barnet Bugle for preserving the occasion for posterity. Here is their footage of Councillor Brian Coleman insulting the public and breaching the code of conduct. He describes members of the public in the most vile sexist terms "sad, mad and a couple of old hags". He then insults Barnet Unison rep John Burgess, for doing his job properly. Mr Burgess is a council officer and council rules states that councillors should not insult Council employees. Mr Coleman has yet again breached the code of conduct in his behaviour. The issue thous is not Brian Coleman. Mr Coleman is a thoroughly dicredited hasbeen of a politician. he was completely rejected by the residents of Barnet at the GLA elections. He lost his seat at the GLA in a massive turnaround from the 2008 election, losinga safe Tory seat. He has alienated many natural Tory voters with his parking policies and complete lack of manners.
He is not the issue. The issue is the Leadership of Richard Cornelius. In the footage you can see Mr Cornelius applauding Brian Colemans speech. Mr Cornelius chose Mr Coleman, who is not even in the cabinet, to respond to a Labour motion. he endorsed his insults to members of the public and his brach of protocol regarding Mr Burgess, by applauding Mr Coleman.
In 2010, Councillor Kate Salinger chose to abstain from a vote for a Tory plan to raise allowances for Councillors by 54%. She said she couldn't morally justify such a rise, when everywhere else in the Council there were cuts. The Tory group responded by tabling emergency motions and voting her off every council commmittee. That is how they dealt with an attack on their pocket. Sadly they gave applause, lead by Councillor Richard Cornelius, to Mr Coleman when he insulted members of the public using sexist langauge.
The one redeeming feature I ascribed to Richard Cornelius was his good grace and manners. Having seen Mr Colemans behaviour and Mr Cornelius's response, I sadly have to conclude that this is a veneer, which hides and altogether different person, a person who is happy to applaud a man who breaches the standards code, insults residents in sexist terms and thinks the rulebook does not apply to him. Im short, I am disgusted.
And before anyone says Mr Coleman was provioked, the Mayor Brian Schama demonstrated that it is possible to talk to the public gallery, when they are being a bit noisy, without losing his temper and being rude.
Here is the footage from the Barnet Bugle