Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Barnet Eye and Councillor Brian Coleman - A personal statement

Yesterday Brian Coleman had his membership suspended by the Conservative party. The Barnet Eye and Brian Coleman have history. Brian Coleman was directly responsible for the creation of this blog. My blogging career started at the Hendon Times in May 2008. I was the first of the "Barnet Bloggers". Following a series of blogs which were highly critical of Barnet Council and Brian Coleman, I was sacked by the Times as a blogger. I was told that Brian Coleman had boasted that this was down to his efforts. Apparently he announced "Tichborne is finished" and claimed the credit.

Sadly his victory proved pyric. At the Times I was under strick control and was given a list of things I couldn't blog about ( a week which grew weekly during my tenure). When I started the Barnet Eye, all of these constraints were removed.

In April 2009, I sent an email to every councillor in Barnet suggesting that the then Leader, Mike Freer had shown poor judgement in calling bloggers "wankers" in a podcast. Coleman responded with an abusive email. I reported him to the Standards committee. In September 2009, I won the case, but the committee took no action, other than telling Coleman to go on a course on how to write polite emails (something he didnt' do). He went out and celebrated, claiming he'd beaten me again (even though he lost).

In May 2010, I stood for Council and lost. Coleman danced a jig and claimed he'd "beaten me again", even though he wasn't standing in Mill Hill ward. All of this time, I was writing blogs and building up readership. In August 2011, I found a DPR detailing how Barnet Council were planning to abolish Pay and Display on the sly. This was a Brian Coleman initiative. I immediately started blogging furiously. In January 2012, I attended a business breakfast with Council Leader Richard Cornelius. A local trader called Helen Michael stood up and tore into the Council policy.

I immediately contacted Helen, as we were making a film called "A Tale of Two Barnets" and thought she'd make an excellent interviewee. I was not wrong. As a result of the film, Helen was interviewed for a film on ITV Tonight called "How much is your council charging you". Brian Coleman had found his nemesis. Helen campaigned for the reinstatement of Pay and Display, Coleman ignored all pleas. Helen and other local groups launched the ABC campaign "Anyone But Coleman". He lost the GLA in May. He also hadn't learned from losing his standards case against me. He did it again and lost. He was ordered to apologise.

In September, he was arrested following an incident in North Finchley involving Helen Michael. He was charged last monday with Assault. Yesterday, Coleman was suspended from the Conservative Party.

Am I dancing a jig and claiming I've finally beaten him? Nope, I'm rather sad. I'm sad Coleman didn't learn in 2009 that he should treat people with respect. That was the lesson I hoped he'd learn. He didn't. Now his political career lies in tatters. He has only himself to blame, but this blog is not celebrating. His age of misrule in Barnet parking has killed at least 30 shops in Barnet High Streets, forced out when customers disappeared following his parking regime. How can this be celebrated? I still hope Brian Coleman learns. He is reputedly writing a book. I sincerely hope there is a chapter in it where he acknowledges that if he'd shown a modicum of respect to people, he'd still be in a job. As it is, it is rather like a Greek tragedy.  Some may conclude that like the city of Troy, it appears that Brian Colemans demise has been brought about by a Helen. I happen to think that it is entirely self inflicted.

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