Do you want to see something funny, perhaps the biggest joke in the whole of Barnet. Well the letter above on the right was written by me to the Barnet Times, in response to them giving Brian Coleman, a convicted criminal, an interview in which he did his best to trash the reputation of the victim of his assault, Helen Michael. A few days before they published the article, Helen lost her mum to cancer. She is an avid tweeter, as was the journalist who wrote the article, so there is no way the journo in question could claim they didn't know. Perhaps he thought it was a jolly jape to stick the boot into Helen at such a time? Who knows, they didn't bother to ask her for her side of the story before printing Colemans attack.
Anyway, I sent them the above letter to tell them what I think of them. How did they take the criticism? Erm, rather sadly, they seem far better at dishing it out than they are at taking it. Here is there response
The Press is delivered to tens of thousands of homes in Barnet, and whilst many use it to line their budgie cage poo tray, some people do read it.
They try and make out that the article was simply giving a politician a chance to talk about his next job. What a complete load of old baloney. He made all sorts of outrageous statements against Ms Michael in the article, implying she was a malicious stalker who would stop at nothing to harass Coleman. This despite clear CCTV footage of him charging at her and attacking her. To the best of my knowledge Helen has never spoken to Coleman and had only ever been in the same room as him at Council and other public meeting prior to the court appearance. She has never followed him around as he implies. She doesn't write a blog either, so the claims of cyber stalking are nonsense. At the last GLA election Coleman turned a 20,000 majority into a 20,000 loss. That was not the result of cyber stalking it was the result of band and unpopular policies.
I have no objection to the Barnet Press becoming part of the Brian Coleman PR machine. I find it highly amusing when they come up with such laughable and clearly flawed excuses for their behaviour. They imply that their article was simply giving Coleman enough rope to hang himself.
All I can conclude is that as hangmen, they are extraordinarily useless as they've managed to hang themselves and their own reputation at the same time. I suppose it is fairly clear that whichever idiot at the paper wrote the article knew it was a bit dodgy, given that they didn't want to put their name to it.
I believe that local papers are vital to the wellbeing of our area. The Barnet Press, until recently, had been a decent read and rather independently minded, giving excellent coverage of many local stories. When the original article about Helen was printed I was enraged at this attack on a good friend, who was vulnerable. I was severely tempted to try and organise a boycott of advertising by local business. Then I realised that however bad the paper is at the moment, it is infinitley better than the alternative, ie no paper at all.
When it comes down to it, I don't really give a s**t what sort of names the Barnet Press choose to call me, or what sort of sanctimonious guff they want to write about themselves. That is what a free press is all about. If they have no self respect or morals, that's up to them. I guess that at the end of the day, we just have to be a little bit grown up about it all and accept that some of the people who work at the Press are simply not very good at their job and don't really see the bigger picture. I sincerely hope that whoever is responsible for putting the Barnet Press together reads this and thinks "hang on, we've got this a bit wrong, lets learn from our mistakes". Is that really too much to ask?
Mr Hysterical Knee Jerk Reactionary AKA Roger Tichborne
BTW The Evening Standard has today picked up the Barnet Press story, reprinting a few of Colemans rather stupid distortions about Helen Michael. It is a well known fact that Brian Coleman has a few mates at the newspaper, which soundly backed his mate Boris Johnson for Mayor. It is just as well I'm not a conspiracy theorist as if I were I'd conclude that the Brian called in a favour or two to have a pop at Helen the day before her mums funeral. But as I'm not a conspiracy theorist, I think it's just an unfortunate coincidence