|From Barnet Press 9/3/2013|
It will not surprise you to hear that wheover wrote the column did not bother to actually speak to the Barnet Eye before writing their comments. It will not surprise you to hear that they have not sought to give us the opportunity to present our side of the story to their readers.
Well as they clearly aren't interested in hearing our side of the story, all we can do is publish it here. Firstly lets clarify one thing. The Barnet Eye is the only Barnet blog which published its blog on the Friday, so this attack is fairly and squarely directed at us.
As far as the Barnet Eye is concerned, any sense of "crowing" which the Barnet Press may have felt was purely based on the fact that the person who subjected Helen Michael to a vicious assault had been brought to justice. Brian Colemans political career has long since been consigned to the dustbin. As author of this blog I consider Helen to be a good personal friend. Following the assault, Helen immediately called me and I was on the scene within ten minutes of the attack. I saw Helen in a state of considerable shock and distress. If it is beyond the wit of the Barnet Press to understand my repulsion and revulsion at what had happened, I think that maybe they are in the wrong job.
They may or may not be aware of the long history of antipathy felt between Brian Coleman and myself. When I took Brian Coleman to the Standards Committee in 2009, Mr Coleman told several well documented lies to the Standards investigator about my character and my motivations. He also repeated some of these on BBC London 94.9 Vanessa Feltz show. I refuted these claims and Vanessa Feltz rapidly backtracked when the truth was pointed out to her. She immediately recognised that Brian Coleman had told porkies and mislead her. How would the author of the Press article feel if he had vicious slurs about his personal character made on London radio?
Following the 2009 standards hearing and its press coverage, several people contacted me and recounted incidents concerning the behaviour of Brian Coleman (all were female). I formed my own conclusions about his suitability for public life. These conclusions were not flattering.
What the Press took to be "spiteful crowing" was simply relief that such a person had been exposed for what he really is. It seems likely that Brian Colemans political career is completely finished. As far as I am concerned, this is a good thing and not a moment too soon. I believe he should have been barred as a councillor following the standards complaint made by Mr Ron Cohen last year. This showed that Coleman had not learned from my case in 2009. In fact his behaviour deteriorated.
I really don't know what the Barnet Press would expect me to say in response to the conviction of Mr Coleman and the probable end of his career. Do they think I should say it is a tragedy that Coleman has got his just comeuppance for assaulting a good friend?
If the Barnet Press feel that "the level of crowing seemed petty" that is their business. Personally I think it is a well justified release of anger following six months where Coleman lied about the incident, lied about Helen Michael and sought to deceive his colleagues (with a degree of success at times) about the truth of the matter. Does the Press have no idea how stressful this period has been for Helen Michael. The Press may not be aware, but Helen has had to endure a whispering campaign against her, seemingly coordinated by friends of Mr Coleman. Other shopkeepers in North Finchley reported all manner of comments made by customers, some of whom had apparently spoken to certain Barnet Councillors.
The Press also seems to have not noticed that Mr Coleman has shown no remorse, has not apologised to his victim and not apologised to those he mislead. If he had ever shown the slightest remorse, the Press may have had a point. He hasn't and they dont. I daresay I won't get an apology from the Press either.