To my total shock and disgust, I happened to notice that not everyone feels the same. Until recently Brian Coleman was a senior Conservative politician in the London Borough of Barnet. Following a criminal conviction for assaulting a woman in Finchley, he was kicked out of the Conservative party. He stood as an independent in the 2014 elections and was again kicked out. I suppose that we should expect no more from a man who beats up a small woman and then lies to the Police about it, but it still came as a shock to see the message he posted on Twitter yesterday.
It seems that for Brian Coleman, the fact that Charlie Hebdo is a left wing magazine which lampoons religion is in some way a mitigation and an excuse for an act of mass murder. My first reaction was to simply ignore this horrible man and his revolting opinions, but then I remembered that he is the chairman of the Barnet Rotary club.
For those of you who don't know what the Rotary club do, here is what their website says
Brian Coleman states in his Twitter Profile that he is a rotarian. As the leader of the group in Barnet, we must assume that his tweet is an example of his idea of Leadership and and expertise in Social issues. It is his attempt to make a difference at home and abroad.
What makes us different?Our distinct point of view and approach gives us unique advantages:
- We see differently: Our multidisciplinary perspective helps us see challenges in unique ways.
- We think differently: We apply leadership and expertise to social issues—and find unique solutions.
- We act responsibly: Our passion and perseverance create lasting change.
- We make a difference at home and around the world: Our members can be found in your community and across the globe.
As far as I am concerned, Brian Coleman is not fit to lead any sort of organisation. He is a convicted criminal and it now seems he is an apologist for terrorism. It is a free country and if Rotary want to associate themselves with his views and think that he is a fit and proper person to lead their organisation, that is their business. As far as I am concerned, whilst Coleman is the leader of the local organisation, they are beyond the pale.
This is a time when, as far as I am concerned, we should be coming together to defend free speech and peoples right to insult us. I am a Roman Catholic, but I would defend to the end the right of Charlie Hebdo to lampoon the Pope and the Ctholic church. The sad truth is that without such publications, scandals such as paedophile abuse by clergy and the covering up of such scandals would still be rife. Edgy magazines like Charlie Hebdo are at the vanguard of exposing such scandals. We have to be robust enough to take it and to protect them. Whilst I would defend the right of Brian Coleman to place repugnant posts on Twitter, I have to question his role at the helm of an influential local organisation. Surely the time has come for Rotary to get proper leadership. Leadership which does not consider assualting women, lying to the Police and giving succour to terrorists as appropriate behaviour.