Over the last six months, Brian Coleman has been labelling his succsessor Anne Clarke, who is on the GLA member for Barnet and Camden (Brian was the GLA rep 2002-2014 until his bad behaviour saw voters tire of his behaviour and a 20,000 majority became a 20,000 loss), as "The Cricklewood housewife".
There's me just to the left of the Cricklewood Housewife !— Brian Coleman (@BrianColeman251) November 22, 2021
Many had assumed (me included) that this was simply a misogynistic jibe, directed at Anne to undermine her. However, anyone who knows Brian knows that he's a man who studies political history and understands the nuances of Tory politics better than anyone. They will also know that he is a massive fan of Margaret Thatcher (the feeling was not mutual, according to my mum, who knew Maggie and had been urged by her to stand for Parliament in the 1970's, when the two worked together for a local charity. Maggie told my mum Parliament was full of useless men and it needed more competent women, even though my Mum would have stood for Labour).
Over the weekend, I was discussing Brian's jibe with a friend and he said "You know that isn't an insult from Brian, it is a recognition of talent". I thought he was taking the mickey, so he said "If you don't believe me, google 'Finchley Housewife' " . This morning my wife reminded me of the conversation, so I did a quick google.
The first article to pop up was from the Times in 2004. When I read it I was astounded. The article states:
I first filmed her in 1975 when she challenged Ted Heath for the Tory leadership. Heath’s people dismissed her as the Finchley housewife, and Heath himself claimed she wanted to turn the Tories into a “middle-class preservation society”.
I raised this charge with her and asked whether she, seen as being a middle-class woman from the south, could win back lost Tory votes in the industrial north. “But it wasn’t I who lost those votes,” she replied. “It was Mr Heath. And he is a middle-class Conservative gentleman from the south of England.”
When I read this, I realised there was no way Brian would use the term 'housewife' as a cheap put down. He worshipped Thatcher and despised Heath. Brian Coleman, better than anyone, knew Thatcher drew strength from the jibe. When I saw his tweet, I originally thought he was simply being a plonker. When I read the article, I realised he was startstruck and the tweet was the best compliment he could pay Anne. I suspect that secretly, he may even had voted for her in the GLA elections (although of course he'd deny it).
Anne is a friend and although we are members of different parties, I rate her. It hadn't occur to me that Brian rated her even more highly than I di and see's her as the first Labour female Prime Minister. He's not a man who would not be aware of Maggie's nickname from the Heathites. As he's not become a Heathite, it can only be the highest compliment Brian could pay a female opponent.
Maybe it's taken a pandemic for me and Brian to see eye to eye on something!