Thursday 17 February 2011

Brian Coleman and treating the public with respect

In September 2009, Councillor Brian Coleman was found guilty of breaching the Barnet Council code of conduct, by the Standards committee. He breached section 3.1 of the code, stating that he should treat members of the public with respect. So he has form. One of the recommendations of the Standards committee was that Councillors should be given training in "treating the public with respect". Step forward to February 2011. Have our Tory councillors learned?

Well, it seems the answer is no. Guess how many of our Tory Councillors are currently being investigated by the Standards committee? I know of three. Two of them are members of Lynne Hillans cabinet. The third one is Mill Hill Councillor, John Hart. It is most interesting to see the difference in the way Lynne Hillans inner circle are treated to John Hart. Lynne Hillan immediately took measures to strip Hart of his role as chairmen of the Hendon & District residents forum (losing a nice big cash allowance in the process). It is no secret that Hart supported Mark Shooter in Leadership contest last year. Hillan displayed a ruthless touch in stating that it "wasn't appropriate" for Hart to continue in the role, whilst the Standards committee were investigating.

What sanction has she taken against her two cabinet cronies (both long term supporters of Project Hillan)? Absolutely nothing. I was speaking to one of our local reporters earlier in the week and was told that the council even refused to confirm the identity of one of these members. Now the Barnet Eye knows the details of both cases, the identity of the councillors and being familiar with both cases, it s pretty clear to me that in both cases, the code has been breached.  Lynne Hillan must also know this. She is the leader. Neither case is frivalous. Both complainants have strong grounds for a judgement. In neither case, they can deploy the excuse Coleman gave which is that I was a blogger and deserved it because I'm not a nice person (an excuse which didn't help him to win).

In the Edgware and Mill Hill Times this week, there is a letter from a member of the public called Elizabeth Filkin, who details yet another offensive email from Coleman (Here's a link to the electronic version - scroll through to page 20 -

My advice to any Barnet resident abused by a councillor is to follow this link and make a complaint.

I'm sure you are wondering who the Tory cabinet members who can't behave themselves are. Well I'm not going to tell you one, because it's someone elses scoop and I don't want to nick the story and I'm not going to tell you the other because you've probably guessed already.

One thing I will tell you is this. Lynne Hillan is not fit to be the leader of Barnet Council. The primary job of anyone in such a position is to make sure that the people under you discharge their duties with dignity. If you were at the Council meeting on Monday night, you would have been under no illusion that none of them have a shred of respect for the tax-paying voters of Barnet.


Jaybird said...

The response to Judith Filkin is completely disgusting.

How dare he personally insult a resident raising a perfectly reasonable issue?

As a secondary issue, to reinforce the stigma attached to mental health is, frankly, as repellant as racism.

Mrs Angry said...

Appalling behaviour: it is up to the Tory party to sort him out, one way or the other, and as each day passes,with more and more of these incidents,the pay off is getting nearer and nearer. I'd be a little worried, if I were he.

baarnett said...

No-one can seriously expect this regime to continue to the next election. Barnet is even, slowly, becoming a nationally-noticed story!

But how, exactly, can liberation come?

The May leadership elections? We'll soon be back to assessing the various possibilities, like we did during last summer's Allowancegate fiasco.

Don't Call Me Dave said...

If you seriously want to remove Coleman from office you have to persuade Conservative voters to abstain. Some might be willing to vote tactically, but for many people that would be a step too far. But with a concerted effort you might be able to persuade enough of them to stay away from the polling station on the basis that he is such an embarrassment to the party.

The same voters should tell Boris that if he does not sack Coleman from LFEPA, they will abstain from the Mayoral vote next year. It won’t take many abstentions to let Red Ken back in - and he knows it.

Once Coleman is gone, Hillan will soon follow.

baarnett said...

If the up-coming AV referendum results in a "YES", would that apply to the next Council elections?

Presumably that would help a little - Tories might be willing to vote for Tory Independents / RAB first, Lib Dems second, and only the current lot third.

Or does that sound horribly complicated, and completely unfeasible?

Anonymous said...

In response to DCMD Conservative voters in Barnet and Camden have a way to ensure that Conservatives are fully represented on the London Assembly even if, heaven forfend, Brian Coleman was pipped to the post. They needn't see their vote elect AMs from other parties. explains how it works.

People get two ballot papers one for the party, please vote Conservative, and one for constituency individuals (which may include Brian Coleman, Andrew Dismore etc).

The second 'party' ballot paper goes to elect 'top up' candidates for parties who's share of the vote is greater that the constituency AMs elected. This is how Andrew Boff AM was elected after Bob Blackman narrowly missed in Harrow and Brent.

If due to error, amnesia or some other reason Conservatives (when out voting for Boris) lost their 'individual constituency' papers but voted in great numbers 'Conservative' on the party paper, it could well be that youknowwho wouldn't get elected but another Conservative AM would be elected on the top up in his place.

Lets all hope that lots of Conservatives don't get confused with their ballot papers and this dreadful, awful outcome doesn't happen.

baarnett said...

Who chooses the "overflow candidates", then, Daniel? The London-wide party?

There's no chance that BC would get in that way, then?

For instance, once Bob Blackman lost in Harrow and Brent, he stood no hope of a second route in?

Mind you, he had the consolation of becoming an MP at the last election, and he has now (unfortunately) risen without trace.

Anonymous said...

@baarnett, I have no idea who chooses the candidates, I expect it it decided quite centrally. From past practice the Conservative Party hasn't 'doubled up' people in that way. Last time the Labour Party did and had Nicky Gavron running against Brian Coleman here and on top of their list.

Consequently she didn't appear to lift a finger as she knew she was going to win anyway.

baarnett said...

Thanks for the info. Daniel.