At tonight's Barnet council cabinet meeting Brian Coleman called Grahame Park, Stonegrove Park and West Hendon Estates "disgusting slums". Since he is a prominent member of the Cabinet with responsibility over these neglected parts of the borough, that makes him a self-confessed slum landlord.
These places are in need of regeneration, but the briefest acquaintance with them will tell you that they are full of decent people leading perfectly respectable lives; and they really aren't that bad places, either!
The reason they wait so long for regeneration is because Barnet council - like most councils in the land, and like the government - is wedded to the idea that regeneration can only happen when a private developer sees sufficient of a buck can be made there.
In his diatribe against "social housing", Coleman said "the market will decide". This is the same Coleman who lives in a low-rent house courtesy of the Methodist Church. Meanwhile, Barnet residents fester on the housing waiting list or make the best of living in rundown conditions.
The Labour Group was attempting tonight to get the Tory administration to agree to a review into the potential harmful effects of the recently announced cap on housing benefit, and other measures against social housing declared today as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.
Barnet will lose money and Barnet residents could be made homeless by the new measures, some of which even Tory London mayor Boris Johnson opposes. Lynne Hillan has already written a few lines to Eric Pickles on this issue, but in public, tonight, she couldn't resist being partisan, and rejected the chance to do something manifestly sensible and in the council's interest. She wouldn't commit to a review at this stage. What's she waiting for? More shit to hit the fan?