Sunday, 6 May 2012

Coleman: the dragons yet to be slain

One paradoxical effect (in political science speak, "unintended consequence") of the electors of Barnet and Camden - well, Barnet mainly - sacking Brian Coleman from his post as their representative on the London Assembly, is that he could be spending more time on his own and our doorstep. We could be seeing more of him, not less.

He is still a councillor for Totteridge ward, and he is still Barnet Council Cabinet member for environment.

So how's that going? Not so well, either, actually. On several counts.

On Tuesday we will get the ward breakdown for the voting in last Thursday's election. We will be able to see whether Coleman can continue to rely on the electors of his own ward to keep him in his councillor post come the next local government elections in 2014.

At a recent Barnet Alliance meeting, when we were talking about the wards where Conservative councillors might be vulnerable, I made some scathing remarks about Totteridge.

"We don't want to bother campaigning there," I said. "It takes half an hour to walk up someone's drive!"

Some residents of Totteridge who were at the meeting exchanged a weary glance.

"You don't know Totteridge," they said. "It's quite mixed." A Labour Party friend concurs. He says that it's just that not enough anti-Tory campaigning has been done there in recent times.

OK, so Brian Coleman might be vulnerable there. And, of course, his Cabinet post might also not be his for much longer - it shouldn't be.

If Council leader Richard Cornelius uses his nous he will find a way to build bridges with the Barnet electorate. One way to do this might be to have a Cabinet reshuffle.

The reminders why this would be a good idea are coming thick and fast. Coleman is facing at least one Standards Committee hearing - lest we forget, this will be his third - over his rude remarks to a resident at a recent meeting.

And the legal challenge to one of Coleman's hated parking policies continues:
The legal action to overturn Barnet's outrageous CPZ charges is back on track after the Court of Appeal overturned a deputy judge's earlier dismissal of the claim. According to Lord Justice Richards's ruling, the case warrants "fuller consideration of the factual and legal issues" at a trial to take place later in the year.  
The case has, therefore, taken a vital and big step forwards. Barnet Council now know that their actions will be scrutinised in Court after all. Are they confident of success? Well, documents disclosed last year under the Freedom of Information Act suggest that Barnet considered it "likely" that they would lose the case. Yet they chose to fight it, exposing David Attfield to enormous financial risk were he to lose.
Read more about this here.

Coleman and his policies are still very much with us. The dragon is yet to be slain. But we have begun our work.

1 comment:

Mr Mustard said...

I am sure that there are lots of conservatives in Totteridge who don't read blogs who know much at all about Brian and his behavioural problems. Our challenge will be to make residents aware of what he is like, I would suggest he is not typical and that most conservatives do have decent manners but in ignorance just tick the blue box and if they learnt what he is like they would not vote for him whilst still voting for the Cornelius clan. So don't bash someone's beliefs which they are unlikely to change on the doorstep, attack the man who doesn't uphold their feelings of decency, honesty etc

A flyer with the address of the 101 reasons website delivered to every home might, on its own, be enough.

I have other ideas which I will keep warm and secret for 2014.