Londoners will be pretty familiar (and pretty fed-up) with Brian Coleman, the Barnet Councillor, ex- Mayor and London Assembly Member for Barnet & Camden, at least until next week. We are used to his habitual rudeness to members of the public, and his total disregard for anyone who disagrees with him. His casual insults are legend.
Now we all know that in politics, as in life, choosing your friends is an important indicator of your character, perhaps as important as your actions. In all honesty we in Labour have our reservations as to some of Ken’s allies, and most of us are pretty open about this, so maybe we should just take a peek at one of Mr Johnson’s closest political allies…
Mr Johnson put Mr Coleman in charge of the London Fire Brigade and Emergency Planning, taking Mr Coleman’s salary to over £120,000 per year, meaning he is one of the five top payed councillors in Britain. Yesterday he gave us an insight into why Johnson so values his services, when his attitude towards the Firefighters he bosses about, and their elected representatives was reported in an interview to be thus:
Most of the Union officials, if they had half a brain cell, they’d be dangerous… We have to break the FBU frankly…
He also confirmed that there would “inevitably” be job losses, confirming that 27 fire engines, that is 16% of London’s total, could be cut. This is in direct contradiction to Mr Johnson’s claims.
Let us take a moment to inspect this man’s record, after all, should Boris Johnson win on May 3rd, he will be a key player in the running of London:
Between April 2006 and March 2007, Coleman spent £10,000 on taxi fares. The average taxi spend of all GLA members for this period was £845. Granted, during this time, Brian was banned from driving for speeding, but has he never heard of the Oystercard?
In 2009, in the wake of the national expenses scandal, he was the only Assembly Member to refuse to voluntarily publish his expenses:
I won’t do it voluntarily. Its none of the publics business
Despite a salary of £128,000, Mr Coleman lives in a subsidised Housing Association flat, with a monthly rent of just £546. His landlord is the Finchley Methodist Church charity. Lucky him. Recently, a single mother, faced with an increase on her rent of £150, taking her monthly rent to £1,100 contacted Mr Coleman see if he could in any way help. His answer, which speaks volumes, was thus:
…live in the real world…
Like many in the Boris camp, he really hates criticism, and just this week it was reported in The Barnet Times that he had called Friern Barnet resident & Psychiatric Nurse Paul Merchant a “twat”, then urged this voter to “clear off out” of a packed public meeting at Hendon Town Hall.
This is the third such incident in the past twelve months alone.
On May 3rd, this man is standing once again as GLA Member of Barnet and Camden. His Labour opponent, ex-local MP Andrew Dismore needs only a 5.5% swing to oust him. Time to eject this pompous, arrogant man from the Assembly chamber I think.
If, like me, you would also like to see this odious creep banished from City Hall, then best you vote for Ken Livingstone as well.