Mr Whippy has an argument with Councillor Coleman's backside over his right to park outside Friern Show
Over the last couple of days Mrs Angry has been thinking a lot about Brian Coleman's backside.
Yes: clearly, she is very short of entertainment.
But it is a very interesting backside, and is worth some contemplation.
Brian's arse is a very privileged one after all, and leads a very exciting life. It is carried tenderly by taxi wherever it wants to go, and has been sat on the well upholstered seats of every decent restaurant in the capital, over the years. And now it has even starred in its own Youtube clip. (At least one, anyway: if you know of any others, do let Mrs Angry know, as long as they are suitable viewing for someone of a sensitive disposition. By the way, don't try searching the subject of politicians' arses on google image, if you are ...)
In this extract from an interview with a foreign news channel, Brian's bottom has its own moment of fame, artfully fulfilling the role of political metaphor.
This was filmed outside Finchley Fire Station, just around the corner from Mrs Angry's home, as it happens - (Mrs Angry has to live near a fire station, according to the specifications of her home insurance, because she is too easily bored when cooking, and tends to wander off with a glass of something & return sometime later to find the dinner ablaze ...)
Anyway: in this extract Brian Coleman expresses his firmly held view that the internet needs greater control. He talks with stern disapproval of 'pornography' - good man yourself, Brian, taking a firm line on such filth - and 'libellous stuff' which must be 'regulated'. Tory councillors in Broken Barnet like regulation, of course, as long as it is other people who are being regulated, and not themselves. Regulation, in the form of censorship and repression of free debate, is a good thing. Regulation, transparency and external scrutiny of their own activities is a bad thing.
Hmm. Coleman states that the press is subject to the libel laws, and the internet should be as well. Er, except, Brian, that it already is.
But Mrs Angry is slightly puzzled by Brian's last comment on this clip. Asked by the interviewer about the 'human rights' aspect of regulating the internet in the way he suggests: 'Oh, human rights, my backside - I'm sorry ...' Rather amusingly, in fact, the translation on the subtitles reads ' human rights ... kiss my arse'.
So: Brian Coleman wishes to refer enquiries about the issue of human rights to his backside, which to be fair, is the usual channel of expression of his considered views.
The issue of human rights always gets the more confused sort of right wing Tory in a bit of a tizz. The very mention of the phrase represents something horrible to them: something deeply objectionable, and foreign, and to be resisted with every last breath. A concept in law, a bureaucratic diktat, a legal obligation. Everything that libertarian Tories resent: a imposition of decency and consideration for your fellow man, or, horror of horrors, for women too. And yet, even though they hate the thought of the liberty of other people being formalised and protected by law, they inievitably want their own liberties and rights to be respected, and are quick to invoke legal protection when they feel threatened.
Here in Broken Barnet, we have seen the Tory council try to impose their own form of censorship on the internet, and try to silence the bloggers who have extended such awkward scrutiny of their iniquitous deeds, by a complaint to the Information Commissioner, invoking the Data Protection Act. Luckily the ICO decided to remind the would be dictators of Broken Barnet of the overriding considerations of the European Convention on Human Rights, and the concept protected within this legislation of freedom of expression.
Shocking, you might think, that a local authority has had to be forced to obey the demands of a such a basic tenet of any democratic society, but then if you find this shocking, friend, you need to spend more time in Broken Barnet, where the idea of democracy is an unwelcome stranger, an intruder in the secret garden of Tory interests.
Mrs Angry must inform citizens, however, that our councillor and GLA member Brian Coleman is not completely averse to the defence of human rights in certain circumstances. Look below at this photo from a demonstration held in 2007: the Global Human Rights Torch Relay, part of a campaign to focus public attention on allegations of the abuse of human rights by the Chinese government in the run up to the last Olympic Games. (Brian Coleman, the only man to go on a demo in a pinstripe suit: get your mum to knit you a balaclava, Brian, if you want to have any street cred, is Mrs Angry's advice).
Brian Coleman, perhaps rather surprisingly, had aligned himself with the cause of practitioners of 'Falun Gong', a spiritual discipline involving Buddhist and Taoist ideas, and embraced by a number of adherents in China. Mrs Angry is unsure of the reason for Brian's enthusiasm for Falun Gong, except of course that it reportedly places a heavy emphasis on morality and the cultivation of virtue and moral rectitude, qualities for which Councillor Coleman is widely renowned.
Ah. The rights of gypsies and travellers living in the United Kingdom is not a cause with which Councillor Coleman has chosen to align himself, unfortunately. In 2009, you may recall, he appeared on the Politics Show on the BBC and told travellers that they should 'stay put in Ireland', and that he would not welcome one single site for travellers in Barnet. Andrew Slaughter, MP for Ealing, Acton and Shepherds Bush expressed the view that his remarks on this programme were 'loud mouthed' and 'inflammatory' and 'quite disgraceful'.
So: the human rights of followers of a little known spiritual movement in far away China are supported by Councillor Coleman, but not those of a group of residents of the United Kingdom, who have been subjected to centuries of the most extensive and widespread bigotry and persecution, and whose rights to family life, as enshrined in the law, are blatantly ignored by a tradition of institutionalised racism perpetuated by Barnet Council and many other local authorities throughout the country.
Human rights, it seems, in the view of Brian Coleman, are available for certain people of whom he approves, but not others.
Brian is always very keen to see himself as popular within the Jewish community, and this is a burden which the community carries with admirable fortitude, although increasing impatience, especially, for example, in areas of Golders Green badly affected by his new parking policy - (see yesterday's Barnet Eye blog for more on this).
Coleman has made accusations against campaigners oppposed to Veolia, a company which has links with activities in the occupied territories in Israel, and now wants to bid for waste contracts here. This is a tactic of the type which makes any sensible debate on the issue of occupation and the effects on the population completely impossible. It is a hugely sensitive issue, but political criticism of Israel should not always be equated with anti zionism, nor anti zionism with anti semitism, and clearly human rights for all in any conflict should be respected, not for one side only.
Coleman is not the only local Tory to extend the protection of human rights consideration to some groups, but not others, however.
Last year saw Andrew Harper, a local Conservative councillor in Hampstead Garden Suburb, and our local Tory MP and former council leader Mike Freer get their knickers in a twist over the occupation of a house in their ward owned by the Gaddafi family. Much outrage was expressed over the violation of the rights of the absentee householder, and strenuous efforts were made to support the criminalisation of the act of squatting. This infuriated Mrs Angry, for all sorts of reasons, not least because not so long ago she had the misfortune to have to ask both Harper and Freer to pull their fecking fingers out and do something about the occupation of her neighbouring property by council placed neighbours from hell tenants, courtesy of their grossly mismanaged housing scheme, but they did absolutely nothing at all, as her human rights were of course not as interesting or important as those of a dictator living on the proceeds of tyranny in one of the most expensive and exclusive roads in the country ...
Many Tory councillors in Broken Barnet are from the Greek Cypriot community, especially those from the Chipping Barnet association, and together they represent a powerful lobbying group. Barnet is twinned with Morphou in Cyprus, and every year, councillors from our borough go to Morphou for a nice autumn break to 'protest' about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, and there is much criticism made about the violation of freedom and human rights in Cyprus.
Barnet is a culturally and ethnically diverse borough, with residents from every part of the world, including many developing countries and states where the most extreme human rights abuses take place on a daily basis: political imprisonment, death, rape, torture. Councillors from Barnet have little or no active interest in these countries, sadly, or even in our other twinned cities such as Jinja, in Uganda, where perhaps they could go and visit and support the Human Rights commission which was established there in 2007 and is now working to try to help those whose own rights have been trampled upon in recent years.
In a truly absurd example of Tory doublethink on this issue last year, Hendon MP Matthew Offord ridiculously made an enormous fuss about his political adviser, Max, a Jack Russell terrier, not being allowed to go to work with him in Westminster. He announced that he would be invoking, yes, the Human Rights convention. It was then explained to him that this would not be possible as Max was not, well, ssh, not human. This came as a blow to Matthew, who relies heavily on Max's close attendance, political guidance, and availability for cute photo opportunities.
Max told Matthew that frankly, he had made a complete arse of himself and that he should now deny he had ever seriously meant to use the law to assert his right to take him to work. Max said: look, Matthew - tell everyone that it was a joke. Matthew told everyone it was a joke. People were already laughing, unfortunately, but for all the wrong reasons, even when Matthew went on the BBC Daily Politics show and told a derisory Andrew Neil that his reference to his human rights was 'in jest', and that it had been his cunning plan to discredit the use of the act, as it gave 'thousands' of people the right to stay in this country, when they should be removed from this country. Hmm. (Max refused to attend this ill advised interview, and so Matthew had to use a substitute, as you can see ...)
In Orwell's Animal Farm, all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. In Broken Barnet, and the world beyond, the message from Brian Coleman's backside is that you only have equality under human rights legislation if enough Tory councillors and Mps find it convenient to support you.
Of course what Brian is really saying, by comparing the right to freedom of expression to his naughty little Tory arse, is that no one on the internet must ever say anything about him that he does not like.
Sorry, Brian. I think it is possible that in the history of this blog, Mrs Angry may possibly have said one or two things about you that you do not like. She sincerely hopes so, anyway: and she would take it as a terrible indictment of her efforts, if she had not.
If it offends you darling, well, Mrs Angry's advice would be a. Póg mo thóin and b. to contemplate the following: as it says in the good book, King James version, ed Michael Gove: 'whosoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also'.
Mrs Angry x