Bye,Bye Brian..beaten by braveheart Barnet bloggers

Brian Coleman: Thrown out by voters in Barnet

The emphatic defeat of Brian Coleman in the London Assembly elections – a larger than life bully in true blue Barnet – was one of the defining features of the London Assembly elections.

 He was knocked out of the seat by Labour comeback kid, Andrew Dismore,  an “awkward squad” former MP for Hendon, whose campaigning skills and determination when he was a MP was  well-known in Parliament. So he shouldn’t have been surprised that Dismore would pursue every voter.

Victor Andrew Dismore: Former awkward squad MP

But there is no question in my mind  why 2012 was so different to 2008 for Brian Coleman –  apart from the political climate that favoured Labour last night but also saw Dismore perform far better than Livingstone.

Coleman had a unique skill to anger  nearly every group in the borough  – whether the small shopkeeper, the motorist,home owners (over parking),the local firefighter, the trade unions, struggling single parents, religious groups, journalists, – and when there was a chance to throw him out they could hardly wait to do so.

But he had relied on a cash strapped local press to bully his way often unreported and rarely held to account by his local Tory group, who seemed to live in ” shock and awe” of whatever he said next.

But the difference between 2012 and 2008 is that he couldn’t get away with it so easily – because of the rise of the blogosphere. Five local bloggers including a larger-than-life figure blogging as Mrs Angry;a guy with a head for figures – Mr Mustard; John Baldy and the Barnet Eye  and Barnet Bugle took him on – and wouldn’t let him get away with it. I should also add – Mr Mustard has reminded me -Mr Reasonable and Vicki Morris.

 He also faced a pretty lively campaign from the Fire Brigades Union – both in Barnet and across London – because of his passion for privatisation which got him far too closely connected to AssetCo, the near bust and badly run owner of London’s fire engines.

 In my view – though this  can’t be scientifically proven – the coverage of the blogosphere changed hearts , minds and eventually votes  in Barnet. They were read by large numbers of people (the one I did as an armchair audit on his expenses,home, and allowances, attracted well over 3000 hits)

Coleman himself was a large dinosaur when it came to the net – he needed young Tories and officials to tell him how to operate a computer – so he didn’t realise what was coming.

Coleman is one of the first councillors  to be thrown out following bad coverage on the net. The very ” armchair auditors” that David Cameron and Eric Pickles are keen to promote – came out and devoured their protegé on the London Assembly. Grant Shapps, the computer savvy local government minister, should be proud to see people held to account in this new way.

If the Tories believe in real democracy the one decision Boris Johnson should take is not to use his power to re-instate Coleman as an appointed councillor in any way to the London Assembly. The people of Barnet and Camden have spoken.

6 thoughts on “Bye,Bye Brian..beaten by braveheart Barnet bloggers

  1. I do not wish to devalue the efforts of Barnet’s Famous Five Bloggers to bring details of his antics to a wider audience, but the architect of Brian Coleman’s downfall is none other than Brian Coleman himself.


    • DCMD:
      1. I told you so, you old sceptic – didn’t I tell you this would happen? The curse of Mrs Angry.
      2. You owe me a fiver


  2. Many people played a part. If I just helped a few people not vote for Brian then I am happy. There are other bloggers who played their part in Barnet, don’t forget Mr Reasonable (he is ace with large numbers) Vicki Morris who is an expert protestor and Roger, the Barnet Eye one of the earliest and most experienced bloggers with quite a following. All worth a read.

    I will reuse your description David thank you – “a guy with a head for figures”. Councillor Coleman presented a report in a meeting a couple of months ago said there was plenty of detail for bloggers to read at midnight. Now Brian has lots of time in which to read. Send your suggestions to him, I am sure he will be grateful.


    • yes, Derek I stand corrected and have amended this to include some more names. No good sending Brian anything as he doesn’t seem to connect with the internet let alone people!


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