Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Crap Cycle Superhighways - Coleman's fault?

So Boris' big idea of London cycle superhighways kick-starting a bicycle revolution has degenerated into a crap, bus-filled, lick of blue paint on the roads. A gimmick. But hang on a minute, Boris is a really keen cyclist is he not? I'm not his number one fan by any means, but on this I believe he really did have an ambitious vision. So why has it turned out so crap? Here's some conjecture for you:

One of the favourite obsessions of Brian 'Mr Toad' Coleman - a convicted speeder - is keeping the flow of cars moving at all costs. In fact, its this similarity with Kenneth Grahame's Mr Toad that probably earned him his nickname. For example:

  • Against the wisdom of RoSPA, he's had road-humps systematically removed from Barnet's streets.
  • Against the street's residents, he's re-opened the rat-run: Partingdale Lane.
  • Against the best interests of cyclists, he enthusiastically supported the reckless and failed policy to introduce motorbikes to London's bus lanes.
  • Against the best interests of the primary school children in New Barnet, he's had a road (Coleman's Bottom) built right over their school playing field.
  • Against all reason, he's been appointed Barnet's Cabinet Member for the Environment saying (depressingly, predictably) "My priorities are roads, roads, roads and roads."

Now consider this. Boris Johnson's Conservatives hold just 11 of the 25 seats on the London Assembly so one assumes that Boris will want to keep those 11 as sweet as possible. Indeed, if one were to look at Boris' recent manipulation of the fire authority, one might think that Boris is keen to go to some lengths to keep Coleman sweet - and with his nose too busily planted in the trough to cause him any further trouble.

But would Boris "I'm-not-kidding-when-I-say-that-I'm-militant-about-cycling" Johnson be prepared to dramatically water down his pro-cycling aspirations - just to satisfy Mr Toads obsession - and thereby keep better control the slippery reins of power?

Poop Poop!

PS - For more on Mr Toad's record on road safety, I recommend Mark Pack's analysis.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Coleman squares up to RMT over northern line

Not content with burning his bridges with the Fire Brigades Union, Brian 'Mr Toad' Coleman has been further indulging his second* favourite activity (union-bashing) by squaring up to the RMT over the northern line. The Ham and High reported recently that:

He has sent a memorandum to London Mayor Boris Johnson calling for drivers to be scrapped permanently, a move which he believes, would break the power of Britain's largest transport union RMT.

What a pants motive!

Mr Toad - you may be interested to discover that the northern line actually runs from High Barnet (my flimsy excuse for the pictoral pun above) - through Totteridge and Whetstone - on its way to London Bridge station. From London Bridge station its just a
short walk to City Hall.

However, rather than joining the 28.3 per cent of your constituents who already use the tube to get to work, you choose to squander the money we fork out each and every year for the all-zones travelcard that you fail to use - and add insult to injury by racking up
thousands upon thousands of pounds worth of taxi bills that we also have to fork out for. No wonder you're such an embarrassment to the Conservative Party in these time of austerity.

"All in this together"?
Not quite all Mr Osborne.

So here's a suggestion Mr Toad. How about you start actually using the tube before you start banging on about how it should operate?


*Toad's favourite activity

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The odious Toad of City Hall

Its a long way from his self-proposed new title of "Chairman and Leader" of course, but "The Odious Toad of City Hall" may well be the one that sticks. As the Tory Troll blog reported yesterday, Brian 'Mr Toad' Coleman is proposing changes aimed at silencing the Fire Brigade Union if he

"considers the trade union’s presentation to be unreasonable and/or contrary to the good conduct of the business of the meeting."

This, of course is on top of Coleman's attempts to force through bitterly opposed changes to firefighters conditions of service. Indeed, the London Fire Brigade Union (FBU) are calling a demonstration tomorrow, saying:

“It’s time to tell Brian Coleman that enough is enough. We are sick and tired of him and his fire authority colleagues attempting to smash our hard-won conditions of service............Time and again we have proved that the argument that increases in productivity can best be secured by moving to 12-hour shifts are fatally flawed. That suggests the brigade’s proposals are politically-motivated, rather than being based around any kind of rationale or sensible research.
"If Brian Coleman thinks that 12-hour shifts are inevitable, he’d better think again. We just won’t accept them, and we will fight him in the courts and on the picket lines if he doesn’t back off.
“I urge members to get to the lobby and make their voices heard. It’s time to start increasing the pressure. It’s time to unite and fight.”

Brian Coleman politically motivated? Well I never.

If the last FBU protest is anything to go by, it promises to be vocal!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Coleman rides the gravy taxi

As George Osborne delivered the toughest budget in years today, news broke of yet another Coleman-caused embarrassment to the Conservative Party.

Proposals for a self-awarded 9 per cent pay rise would you believe, and a new title: 'Supreme Chief Toad and Eternal Croak Leader' (or some such).

Adam Bienkov has the scoop at the Tory Troll blog.

Does the new title come with any bling Adam?

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Has anyone told Brian Coleman?

A kind contributor has pointed me towards the letters page of yesterday's Daily Telegraph, in which Richard Tracey: Transport Spokesman for the London Assembly Conservative Group, offers these words of wisdom:

SIR – The Olympic Delivery Authority’s promise to minimise disruption to London’s transport is a step in the right direction. We must hold it to this pledge. After all, it proposed Olympic lanes through the Blackwall Tunnel, only to retract the idea later.
To keep London moving during the Olympics, we must encourage the thousands of international visitors and sports officials to use the Tube, the buses and river transport. There is simply no space for their
chauffeur-driven limousines.

Commenting from his passenger seat this morning, Coleman sing-songed, "La-la-la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you-la-la-la-la-la", before blowing a raspberry and directing his driver to take him to another free dinner somewhere.