At least, Brian Coleman is consistent. After everything that has happened to him over in Barnet, at least he is consistent.
No longer the member for Barnet and Camden at City Hall after losing to Labour’s Andrew Dismore – an election where the anecdotal evidence was that some of his own Conservative supporters stayed at home – Brian nevertheless remains as uncompromisingly outspoken as ever, as cutting as ever. So see here, see here, his response to the community collection for the families who lost their homes in the Finchley Road fire this week. It’s reassuringly blunt.
There may be some people who feel he has a point; that if you can afford to rent on the Finchley Road, or if you work for a big bank, then you can get back on your feet pretty easily.
But you know, this collection isn’t about running a background check on how much people earn and making a judgement as to whether they should or shouldn’t deserve a neighbourly arm put around the shoulder at a time of obvious crisis. The collection was never meant to replace everything lost in the fire; how could it? It was never meant to be a substitute for contents insurance.
It was just meant to show that as a community we care, whatever your background. It seems to me that’s worth something. For the emotion is probably similar no matter how much you earn if you find yourself standing in the street in your pyjamas watching as a fire gets closer and closer to your flat, and then seeing it burn everything you own, every photograph, every record you collected, every item of clothing, everything.