The fabric of Britain as we know it is being ripped apart. So much is changing, almost behind our backs, we haven't got time to notice what is happening to us. And it is happening fast.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

On The Eleventh Day of Xmas, My True Love Sent To Me... Eleven Hundred Emails Pinging

I am afraid you have to live in the real world where the country
has no money and residents will have to deal with their own issues
 rather than expecting 'the system' to sort their lives out.

This is the kind, generous and oh-so-sympathetic response of Barnet councillor Brian Coleman to a single mother worried about becoming homeless after a £150 increase in her rent. Coleman, who is conveniently also a senior member of Boris Johnsons administration and something of a prize nincompoop normally, has form for being less than emotionally literate. 

In fact, one could argue hes based his recent career on trying to out-nincompoop Boris Johnson, who, truth be told, is worth a giggle or two. Unless of course, you are one of those people being directly screwed by these two. (Fire-fighters of London please stand up).

In this particular instance, single mother Ms Sharada Osman had written to councillor Coleman to ask for his support and advice as she did not want to apply for a council house but was unable to meet the exorbitant increase in rent her private landlord was demanding. Coleman helpfully pointed out that there simply werent enough council houses to go around (despite the fact that she didn't want one) a fact that pretty much everyone in the country is already aware of since the Tories, that lovely party Coleman belongs to, helpfully sold off a large number of council houses in the 1980s and '90s and somehow neglected to build any more. 

We could write this off as just another example of how out of touch the Tories are with pretty much everyone else living in Britain. We could make snide remarks about Coleman himself needing to learn "to live in the real world" with the rest of us, who perhaps dont earn £120 000 a year as a local councillor and don't claim £3500 a year in expenses for taxis as a member of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, though that might seem like a cheap shot. Although this is an improvement from 2008 when he claimed £8231 in taxis so I suppose we should be grateful for that.

In a similar vein, one might also point out that those of us who actually live in the real world don't get a lunch subsidy of £7.60 for every £10  we spend, as do Members of Parliament who choose to lunch in the Palace of Westminster. Wed all be better off financially if we could feed the kid's dinner there. But, we all know the were all in it together mantra doesnt include Tories; they get to make up their own rules and it would be churlish to suggest that this rather undermines their whole "those of us that live in the real world" shtick.

But in the spirit of togetherness, I do think we should all band together to help evict at least one of those evil-benefit-scrounging-unreal-worlders who earn over £100 000 a year and live in social housing like, say for instance, one Brian Coleman who pays the princely sum of £540 for his two-bedroom Finchely Methodist Church Housing Association Flat. 

After all, isnt it a Tory policy to evict wealthy people who are squatting social housing? Grant Shapps, the Minister of State for Housing and Local Government, certainly thinks that wealthy people shouldnt be entitled to keep their taxpayer subsidised council houses. At least thats what he told the Telegraph back in June. 

The Tories have, moreover, already set the precedent by attacking Labour MP Frank Dobson who earns more than £100 000 and chooses to remain living in his council house. If the Tories think Dobson should move out, then so should Coleman. 

Alternatively, Coleman could sublet his subsidised, rent-controlled social house on to Ms Osman. But of course Ms. Osman doesn't want social housing; she, like so many of us forced to depend upon the private rental sector by the great council house sell-off and spiralling house prices, simply wants a reasonable rent guaranteed for a reasonable time so that she and her son can have affordable security for their future. 

As long as social housing is in such limited supply and the Tories refuse to change the law governing private tenancies, Ms. Osman, like so many others, has few choices; anything that might relieve even the slightest pressure on social housing must therefore be a good thing (hint hint, councillor Coleman).

So, since this is the 11th day of Christmas and we are the 11 Pipers Piping, lets raise the roof by taking the opportunity to write to both Coleman and Johnson and expressing our desire to help eradicate benefit scroungers and get over-paid Tories out of social housing.

Alternately, we could simply email them to complain:

            Brian Coleman:

            Boris Johnson:


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  1. This makes me so cross and yet completely unsurprised. Keep frothing, and I'll keep getting indignant and responding.

  2. There is a need to correct the current story about Coleman: the truth is interesting enough, as it is. He does not live in social housing or a housing association owned property, and is highly unlikely to be in receipt of any benefit. He lives in a flat owned by Finchley Methodist Church, of which he is a member: he describes himself as 'an active Methodist'. The church is a charity, and rental is of course part of the charity's income. The rental for the flat has been fixed by an external body so the charity cannot maximise its rental income. the fixed level is approximately half the going rate for the area, and half of the level paid by Ms Osman. The very fortunate Cllr Coleman earns around £130K a year from 4 publicly funded posts, while Ms Osman is a single mother struggling to support herself and her six year old son. For further details, see my blog, Broken Barnet:

  3. Thank you, Mrs Angry, I will correct my post above.


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