There are some stories which simply can't be let pass without comment. Brian Coleman receiving an honourary degree from Middlesex University is certainly one of these. Before I start my little rant though there is a rather embarrassing fact regarding Brian Coleman I'd like to share with you.The original article can be found here
What is this fact? Well I'll feel much better for getting this off my chest. Brian Coleman is my Dad !!!! Now this may come as a shock to some of you (it will certainly come as a shock to my mum and probably to councillor Coleman). You see he's not my dad in the biblical sense, but my on line persona "Rog T" which is how you all know me would never have been conceived without Brian Coleman.
If truth be told I never used to have much interest in local politics. I sort of figured that it didn't really matter who was in so long as my bins got emptied and my kids got a good education. I thought that all of our councillors were well meaning people who did their best in a spirit of public dedication. Then the Tories got in and Brian Coleman popped up on the scene.
I first became aware of him when he announced that road humps would be ripped up, to allow cars to get from A to B a bit faster. Now the one thing I'd been really pleased with the previous Lib Lab council for was the road safety policies. I was run over at the traffic lights at Burnt Oak in 1988 by a car jumping the lights at 40mph, so I know what the downside of speeding is. I still cannot kick a football properly with my right leg.
Anyway I wrote a few letters to the Times as I thought this was a stupid and dangerous policy. Then Coleman came out with his diatribe against Middlesex university. Here are a couple of quotes from the esteemed Doctor Coleman.
"Why should the people of north London suffer in order to attract hundreds of foreign students? They are such a crap university, they only attract foreign ones," he said. He continued: "Middlesex University has really got to concentrate on its priorities and building facilities for foreign students because they can't attract British students is not one of them. They should be concentrating on being a centre of academic excellence."
Now my cousin Paul Fanning was a senior lecturer at the time (he's since retired). I went for a beer with Paul and I have never seen him so angry. Paul took the view that thousands of students, who have spent 3 years + studying had their degrees devalued. If two candidates go for a job and one got their degree at a uni branded Crap by a prominent local politician, who would be more likely to get the job?
Anyway, it made me think, what accountability is there for people like Coleman? In this day and age we have online forums such as this, so I decided to take an interest and give my views on various matters of local interest.
So do I think my online Dad deserves an honourary degree? Well as he thinks it's a crap university, I suppose they are the appropriate body to give him an honourary degree. I can only think that the guys who run the college have a good sense of humour.
Back in October 2008, when Brian Coleman (ably assisted by his chum Councillor Robert Rams) were happily telling everyone they'd ended my blogging career by having me sacked by the Hendon Times, I wondered whether Coleman would live to regret removing the shackles which the Times imposed on what I could write about him. I have long since stopped worrying about that particular issue. Will Brian Colemans political career, like the Phoenix, rise from the ashes? Well Brian has been a very naughty boy and this is Barnet not Lourdes.