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Bonkers Blog April 2010

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30 April - Councillor Craske not all bad?

I had an email today from a Mr. John H. who said that councillor Craske had helped him “overcome some serious problems”. Glad to hear that; up until now only his detractors have seen fit to make contact maybe because the website doesn’t look for stories that affect only single individuals except perhaps if they are featured in the local news media too. Naturally Mr. H. went on to rudely accuse me of boasting about my own superiority and I am absolutely positive he is making it up. I’ve asked Mr. H. to provide me with the offending page(s) and if he is right or anywhere near right they will be removed pronto.

Perhaps the first pro-Craske message justifies repeating why this site is here. A year ago I was in correspondence with Bexley’s Traffic Department and councillor John Davey. Mr. Davey started off by being helpful but as my research progressed and showed the council in a bad light and acting not a little dishonestly the correspondence dried up. I told Mr. Davey that I had in mind a website to highlight the council’s failure if he continued to dodge the issues and if that course was taken he should expect to be portrayed negatively whenever possible. He chose not to reply. Councillor Craske had put his signature to the scheme I and an expert in the field had shown to be ill-judged; hence those two being regularly featured here. There are no plans to dig the dirt on any other councillor, unless of course evidence is handed to me on a plate. e.g. councillor Colin Campbell who seeks to restrict residents’ use of the Freedom of Information Act.

The site is just a pastime to me. I don’t care if no one reads it, though I am amazed at the number of hits it gets and its Google ranking. I won’t deny that if it irritates my favourite two councillors and Bexley council as a whole when they do silly things I’ll regard it as a definite bonus but most of my satisfaction is derived from taking the photos and tinkering with the computer code. Sad but true.

I shall make unflattering comments whenever the opportunity arises but it is only possible when Bexley council provides the ammunition; it’s not me who makes up the stories, most can be found elsewhere too. I collect them together, not invent them, and I’m prevented from straying too far from the straight and narrow by a friend who used to “legal” contributions to the BBC’s website. I’m told I sometimes offend against OFCOM rules but I am not a broadcaster and that in the world of on-line blogging I am really rather mild.

 

29 April - Councillor Craske. Newspaper report confirms reputation for being an evil bastard

Councillor Peter Craske.This week’s News Shopper contains the perfect illustration of the sheer wickedness of Bexley council staff and the evil little runt, councillor Craske. It would seem that Mr. Felix Akele from Northumberland Heath was misled by Bexley council into thinking that any contractor could lower the kerb outside his house after he obtained permission to have a pavement crossover installed. In fact, Bexley council insists on the contractor being one they have approved but that wasn’t made clear to Mr. Akele. So he hired a contractor to do the job for £600. This may or may not have been Mr. Akele’s fault but whoever was to blame the solution was obvious. Get an approved contractor to strip out the allegedly substandard work and replace it with something more to Craske’s liking. The work involved would be the same as working from a ‘clean slate’, less perhaps if the original job wasn’t good enough and came apart easily. But such a solution does nothing to assuage Craske’s rage and constant need to throw his weight around. Perhaps he has read too many history books about Germany’s S.S.

Craske’s solution was to restore the pavement to its original condition and charge Mr. Akele £550 when any sensible public servant, even one with his snout in the expenses trough to the tune of £22k a year, would have spent that £550 on modifying the work already done to create a crossover that met the council’s standards.

Craske; you really are a stupid little man. How much damage has your idiocy done to the Conservative party a week before the election?

 

26 April - At last; another sign that there is an election due - click image for a Conservative election address (600KB of images)

Councillor John DaveyI’d expected to see more election literature through my letterbox by now; a neighbour received an A3 sized leaflet from Labour but a copy didn’t reach me and I have had to wait to see anything other than the criticism of local council tax increases and recycling policies from Labour’s parliamentary candidate delivered to me on 3rd March. Bexley’s Conservative council, blessed as it has been with incompetents and criminals should be an easy target for Labour’s prospective M.P. but to not mention national matters was idiotic.

Today’s Conservative election leaflet looks to me a very much more professional affair than Labour’s effort, saying and claiming all the things you might expect in defence of Bexley council but naturally omitting their failures, their assault on motorists, their tax-payer funded meals for girlfriends and expenses for long absent councillors. What really spoils it for me is the fact that it is “promoted” by councillor John Davey, the man who said Bexley’s road planning was “bonkers” but as vice-chairman of the Traffic Scrutiny Committee does nothing to stop the crazy schemes. And then there is the fact that he stood idly by when parking fines were levied in circumstances he knew to be dishonest, misleading and almost certainly illegal. When you know the man is as useless and unscrupulous as that you just can’t vote for him can you?

You can see the Conservative’s lavish A3 double-sided leaflet by clicking on the image and for completeness and balance I have belatedly put the whole of the Labour party’s leaflet on line too; previously only the first page was available. They haven’t even named the constituency, what did they think they were playing at? There are other Labour leaflets in circulation but that party has a long-standing habit of ignoring my letterbox, possibly because it is at the end of a cul-de-sac and represents too long a walk for them.

 

23 April - More illegal traffic controls? - click any image for photo gallery (3 images)

New double yellow line Old end marker Lost parking bayOf all the comments I am sent about Bexley council, complaints relating to roads and traffic are by far the most numerous. I know from correspondence sent to me by Bexley council that they are perfectly happy to break the law if the result is additional fines and I know that councillor Davey supports the fining of motorists even when shown evidence that the signing is illegal. Just around the corner from where I live is an example of Bexley council’s neglect and cynicism when it comes to motoring matters. For a long time there has been a single yellow line in Fossington Road, Belvedere that allowed residents to park there at any time without fear of a penalty. It was only big enough for one car but this week it has been changed to a double yellow line. No notices announcing a change to the traffic regulations, just out with the paint brush and to hell with any legal niceties. The central photograph shows where the double line used to end and how it has been surreptitiously extended.

Not far away is a parking bay with an adjacent yellow line. It is in such bad condition that you can only guess where the line ends and the parking bay begins. For the record, the only visible part of the bay marking is the white blob in the middle of the third photograph.

A message reached me today to the effect that in a further assault on motorists, Bexley council has reintroduced a summer season charge for parking within Danson Park and employs two men to collect the cash. Now that’s really efficient isn’t it? Paying staff to stand around collecting money and wide open to any opportunist thief. My correspondent says that there were four security men not far away but they were too busy talking and smoking to be much use in the event of any trouble. It’s not very friendly to discourage people from enjoying the recreational facilities by introducing a charge when we already pay the third highest council taxes in London and there is no justification for it. On-street parking restrictions are justified by the need to maintain traffic flow and paying for the enforcement, even though it is all too often a council lie, but money grabbing in a park is nothing but exploitation of motorists, particularly the elderly and infirm who could not otherwise get there - and these jokers will expect to be shown our gratitude with a vote for them in two weeks time!

Apparently the charge was only £1 last year but what’s a 50% rise when you can help yourself to £20k and more a year in expenses? Cretinous Craske strikes again presumably.

 

20 April - Bexley politics and Google - click any image for photo gallery (2 images)

Google page Yahoo pageGetting pages to the top of Google is a black art and even when a page does get there it tends to change a bit on a daily basis. However it is gratifying, especially with an election approaching, to see that the crazy antics of our vindictive council are still readily available to be read by anyone who cares to put “Bexley politics” into a major search engine.

 

11 April - A foretaste of summer

The last few days have provided some welcome sunshine while the children are still off school bringing many of them to the Lesnes Abbey park and playground. Nice as it is to see them enjoying themselves, the number congregating on the pavements of Abbey Road is frightening as vehicles speed through the obstacles installed by Bexley council acting on the advice of the incompetent Andrew Bashford. He promised his political masters that making the road more dangerous would cause traffic to slow down. A few minutes spent by the speed indicator sign will show that few drivers observe the speed limit, around a quarter are exceeding 40 m.p.h. and 50+ is not all that uncommon. There is no more than a couple of feet margin to spare as vehicles pass pedestrian refuges some of which have been engineered to be mid-way between two changes of direction. We will be fortunate indeed to get through the summer without the addition of someone’s tiny mistake to Bexley’s huge one resulting in disaster.

Before 8 a.m. this morning the police were out in force on Abbey Road, four vehicles and twice as many coppers. It looked like a speed trap but they told me it wasn’t. They were simply pulling people in at random, checking their paperwork and breathalysing them. A policeman explained that too many people have too much to drink on a Saturday night and are still over the limit in the morning. It was all very low-tech. I thought that these days a number plate recognition camera linked to the D.V.L.A. database signalled which vehicles should be pulled over but there was none of that. It’s been a long time since I saw any police activity in local roads; maybe they should come back and bring a radar gun with them next time.

Lesnes Abbey park provides a wonderful opportunity for some well-needed exercise so I went for a stroll this afternoon among the picnickers, dog exercisers and children’s game playing. As I climbed the hill and the abbey ruins came into view I slowed down so that I could read the tattoos that despoiled the body of the young woman in front of me. By her side was a lad of about six years who enquired about the ruins. “It’s an old castle; it got bombed”. “When was that?” said the boy. “I think around the 1700s or 1800s” came the reply. “Was it bombed by a jet?” “I dunno what sort of plane it was”; replied mother. Should I be shocked? They don’t teach pre-Victorian history in schools any more do they?

It transpired later that the pair were climbing the hill in search of the public toilets having followed the sign at the park entrance. Needless to say the toilets were shut.

 

6 April - The election campaign starts

The election campaigns have kicked off in earnest and for the first time ever I have not decided who I should vote for, nationally or locally. I shall have to pay special attention to what the candidates say. A communication received yesterday is from Teresa Pearce, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Erith and Thamesmead. In it she berates Bexley council and omits to mention national issues at all. Nothing about Gordon Brown’s achievements, the economy, the EU, immigration or any number of issues worrying people. Perhaps she has forgotten that she is trying to become an MP not a local councillor. More likely she is trying to confuse and deceive her electorate.

It’s easy to understand why a Labour politician would want to overlook the present government’s record in office but criticising Bexley Conservatives for raising council tax by 9% over four years smacks of desperation. The previous Labour administration raised taxes on average by more than that amount every single year they were in office and their leader told me personally that he was proud of that record and wished he could spend even more.

Bexley’s Tory council has proved to be a grave disappointment in many ways and has the whiff of corruption around it; surely a Labour candidate anxious to avoid talking about the mess the country is in should be able to criticise Conservative councillors for something more serious than doing four times better than her own party did?

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