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Bonkers Blog December 2010

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15 December - She’s taking the rise - out of everyone

Eric Pickles Teresa O'Neill

I am in danger of getting repetitive on this one but I switched on News 24 two days ago and caught Eric Pickles speaking in the Commons; he said that council Chief Executives shouldn’t be paid more than the Prime Minister. A month earlier I watched the greedy crew that is Bexley council support their leader Teresa O’Neill when she rebuffed a member of the public who put much the same view at a council meeting. I have also seen innumerable letters and emails from interested residents seeking similar assurances and asking to meet either O’Neill or the C.E.O. Will Tuckley to engage in a dialogue on the subject. All of those attempts have got absolutely nowhere; councillors and C.E.O. alike are simply not listening to the government’s message that “we are all in this together”. You and I are in it but fat cat councillors and senior staff believe they are not.

I’m amazed that a down-to-earth sort of chap like Pickles is naive enough to expect the power he plans to devolve to local level will not be abused. What happened when councils took over parking regulation from the police? Bexley sent out a leaflet promising more and easier parking. Instead we got Craske on a mission to destroy communities and blight lives.

What happened when the last government gave councils additional powers to regulate refuse collection? We had to line up bins on the pavement instead of having them collected from our doors and have them left unemptied if the contents fell foul of innumerable petty regulations. What happened when the previous government allowed councils additional power under an act (R.I.P.A.) designed to help prevent terrorism? On the flimsiest of suspicions councils paid private detectives to spy on parents applying for school places and locally tricked residents into undergoing lie detector tests. Councillors like O’Neill are totally untrustworthy and disciples of the ‘I’m all right Jack’ school of politics.

To end on a brighter note, James Brokenshire M.P. has come good on his promise to speak up about the inflated salaries of council staff; well up to a point. I’ve heard complaints he has not directed his comments directly at Bexley council and that is true, but I feel he has gone as far as he could reasonably be expected to go. I always like to give politicians the benefit of the doubt - until they prove themselves to be beyond redemption.


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