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Bonkers Blog November 2010

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14 November - Don’t Bett on openness and honesty from this council

To say I am not an enthusiast for the E.U. is something of an understatement but when I walk along Abbey Road as I did yesterday with the chairman of its road and vehicle safety committee and hear him say “I just can’t believe how anyone could be so stupid as to design this” I feel it is not entirely worthless. He went on to express his annoyance at anyone who would use one of his company’s reports to justify the idiocy when it does no such thing. This particular idiocy was signed off by Craske of course but are any of his fellow scoundrels any better?

Researching and filtering the news that flows in my direction is becoming a full-time job but one recent piece immediately stood out as straight-forward and easy to publish, namely that Bexley’s wish to clamp down on Freedom of Information requests has arisen again. Last time it was councillor Campbell who was worried about the tales of incompetence and wrong-doing that were getting into the public domain; though he claimed he was only worried about the expense. Campbell and the rest of the disreputable crew should realize that the way to stop residents questioning their every move is to be as transparent as they promise to be and to stop hiding things from auditors, coming to the attention of the Crown Prosecution Service, breaking their own codes on whistleblowing and generally feathering their own nests. Stop being furtive, greedy and stupid and this website dies.

I thought councillor Campbell had come to his senses over F.O.I. requests but if he has the virus has spread to one of his tawdry mates, one Nigel Betts, Conservative councillor for Falconwood & Welling. He reckons that “most of this information is freely available on the Bexley website”; well if it was - and a bit easier to find - that would be fine, but I have yet to see an on-line reference to which items must be hidden from the auditors and which need not be and the itemised costs associated with parking enforcement which would expose Craske’s email to residents who queried the new charges he imposed as the falsehood it is.

It is all of course a put up job between Campbell and Betts. In the list of questions to be asked at next Wednesday’s meeting, Betts is on record as asking Campbell about the “vast” number of F.O.I. requests certain “gentlemen” have been making. So it’s an attempt to resurrect the silly scheme to ‘shame’ those who ask questions. Incidentally if these “gentlemen” have put in a “vast” number of F.O.I. requests, then I have a vast number of fingers on my hands.

Not all councillors are tarred with the same brush, one told me he thought the council should be held to account, but maybe he is the one with nothing much to hide. Those that have may wish to note that the number of F.O.I. requests will inevitably increase as more people join in opposing a useless council. Maybe the man who deals with them will be grateful to the “gentlemen” who ensure that his job is less likely to be cut; and presumably he is not so daft as to proceed with an F.O.I. request for information that is readily available on the web. If he isn’t then Betts is even more stupid than he looks and if councillor Campbell’s reply to councillor Betts at next Wednesday’s meeting is a lie it will be reported here within an hour or two of him lying. The “gentlemen” referred to will all be there watching and listening.


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