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Bonkers Blog November 2010

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19 November - Democracy Bexley style - Part 2

Mr. Bryant, the resident publicly insulted by Craske on Wednesday evening has been in touch with a link that answers my question. Has Craske been very economical with the actualité about there being no £4m. contract with Parsons Brinckerhoff or did the newspapers get everything wrong? Judge for yourselves. Read the council’s press release (see page 6) and in case that ever disappears I’ve extracted the relevant bit to be read here. Nuff said.

Questions from the public are written down and not read out at the meeting which is fair enough but question No.2 was answered so quickly that I was still making notes about question 1 when we moved on to question 3. From the agenda I see that question 2 asked the leader of the council “…by how much the council will be reducing remuneration of employees and councillors in view of the financial restraints…” and how much “such reductions will save annually”. I am informed that the leader, Teresa O’Neill, merely answered that there will be no reductions. Can’t say I’m surprised; just because the Prime Minister and his cabinet took a pay cut and a five year wage freeze doesn’t mean our local fat-cats will act responsibly too. Things have also gone very quiet about her proposal to cut the number of councillors. A good headline for the newspapers but just idle talk. I’m still making up my mind about leader Teresa O’Neill but at present I feel that even with the paucity of talent on display at Bexley council they could have made a better choice.

The council launched its public consultation on ‘the cuts’ yesterday. It got a mention on Wednesday evening: councillor Ball for example thought there was a danger that residents might give biased answers. Maybe he was suggesting their answers should be disregarded, I don’t know, but obviously consultations of this nature are likely to be from individuals and opinions will likely be their own and to that extent biased. Does the council have no one capable of making a balanced judgement? Councillor Catterall perhaps who was the only representative of the people who stood out on Wednesday by saying something that got straight to the point.

I have been asked my opinion of the council’s consultation procedure, sorry Tom, I really haven’t had the time to get to grips with it yet, but when I visited Bexley Talks 24 hours after its launch I was put off by the need to register and nobody had joined its forum. At 5 a.m. this morning the situation hadn’t changed so I thought I should do my civic duty. Bexley-is-Bonkers is now registered. Maybe it will help me answer Tom’s enquiry - on the other hand my first visit took me to a “bad link”. Whoops!


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