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Bonkers Blog November 2010

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26 November - Bexley’s quarter million pound comedy duo fails to show

The Winter 2010 edition of the Bexley Magazine has council Leader Teresa O’Neill saying “We will be meeting local people to discuss the issues with them” (Page 8) and an attachment in an email from the Bexley Voluntary Service Council (B.V.S.C) announces the first of nine “Roadshows” was to be in Bexley Central Library from 10.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. yesterday. This ties in with information put out by the library over the last week or so and confirmed by them in a telephone enquiry. So I took myself along to listen to what Will Tuckley the C.E.O. and the Leader might say and more particularly what residents might ask.

Arriving just before 10 - because that is the time advised by the library - I saw nothing out of the ordinary happening. By five past there was a small audience awaiting the entrance of the expensive pair but soon afterwards the phone rang and a librarian apologised that the Roadshow was cancelled. Someone asked why and I drew the short straw to call the council’s communications office to enquire what was going on.

There was no Roadshow it was explained, it was something that they had considered and may at some time go ahead, but nothing was planned so far. One must wonder how B.V.S.C. came to hear about it and why a cancellation message come from the office I was speaking to just ten minutes earlier if there was no Roadshow to cancel? “Ah,” said the communications officer, “you had better speak to my boss who is out.” So I left a phone number and at the time of writing no explanation has been forthcoming. I’m reluctant to use the word lie on this blog yet again but something odd is going on even if it’s just a case of stage fright.

The Roadshows are probably a charade by a “listening council” that would like to claim that it called on the public to respond and no one turned up. The B.V.C.S. email lists eight more dates across the borough. The one in Blackfen library scheduled for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday 14th January, 2011 should be interesting; the shoppers and traders there that I have spoken to are not exactly brimming with praise for the council and all its wicked works.

Something else that Leader O’Neill says in the latest magazine is “We’ve worked hard to ensure that as many of the savings as possible involve cutting our costs and improving how we work”. (Page 3.) Is this the same Teresa O’Neill who allowed Craske to hike up the cost of a £35 parking permit to £100 in 2011 without once looking at why it costs £250 a permit to issue them? Is it the same Leader who advocated cutting the number of councillors for the benefit of a newspaper headline but failed to discuss the issue at the council meeting? And is it the same inadequate council Leader who sanctioned the C.E.O.’s £200,000 plus annual salary and refuses to allow those that fund it to raise the issue? Cuts are necessary, but they should be applied across the board and that includes senior staff and politicians. These people are hypocrites primarily interested in their own well being and income.


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