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Bonkers Blog April 2011

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21 April - Bonkers is closing down - but only for the Easter break

The main anti-democratic event of the past week in Bonkers Bexley has been the proposal to stifle questions at council meetings. The effect will be that the council need not answer any question that it doesn’t want to and allow those who have asked difficult questions and been dissatisfied with the answer to be permanently banned from asking more. One of the Bonkers team had put forward the revolutionary idea that the next constitutional review meeting should consider recommending that councillors answered questions at council meetings instead of giving irrelevant speeches but there is no sign of that being adopted.

Someone who questioned the powers that be on that issue and the new restrictions was immediately rebuffed with, “No decisions have been made in relation to changes to the Council’s Constitution”. True, but that disguises the fact that the proposals are known only because of a leak and that there is no opportunity for objections to residents being silenced again. In yet another example of council deviousness, it proposes to suspend the existing constitution and immediately substitute the new one. All this to be decided by leader O’Neill, four of her co-conspirators and the leader of the Labour opposition Chris Ball. If he does object what chance does he stand?

One cannot help but wonder if the rush to introduce these changes has anything to do with the fact that the Bonkers team intends to attend planning meetings in future and had formally requested to be informed of the questioning procedure. The next planning meeting is scheduled for 28th April, the day after the constitution is likely to be changed. Never mind, we can sit and take notes and see if we can eventually make sense of any “funny business” that may be going on.

Maybe the loss of question time will be no great loss after all. One of the questions at last month’s meeting was to request a breakdown of councillor Craske’s estimated £783,200 cost of operating the borough’s Controlled Parking Zones, to see where the money was going. Craske either answers questions untruthfully - “No £4m. contract”, “parking enforcement costs less than answering FOIs” etc. - or doesn’t answer them at all. This time he chose a combination of the two. The full and thorough written reply from Craske was “This information has been provided already”. I can understand this particular response, he has fudged so many figures in the past that their contradictions became a huge embarrassment. Best to say nothing. Soon it will in effect be official policy and all questions will have to take the FOI route.

The blog is going to take a few days off over Easter; I shall be spending the weekend with the head of the Transport Research Laboratory department that issued the report that Bexley’s road planning department told me justified one of their mad-cap schemes. I got it straight from the horse’s mouth that that was another Bexley council lie. My road safety expert friend after looking around town once said that whoever planned this is “either incompetent or malicious”. I think he was wrong and Bexley council is both. Just to be absolutely fair to Craske as I always am, this comment was made in the very earliest days of his reign of terror, when most of what my friend saw was the result of someone else’s incompetence.

Before I disappear I must mention that Bexley council had second thoughts about releasing the electoral registration details for Alex Sawyer and produced the information. If they hadn’t blocked the website from their server they would have known that the required information had already been extracted from another source. Also some news which I have only just been authorised to place here, the Industrial Tribunal pre-hearing of the whistleblower sacked from the Thames Innovation Centre is to be heard at Ashford House, County Square Shopping Centre, Ashford on Wednesday 27th April at 10:00 am. Case No. 1102704.

I hope everyone has a happy holiday, Craske included for who needs Redemption more than him? Bonkers will be back, probably by Easter Monday.


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