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Bonkers Blog February 2011

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18 February (Part 2) - The Crook Lodge - click image for photo gallery (1 image)

Crook LodgeThanks to reader Carol for the tip-off about this sign, you are quite right, it should be moved and put outside the Civic Offices.

I have been pulled up by a reader for saying that only one councillor had the courage to say “No” in response to a direct request to cut his generous allowances, others have said the same in differing circumstances. He says that councillor Peter Catterall has been asked to cut his allowance as a personal contribution to his Big Society inspired idea to get libraries staffed by volunteers. He too has responded with a resounding “No”.

That is not all he has said and some of it I have sympathy for. Catterall says “central government, in order to balance the nation’s books after the fiscal incompetence of the previous regime, has reduced our grant by nearly 30 per cent and we face challenging circumstances”. Can’t really argue with that. The outgoing government left a note saying “there is no money”, we know that. It’s why the present government is getting so aggressive, if rather toothlessly at present, with council fat cats. It’s because “there is no money” that the occupants of the Civic Offices can’t expect to keep taking it. They will tell you that they have frozen their allowances but they are not proposing everyone else takes a freeze; everyone else is expected to take a cut. Catterall is one of eleven Bexley councillors each taking in excess of £22,000 a year for a few hours a week of voluntary work. None of them have to do it if they don’t want to. They are in it for the money and in some cases their power lust. I’ve not heard Catterall whining like; oh I’m fed up with this anonymity lark, it’s too restrictive, councillor Colin Tandy (St. Mary’s ward, £18k. a year) that he has had to buy a computer to do his job but he is an academic who almost certainly gets a pretty good income from it. Why does Peter Catterall who strikes me as one of the more intelligent members of our council (probably not difficult) think he should be immune from the pain but be so ready to inflict it on others? Do I need to mention the disabled children to be put on the regular bus to school to save an amount of money much the same as if Catterall and friends brought their allowances down from the top end of the council spectrum to something nearer the low end?

As I said the other day, Teresa O’Neill is raking in more than three times what some counterparts in other boroughs are getting. And what do we get for it? Almost the highest taxes in London. They are greedy, they have no conscience, and Carol is right; the Crook Lodge sign should be outside the Civic Offices.


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