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Bonkers Blog June 2011

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6 June (Part 1) - They’ve mastered all devices entertaining and rhetorical,
6 June (Part 1) - From strict, anaphoristic speech to highly metaphorical. (But you will need Patience)
6 June (Part 1) - (
With apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan *)

How does Bexley council respond to questions? I think we know by now. I have seen them lost and delayed well beyond target and lawful response times. I’ve seen them dodged and I’ve seen them unacknowledged. I’ve seen repeats of what has previously been discredited and I’ve seen non-answers and I have seen untruthful answers aplenty. I’ve many times seen answers to entirely different questions. I thought I had seen the lot but I hadn’t.

After Nigel Wise forced Richmond council’s CCTV cars off the road with his persistent and incisive questions he turned his sights on Bexley. I warned him that their standard practice was no answers and evasive answers but undaunted he asked the difficult questions that brought Richmond council to nationwide attention.

Craske immediately dodged the issue and did a disappearing trick, the parking management team followed him and the Chief Executive at first pretended he wasn’t at home; then decided he had better twist the Parking Manager’s arm for she has a track record of muddying the waters sufficiently to silence an MP. In the event she passed the buck to her assistant, Greg Tippett. The questions were pretty much unanswerable unless he incriminated the council, so he came up with an entirely new evasion technique I hadn’t come across before. Maybe it will earn him a bonus. He said that the questions were “rhetorical” and he saw “no benefit in entering into protracted correspondence”. So a full month goes by and we get get three lines to say that Bexley council won’t answer the questions because it regards them as “rhetorical” and not needing an answer. Is that better or worse than the “vexatious” label which has always been Bexley council’s favoured ‘Get out of jail free card’ until now?

It was the same with the actual licensing of the CCTV equipped vehicles. If everything was in perfect order Mr. Tippett and Co. should have been only too pleased to provide the proof and send Nigel Wise away with his tail between his legs. We now have much the same response over the matter of Mr. Peaple, his warning notice and the unjustified visit by the police.

Mr. Wise has written again. In five working days he should have his answer but don’t hold your breath…

Mr. Tippett,

Further to your accusation of “Rhetorical Questions” Please answer the direct questions below:

1. Do you agree that Mr. Peaple acted completely within the law?
2. Do you maintain that Mr. Peaple deserved the attention of the Police?
3. Do you agree that Mr. Peaple and any other member of the public has the right to assist the council, in a lawful manner, with its stated parking enforcement aim of 100% compliance with zero penalties?
4.Would you prefer that members of the public desist from volunteering their assistance, free of charge and in the spirit of David Cameron’s "Big Society" to the council?

A simple yes or no answer to these questions will suffice, but if you wish to qualify your answers I would welcome a fuller explanation.

Yours sincerely,

There is already an FOI answer available which confirms that Mr. Peaple didn’t break any bye-laws.

* From ‘Pirates’ appropriately enough.


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