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There were never going to be any pictures in this section but the threat of arrest
for the crime of carrying a Pentax with intent to leave it in its bag made it a
certainty. Im not sure I can be bothered writing another long blog so I will
just say that some Conservative cabinet members blew their own trumpets, the
Labour people put forward an alternative strategy to cat-calls and jeering by the
Tories while the chairman looked bored (she really did!), there was no debate,
the chairman forbade it, they took a vote which was a foregone conclusion and 85
minutes after the meeting started I was off down the pub with a couple of
friends. Thats it, no idea why they did it really, a total waste of time unless
you were a tattooed bouncer on a nice little earner. But Im not being fair, a couple of
councillors put in a good performance, I almost said impressive but I didnt, but
nevertheless they shouldnt all be tarred with the same brush so I had
better do the decent thing.
Twankey kicked off by saying she was going to kick out any resident in the public gallery who might be sufficiently naive as to believe government policy carried any weight in Bexley and proceeded to ride rough-shod over a resident who gave her the good advice that the minutes she was about to sign were false. This after she acknowledged that there had been no time for anyone to read the minutes in advance, but she signed them anyway. Did I say she was an utter twit yesterday? I did? Good; saves me doing it again.
The encouraging start (the day they do things right I am out of a job) was followed by the Fat Controller (FC) flinging insults at the Labour opposition and blowing her own trumpet loudly - well more of a fog-horn than a trumpet really. The Labour councillors took it all in their stride, they must be used to it by now. FC was followed by her deputy Simon Windle (Barnehurst, £27,048) which was a welcome relief. He spoke calmly and eloquently with a degree of dignity that FC is incapable of showing. Not once did he insult the opposition and got his message across clearly and quickly. Maybe when ONeill is safely ensconced in the arms of Boris (see below) and we no longer have to pay the parasite for swanning around London we can ask Simon to take her place. We dont want to hear the Fat Controller saying she has consulted residents because she spoke to a whole three people in a library nor do we want to hear her say again she is smart and imply the opposition isnt.
When the Labour opposition was allowed to put forward its alternative budget strategy the mood of the meeting instantly changed; from out of nowhere a baying mob appeared jeering and thumping their desks. It was the Conservative councillors in full unruly flow. While councillor Malik (Thamesmead East, £9,543) was struggling to make himself heard the cry of tosser rang out from the Conservative benches. The Gods gift to chairmanship mayor let it go unchallenged and needs a serious talking to by someone; but who? My after meeting enquiries confirmed I wasnt hallucinating and a number of fingers were pointed in councillor Catterralls direction (Falconwood & Welling, £22,650). I was at the back of the chamber so cannot myself be sure, perhaps if I am wrong the councillor will let me know so that I can edit a few words.
Against the hubbub I detected that councillor Malik spoke passionately about the plight of the poor he represented and called the Conservatives a stealth tax party. As a Labour man he should know one when he sees one.
Brenda Langstead (North End, £12,114) said the budget consultation process was not user-friendly. Anyone who attempted to visit the BexleyTalks website would know exactly what she meant. She explained why the Roadshows were a disaster; no Brenda they were a fraud. As you indicated, the schedule was kept a state secret and Moneybags and the Fat Controller went out of their way to dodge the Roadshows. Ask for a schedule and it didnt exist.
Leader of the opposition, councillor Chris Ball (Erith, £22,750) was met with jeers as soon as he stood up. He struck a chord with me by saying he was comfortably off with a good income, lived in a relatively crime-free neighbourhood, had no children to support and the cuts were going to pass him by while he benefitted from the tax freeze. Ouch Chris, have a heart, this old Tory is still thinking about that.
Gareth Bacon (Longlands, £22,650) spoke in opposition to the Labour amendment and went through the reasons why this country is in the financial hell hole it is. He mentioned £120 million a day interest on our debts to cries of what a load of rubbish from the audience and explained that value for money didnt mean spending an extra £300,000 for a miserly extra 5% of recycling. Not financially justified. I have a personal problem in commenting on councillor Bacons speech. If I had been in his position I would have been proud to have said exactly the same. So now I am agreeing with Chris Ball and Gareth Bacon; does that make me a bloody Liberal? But I have an idea. Make up a council of Simon, Gareth and Chris, double their allowances and give the brainless amateurs the elbow starting with Twankey.
Speaking of amateurs, councillor Chris Taylor stood up to make his maiden speech. Crikey! How long is it since he was elected? Long enough to dream up an absolute beauty of an insult to the Labour opposition; its so original that I shall savour it for minutes to come. He accused Chris Ball of cobbling together his budget plans ;on the back of a fag packet. Yeah I reckon little Chris really hurt poor old big Chris dont you? After that Taylors speech sort of withered and died, I didnt notice him sit down and I doubt anyone else did either. Do us a favour Chris, go back home and get your mother to stuff a dummy in your mouth again until you grow up.
Councillor Deadman (Labour, North End, £12,114) came up with something very weird and Im beginning to expect it from him. Im pretty sure I heard him against the din speaking up for high levels of top officials pay. Dont tell me he has taken a fancy to the Fat Controller too. Watch out Boris.
And that was pretty much it. Not so much a council meeting but a convention of rubber-stamp merchants. Pub blog coming later, thats where all the real sense is spoken.