I posed the following (indented) question to Bexley council today but they, in the shape of Kevin Fox, Head of Committee Services and Scrutiny, has refused to entertain it. I applaud Mr. Fox’s enthusiasm in protecting his over-generous salary and the anti-democratic agenda behind Bexley councils defiance of government recommendations; an honest answer might well be extremely embarrassing. The truth of course is that at a meeting on 2nd March someone with a video camera caught mayor Twankey blatantly breaking Standing Orders. Normally this would be denied when referred to the Standards Committee but with the tape evidence an almost plausible lie will be more difficult to manufacture. The council doesnt like being caught out lying and they will pull any stunt to stop it happening again, regardless of the cost. They really should stop building their empire on lies and dishonesty but they are presumably in it so deep that they cannot stop now.
Until March 2011 the public was able to gain entry to the Civic Centre for the purpose of attending council meetings and be welcomed by reception staff without formality. However that has changed and the council has seen fit to surround themselves with large numbers of policemen and hired security staff. The councils reception staff have issued various warnings about visitor behaviour and threatened arrest for any digression.
This change could not have been due to any threat from cuts protestors as more recent meetings have been similarly policed with no protestors in evidence. Furthermore the council has replied to all those who made informal enquiries about the issue to the effect that the restrictions, which had not been in evidence before March, would be in force at future meetings.
What single event provoked the council into making these new arrangements in defiance of the Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Governments wish to see greater transparency and openness at your council and his statement that people being ejected from council meetings for filming ... is at odds with the fundamentals of democracy.
Our local MPs are upset by Bexley councils attitude. Today in the Commons, Conservative MP, Mr. David Evennett (Bexleyheath and Crayford) asked the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, what recent representations he has received in respect of filming at council meetings. Teresa Pearce MP. (Erith & Thamesmead) beat him to it by almost two weeks with a considerably more direct question about Bexleys malpractice.