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Bonkers Blog May 2011

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4 May - Welcome to Bexley

Welcome to BexleyNow that council leader Teresa O’Neill is officially sucking up to Boris Johnson you can expect to see some of Bexley’s ideas being adopted by City Hall. Their new welcome sign was on display for the first time yesterday. I jest of course and if you feel so inclined you can read the full story on the London SE1 Community website.

Another joke is Bexley council who once again have splashed themselves all over today’s News Shopper. It’s another parking story and someone on Bexley council has seen fit to get the police to do their dirty work again. A shop worker who warned motorists of the presence of a Bexley gestapo wagon was visited by his friendly neighbourhood plod and shown a picture of himself trying to save shoppers a fine. Quite how a photo of a man with a placard found its way from the gestapo car to plod is something the council doesn’t want to talk about. The policeman as it turns out was your actual friendly neighbourhood bobby because he is reported to have said “it’s not a police matter” which begs the question, why on earth did the police not tell Bexley council to take a jump? I think we know.

Try if you can to get a copy of The Shopper, they don’t allow a direct web link to their ‘paper’ issues and I don’t think it is right to ‘borrow’ their hard work while it is current. Nor do I believe in spoiling their stories in advance but I do know there is another nice parking story brewing which I hope one of the papers will take on board for next week. (News Shopper link to front page added 11th May 2011)

So who do you think is the idiot whose antics keep the news media alive with anti-Bexley council stories? Yesterday I said it had been leaked to me that it was councillor Craske (cabinet member for transport, £22,650) who went to the police to report me for harassing the council. I’ve no proof but it lends credence to the story that we now know that someone of influence with responsibility for parking matters has persuaded the cops to take up a case which appears to be “not a police matter”.

No joking matter is my disabled friend Carole’s ongoing battle with some bus drivers. I haven’t been with her in the mornings since Easter as things were going well but she no longer gets help in the afternoon from another friend who doesn’t have a spare child seat in her car any more. As anyone who travels on a bus just after 3 p.m. will know, it’s not a lot of fun even when the school children on board are well behaved. Now Carole has to contend with them as well as two children and her disability.

She is not a lady who gives up easily and has raised the issue of buggies on buses to the highest levels within Transport for London (TfL). She is now on first name terms with their Driver Communications Manager. Yesterday Carole tried to get on a B11 that already had two small buggies on board and although they will take three (I have a photo as proof) some drivers think two is the limit and not just guidance. Beyond two some drivers insist that buggies must be folded, but Carole just cannot do that for herself. So Carole managed to get herself and her buggy half on the bus and with help from no one was allowed no further. The driver was shown Carole’s disability card but he told her to get off and wait 15 minutes for the next bus - which might be just as full - but she stood her ground. The driver called the police and Carole called TfL’s Driver Communications Manager. The bus driver refused to talk to his manager, probably thinking Carole was bluffing.

The stand-off went on until the next bus came along with passengers inconvenienced, not that I have any sympathy for them as not one volunteered to fold up the buggy. Fortunately the next bus was driven by a man more flexible than the first who recognised a regular passenger and came to her rescue. I would have loved to be there with my camera; I would like even more to have been a fly on the wall when the driver got back to base to find a TfL manager wanting to speak to him.

Carole has a meeting set up next week with TfL and councillor John Fuller. I’m not sure what influence he has over TfL but at least he is maintaining a close interest, which is more than one can say for his fellow ward councillor and Bedonwell School Governor John Davey (£9,543 + £7,782 from the Bexley Care Trust) who has done what he always has done in my experience; look steadfastly the other way.


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