• Singling out members of the public at council meetings and criticising them for “parsimonious appreciation’. Link
• Allowing councillor Craske to insult and attempt to belittle a member of the public at a council meeting. Link
• Allowing Conservative councillors to ramble on ‘for ever’ and label Christians a rabble. Link
• Allowing councillor Craske to filibuster and repeatedly not answer questions. Link. One example of many!
• Allowing councillor Craske to blatantly lie in answer to a member of the public’s question. Link. One example of several
• Allowing one councillor to call another a “tosser” without challenge. Link
• Writing to a member of the public to tell him how good a chairman she is because of her 20 years experience. Link
• Writing to another member of the public to suggest he read Citrine’s ABC of Chairmanship. Link
• Refusing to correct minutes in contravention of said book. Link
• Refusing the public the opportunity to record council meetings in contravention of guidance from the Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. Link
• Bringing in the police to prevent members of the public from entering the Civic Offices with a camera - even if there was no intention of using it. Link
• Stating she would grant permission for recording on request but refusing every such request. Link
• Hiring a team of bouncers to prevent a wide variety of ‘offences’ (including carrying a placard) at a cost of £1,320 a time. Link
• Provoking Constitutional change to restrict the ability of all residents to question the council. Link
• Reducing the time for public questions at the meeting of 2nd March 2011 from 15 minutes to eleven and ignoring protestations from members of the public. Link
The last of these provoked an official complaint and as recently as last Friday I said that the council had still not managed to dream up a response. The problem for the mayor and the council is that they could not simply deny the time reduction happened as they knew there was a video tape of the proceedings so a suitable whitewash was going to take more time to prepare than their usual run of the mill denial of all wrong-doing. I can imagine that when a criminal is charged with a crime by the police he will, if he is rich enough, call in a top barrister, and if he isn’t rich he will look to his criminal friends for advice.
In the council the well paid lawyer is readily available, always on hand and loyal thanks to the post’s 27% pay rise last year. And if you want to consult a criminal, they are not strangers to our Civic Offices either. So what did all this legal expertise and application of devious minds produce by way of excuse for mayor Twankey? It wasnt her fault; someone else was in charge of the stop watch! The Assistant Chief Executive. So we have someone on £122,00 a year and he can’t even tell the time.
Another limp excuse was that the Constitution says that the time shall not exceed 15 minutes - stand by for only two minutes being allocated at some point in the future. Yet another excuse is to imply that poor old Twankey was entirely unaware of her error because there is no record of any one complaining. This poses an interesting question. If protests from the public are not recorded how is this bunch of charlatans and cheats going to know who has shown disrespect or behaved badly in the chamber in order to ban them from future question times or worse?
The councillors who dreamed up this ingenious method of getting Twankey off the hook, i.e. blame it all on Andrew Cresswell the Assistant Chief Executive, were Cheryl Bacon (Cray Meadows, £17,770) and John Fuller (Lesnes). At least I will have the satisfaction of being able to vote against him in three years time.
If you are desperate to read the whole sorry charade, then it is here.
The picture above shows the cover of Bexley’s restricted (but now declassified) War Emergency Plan. It probably comes in useful for ideas on how to implement totalitarian control.