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Bonkers Blog May 2011

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19 May - Sams the man

Mayor Ray SamsTwankey has gone and be thankful for small mercies and last night councillor Ray Sams (St. Michael’s) was elected Mayor of Bexley. He was proposed by councillor John Fuller with an amusing speech which revealed that Ray is a Charlton supporter and that he used to run a record shop. We must look forward to better run council meetings in the coming year, though last night’s did not perhaps augur well.

One of the few items up for discussion was the iniquitous restrictions on residents asking questions at council meetings (proposed and seconded by the new poisonous pairing of O’Neill and Campbell - see final paragraph) which was always likely to be nodded through by the sheep who make up Bexley’s undemocratic council, but in practice they weren’t even given the opportunity to ruminate on the subject. “It is proposed that the protocol on public Questions at Council and Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings attached as Appendix A to the Panel’s report be agreed.” At which everyone turned to Appendix A to see what they were about to vote for, except that no one did. How do I know? Because Appendix A had been omitted from the Agenda (council officials confirmed it later). Nobody noticed the missing Appendix, not even our shiny new mayor. So this bunch of spineless anti-democrats didn’t even know what they were voting on. Every last one of them voted to restrict the public’s ability to ask searching questions, even the Labour lot, one of whom, opposition leader Chris Ball, had expressed disquiet about some of the proposals at the Scrutiny Committee meeting. Not one of them was prepared to stick up for residents and I doubt we are ever seen as anything but the enemy.

The outgoing mayor made a long speech thanking everyone for the wonderful year she had enjoyed, a bit like one of those rambling Oscar speeches where everyone gets a thank you including the man who laid the red carpet, but Twankey failed to remember the people who had made her year of being ferried around in limousines possible; the forgotten and hard-pressed Bexley tax-payer, the disabled children deprived of travel assistance, the disabled adults deprived of care and everyone deprived of public toilets.

Other personnel changes were as whispered to me by Olly Cromwell several weeks ago. Simon Windle is no longer deputy to leader Teresa O’Neill, replaced by Colin Campbell of TIC fame and councillor Mrs. Slaughter is no longer a cabinet member. I am sorry to see Simon go as he was businesslike and got his message across without the constant political sniping that O’Neill in particular can’t resist; presumably some degree of integrity would not go down too well with her. Now we have Campbell who is much more of a ruffian and the fact that he had borrowed a tie for last night’s meeting has done nothing to persuade me otherwise. I am going to have to revise the table of monetary allowances to take account of these changes. Integrity comes at a high price, Simon will lose the deputy leader’s allowance of nearly £18,000 a year.


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