is 23·38 square miles of South East London where democracy is paid no
more than lip service and governed by a collection of Conservative
politicians with a propensity for lying and putting themselves into financially
beneficial positions. The Maldives is a collection of 1,192 islands spread over
35,000 square miles of the Indian Ocean with a democracy built on coups and
guns and parliamentary brawling. So what is the connection?
The connection is our very own 42 year old from Sidcup, councillor Peter Harold Craske.
The Maldivian government has been trying to improve its international relationships with the aid of lobbying companies since 2009 and it engaged The Campaign Company (TCC) to rebuild its reputation in the UK. A company co-founder (who left at the beginning of 2012) allegedly went to the Maldives to tout for the business and TCC would appear to have been well placed to lobby the Labour government. Another co-founder is described as ‘ultra-Blairite’ and the company had already established links with and done work for several high profile Labour personalities. It was however comparatively weak where the Conservatives were concerned and engaged Peter Craske for his claimed ability to exploit equally high profile Conservative contacts - still in opposition at the time. I can imagine this is a contract that would have been in safer hands with fellow Blackfen & Lamorbey councillor, Katie Perrior’s and her PR company, In-house, but maybe she was still tied up with Boris Johnson’s 2008 election campaign.
Maldivian politics is nothing if not complicated with several parties and many sets of initials. Peter Craske managed to muddle those initials and claim alliances where none exist. The repercussions are still rumbling on in Maldivian circles. The British group ‘Left Futures’ has summarised the situation (below left) and The Minivan News (a Maldivian web based newspaper) has not yet stopped reporting it (below right).
On the left is councillor Peter Craske’s email (to his Conservative contacts presumably), expressing his concern for arrested politicians and pleading their case. He did not cover himself with glory with his claim of an imagined alliance and he eventually had to apologise for his error.
An incompetent Bexley Conservative councillor doing a bit on the side for a left leaning pressure group, exploiting his political contacts and provoking an international incident in 2009/10 is probably just par for the Bexley course but bearing in mind how ready he has been to lambast Labour councillors for their views it does shed some light on how deep his convictions really are. Not as deep as a trough of cash presumably. One must wonder if council leader Teresa O’Neill knew what he was up to and approved.
I would guess she did because in November 2009 she was happy to put council business in the hands of Craske’s unlikely employers. In Teresa O’Neill’s ‘Report of the Leader of the Council’ dated 4th November 2009 she announced…
One can only guess whether Craske was on commission for introducing new business to The Campaign Company but people like him don’t usually do anything for nothing.
The Campaign Company’s website has at least two references to doing work for Bexley council. As has been said so many times before, how is it that Bexley council contracts so often go to organisations run by or otherwise associated with Bexley councillors?
Click on any of the five document extracts to view the originals.