An anonymous reader suggested that Bexley council may not be totally bonkers and implied that that is why there has been little to report recently. The ‘not bonkers’ comment is absolutely correct. The site name ‘Bexley is Bonkers’ was derived directly from councillor John Davey’s assertion in 2009 that Bexley council’s road planning is bonkers and had I known then what I know now I might not have been quite so keen to adopt it. But it’s too late to make a change and Bexley council is Bad or Bent does not trip easily off the tongue.
Not that Bexley council is all bad, far from it. Some staff take an obvious delight in doing their jobs well and maybe I can add those who take responsibility for street lighting to my list. The dark was banished from Abbey Road last night and maybe even the night before - I didn’t check on Tuesday evening - and another nearby Keep Left which I hadn’t reported was adorned with a battery powered lamp.
The only Bexley council related act over the past three years which was truly bonkers was setting up the obscene www.malcolmknight.blogspot.com using a councillor’s internet connection to do it; a cabinet member at the time and given the arrogance of Bexley’s leadership, quite likely a cabinet member again soon.
Bexley council would argue that it was an innocent bystander but someone there knew enough about the crime to have the blog removed immediately it became an embarrassment. Then, despite it being none of its business, cosied up to the CPS and the police in a joint effort to “resolve” the councillor’s situation. But let us not go over over that ground again; councillor Davey was probably right but I accept that the whole of Bexley council is not actually bonkers.
What Bexley council is, at its core at least, is far worse than being bonkers. Was leader Teresa O’Neill bonkers when she decided to break the law with her decision to put residents’ addresses on the council’s website? Does it not seem more likely that a vindictive nature, arrogance and blind rage was on display?
Was the leader bonkers when she went to the police with her claim that the council was in danger of death by metaphor after Hugh Neal’s Mary Shelley moment (†) and pinned the blame on John Kerlen and me? No; she knew what she was doing but believed she was above the law, and sad to relate, Bexley police was at the time more than ready to go along with Bexley council’s excesses. If it were otherwise they would not have turned a blind eye to perjury - councillor Melvin Seymour in the Woolwich Crown Court witness box - and fraud. Their refusal to act against former leader Ian Clement after ten times as much money disappeared from Bexley’s coffers as the GLA’s - only the latter resulting in a conviction.
Bexley council must have its reasons for being vehemently opposed to scrutiny. Far too many Freedom of Information requests are disputed or unanswered; they refuse to deny that Peter Craske is not the only councillor to have been arrested in the past two years. They behave as if any light is shed on their activities they will incriminate themselves and many incidents have shown their fears to be well founded.
Other London councils communicate with their critics but in Bexley the only contact is through brief secretive meetings and unofficial email, the content of which cannot even be hinted at for fear of the consequences. That, and things like stretching intervals between Full Council meetings to six months, is why there is little report. It’s undoubtedly clever if you are running a mafia and hiding from investigators but it is not what you would expect from an accountable democratic body with legal powers. Why has Teresa O’Neill imposed her own Iron Curtain? What is it that she is so anxious to hide?
I doubt that honesty and transparency is possible until O’Neill’s power is diluted or has gone. At the moment all decisions are taken on a tribal 52:11 Con:Lab split with no possibility of rebellion. Voting is always exactly along party lines. Bexley needs an independent voice, people who aren¹t in the job for the allowances or to advance their own businesses With UKIP riding high in the polls and intending to stand in every ward an upset is possible, but people plucked directly from the population at large would be much more satisfying. Is anyone out there willing to oppose Teresa’s Tyranny?
† Due to an inadequacy within the blogspot software, ‘The Shrine’ must be selected from the left hand menu.