Soon after the infamous obscene blog appeared almost two years ago an anonymous tip off, which I believed to have come from a Conservative party source, suggested that at least two councillors were involved in its creation. I know of other people around the borough who were dropped similar hints and I refrain from naming them only to protect their sources.
Such rumours persisted long after a councillor was arrested on suspicion of Misconduct in Public Office and on 20th July 2012 a Freedom of Information Request to Bexley council asked how many Bexley councillors had been arrested in the previous 18 months.
Unsurprisingly Bexley council refused to comment. Last October the Information Commissioner told them they must do so within ten days. It was just a number after all.
After six months of argument Bexley council has persuaded the Information Commissioner that revealing a number would be too embarrassing. An answer of one would not reveal anything new, everyone knows that councillor Peter Craske was arrested on 21st June 2012, but maybe it is now fair to assume that the real number was two or more, just as the insiders suggested.
It is all very reminiscent of the FOI I submitted to the police after they told me that their computer checks had come to naught. I requested the dates the checks were made. The police refused to say and the Information Commissioner agreed that knowledge of those dates was not in the public interest. Much later the police owned up that they had made no such investigation. It seems reasonable to assume that the Information Commissioner is just as susceptible to political interference as Bexley police are. (†)
I have several readers who have complained that Peter Craske doesn’t reply to email to his council address. They may be interested to know that for a very small fee, 50 pence will do, you may send him a brief comment. It’s all in a good cause.
† The police confirmed that the obscene blog enquiry had become difficult, long drawn out and very expensive because of “political interference” at a meeting between Elwyn Bryant and myself on 1st December 2012. The extract from an email to Chief Executive Will Tuckley shown below merely confirms the malign influences at work. On 1st March 2013 the outgoing borough commander sought to retract the statement with an assurance that he is beyond the reach of Boris Johnson or any other politician and owes allegiance only to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth.