In my 26 years as a Bexley resident I have only twice been inside a pub in
Bexleyheath, until last night that is when I made it three. The reason was that
I became aware a month or two ago that UKIP met in the King’s Arms once a month
and following on from last Thursday’s election results I felt I should take a look
on the basis that any party or individual that stands a chance of unseating those Bexley
councillors who believe themselves to be above the law, is potentially a friend of mine.
David Cameron has said that UKIP is a party of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists but from what I saw and heard yesterday evening that is yet another subject on which he knows nothing. I found a friendly group, mainly male but with a good spread of ages. Political meetings I’ve previously attended in Bexley have been dominated by people of pensionable age. Despite the informal setting it came across as serious and professional which hasn’t always been the case elsewhere.
I arrived just as a group of around 20 was winding up their official business and preparing for an open session. Much to my surprise I found that I was the open session. I had been recognised and their chairman David Coburn asked me to tell the meeting about the blog and my experience of Bexley council. So totally unprepared I meandered over quite a lot of ground. The names Teresa O’Neill and Peter Craske cropped up quite a lot and whilst the presentation could have been better the ‘catalogue of crime’ must have sounded rather shocking to fresh ears.
I took home with me a copy of UKIP’s newspaper and was reminded by it that David Coburn doesn’t just chair the Bexley branch of UKIP, he is UKIP’s London Regional Chairman. Despite him dumping me into the meeting hotspot unprepared I found him to be instantly likeable. I could identify totally with his column in the UKIP newspaper an extract of which follows…
UKIP wants to end the cosy ‘old boy’ relationship you find on most councils, where ALL the parties seem to conspire together against the council tax payer.
It doesn’t seem to matter which party is in charge. They all maintain the same overpaid senior council officers and top civil servants, on the same obscene salaries and eye watering index linked pensions, that the rest of us, in the real world, scrimping to pay our ever increasing council tax, can only dream about.
The establishment parties cut all the wrong things. They cut front line services but they never tackle the outrageous salaries, waste and bureaucratic fat experienced by ordinary Londoners when they have any dealings with council.
For a fruitcake who has yet to attend a Bexley council meeting, that is a remarkably accurate summary of Teresa O’Neill’s gravy train administration.
Note: I understand future UKIP meetings may not be held at the King’s Arms. Keep an eye on UKIP’s twitter feed for details.