Will Tuckley wrote to me mildly objecting to Bonkers labelling Bexley council under the Conservatives
corrupt. He said it was unreasonable. I didn’t give his comment another thought.
Then I received an email from a reader, a new one presumably, asking me to justify the claim with some examples.
The first thing I did was look up the word in the dictionary. It spoke of dishonesty, usually in connection with bribery. Well I’ve heard tales of bribery a couple of times but no firm evidence has ever come to light. So like a Eurocrat faced with the wrong referendum result I found another dictionary. That was much better. “The abuse of entrusted power.” So with that in mind I spent 20 minutes knocking up a short list from memory…
• A Bexley cabinet member proposed to nearly triple the price of Residents' Parking Permits and produced figures claiming it cost £240 to issue each one and on that basis the price hike was approved. The council's accounts subsequently showed the source data was imagined or wrong and residents were deliberately robbed without legal excuse.
• A Bexley councillor was arrested on suspicion of posting homophobic comments on social media about residents who had asked him awkward questions at council meetings. Bexley council called in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the police to its offices to work out how to "resolve the councillor's situation”. The police had traced the source IP address to the councillor but later admitted they had succumbed to "political interference" which presumably came directly or indirectly from Bexley council. The case is now with the Metropolitan Police at Commissioner level.
• Every member of the public attending a council meeting in June 2013 was forbidden entry because one of them planned to use a sound recorder. To excuse themselves from an illegal act Bexley council distributed libellous and untrue statements about all the public present (some named) to the press and elsewhere. This case is currently with the Local Government Ombudsman.
• Bexley council permitted a landowner with close connections to the council to close a Bridleway for which there is no legal excuse. The case may eventually go to Court.
• The leader of Bexley council was criticised by a resident via social media and she reported him to the police for an intention to commit arson and bodily harm. She based her complaint on a joke or metaphor made by someone else entirely. As a result the police, aided and abetted by the CPS intended to charge the critic but the Independent Police Complaints Commission stepped in just in time.
• Another critic was put in the police cells for 24 hours on entirely false charges brought against him by a Bexley councillor. Fortunately the judge at Bromley Court saw through Bexley's tactic.
• In the last four years Bexley residents have made more than fifty complaints against councillors and every single one of those complaints has been rejected according to a Freedom of Information response. One problem is that Bexley's Code of Conduct has nothing to say about lying.
Surely that must be abuse of power and if so, it’s corruption. There cannot be much doubt about it can there? Not sure why I chose to exclude the names but long term readers will know who the guilty parties are.