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There’s not enough time to do it every day but I do read some of the other
London based council inspired blogs when I can. I am frequently put off by the
rabid left wing anti-Tory propaganda one can find out
there. Why offend half your readership and finish up preaching only to the converted?
I get the impression that no one but me blogs from a basically right wing perspective. You may find it surprising but it is a fact that I more often sit at a council meeting quietly nodding in agreement with the Tories than I do with the opposition. The real problem I have with this particularly ugly bunch of Conservatives in Bexley is that their leadership and too many of their followers are thoroughly dishonest. Spin and deception, lies and occasional criminality are their stock in trade. I was extremely annoyed with Theresa May when she labelled the Tories the nasty party at their 2002 conference but she was dead right about those who occupy it now. Absolutely no compassion, no sense of tradition and David Cameron does something to annoy the hell out of me every single week. The man is totally clueless and will kill his party if he hasn’t already.
Getting back to Bexley, I have often inwardly fumed at the Labour councillors who to my mind dabbled with irrelevancies and allowed themselves to be outmanoeuvred by conniving, ruthless, self-serving, law-breaking Tories. How was Geraldene Stripshow-Hennis allowed to get away with her licencing breach or is Labour still snapping at her heels?
There are signs of improvement under Labour’s new leadership and there is no doubt that their members are much easier to like than almost any Tory and their MP Teresa Pearce is a good ‘un while I have never come across anything to persuade me that Evennett and Brokenshire are not total wastes of space.
Over the past few years I have come to appreciate the local Labour party’s caring side, generally friendly disposition and willingness to help residents but they haven’t completely wiped away my right wing bias when it comes to politics; all of which is a prelude to me saying I think the Tories got the better of them at last week’s council meeting, on Agenda Item 6 anyway.
Item 6 was the Motion put forward by councillor Seán Newman which aimed to reduce the number of councillors in Bexley by a third. This in my opinion was a masterstroke because Teresa O’Neill has supposedly been kicking the idea around since 2010 but done sweet Fanny Adams about it. She rabbited on about it before the last election too and would surely have done sweet FA about that as well if it were not for Seán’s intervention.
Would we see the Tories vote against the spirit of their own election promise? Well yes we would but the News Shopper’s headline (“Bexley councillors vote against plans to slash their numbers by a third”) failed to tell the whole story. The Tory sheep did indeed do what the barking dog dictated and immediately voted down the motion but they popped up with one of their own.
I’m inclined to think that the amendment is a worthwhile refinement of the original.
Several Conservative councillors wanted to show off their oratory to do the other side down. Why the bearded buffoon should think he has any talent in that direction I have no idea but he chose to embarrass his own colleagues nevertheless.
The recording of Davey’s typically juvenile comment about Stalin or Marx being cheaper than democracy was unfortunately spoiled by audience chatter.
John Davey reckoned that Seán Newman’s
motion was both “a knee jerk reaction” and a plot to ensure an
unspecified political advantage for Labour. So it’s both a back of a fag packet
job and a carefully considered Machiavellian plot to get one over the Tories. If any motion is to
give an advantage to Labour it could be the Tory one. If the Boundary Commission does its job properly
and the Tories’ forecast that new infrastructure in Belvedere will attract growth in the north is correct
it will be their motion that might hand an advantage to Labour. Davey should get himself a better speech writer.
Councillor Philip Read is a much better speech writer and although I know I shouldn’t because it contributed nothing of relevance, I couldn’t help but be amused by it and supportive of his message.
That was that Labour governments through the ages had been an unscrupulous bunch of gerrymanderers. If only councillor Stefano Borella had not prompted the mayor to bring councillor Read to order he may have got around to reminding us how that scurrilous breaker of promises Nick Clegg reneged on his agreement to a review of Parliamentary constituency boundaries because the spoilt brat lost out on the Proportional Representation referendum that Cameron gave him as part of the Coalition Agreement. How in God’s name does Clegg’s poll rating reach the giddy heights of 7%?
Councillor Peter Craske made a number of good points in his speech, basically saying there are too many politicians at every level and acknowledged that Bexley Conservatives had promised to look at a reduction in councillor numbers. He was not alone in suggesting that Labour had stolen the idea from UKIP but I fail to see how the fact that UKIP got their May 2014 manifesto out before Labour proves anything of the sort. He said that the Boundary Commission must be allowed to do their job, assess population trends etc. and get a plan ready for 2018. It seems fair enough on the surface at least.
I think councillor Sharon Massey may have been alone in speaking up for three member wards and the status quo.
And so it came to the vote with Labour fairly obviously wrong footed; whispering among themselves as to what to do next. They voted against the Conservative’s amendment but sanity was restored when the opportunity arose to vote on a composite resolution. Just for once Labour and Tories were in unison. What UKIP were playing at I don’t really know, they faced all ways by voting for and against with one abstention.
So what next? Nothing much I expect. Teresa O’Neill was not the only council leader to speak of fewer councillors in 2010. In Bromley they actually got on with the job but they found a way of kicking it into the long grass just as councillor Newman said Bexley Tories will. There is more about Bromley backtracking here.
Anyone who expects Bexley council to stem the gravy train by 2018 couldn’t have been paying attention these last five years.