couple of months ago Bexley cabinet member Gareth Bacon announced a ‘Community
Champions’ scheme. The idea is that residents should be officially
encouraged to report graffiti and fly tipping as they go about their business -
as though people are not able to volunteer such information anyway.
It’s a job that might appeal to retired people and Bexley’s waste contractor, Serco, were prepared to sponsor the scheme by issuing mobile phones to the selected ‘champions’. Mick Barnbrook thought he’d apply. As a retired police Inspector he should have had as good a chance of being selected as the next man. Except of course that Bexley council doesn’t like his constant exposure of their dishonesty.
The fact that his application was rejected was far from unexpected but as always, it is the excuses that Bexley council dream up to justify their decisions that provide the interest.
So what was the excuse this time? Is it that he doesn’t own a dog that needs walking, is it the fact that he doesn’t wear a William Hague style baseball cap as shown in the council’s announcement or does he live in an area that might be oversubscribed with would-be champions?
No, it’s none of those. It is because he plans to stand for election as a councillor in Sidcup and Lamorbey. It sounds as though Bexley council could find no good reason not to accept Mick’s application so they had to make up something Barnbrook specific. Currently the Conservatives have no candidates standing for election, they only have Action Team Members. It’s a neat trick that confers several electoral advantages, including to be able to claim that they have not lost a candidate when one of them is caught thieving.
Now Mick will have to go through the FOI procedure to see what the criteria for selection were and who sat on the selection panel. My money is on the panel being chaired by a councillor, probably Gareth Bacon himself.
Click first image for Bexley council’s Community Champions announcement.