Bexley council has just closed the sham consultation on its 39 budgetary
proposals. I describe them as sham because Bexley council has never taken any
notice of any consultation to the extent of cancelling a cut and always has them
lined up ready to go before the Tory sheep have been told to vote for them unanimously.
And then there are the dishonest things like their habit of describing new motoring fines as savings and asking residents if they think it is OK to sell off parks but refusing to say which they have in mind.
The decision to freeze council tax over the past six years instead of easing them up say 1% a year has left Bexley council close to broke. On the other hand it has kept the Tories in total control of the borough for 12 years and that is all that really matters to them.
So now the government has cut the grants to the bone and Bexley is on a knife edge. All it needs is a financial shock and it is going to fall off the tight-rope.
And then there was Tesco? Is there a Plan B?
No of course not, but it must be easy enough to cobble one together in a week or two. If you were the worst sort of Conservative, i.e. a Bexley Tory, how might the conversation go?
"Let’s do this the easy way. We’ll have a go at the sick and disabled. They are always good for a few bob.”
“What do you suggest?”
“Chris Taylor screwed the care agencies into the ground and most are still in business. They pay their staff less than minimum wage and they didn’t mount a serious challenge. We could turn the screw a bit more.”
“Bloody good idea let’s stop providing talking books for the housebound too!”
“OK, but that’s not going to save much. We’ve got to think bigger than that.”
“There’s always the Council Tax Hardship Fund. A hundred grand sloshing around there, it may not be much to Gareth but it’ll save a lot more than a few measly books.”
“What we should really do is kick those with learning difficulties. You could get a million out of that.”
“That’s another good one, we won’t top that.”
“True but if we stopped sweeping up leaves, cut the grass even less often, maybe let the park benches and signs go to rack and ruin it would be worth a bit.”
“Not bad. But we are still a bit short thanks to Tesco.”
“Then we are going to have to make the disabled pay for parking outside their houses. Gotta get them to use their legs somehow and every little helps.”
“Right then, that’s that done. How about a quick one down The Charlotte?”
“What if someone sees us going into that dive?”
“That”s easy. We’ll turn off the street lights and no one will see us. If burglaries go up the police will have to pay, same as they did when we left the parks open all night. Clever ain’t we?”
And so it came to pass that Bexley council listed a new set of cuts on its website. You may get to them in a mere 25 clicks by clicking here, or if you like things easy, one click here will do the trick.