I thought I had finished with blogging for today but the Splash Park is going to have to
take precedence over gardening again.
The campaigners’ FaceBook page contains some mild criticism of my most recent blog. Apparently I did not repeat that Alex Sawyer is not prepared to spend any council money on entertaining children. I did make it clear the previous day but some people want to read it every day. Who am I to deny anyone their pleasure?
“Cabinet member Alex Sawyer has been keen to tell us at every opportunity that he is an honest man doing his best to spend no money at all but save the Splash Park nevertheless. He probably walks on water too.”
And here is part of what Bexley Conservatives voted on at the budget meeting.
Note how Bexley’s budget depends absolutely on making all the proposed savings. The Conservatives voted to do that. At that stage the Splash Park was effectively dead and buried except that councillor Francis and Faye Ockleford have made councillor Alex Sawyer’s life very uncomfortable. It’s fortunate that it is Alex in the hot seat, it could be someone really unreasonable like Don Massey.
I joined this fight unasked and from the sidelines because I doubted anyone other than Teresa O’Neill knows better than I do just how devious Bexley council can be. I felt it was important to make sure as many people as possible who want the Splash Park to survive to know exactly what they are up against. I’m amazed that Faye has managed to have the success she has had but more help should be welcomed and arguably some of it, for understandable reasons, wasn’t.
Twice during this election campaign I have invited Anna Firth into my house. Firstly to tell her some of the unpleasant history of Bexley’s Conservative council, and then last Monday night to tell her I thought her Splash Park campaign was in danger of being counterproductive.
I urged her to do something about it and within hours she had collared Alex Sawyer and told him he was going to be at the Splash Park for 7 p.m. yesterday as a last ditch effort to establish common ground. I told Anna her website was ambiguous too. She changed it, few politicians listen to us mortals. Teresa Pearce does but she might have difficulty in pulling Alex Sawyer’s string.
Faye Ockleford (Campaign Secretary) was not entirely left out of the loop. We have exchanged 22 emails since the weekend. Faye is a believer in free speech and would not have dictated what I wrote, but I wanted to make sure it met with her approval. She told me it did. Anna Firth gave it her blessing too.
If they can pull in the same direction through an intermediary then why not face to face? Poles apart politically the leading protagonists may be but if there is to be any chance of overturning Bexley council’s decision to kill off the Splash Park some hatchets have to be buried. Apart from Priti Patel MP (Mrs. Sawyer) and Teresa O’Neill no one but Anna Firth is likely to be able to command that Alex jumps and he jumps. Make the most of Anna’s offer was my message. Or should I have stood idly by and done nothing?
Now what else was missed from yesterday’s near midnight blog?
The councillors accompanying Alex Sawyer were Peter Reader and Philip Read. The third one for Northumberland Heath is Melvin Seymour. Peter may be OK but I wouldn’t trust either of the other two. I twice saw Melvin Seymour stand in a court witness box and spout falsehoods he must have known were untrue. The police officers present certainly did. The object of the exercise was to put a Bexley resident in clink. Philip Read had separately given the police false information aiming for the same goal. It’s all on the record. Be very wary if either of them should get involved.
Something else that cropped up last night but went unmentioned. Can members of the public address scrutiny committees? Alex thought not but he is wrong. I can’t put my hand on it now but somewhere I have a letter of confirmation. It requires a request in advance to the appropriate chairman who may or may not grant it. I last saw a member of the public address a scrutiny committee three years ago. The committee voted to ignore him of course but the procedure is there to be used.
There is a new News Shopper report on line today. It reads like one of Anna Firth’s press releases. She is a bundle of energy. Use it.