There are no depths to which Bexley’s Tory leadership will not stoop.
At Wednesday’s Full Council meeting Agenda Item 10 allowed councillors to question the chairmen of all the various committees. Most go unchallenged but councillor Daniel Francis (Labour, Belvedere) questioned councillor Steven Hall’s decision to rearrange the seating at the Resources Scrutiny meeting that he chairs such that the public has much reduced opportunities to see what is going on.
Steven Hall says it is an experiment and I can see the advantage it might bestow on him but as an observer it is very annoying to hear a voice but often have no idea who is speaking.
Daniel Francis is one of those rare councillors who is interested in democracy and the need to protect the public’s interests. Naturally he got short shrift from the Mayor and all her cronies.
He questioned other things too but that is a subject for another day, here the only concern is his defence of the public over the relatively small issue of providing them with the opportunity to properly see democracy in action.
The Conservatives have seen Daniel’s concerns as an opportunity to lie. They have set up a web page that hopelessly distorts the situation. Lying is what they do.
The website says that the exchanges took place during a “debate” on “the reduction in funding from central government”. Is that two lies or one? It wasn’t a debate and the subject wasn’t central government funding.
Daniel Francis is said to have called for “a thorough review of seating arrangements at council meetings”. I rather wish he had because the new chamber is dreadful, but the fact is that the most he did was call for the chairman of the Resources Scrutiny meeting to reconsider his experiment.
“Residents were astounded” is another lie. At the time there were no more than three present and they remained impassive. You would have needed to be at the Resources meeting in question to appreciate Daniel’s comments and of those three only I was.
Click image for source webpage.
And another lie, there weren’t 15 Labour councillors present, one has been
seriously unwell and could not attend. The webpage has all the hallmarks of
being made up by someone who wasn’t there.
Council leader Teresa O’Neill’s OBE (Odious Bitchy Expositions) comment about what a resident said after the meeting is especially interesting.
By the end of the meeting there were four people sitting in the public gallery. There was a lady wearing a Bexley council badge on a ribbon around her neck.
There was as silver haired gentleman who I had never seen before.
There was me.
And there was former Mayor Ray Sams although the webcam never picked up more than his knees. It may be his jacket in the top right corner of the first picture.
The member of the public who made derogatory comments about Labour certainly wasn’t me and after the meeting ended and I looked back at my desk to make sure I’d not left any lenses behind there was no sign of the silver haired gentleman.
The woman wearing the ribbon is not a member of the public, which leaves only the former councillor who is.
So the possibilities are that a man who I have not seen in the council chamber before left his seat after his very first attendance to seek out a Tory ear or the anonymous member of the public quoted by Teresa Bloody O’Neill is in fact a Tory friend of the leader.
Given Teresa O’Neill’s track record for dishonesty and underhand dealing I know which possibility my money would be on.
If the comment was made it was a very silly one. “I thought Labour was elected to stand up for residents”. What a prat! That is exactly what Daniel Francis was doing.
Will Daniel Francis be cowed by being maligned on the Conservative’s website? Probably not but in a manner of speaking he has been.