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Bonkers Blog August 2017

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31 August - The Charlotte. It’s back!

I arrived home from chêz Barnbrook who had arranged a full day of coastal and village tourism and eating for Elwyn Bryant and myself just in time to look at the Planning meeting webcast and see the Committee vote unanimously in favour of restoring the bar facilities at Crayford’s Royal Charlotte public house - plus associated flats.

At least I think it was a unanimous vote, the web cameras getting stuck on a group of three Councillors while the vote is taken is far from helpful as is the occasional loss of audio. However when the Chairman called for votes against there was silence which probably wasn’t another loss of audio signal.

Councillor Mick Barnbrook. Click to rotate.


30 August - Mock outrage from one, delusion from the other

TweetSoon after the local election in 2014 with Bexley Conservatives safely back in power they began cutting services right left and centre. One was street tree planting, they said they would not do any more. If a resident wanted their street tree replaced after a road traffic accident, a fatal drought or vandalism, (s)he would have to stump up £230.

You can still read about it on the Bexley Times website although somehow or other it passed largely unnoticed by Bonkers.

Residents who don’t attend Council meetings - that’s pretty much everyone - will not be aware that with another election approaching tree planting is one of the cuts that Bexley Council is back tracking on.

In March this year Cabinet Member Peter Craske announced a raft of back tracking policies, among them the reversal of the no tree policy. He planned to plant 200 of the things later this year.

Most residents will not know that because very little has been said about it and the tree planting programme is still some way off.

However Councillor Craske clearly feels somewhat indignant that residents are unaware of one of his election winning stunts.

TweetI was pleased to see that some fly tipping was cleared up somewhere within the hour but not so pleased that when I took the trouble to take photos of someone filling one of the large street bins with builder’s rubble the useless Steve Didsbury took no action whatsoever, even when specifically asked to do so by my ward Councillor.

It’s probably not reciprocated but I quite like Councillor Craske, he is a showman and good entertainment and since his brush with the law avoids the most blatant of lies.

Not so his colleague Philip Read.

TweetI have no real doubt that this morning’s Tweet was aimed at me although it is hard to make sense of it

I don’t think the Northumberland Numpty has any idea what a troll is. I rarely contribute to other people’s Twitter posts but consider it legitimate to ask local Conservatives to justify the more outageous of their claims or provide source data. Never once have they been able to do so. Much easier to simply manufacture another lie.

Where Read gets the idea I am a Labour troll from I have no idea. Utterly ridiculous, no time for Corbyn, no time for Blair and as for consulting with Labour Councillors, even more ridiculous. One lives in the next street to me. Seen him five or six times over several years and never got beyond discussing the weather or health issues.

I told Danny Hackett (one of my ward Councillors) about the local traders’ request for an Alcolhol Free Zone on 10th August because Wilton Road is on his patch too but so far no formal reply. (See footnote.)

When Conservatives suggested that no Labour Councillor attended the formal opening of The Belvedere Beach I asked Labour Leader Daniel Francis if that was true - it wasn’t.

In June I updated Stefano Borella (Labour, North End) on a police investigation in which he has an interest for which he thanked me but apart from the foregoing there has been no contact with Labour Councillors this year.

Sometimes it would be really helpful if I could contact someone on the Labour side for confirmation of a date or vague recollection that a search on Bonkers will not satisfy, but no such relationship exists.

And as for checking things out with the Numpty himself as he suggests, has he forgotten that he blocked me on Twitter the day I made my first comment?

Note: Murphy’s Law, Danny has just responded to the Traders’ request.


29 August - Abbey to lies via musical flies

Lesnes LesnesThere was a musical event at Lesnes Abbey yesterday. Judged by the number of cars parked in my adjacent road it was not a huge success although when I went to take a closer look the park was as full as it ever gets on a nice summer afternoon.

Family groups were well dispersed and despite what the photos might imply a quick estimate suggested more than 100 people in total. Maybe as many as 150.

Whilst some were taking advantage of the park cafe, most were sitting well clear of the music. With a guitarist singing a song with the repetitive line “Fruit flies like a banana” I can’t say I was particularly surprised. I found the audience member attacking her toe nails with clippers marginally more entertaining.

I had hoped to, if not bump into a Councillor or two, at least spy one from afar, but I was to be disapppointed. I saw none. However Councillor Read claimed to have put in an appearance and maybe he did.

His Tweet suggested he had done the rounds of Bexley’s new tourist attractions. He went on to tell me that as a Lesnes resident I was pleased to hear that Bexley is investing more in key services.

Road investment seems to have genuinely gone up thanks to TfL but more generally things have ‘gone up’ to a level rather less than when the Conservatives were elected in 2014. Who does Read think he is kidding?

Lie Lie
Lie Lie
Well he seems to have kidded a North End resident into thinking that Labour Councillors were in favour of spending less. Tell a lie often enough and…

Then, with no regard whatsoever for the irony, the Conservative Numpty for Northumberland Heath complains that London Mayor Sadiq Khan is too keen on misleading the gullible, which of course he is.

I had no idea that Councillor Philip Read could ever recognise a lie when he saw one.


28 August (Part 2) - Drinkers and beggars successfully deter shoppers

Wilton RoadOver the past 18 months or so more than £300,000 has been ploughed into Wilton Road (Abbey Wood) in a concerted effort by two Councils and the previous Mayor of London to try to make it an attractive place to visit.

The £300k. went on tarting up the shop fronts and Greenwich followed up with some much needed Public Realm work (Greenwich side Photos - Bexley Photos) and the cumulative effect on trade has been? Absolutely nothing. Sure it looks better but nobody goes shopping there, not for anything significant anyway.

It’s not unusual to see Wilton Road completely devoid of shoppers although it should be noted that the photo shown here was taken today, a Bank Holiday.

On the 9th August Wilton Road was the subject of an animated Twitter conversation. It started with a complaint about bad parking and rapidly developed into a massive put down of the whole area.

Here’s a flavour of it…

• If there were more diverse shops there instead of low end ones more of us would spend our money locally.
• I commuted 1994-2006, same then, I did my evening meal shop at Tesco in Covent Garden.
• I’m part of the commuter rush that gets out of there as quickly as possible!
• Wilton Road desperately needs a good quality mini food market + cafe-restaurant for weekends with outside seating.
• With the current shops and betting shop gangs, majority will go to Sainsbury’s.
• When Crossrail starts, Wilton Rd will slowly change but RBG could help.
• That’s the key. They already have high footfall via commuters but how many stop off at shops?
• There is no proven fact it will increase trade for local shops. Main entrance to station on Harrow Manorway, out of station on to bus!
• Parking is then going to be bigger issue, there has been talk about Wilton Road having parking meters.
• I’m up for parking meters. Residents can walk, customers can be quick.
• Bigger issue with meters, it totally puts people off. Will go where parking free.
• It will get worse. When the new station is finished, how many people are realistically going to shop at Wilton Road instead of Sainsbury’s?
• Interesting. Wonder if they complain about the groups of men drinking + cursing there putting people off too? Arguably more off-putting.
• Yes I know, I’ve seen them buying their cans of beer! Shops missing out on commuters with disposable income too.
• Problem here is some of these spend money in shops. Double edge, they spend but some avoid area because of them!
• Traders complained to both councils they were losing trade with ticketing. With carparks closed, so way forward?
• Hopefully will change as more folk speak up in the east of borough. They’ve been too silent (&/or all talk but ineffective) for too long.
• I am often in Bexley and Eltham and I see them there often too. It’s just the classic ‘who cares about AW’ old story.

I took the complete list of complaints to the Traders’ Association meeting that same evening and naturally they were horrified by the comments, but on the other hand it was nothing they hadn’t spoken of before. None of them like the groups of men that stand around in groups drinking and occasionally worse.

Since BiB last mentioned that mums with children had been driven away I have only been able to confirm it. Today just after one o’clock I passed 22 men in Wilton Road and no females at all.

Despite appearances in Wilton Road and my daily visits in daylight hours I have never witnessed anything that has had me worried for my safety although the sound of obscenities being yelled down a phone is not something likely to attract family shopping trips.

Normally what goes on at Trader’s meetings (my main job there is Minute taker) cannot appear on Bonkers but this time members asked that it should.

The Abbey Wood Traders’ Association is very much aware of the problem Wilton Road experiences and deplores them while noting that no shopper has come to any harm there for more years than anyone can remember. It has made formal applications to both Bexley Council and the Royal Borough of Greenwich for Wilton Road and the commercial areas of Abbey Road (Bexley) and Abbey Wood Road (Greenwich) to be made Alcohol Free Zones.

Quite possibly neither Council would bother to enforce them but their existence would give those willing to do something about the loitering drinkers the encouragement to do so.


28 August (Part 1) - A screw loose?

Screws PaintThese pictures should have been included in yesterday’s round up of local trivia, an ‘interesting’ְ variant on Bexley's fly tipping problem.

What sort of lunatic tips five litres of paint? All one can say is that it is marginally better than tipping it down a drain. Eight days after it was dumped it has still not dried out and has formed a sticky lump a couple of centimetres thick at its centre point.

Take a look at the large version of Photo 1. I picked up those screws to save innumerable punctures. All 532 of them, unused so will come in handy one day.

As Councillor Peter Craske might say, some people are complete tossers.


27 August - Limping back on line

A major rebuild of a 15 month old computer because of a failing motherboard using as many of the old components as possible was probably more bother than it was worth because unlike just making a new PC there was a period when neither worked.

But all seems well now, various software licenses have been successfully transferred and BiB is ready to go again.

What’s new? Not a lot it would seem. Bexley Conservatives are still lying big time and rather unimaginatively bases them on the same old subterfuge.

Tories proposed a partial reversal of old cuts and planned to spend X on rectifying some of their past errors of judgment. Labour would have preferred to spend X and a bit; ergo Labour was against spending X on services. I suppose some people might fall for it.

LieToday’s lie adopts the same format.

Wait a few days and you will get another lie claiming that Labour plans to let spending run amok and impose a 40% Council Tax increase - as though there aren’t laws against that.

Bexley Councillors are supposed to observe the seven principles for public life established by Lord Nolan more than 20 years ago.

Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty and Leadership.

Surely two or three of those are being blown apart on a daily basis by Bexley Conservatives.

Can’t someone report them to Bexley’s Code of Conduct Committee?

Oh, I nearly forgot. Its Chairman was investigated by the police for big time lying and the cops regarded it as sufficiently serious to submit a file to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The Royal Charlotte
The Charlotte Bexley Council’s favourite strip joint is back before the Planning Committee next Thursday evening. Last time it was there a proposal to turn it into flats was turned down. This time at the insistence of Bexley Council the bar will be retained. Its immediate neighbours won’t be too happy about that.

I doubt I will get to the meeting. I’ve a long standing appointment elsewhere that day, I will be lucky if I scrape home in time for the webcast.

TfL - Not Every Journey Matters
The year old pedestrian crossings on Harrow Manorway have proved to be very unreliable, they have been malfunctioning on and off since last November. There is no need to press the button to get the traffic to stop, the lights go red periodically all by themselves.

The Sainsbury’s set went wrong a couple of weeks ago and last Friday TfL said they were unable to give a date when they might be fixed.

Crossrail v Lesnes
Lesnes Crossrail Thanks to the vandals the Lesnes Abbey regeneration - running nearly three years late - has gone backwards in one respect at least. There is no platform at the Pond Dipping Platform but repairs are in progress. (Photo 1.)

If Lesnes looks like it won’t be finished just yet there are signs that Network Rail are pulling out of some of their sites. S13 is nice and tidy again (see Photo 2) after serving as a materials store for the past couple of years and S14 is getting there too.

The opening date for Abbey Wood station is now fewer than two months away (current photos)and if I were in charge I think I would be getting worried. There is an awful lot still to be done but I suppose that if the internals are fitted out the exterior doesn’t matter too much.

Probably Bexley Council won’t get the flyover ready in time and cause the whole thing to be held up.

Criminal neglect
WindscreenThe last time BiB did a round up of local trivia was a month ago. It was reported that a car windscreen had been smashed two days earlier by an aggrieved would-be cab customer. The victim and one of the witnesses both confirmed to me last week that they are not aware of any police action. The police phoned to ask if the CCTV recording still existed but they left it nearly three weeks before doing so.

Wilton Road’s unenviable reputation continues by kind permission of the boys and girls in blue.


23 August - The cretinous Councillor for Northumberland Heath

I picked up a page from an old newspaper blowing in the wind - Peter Craske should be proud of me - but it doesn’t say anywhere what newspaper it came from, only that it was published on 10th August 2017. I would guess it might be the Kentish Times.
Newspaper Tweet
On it was a letter about Gravesham Council and as I read it I found myself thinking, thank goodness Bexley Council is not that bad. And then I went on to think yet again, why, when many people think they do an OKish sort of job in difficult times, do Bexley Tories have to lie about and exaggerate everything?

I can only suppose that it is a habit that they must maintain at all costs. There is no doubt that in the past Bexley Council has indulged in many corrupt practices and one can understand their need to lie about that and perhaps it is just safer to lie about everything. (It’s OK, they won’t challenge using the C word because they know it is true and I have the evidence.)

They lie just about every day.

It’s been covered before. Bexley Council thought they could save a million or so (see Tweet above) by putting all their staff under one roof and there were three ways of doing that. One was rebuilding in Broadway (£27m.), another was to refurbish the Woolwich building in Watling Street (ultimate cost, £42m.) and the third was building in Erith (projected cost £42m.).

The Tories wanted Watling Street and Labour wanted Erith. Everyone wanted to save the million a year by one means or another but the habitual liars otherwise known as Bexley Conservatives are going around implying to the gullible that Bexley Labour voted against saving money. Teresa O’Neill’s voting fodder is beneath contempt.

I have wondered before why the Labour Councillors don’t fight back. Well sometimes they do.

TweetCouncillor Philip Read who is the Tory’s worst liar in both senses of the word - despite the constant practising he is still no good at it - is still going on about Labour Councillors not welcoming new playgrounds.

Danny Hackett (Labour, Lesnes Abbey) said he was a liar. Philip Read said Danny was stupid.

Do you want to hear again what one Labour Councillor said - there were more - within three minutes of the first Belvedere Beach announcement?

I really really do hope it will be a success. Councillor Joe Ferreira, Erith.

That’s right, they welcomed it.

TweetThen Councillor Craske made the long awaited announcement of a formal opening for the long delayed Lesnes Abbey gardens. Fair enough, the delays were not all Bexley Council’s fault but the Northumberland Numpty just couldn’t resist turning that into another of his ridiculous anti-Labour jibes.

The man is a cretin of the very first order.

Can you take one last Tweet from the cretin? He makes up lies in his sleep.

Tweet“Sad blogging troll”. I suppose he must be referring to me again.

I have much better website search facilities than are available to readers so I can tell you that the last time BiB referred to recycling was in December 2016.

That blog said “Bexley is top dog for recycling”.

BiB has never said anything else. Long ago it suggested that one of the reasons Bexley holds the top position is because of the amount of heavy green waste collected. It boosts the weight percentages well up compared to those boroughs which either don’t collect garden waste or don’t do it as well.

The suggestion was confirmed on the night Bexley Council approved the bin tax. One of the Councillors said it had the potential to knock Bexley off the top spot if the take up of the scheme was poor. Thanks to relatively low prices - half the price of Bromley - the take up rate has been incredibly good.

BiB has never thrown doubt on Bexley’s claim to be top of the recycling league, because unlike their claim to be safest borough, their is no evidence to the contrary.

The only time the merest smidgen of doubt was thrown on Bexley’s top dog claim was in April 2014 when Bonkers reported that Bromley Council claimed to run the best recycling service in London. That is not quite the same thing is it?

It’s probably worth repeating; Councillor and Cabinet Member Philip Read simply has to be a cretin to carry on lying daily and making statements that can so easily be torn apart. Anyone who votes for him next May and knows his record has to be equally cretinous.


22 August - Narrow minds, narrow roads

For a short time at yesterday’s funeral the conversation turned to the idiocy to be seen in both Greenwich and Bexley, the narrowing of perfectly good roads at enormous expense and the disruption to life that is inevitable while the work is done and then for ever afterwards as traffic exceeds road capacities.

I was in two minds whether or not to return home via Gravel Hill but in the early afternoon there were no problems - or anyone to be seen working on the scheme for that matter.

Then someone new to Bonkers emailed to say exactly what he thought of the non-stop Council road madness.

BashfordI was in the Bexleyheath Mall car park today and when I drove out I had to take the usual route around the roundabout to get back in the correct direction to get to Townley Road.

It was then that I saw the width restriction and the cycle lane. This section is an accident waiting to happen. Which arsehole thought this dangerous, useless scheme up?

Our council is making this shopping centre a no go area with its so called improvements. It has got to the stage that we try to avoid going to Bexleyheath and when we do go it’s only to Marks & Spencer or Wilkinsons.


21 August - Peter Derrick Gussman : 19th January 1930 - 7th August 2017

As you will have noticed, BiB has been taking a bit of an enforced holiday. With in effect two houses to run and just me to do it, occasionally the number of outstanding jobs becomes overwhelming and I am not sufficiently well organised these days to cope.

Fortunately Bexley Council is in the middle of its two month recess and Conservative Councillors (more accurately their official Twitter accounts) have been issuing only medium sized lies which can be ignored. It’s what they do, get used to it.

Today was a bit of a day off from playing domestic catch up because it was the day to see off my old mate Peter Gussman.

GussmanI first met him in 2010 when I attended my first Council meeting. Back then he was a regular and one of the gang which sat in amazed silence while Councillor Cheryl Bacon attempted to prevent the recording of a Scrutiny meeting she chaired.

Peter was one of nine people who made written statements to the police when Bacon indulged in the biggest bout of Councillor lying I have ever witnessed in order to excuse the relatively insignificant error she made on the night in question.

Peter was something of a character. Thrown out of his home by cruel parents when only 14 years old, he at first ran a sea food bar but two years later was shovelling coal between Blighty and the Far East on a merchant ship before transferring his skills to the footplate of British Rail steam locomotives.

Following that he took up lorry driving and his tales of life in that profession before the coming of the Drink Driving Laws are probably best left unrepeated.

Peter has not been in good health over the last couple of years and his last attendance at a Council meeting was probably the best part of a year ago. However when he felt up to it he would join his Council agitating friends for a drink, usually coffee, after being warned off of anything stronger by the medics.

Elwyn Bryant sometimes says the reason why police complaints against Councillors and their protectors are strung out for years on end - one has passed its sixth birthday - is because they are waiting for us all to die off.

At nearly 74 I am the youngest of Bexley’s high profile Council watchers. Maybe Elwyn is right.


18 August - The Jewel in the Crown - and Edith

I won’t bore you with the details but other people’s technical problems have taken up all my spare time this week. All I will say about it is that BT which pays me a good pension every month has become a totally crap company since I left.

Fortunately there has been nothing significant to report. Bexley Tory deceptions go on of course; this morning they were claiming that “people opposed” building the new Civic Offices.

OpposedPossibly someone did, maybe a nearby resident who thought that Cabinet Members coming and going would have a detrimental effect on property prices, but the Tory intention is to get gullible voters to believe that Labour Councillors were against a move which was predicted to save more than a million pounds a year by bringing all Council staff under one roof.

Both parties (UKIP was not represented at the time) were united in wanting to have a nice new building but… Hang on, I had better rephrase that.

The Tories favoured a second hand building for £35·8 million (anticipated life span 40 years) and Labour wanted a new one for £42 million (60 years). Neither were very interested in the idea proposed by senior Council staff; rebuilding in Broadway for around £27 million. Insufficiently prestigious presumably.

In the event refurbishing the Woolwich building cost as much as building anew anyway as tends to happen. What the Council did is sure to be saving money - though it’s perhaps a pity they blew the extra £15 million over the cost of the cheaper (Broadway) option - but what the Tories cannot honestly do is to imply Labour Councillors were against the likely efficiency savings.

Blocked Maybe it’s just as well that Bexley Council didn’t go for the new build offices in Erith, their top brass has difficulty spelling it. Does anyone know if Chief Executive Gill Steward can pronounce it correctly?

I quite often have to drive to Bexley Village and shall have to again on Monday morning. On about half of occasions there are serious traffic hold ups and surely that must be Bexley Council’s fault. Even when it is some utility or other that has caused it, surely Bexley Council has some say in traffic management?

If they have, they don’t ever seem to learn from past mistakes.

This is what a reader thinks of the latest calamity to bring the village to a standstill.

We are again being subjected to horrendous traffic jams in Bexley village due to three way traffic lights at the junction of Bexley High Street and Bourne Road, and not just in rush hour, but all day.

Traffic has been brought to a standstill with jams back over the A2 Bridge, halfway up the North Cray Road, Vicarage Hill etc. People I know have been made late for their trains and for work.

What is Bexley Council’s excuse for not instigating one way traffic, which in the past resulted in smooth traffic flow? Surely they cannot use the excuse they used last time that they did not know in time!

The pollution from stationary traffic is dreadful, and we have to close windows as we can taste the fumes.

My wife has to wash down our front door nearly every day.

I am sure that the pollution is well above acceptable limits and I notice that the pollution monitors which were on the lamp posts are no longer in use. I wonder why?

Is it not time that somebody in the council was brought to account for this ineptitude?

It is apparent to Bexley villagers that as long as the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ Bexleyheath is looked after then all is well.

Come on Bexley councillors, we voted for you, now do something for us and ensure that in future any works within the village are organised correctly, as it is all very well being in a ‘preservation area’ when the well being of Bexley Village residents is not being preserved.


15 August (Part 2) - The ‘delightful’ Cllr. John Davey

Probably he won’t thank me for reminding you, but it was Councillor John Davey, late of Lesnes Abbey ward, who was the inspiration for Bonkers, for that is how he described Bexley’s road planning.

He would probably want me to tell you that he was referring to TfL funded schemes that were hang-overs from Ken Livingstone’s time (the first Labour Mayor of London) but things have not got any better since as the works in Albion Road ought to tell you.

John Davey may not have been directly responsible for ruining perfectly good roads in the borough but he did himself no favours by ignoring emails in 2009 about motorists being fleeced by parking restrictions put in place after they had legally parked.

Because of that history Bonkers was more than a little rude about Councillor John Davey in its early days but over time I came to recognise that I misjudged the man. Maybe not the greatest accolade one could award but in terms of honesty and integrity he stands head and shoulders above Councillor Philip Read.

TweetBoth have something in common, a Twitter addiction.

The big difference is that John Davey is happy to debate issues with almost anyone, even those who loudly voice their disagreement. (I can think of one exception.)

TweetA few days ago he was trumpeting the official Bexley Council line that road accident statistics are on an improving trend and I replied that things were not quite as simple as that and some figures were giving cause for concern.

John said he would be delighted if I could prove him wrong. Can you imagine the Northumberland numpty doing that?

All the ‘evidence’ I have to hand is in the Agenda for the last Transport Users’ Sub-Committee meeting. The accident tables are reproduced below.

In line with Bonkers’ usual policy of providing as much of the evidence as possible you may see more of the report by clicking on the accident tables.

Serious accidents and the resultant casualties have been going up while slight accidents are much the same, up by an almost immeasurable amount in 2016.

As John had rightly said or at least implied, serious injuries are well down on what they were ten years ago. On average 90 a year then but only 29 now.

Bexley Councillors, John Davey included, will be under instructions to put a positive spin on everything but Bonkers’ brief is to probe a little deeper.

Accident statistics over the past two or three years have been trending in the wrong direction. It may be a statistical blip, the sample size is small, but it may just be the result of Bexley’s roads being designed to cause maximum frustration for drivers. Meanwhile Bexley Council would much rather look the other way and tell you fibs.

Don’t tell anyone but Councillor Davey will actually speak to me if he thinks no one else is looking.


15 August (Part 1) - The deluded Cllr. Read thinks Bonkers supports Labour!

The Northumberland Heath Numpty has me blocked on Twitter, it’s not due to something I said, he always has done. It probably says something about Councillor Philip Read but in other ways it matters not one jot.
I’ve blocked a few commercial Twitter accounts that have annoyed me with too many adverts but no one who has merely commented on the worth or otherwise of this blog. It would just seem to be petty-minded to me.

Philip Read was blocked by someone yesterday and he rightly shrugged it off. Blocking stops discussions but it cannot stop Tweets being read and Poisonous Phil is still not happy with me.
Blocked Sad
He is also totally deluded. Bonkers? Labour supporting? Is Read totally nuts?

When has Bonkers ever sent out a pro-Labour message? The blog is anti-dishonesty and it just so happens that all the dishonesty on display comes from the Tory ranks. They could put that right but they choose not to.

Maybe Read did not notice when Bonkers supported his pro-Brexit stance and got it in the neck from a number of Labour Councillors.

When one of their former colleagues was drummed out of the Cooperative movement for deceiving them over his qualifications, was the story suppressed? Did Bonkers hush up the fact that it was a Labour Councillor who tittle tattled to Councillor Seymour that someone had posted a picture of his house on Twitter (but no name or address) which resulted in the malicious prosecution of a resident?

Bonkers has never been Labour supporting and maybe that is why I don’t often hear from them, they cannot count absolutely on Bonkers’ support. They are right to be cautious but the present crew have always been polite and friendly even though a thorough search of past blogs will reveal the occasional critical comment. Unlike Councillor Philip Read they are man enough to take the rough and tumble of politics.


14 August - Making a difference to residents’ lives. By sending cops to their doors?

London CouncilsI have been told I am expected to comment on the Tweet put out by London Councils featuring Bexley’s dear Leader.

She is vice-chairman of London Councils and has been floating around in high places ever since she caught the eye of Boris Johnson in 2010. When asked why, Boris admitted there were no job selection processes, he simply “admired” her more than any other contender. I have a copy of his letter somewhere, the appointment has been removed from the GLA website although it may be seen on a few newspaper websites. Looks like Sadiq Khan may have cleared out a few of Boris’s skeletons.

It seems That Teresa and I have more in common that one might expect, not everything of course. She was in the sixth form at school in 1979 while I beat her by exactly 20 years. By 1979 I had 1,300 staff to manage, most of them female. That was fun and probably more than Teresa has now!

She campaigned for Margaret Thatcher in her school, me for Harold Macmillan.

Both of us were Thatherites. She rescued us from industrial stagnation but I can see now that she set the scene for too many of today’s problems. Can Teresa?

Ms. O’Neill was first elected as a Councillor in 1998 which by coincidence or maybe not is more or less when I first noticed that Bexley Council was doing nothing to make life better for residents, I wrote to them and was rewarded with a wonderfully honest letter from their Sidcup Place address. It said that Councils never make things better, it was in the nature of the beast. Maybe it is still in one of my files somewhere. Nothing much gets thrown away.

Teresa O’Neill claims to be “hands on, leading from the front”. I suspected as much and it ought to be good, but maybe not when backed up by Kangaroo Courts and iron fist discipline for any dissenting voice. Don’t whatever you do report a would-be Conservative election candidate to the police for dipping into the shop till! Guaranteed political suicide.

Another thing we have in common is having no time for TV. I watched Ripper Street, mainly on catch up, this year but all the other block busters I have heard of have passed me by. I’ve bought two blu-ray discs but both are still wrapped in cellophane.

She says you can take a lot of personal criticism implying you have to learn to take it. If so that is a bad joke. Within a couple of months of BiB’s first Council meeting report she was down the cop shop asking them to have me arrested, and I quote, “for criticising the way the Council is run by Councillors”.

Every time something reminds me that Teresa O’Neill and I have quite a lot in common and she should never have got on the wrong side of Bonkers, my opinion of her begins to soften. Then I usually go and wreck everything by asking one of the friendlier Councillors if she is bad as I generally paint her. The answers are always much the same, worse.


13 August - And today’s Bexley Council lie is…

I find the claim that Britain’s police are the world’s finest and the National Health Service is the envy of the world to be both embarrassing and cringeworthy. If British local policing is the best, well God help all the other countries, and I seriously doubt that the NHS is envied by many well developed countries.

Some people appear unable to recognise shades of grey, like Bexley Conservatives for example.

Today’s Tory fib isn’t a very big one by their standards but nevertheless serves to illustrate that you should always take what they say with a large dollop of sodium chloride.

CrimeLowest crime rate in London eh? For ten years!

I had a vague recollection of a borough police commander announcing that Bexley had deposed Harrow from the top spot only a couple of years ago.

Searching the archives revealed that it was longer ago that I thought, February 2014 to be exact.

Chief Superintendent Peter Ayling was pleased to announce that Bexley had taken the top spot from Harrow, so there is no way Bexley could have had the lowest crime rate for ten years.

It’s not even certain that Bexley has been in the top spot for the past twelve months.

The Metropolitan Police Crime Dashboard shows that Sutton (23,421 crimes), Kingston (21,902), Merton (27,514) and Richmond (24,091) are all beating Bexley (27,780) with Harrow (28,221) just a whisker behind.

Strictly speaking these figures should be adjusted for population levels but Bexley makes no attempt to do that, so why should I?

Bexley, outside the Civic Offices anyway, is not a hotbed of crime and one can be relatively proud of that but what no one should be proud of is that practically every word uttered by its Council is a lie, some bigger than others.


12 August - Bexley Council’s “abysmal” website

It’s not much more than a week since my IT expert friend failed to find his way around Bexley Council’s dreadful website and yesterday I discovered that the Bexley Magazine archive has gone leaving only a link to the latest issue. It delivered a 404 error which has since been fixed.

Ridding their website of old Magazines is one way of preventing residents comparing achievements with promises but fortunately my copies are preserved in a file, 2009 through to 2016 when copies mysteriously stopped coming through my letter box. I will leave you to guess as to why that might be.

Only the latest Magazine issue available on Bexley’s website.

Dissatisfaction with Bexley Council’s website is not confined to me and my late friend. This is what another reader had to say about it this week.

Further to the recent sad loss of your friend, I wanted to change the standing order for our council tax from one bank account to another.

Now I am computer literate but the new website is abysmal. It took so long to sort out but finally I managed to register and go to our payments. When I went to change the payment I was redirected to another site where I had to register all over again.

I got an email which I then had to click on which redirected me to the payment site. I then completed all the details. I finally received another email which said 'thank you for setting up direct debit payment' - which made it seem like it was a new instruction rather than a change.

Because I did not want two payments taken from different banks I fired off an email to query this and got one back saying they would reply within twelve working days!!!

Today is nine days later and I still have not heard anything so I tried to ring them.

The main number stated I had to redial a 0345 number (I wonder what the charges are on that). After a wait of 14 minutes (during which time I heard a repeating voice telling me how important my call was) I hung up. I guess I will have to wait and see what happens. What a shocking system.

I have just had the post delivered. Two separate letters from Bexley Council. One showing account details and the other confirming the set up of a direct debit instruction. But nowhere does it say “changed”!

All that was needed was to say one was cancelled and the new details are as follows. Surely not too much to ask?

And finally, can I compliment you on being a ‘sad old blogger’ - as always pay no attention.

Note: 0345 numbers are not charged at premium rates and will be included in the ‘free’ minutes of most call packages.


11 August (Part 2) - Bexley Council’s lie of the day. Their latest attempt to rewrite history

Maybe BiB is being stalked - by Bexley Conservatives that is. Flattering, but it is only going to get them into trouble - for lying again.

Yesterday, Bonkers reminded its readers of Labour’s suggestion that the new Civic Centre should be built in Erith and a few hours later a similar report was posted on Bexley Conservative’s website. Possibly a coincidence.

BSAs usual it strays a long way from the truth. The Tories hope that everyone has short memories but the truth is always buried somewhere within Bonkers.

In 2011 there were three Civic Centre proposals on the table. To rebuild on the old Broadway site, an idea put forward by Council staff which they said “would provide a highly efficient purpose built Council office” for around £27 million. An obvious bargain.

The second was to refurbish the old Woolwich Building Society building at a cost of £36 million. The scheme which had captured the imagination of Council Leader O’Neill because she said it was “iconic”.

SavingsIn third position was a scheme for a totally new build in Walnut Tree Road, Erith which would be a no compromise town hall with a projected life span of 60 years. At £42 million it would cost £6 million more that the Woolwich refurbishment but that was expected to be good for no more than 40 years.

Given its location and the deal to be done with Tesco, Watling Street may well have been a reasonable choice although why nobody seriously went for the much cheaper option of rebuilding in Broadway never became clear.

The old Civic Offices were falling down and no one disputed the fact that something had to be done. The scheme that won through was backed by Bonkers as probably the best compromise. A site swap allowing Tesco to be close to the town centre would be much better than letting them build in Watling Street. Nevertheless, the longer life of a new build in Erith had obvious attractions.

Bexley Council justified the £36 million cost of the Watling Street refurbishment by claiming it would allow various Council outposts to be brought under the same roof and that would save a million pounds a year. Remember that figure.

As time went by and the refurbishment went over budget Bexley Council had to pull some new figures from the fib factory. Refurbishment costs had gone up to £42 million so Bexley Council invented a new savings figure of £1·5 million a year to compensate. They made no attempt to justify the claim but seemed to think that a nice brochure would convince everyone the figure must be correct. Several months later the fiction was repeated in the Bexley Magazine, (Autumn 2014.)
Yesterday’s claim is that the actual savings have been £2 million the truthfulness of which cannot be verified. They also say that this is double the original projection. Double £1·5 million is £2 million? Much more likely is that the 2014 brochure (above) was yet another lie just as was suspected at the time.
Web page

Click text above to read more

The Tories are irredeemably addicted to lying about the opposition party. Labour Councillors wanted to spend £42 million on a building that would have been good for 60 years rather than £36 million on a building that was a less than ideal conversion with a life of only 40 years. It was a perfectly reasonable position to take and in the event the Tories spent £42 million anyway.

Facts never suit the liars who run Bexley. They have just said this…
One big lie
For some reason known only to themselves, while pondering what to do in Bexley, Conservative Councillors were unnaturally interested in the civic offices being built in Newham at the same time. Newham was alleged to have spent £111 million on their new civic offices - and still levy a much lower Council Tax rate than Bexley.

Bexley’s Conservatives tried to link Bexley Labour Councillors to that extravagance. It made little sense but that is what they did. If you read all of the new Tory statement you will see that they are still going on about Newham spending £111 million on their town hall and claim that Bexley’s cost nothing. Their statement mysteriously refers to the Walnut Tree Road proposals costing only £25,000,000. I think that must be a mistake but it has been saved for posterity. (Click either extract above.)

Note: I had intended to quote from the Bexley Magazine in this blog to add further evidence of lying but Bexley Council has got the better of me. None are available on line any more, not even the Summer 2017 issue. The liars are going to extraordinary lengths to cover their tracks.
Later: Magazines dug out of my dusty stockpile! Image added.


11 August (Part 1) - The man can’t help it

Cabinet Member Philip Read (Conservative, Northumberland Heath) is still churning them out, I suppose he feels he must do something in return for the £22,615 we pay him each year.
Tweet Tweet
The first of yesterday’s mad musings suggests that Labour Councillors - and I assume it’s me who is the sad old blogger - will not appreciate what Peabody Housing Association is doing for the north of the borough. What a loon Poisonous Phil has become!

I know that Labour Councillors have been meeting Peabody regularly to ensure that their plans benefit everyone. Even I have met with Peabody’s Director of Regeneration for Thamesmead at least five times to hear his plans and exert some minor influence.

I doubt Crackpot Phil can beat that record.

No sooner had Councillor Read assuaged his obsession with the sad old blogger than he was at it again. This time he was hoping that Labour Councillors and I would welcome the developments in Walnut Tree Road. Well apart from noting that Bexley Council refused to take up a similar Labour suggestion six years ago Plonker Read will be pleased to know that the plan has been dutifully welcomed.

What will Poor Phil have in store for us today? The Inbox suggests that his rantings are doing wonders for the Conservative vote in Northumberland Heath.


10 August - Better late than never - again

Not every Bexley Council Press Release goes into BiB’s archive, only those judged to be of wide general interest, but one that did make the grade was the announcement of the intention to redevelop Walnut Tree Road in Erith.
Press Release
It represents a welcome change of mind. The last time Walnut Tree Road was in the news was when Bexley Council was deciding where to build its new offices. Labour Councillors advocated Erith but Cabinet Member Linda Bailey repeatedly called the idea “rubbish”.

Councillor Seán Newman (Labour, Belvedere) spoke up for Walnut Tree Road by saying the Erith site had better transport links than Watling Street, more buses and a railway station next door. For his perfectly accurate comment he was pilloried by Bexley Conservatives on their website.

They lied that Seán believed there was no railway station in Bexleyheath. (This was six years ago, Bexley Tories’ web lies are not a new phenomenon.)

Obviously Councillor Newman did not deny the existence of a Bexleyheath railway station but with it being a mile and a half from Watling Street perhaps he could have done. The lies are no longer on Bexley Conservative’s website but a transcript is on Bonkers.

Developing the Walnut Tree Road site is long overdue and Bexley Council should be congratulated on seeing the possibilities even if they are six years behind the times.


9 August (Part 2) - It may be efficient and effective tweeting, but is it true?

AuditToday’s Twitter BS from Bexley Conservatives was arguably naughtier than most. It says their auditors rated Bexley Council as “efficient and effective”. So what? They gave the same positive rating a year ago after discovering massive fiddling in the parking department.

They had two contracts, one honest and above board for public consumption and the other which included illegal incentives so that traffic wardens could collect bonuses for extra tickets issued.

But that wasn’t all. Nothing was done about their bailiffs imposing illegal charges, unwarranted charges and duplicate charges on those who didn’t pay their fines. Every single bailiff transaction sampled and checked included illegal charges.

Bexley Council knew it and their internal auditor, who I believe must have been genuinely shocked at what he found, littered his report with the word ‘maladministration’, I have a copy of it. The auditor should have prosecuted someone but instead invited me to do so at my expense. I can only assume that they didn’t want to risk losing their contract with Bexley Council.

Despite finding “maladministration” on the grand scale, Bexley Council was still given a clean bill of health. The words “efficient and effective” are absolutely meaningless as are most of Bexley Conservative’s Twitter posts.

There is more detail on an eighteen month old blog. If you are tempted to read it please remember that the references to Councillor Fothergill are very dated. It was not apparent at the time but she was the unfortunate victim of a stitch up because she shopped a fellow Conservative to the police for theft. Honesty is not appreciated by Bexley’s leadership.


9 August (Part 1) - Better late than never

Lesnes PlanningNot the sort of day to be buying refreshments at the Lesnes Abbey Visitor Centre, but at least it is in no danger of being demolished. The planning application submitted two months ago has been approved.

Bexley Council. "Above the law, we make up our own rules.”


8 August (Part 3) - Poor Alex

Alex Sawyer
From the Times newspaper today.

Earlier related blog.


8 August (Part 2) - The nasty party’s Mr. Nasty

Not long ago I suggested that Bexley Council is much improved, perhaps in fact or maybe because it has simply become better at covering its tracks. Its biggest weak spot is Cabinet Member Philip Read without whom BiB would have little to say apart from describing The Belvedere Beach as ‘magnificent’.

Philip Read is intent on heaping opprobrium on himself and by association the whole of Bexley Council. Councillor Craske, both personally and under his @bexleyconservatives non-de-plume appears have learnt the art of spinning half truths as wholly positive and in a way that makes counter-measures quite difficult. Well done Peter, a job well done.

On the other hand his colleague Read, either as @PhilipRead1 or @ET_Conservative (and their Facebook equivalents), can only spew bile.

And not always at me.

My Inbox reveals how he abuses other residents too. This morning’s message (referring to a Facebook exchange) said…

I just had a hurl of abuse from Philip Read regarding the new Belvedere Beach. He claims it is more popular than the former Splash Park based on the views of the selectively invited guests to the official opening.

First he replied as himself but quickly deleted his initial comment and then replied with the same comment as Thamesmead Conservatives.

He was very aggressive and rude for an elected politician.

Funnily enough, he wouldn’t respond to stage 2 of a secret big plan. The closure of Belvedere’s library and the Recreation Ground and private sale for housing.

When I mentioned how Belvedere Beach had given Cory Bexley Air Polluter an opportunity to grease palms it came as no surprise that he deleted our entire lengthy conversation and blocked me from the Thamesmead Conservative Facebook page, without any reply.

I feel my comments were too close for comfort.

The writer should not feel personally aggrieved because he is in good company.

When Mabel Ogundayo was elected as the new Labour Councillor for Thamesmead East, Philip Read went out of his way to humiliate her at every opportunity. She was accused of being young, poorly educated, inexperienced, Labour (and better looking than any Councillor on the Conservative benches). So misogynist Read had taken an instant and unjustified dislike to her.

He refused to answer a question the answer to which may have embarrassed Bexley Council on the grounds that the resident who asked it did not belong to the ‘right’ political party.

He is a nasty piece of work and I wish that his colleagues would take him aside for a quiet word. By highlighting his own misguided obsessions he does Bexley Council no good whatsoever.


8 August (Part 1) - Dismal days

As you gaze upwards at the leaden skies and I await the next dose of BS from @bexleyconservatives BiB will pour further gloom on your day by confirming what you were already beginning to suspect. This is the worst summer for sunshine for a very long time.

Solar panelsMy friend who died on Sunday morning may not have been able to navigate Bexley Council’s rotten website but he wasn’t at all bad at computer programming. When I had my solar panels installed on 7th January 2011 he rapidly knocked up a program that interrogated the inverter and posted the results both as raw statistics and a 15 minute histogram to the web. Thus I can tell you what the light levels have been in Belvedere (strictly speaking the amount of electricity generated) for every 15 minute segment of the day for nearly seven years.

January 2017 was the brightest January in all those seven years. It was 1% brighter than 2014 and 2% brighter than 2012. January’s days being so short and the sun elevation being so low means that very little electricity is generated however bright January may be so there is little money to be made.

February was the dullest since 2011 which was slightly worse. March 2017 wasn't good being bettered by 2015, 2014 and 2012.

Aprils have been remarkably consistent, they have all been the same within one or two percent. Then came May 2017. Worst ever May by quite a margin.

There is an EU inspired prediction for solar power generation that takes every factor into account. Latitude, longitude, roof elevation, direction faced; everything down to the make and model number of the panels.

June is potentially the most lucrative month because the sun is high and the days are long. It is when real money can be made but June has always been a disappointment by EU standards. June 2017 was the third best in seven years but only 2% above 2014 so not really very good.

July was a washout. Tied with 2012 but 25% behind what it could have been. August is going the same way. Slightly better than 2011 and a whole 13% better than 2015 but rubbish overall.

In terms of total electricity generation 2017 is running about two and a half weeks behind all but one of the six previous years.

I clearly remember 1976. Now that was a summer.


7 August (Part 2) - The Met. Police. Beyond parody

Tweet Upon my return from Hampshire late on Saturday evening I found that I had been sent a further example of Councillor Philip Read’s provocative Tweets but I was unable to find it on his Timeline, so I suspect it is not very recent.

The sender not unreasonably says that he doesn’t think it is very sensible for a Councillor to talk about elderly residents in such a way.

My own view is that I am pleased he does because it may help to sustain BiB through the thin Summer months. However it is possible that I shall be disappointed because Councillor Read has not returned to his favourite theme since he was proved to be lying about Labour Councillors on 31st July.

The official Bexley Conservatives’ Twitter feed spews out half truths and distortions daily which most people will see straight through so for something new, let’s move to police developments.

Six years ago the Borough Commander of the day, Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer, was investigating obscenities uttered in my name and he traced them to a phone account held in the name of Craske. C.S. Stringer grudgingly accepted it was a hate crime and his officers spent at least six months inventing excuses for not taking action against Councillor Craske. (It was Stringer’s successor who arrested him.)

It took a long time to get all the evidence together but in January 2014 a formal allegation of Misconduct in Public Office was made against CS Stringer. The police wasted two years ignoring it but were eventually convinced that we (Elwyn Bryant and I) were not going to go away.

In February this year the Department of Professional Standards (DPS) admitted that they had been able to confirm the substance of our complaint and they planned to arrest eight officers and interview them under caution. A month ago they had got around to conducting just one of those interviews and we got the impression they were back pedalling furiously. A possible reason has become apparent.

Click for full statement. (Thanks to Brian Barnett for finding it.)

So the police officer who I believe deliberately dragged his feet on a hate crime investigation in order to protect his Bexley Council friends and about whom the Met’s DPS has said our concerns are shared, has been appointed to the most senior position ensuring hate crimes are properly investigated.

WindscreenWhen so many senior police officers are known to be corrupt maybe I should not be surprised, however I emailed the DPS today seeking an explanation. If there is no reply in a day or two I will post it here.

Towards the other end of the corruption spectrum, Bexley police has not yet managed to come up with a reason for them apparently jumping to Councillor Don Massey’s command and sending three officers to my door threatening arrest for repeating things freely gathered from public domain resources. That is seven whole months of thumb twiddling in Arnsberg Way.

And moving from corruption to apparent inactivity I dropped in on the windscreen victim today and he said that apart from the standard Victim Support letter offering the usual platitudes there has been no contact with the police since they told him they had lost all the case details.


7 August (Part 1) - It looked suspicious to me

Fly tipper Fly tipThere has been a fly tipping problem in Gayton Road (Abbey Wood) ever since Bexley Council removed the bins a couple of years ago. CCTV was installed as a deterrent but the camera has since been removed but maybe not every one has noticed. The fly tipping has moved into the adjacent car park.

The first photograph was taken from far away and by the time I had looked around the corner the suspected fly tipper had gone.

This is good news for Steve Didsbury, he can continue to do absolutely nothing about keeping Bexley’s streets clean with a relatively clear conscience. He has still done nothing with the video and pictures he was given on 11th October last year.

Photographs taken at 08:46 on 6th August.


6 August - Bexley Council - No compassion for the dying

Steward O'NeillMy friend who was given short shrift by Bexley Council’s Contact Centre a few days ago for having the temerity to try to talk to them about his Council Tax died in Queen Elizabeth Hospital at 7 a.m. this morning. He was 62.

Now Bexley Council will not have to trouble themselves answering a resident who they regarded as a nuisance for having no access to the internet.

Disgusting people, the lot of them.


4 August - Beach vandals

Oh dear!

“The only slightly negative comment I have heard comes from a friend who lives not 100 metres from The Beach. He says the genteel folk from Bexley and Blackfen (i.e. Councillor Craske) have insufficient idea of the level of mindless vandalism too often seen in the far flung north.”

BeachI suppose that Councillor Philip Read will label me a sad old blogger again but those words first appeared here last week when someone who lives by The Belvedere Beach reported his fears for the new playground.

According to a letter in the News Shopper he was right to have concerns.

Already it is “full of litter and bottles” and the new plants are trampled underfoot. Bottles have been jammed into water features blocking them while “parents turn a blind eye”.

It should not have come as a surprise to anyone. Perhaps Bexley’s litter patrols could take an interest in more than just fag ends in Broadway?

The only thing the letter writer has wrong is that she believes that Bexley Council paid for The Beach when most of the money was donated by Cory Environmental who own the incinerator a mile to the north in Norman Road.

News Shopper
The Conservatives criticised the Splash Park for what they claimed was a poor design (and being built by a Labour administration) which saw its demise in only ten years. Does anyone seriously think that The Beach will do any better?


3 August - Cuts hurt. Caring for residents - Bexley style

 For the past year or so I have been going to Welling once a week to see a friend who has not been well. He lives alone and his only relative is an older brother who lives half a day’s journey away so a small group has been working an informal rota.

His situation was what made me painfully aware of how utterly useless Bexley’s home care packages are.

QEHAbout six weeks ago just as I was leaving home to do battle with the Yellow Money Traps in Central Avenue a phone call said “don’t bother”. My friend had taken a turn for the worse and was being rushed into Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s A&E.

Next day I managed to get in to see him, still in an A&E cubical with a constant stream of NHS personnel and police officers noisily passing by literally within three or four feet of the foot of his bed. Fortunately that only lasted a couple of days and he was taken to somewhere quieter.

Somewhere quieter is an isolation ward with a notice on the door prohibiting entry to anyone not wearing gloves and a plastic gown, a rule which does not seem to be too rigorously enforced. I’ve been dropping in a couple of times each week which along with the trips to East Ham, three so far this week, is part of the reason for Bonkers being rather quiet recently. The other is that Bexley Councillors are on their two month summer holiday and all they are doing, leading Conservatives that is, is lying and deceiving on Twitter every single day.

To counter every single one of their falsehoods would get to be very boring - but don’t be taken in. They cut all the budgets, waited for you to forget, then partially restored the cuts and are boasting that are now spending more than before. The totally reprehensible part of it is that they say that Labour Councillors voted against spending on grass cutting and street cleaning etc. which is generally true, but only because Labour wanted to see more of the cuts restored.

Something else that Bexley Council has cut is the number of pages on its website and one must assume the number of staff maintaining it. It really is the most awful mess with 404 errors being generated only a click or two from its front page.

On my last visit to QEH I found my friend more than a little frustrated. Another visitor had suggested that, let us not beat about the bush, as he is never going to see the inside of his own home again he should speak to someone at Bexley Council to see what the Council Tax situation would be.

He did that, phoned them, and was told in no uncertain terms that they were not going to discuss Council Tax with him over the phone. There was a web form for that, go and use it.

So my friend lying horizontal on his sick bed, wired to monitors and blood being fed in one end and urine trickling out the other is supposed to go on the web and faff about with one of Bexley’s web forms. Where does he get the computer from, where’s his internet connection? How would he use it while close to being immobilised?

The reason for my friend’s frustration was that he had been struggling for more than an hour with his smart phone trying to find a wretched form relating to Council Tax. He had been sent round and round in circles and up a few 404 back alleys before giving up.

Steward O'NeillNow you might think that my friend is some sort of IT duffer who wouldn’t know a web form if he saw one but you would be wrong. Until shortly before he became ill he was the IT manager for a major pharmaceutical company who designed and implemented their data centres and IP phone systems right across Europe.

He is also responsible for the automation that goes on under the bonnet of BiB that drastically reduced the time taken to code some of the repetitive functions. He also spotted my configuration error that stopped the CCTV I have been installing in my aunt’s house being visible remotely.

But he was defeated by a website that is a lot more interested in collecting your parking fines than satisfying the needs of a man who will never get out of a hospital (or care home) bed again.

What sort of callous degenerate implements a policy that dictates that a long term resident cannot speak to Bexley Council during his final days? These sort of degenerates presumably.

Note: This blog was suggested and approved by the man in the hospital bed.
404. The error code generated by a web server that cannot find the requested page.


2 August - Twitter policing

Windscreen The victim of the windscreen vandalism in Wilton Road, Abbey Wood nearly two weeks ago has given up on getting any help from the police despite what they might say on Twitter.

The culprit was caught on CCTV, staff in the cab office think they know who he is, two witnesses left their phone numbers and on the instructions of the 101 operator the brick that did the damage is safely inside a sealed plastic bag.

New York TimesAnd what did police do?

Last Thursday they phoned the victim to say they had lost all the information he had given on the day of the crime. He provided it all over again.

And what have the police done since?

As of yesterday afternoon, absolutely nothing of which the victim is aware. The brick is still feeling lonely and neglected.

Is it any wonder that shoppers keep away from Wilton Road when criminals may safely go about their business?


1 August (Part 2) - New York Times features Abbey Wood

It’s not every day that your own house, well the top most peak of the gable end, appears in the New York Times.

Yesterday they ran a rather downbeat piece about how London will go to the dogs following Brexit and Crossrail is in danger of becoming a white elephant.

Their reporter talks quite a lot of rot but his photographer did a fine job.
New York Times
There are six references to Abbey Wood in the article including photo captions. Thamesmead is featured too.

The last time I was able to link myself to the New York Times was when a distant relative, of whom I am not a direct descendant, tried to assassinate the banker J.P. Morgan but shot his personal physician dead instead. The gunman was declared insane and put away never to be seen again.

Probably my friend Philip Read will be able to make something of that. 😉


1 August (Part 1) - Can someone check if Philip Read needs help please? (Repeated.)

Bexley is not the worst Council in London, its competence in most matters is well in advance of Conservative controlled Barnet and Kensington & Chelsea for example who must share pole-position for that accolade. However where it has no peers is in the field of vindictiveness, spite, lying and occasional criminal activity.

One doesn’t have to look far for examples; let’s use some you may have forgotten.

In 2010 a resident requested a dropped kerb at the end of his drive and was given the OK. Unfortunately he misunderstood and hired a contractor to do the job at his own expense. Councillor Peter Craske got even hotter under the collar than usual and made the resident pay for the pavement to be reinstated and then ripped it up again to install a Council approved dropped kerb. Thus the resident had to pay for his mistake three times over instead of twice.

However he was relatively lucky. Some residents who made similar requests but were turned down were rewarded with bollards instead.

When Rita Grootendorst successfully campaigned against the sale of allotments Bexley Council attacked her for the state of her own garden. After threatening her with prosecution over many months a judge ruled against Bexley Council.

In 2011 another judge ruled against Bexley Council after they unjustifiably pursued a resident for £1·25 million. He said their actions were “unconscionable” which is pretty strong stuff coming from a judge.

Again in 2011 a resident sneakily poked his camera phone through the open door of the Council Chamber and was set upon for his pains by Cabinet Member Linda Bailey with the immortal words “I can do what I like”. It’s still available on YouTube and he was promptly banned from Council property.

Not long afterwards that resident found himself in a police cell accused of encouraging “posting dog faeces through [a Councillor’s] letter box” and using the C word on Social Media. The profanity accusation was true but he had said nothing about dog poo or letter boxes but Councillors and police officers alike perjured themselves until on the ninth (from memory) Court appearance a judge eventually found the unfortunate resident innocent.

Bexley’s harassment complaints against me are perhaps better known but I was accused of writing something penned by someone else entirely. The Council’s friends in the Met told me I would be arrested if I continued to criticise Councillors personally - so today I may well get a late night knock on the door.

Enough of vindictiveness, what about cover ups? I can only suggest you read the Rhys Lawrie and Mrs. Baker stories. On the latter I have a detailed account of how Council Leader Teresa O’Neill and various managers went to enormous lengths to hush up Mrs. Baker’s death - eventually resorting to hush money.

If you have a great deal of time on your hands there is the cover up for Councillor Cheryl Bacon’s lies which Greenwich police (no one trusted Bexley police to behave honourably) considered to be so serious that they passed the file to the Crown Prosecution Service which then spent a year wondering how the hell they could wriggle out of that one!

You may notice that none of the foregoing examples are recent. Bexley Council appears to have learned some lessons since first having to face up to Social Media criticism and most Tory Councillors have stopped lying too - they now do it anonymously through their Conservative Associations.

I was asked recently why the Association’s lies are not often tackled on BiB. Well there is so much of it for a start and for the most part they use the same tired old trick.

Basically the Tories cut a budget and then restore part of it. They vote for the subterfuge and Labour vote against it because they want to see full restoration. I am not convinced it is the best strategy because it allows the dishonest Tories to claim that Labour is against spending more money on services when the truth is that Labour are against spending less than used to be the case.

It is a very effective propaganda tool ruthlessly exploited by the Tories and the Labour Group recently Twittered the same thing. Bexley’s unscrupulous Tories twisted that too. They Tweeted that Bexley Labour had praised Bexley Conservatives’ “effective” policies.

The leading lights among Bexley’s Tories are crooked to the core but none is more dishonest than Cabinet Member Philip Read. Here’s a small selection of his outpourings from the past few days.
Is Councillor Read terminally deluded, in need of psychiatric care, or what? By his own admission his propaganda is losing him Twitter followers.

Labour Councillors and bloggers alike have heaped praise on Belvedere Beach from the outset. I walked a mile up the hill to be there for the opening and earlier described it as “magnificent”.

The first anyone knew of Bexley Council’s plan for a Splash Park replacement was in February 2016 when they issued a Press Release.

It was not mentioned in public again until the plans were unveiled at a Cabinet meeting last November and were welcomed by one and all.

BiB has reported before that Labour Councillors immediately welcomed those plans but Cabinet Member Read has continued to spew out his bile, so maybe the following audio clips will remind him of the truth.

Joe Ferreira congratulated the design team and “really really hoped it would be a success”.

Cllr. Joe Ferriera (Labour): Particularly welcome, I really really do hope it will be a success.
15th November 2016.

Cllr. Daniel Francis (Labour): I clearly welcome what is coming forward.
15th November 2016.

Nevertheless Poisonous Phil had this to say…

Cllr. Philip Read (Conservative): Resolutely opposed by the opposition. Dragged screaming and kicking into reluctant acceptance and that acceptance has been lukewarm to put it mildly.
11th July 2017.

Why is he intent on dragging Bexley Council into the gutter with his constant fabrications?

Over the past month BiB has criticised Bexley Council very little…

• Its persistent neglect of drainage problems.
• My exclusion from the Belvedere Beach opening.
• The poorly designed barriers on the Ridgeway.
• The lame excuse dished out by Cabinet Member Bailey for for not scheduling a regeneration consultation in Slade Green. (Labour didn’t ask for one.)
• Narrowing roads are resulting in more accidents.

All pretty trivial stuff compared to what was covered only a couple of years ago.

So thank you Philip Read for being the one remaining reliable source of Bexley Council stupidity.

I don't usually put much effort into the last day of the month blogs because they tend to get lost within 24 hours, so this one will appear tomorrow as well. For good measure it will appear on the main Index page too until the next major lie from Bexley Council shows up.

Note: Councillor Francis’ words are edited to remove his lengthy description of what his disabled daughter likes most about playgrounds and what features help him most as a parent of a disabled child.

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