Maybe I am a hopeless fantasist but I have many times thought how
different life would be if the top brass at Bexley Council was blessed with a
scintilla of common sense. What if when BiB first came to notice Teresa O’Neill
had picked up the phone and asked what I was complaining about instead of
bending the ear of the Borough Police Commander and asking him to warn of arrest “for
criticising Councillors”? He did what he was told and got his knuckles rapped by the IPCC.
When on the morning of 6th June 2011 Elwyn Bryant reported to Teresa O’Neill an obscene blog written in my name the content of that blog disappeared before lunchtime - draw your own conclusions - and Chief Executive Will Tuckley asked the police to prosecute me for publishing an extract from it.
Surely the actions of a rational human being would again be to pick up the phone and attempt to head off the million pound (a figure mentioned by the police recently) six year investigations with a word of apology and a promise to get to the truth of the matter.
It’s not as though I bite, at least not in person. It’s not unknown for Councillors to contact me seeking a more sympathetic or more detailed portrayal of whatever they have done and I don’t think I have ever disappointed them. I have even been asked to change a photo considered to be less than flattering.
A few have even turned up on my doorstep though more often clandestine meetings in distant hostelries are arranged. Not as many as Bexley Council employees but that is another matter.
I would have hoped by now that Councillors might have noticed that those who smile or nod in my direction or exchange a few words are not usually mentioned too negatively on BiB - with only one or two incidents being exceptions.
But perhaps that is a chicken and egg situation. Maybe the nicer Councillors and those with nothing to hide can afford to be chatty and not sling mud during debates.
When Chief Executive Gill Steward arrived on the scene there was a new opportunity for a capable and experienced manager, or even one with half a brain, to get a grip on the situation. It is not as though I would not be amenable to a quieter life, but no; what was the the silly arse’s very first decision? To put up a barrier between Councillors and public at meetings and remove the Press Desk which had been a feature of Bexley Council meetings since time began. The only point of that was to wind up tensions. To be honest it doesn’t make a scrap of difference to me if a desk is provided or not.
The week before last an anonymous brown envelope arrived in the post. Such things are not that rare but before Gill Steward upped the anti I would file them away and allude to them when the opportunity arose at some future date. Because of Gill Steward’s aggression those days are gone. I scanned the original document and put it on the website without specially drawing attention to it and burned the evidence.
By last week I was having second thoughts about it. I’m not very good at being thoroughly unreasonable and every time I am I have to remind myself that Teresa O’Neill will lie and bully in her attempts to have me put in a cell. It’s not possible to forget that. In the case of erstwhile Erith blogger John Kerlen the Council succeeded but only by falsifying the evidence. There is documentary evidence that the police knew the charge was false but once again that is another story.
My second thoughts culminated in a brief email to Chief Executive Gill Steward. One that wasn’t at all formal in its approach but nevertheless a genuine offer to withdraw the document if that is what she wanted. I didn’t ask for a long considered reply, Just a “Yes please” was all that was required.
This is a slightly reduced version. I have removed an attempt at a joke which few will understand.
You may be upset because of something that appeared on BiB this week.
If you don’t like what is on BiB there are longer term things you can do about it but right now the obvious move on any specific item is to ask me to change or remove what you don’t like.
For your information there are more than 1,000 views of the blog most days but generally speaking people are too lazy to follow links . As of now the total views of the page that may concern you is 43 over three days. If you are lucky half of them will be me and the other half you. Believe it or not I do not like the war that has accelerated since you arrived on the scene but you seemed to be determined to start one, Press Desk, Barriers etc. with no sign of a let up, and where has it got us? Intrusive photos of you on the web and publishing documents that might in the past have been simply filed away.
If you reply positively and presumably briefly at this stage I will amend the BiB website immediately while very few have seen anything you may not like.
The original ‘war’ was started by the Leader who wanted me arrested, and I quote from the police letter “for criticising councillors”. That is unlikely to be forgotten until she is gone, neither will the political interference in justice which took me to a top level meeting with police yesterday, but most other things I am less comfortable with, hence this offer, which if you can accept may herald a slightly new era.
While I waited I amended the website so that the page could be changed within seconds of a favourable response. I even wrote a first draft of this blog but I waited in vain, until this evening that is. The request came through, not a simple “Yes” of course that might indicate that they were not in charge.
Instead, and I confess I have not read it all, nor am I likely to, but it is a threat by their Head of Legal, to call the police again.
I made the offer and I haven’t reneged on it (the substitute page is a mock up to fill a hole and not based on the original at all) but Bexley Council is determined not to recognise an olive branch when they see one.
For the record the number of views had only crept up to 52 by the time the page was amended, and unique views somewhat less. Most people really are too lazy to click on links.