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Bonkers Blog September 2017

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15 September - Smoke and Mirrors

I didn’t remember until this morning that Bexley-is-Bonkers is eight years old today. 4,265 blogs under the belt and a total of 5,318 pages.

It all started with a Bexley Council lie posted to the BiB Home page. I naively thought it was a one-off but big enough to deserve some publicity and then found myself deluged by Bexley residents keen to show me that Council lies were a commonplace. To this day the Home page remains a repository for the biggest of lies while the blog, which was tacked on as an afterthought, has largely taken over the site.

A small number of Bexley Tory Councillors are responsible for the majority of the lies but some come from the Council too, presumably on the direction of the governing party. In recent months Councillors have become much more careful and outright lies are now usually replaced by deceptions and omissions designed to fool the electorate. The amount of explanation required to expose them is usually too much for a blog on which readers will want to spend no more than a couple of minutes. A clever strategy by head spin doctor Peter Craske and coupled with the fact that Bexley Council can justifiably claim a number of successes it is probably enough to keep the Conservatives in power.

Councillor Philip Read posted the following to the Erith & Thamesmead Conservative Association website a few days ago, it’s quite hard to pull it apart.
I have no idea how many people recommend Bexley to friends, probably no one knows. Accommodation is cheaper than neighbouring boroughs and I moved here from Greenwich and wouldn’t want to go back so let’s give Bexley the benefit of the doubt.

Are Bexley’s schools in the top five? Hard to say because there are so many different ways of measuring performance. The Daily Telegraph’s list of top Comprehensive Schools shows no Bexley School in the top 100 and Bexley’s highest rated in the Selective category is at No. 80. Unless Councillor Read is prepared to provide the source data for his claim it is no more valid than my assessment is, but it’s a nice soundbite.

The crime rates in Bexley have definitely been low. It has been in the top spot in five of the last six years and no worse than seventh this millennium. Presumably that is primarily a credit to the police and a law abiding population?

LieIt’s a pity that Bexley Tories have to lie and claim they have been in top spot for all of the past ten years. As well as being first five times they have been second once, third twice and fourth twice. All the figures are available on the website. There was no need to lie but Bexley Tories just can’t help it.

Bexley has certainly done better than nearby boroughs in attracting inward investment; a shame perhaps that so much of it has been spent on wrecking roads.

Bexley has also shown itself to be better at the recycling game than other Councils, however they cannot claim all of the credit. It was the 2002-2006 Labour administration that introduced the recycling boxes and rocketed Bexley into the top recycling spot.

The Tories took things further when they swapped the black sack based weekly rubbish system for fortnightly green wheelie bins. It was a good scheme bearing in mind the EU inspired punitive landfill tax. Unfortunately the refuse collection service has become gradually worse. First the standard bin size was reduced, then we had the rules prohibiting raised lids and two years ago garden waste charges were introduced.

Despite everything Bexley’s refuse service remains among the very best and neither can one really argue with the claim it has a good collection of tourist attractions.

Happy lieThe claim that Bexley residents are the happiest in London is of course total nonsense. The Office of National Statistics goes around wasting your hard earned cash collecting that statistic and recently put Bexley in 21st place in London and virtually out of sight nationally. Maybe the figure 2 got lost somewhere - or maybe it is a big fat lie.

So Bexley Council is doing a generally first rate job is it? Well maybe not if you scratch the surface. Some of the cuts imposed are horrific.

Cuts to the Adult Social Care budget range from £860k. last year to £7.9 million in 2020! Presumably Bexley Tories are banking on there being little chance of vulnerable adults costing them votes.
But there might be votes to be lost over street cleaning cuts so voters are having to be told the budget is being increased. Lying comes easy to Bexley Conservatives.

Quite how Bexley can become cleaner by spending less money than when they were elected remains to be seen. The cleaning budget is down £348k. this year, £418k. next year and £438k. in 2019.
The figures (and images) shown above are from a Labour Party summary of the situation circulated at the Council meeting of 1st March this year and certified by the Director of Finance as being wholly correct.

Despite the increasingly expert cover ups, Bexley Council is still lying to you.


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