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News and Comment April 2019

Index: 2020

5 April (Part 2) - How do you put a clown back into his box?

Read I am in the middle of a five day period where family commitments are getting in the way of reporting Council meetings but I am not so busy that I haven’t had time to ponder Councillor Read’s obsession with me. It’s not new, I can go back to 2011 for the first sign of it and his stupidity is beginning to make me feel sorry for Council Leader Teresa O’Neill. Yes you read that right.

Based solely on the timing of Read’s Tweets and his self proclaimed close association with Le Vino, one might easily conclude that he is not always thinking clearly.

I am a nobody nearer in age to eighty than seventy who has no interest in maintaining a personal reputation. As long as I can steer clear of corrupt police officers I have nothing much to fear from Read’s words or anyone else’s.

Read on the other hand is a public figure who, if he had any sense at all, should have some interest in maintaining a reputation, as both a decent human being and as a politician seeking re-election every four years.

I used to refer to Councillor Read as the Northumberland Numpty which seemed to be very apt. Now that he has moved to West Heath ward I will have to think of something similarly alliterative. There must be something, if only I could think of it!

CretinPhilip Read is an embarrassment not only to himself but also to those of his colleagues who have sent me their own personal apologies for his late night ramblings.

So why do I feel sorry for Teresa, the woman who reported me to the police for what someone else said, for “criticising Councillors” and, reading between the lines of police statements at meetings and on paper, interfered with a judicial process? I know absolutely that the Chief Executive did and I doubt he did it without a nod and a wink from the boss.

As I have said before, and quite recently too, there comes a time when you have to let old mistakes go and avoid becoming bitter and twisted. Bexley Council is no longer crooked to the core as far as I can tell.

A whole load of failed and law dodging senior officials have left the Council’s employment since Bonkers was launched and not a few Councillors who to my mind were similarly inclined.

There would be no good reason to start Bonkers if it did not exist already.

Bexley Council is hard done by by central Government but hasn’t yet got too near to going broke while some London Councils are on the edge. That can only be good.

When Children’s Services were judged Inadequate the Leader recruited someone from Ofsted who knew how to put things right. That might be judged an act of genius. And it worked.

When Council officials from other parts of the country, the so called Peer Review, said that Bexley Council’s Scrutiny processes were various shades of rubbish, the Leader reorganised the Committees and appointed some new Chairmen. Councillors Newton and Dourmoush in particular have successfully made their mark. Bexley Council only publicised the few good things in the Peer Review and suppressed everything else but it is unrealistic to expect perfection in politics.

I may be wrong but I would like to think that Teresa O’Neill has finally noticed that Bonkers does not usually criticise Council policies and is softening her stance.

There is probably a long way to go before access to Bonkers is unbanned from Council and Library web servers but there have been small signs of success. I am no longer considered to be a threat to safety by being placed behind a barrier at Council meetings. The Leader, and several of her erstwhile silent colleagues, will now acknowledge my presence in the Council Chamber and even exchange a few pleasantries if the situation permits it.

It may not seem much and could perhaps be largely in my imagination but compared to yesteryear it is a massive relaxation. The obvious aggression has gone.

ReadExcept where Councillor Philip Read is concerned.

At the personal level I would be sorry to see those who run the @bexleynews Twitter account behave themselves as it is fun to take the mickey out of them, but for Bexley Council they must be a bit of an embarrassment. Obviously they must be senior Tories or they wouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.

John Fuller wouldn’t do it; Brad Smith, it’s not his style. Alex Sawyer probably couldnְ’t do it. Louie French; too serious. It doesn’t look like his way either. Which leaves Cabinet Members Craske, Leaf and Read. David Leaf used to run a blog and as everyone knows, so did Peter Craske, he was arrested for it! It could be any of those three but Craske and Read remain favourites if only because their less loyal colleagues have said so.

If Tweedledum and Tweedledee could be curbed Bonkers might become nothing but another small time news outlet. All the wheeler dealer sailing close to the wind Council Officers have left with their Golden Goodbyes. There would be nothing else left to examine.

What can be done to discourage Read in particular from making a fool of himself?

Peer pressure maybe.

It may not be Marquis of Queensbury rules but maybe trawling Bonkers for old blogs that would embarrass Read’s Councillor colleagues and give them a fresh airing. It might be one way of bringing the West Heath Weasel to his senses - if he has any. Hmm, maybe that is the big flaw in the idea.


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