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News and Comment November 2019

Index: 2020

1 November (Part 2) - Not my fault honest, it was him

I was explaining Bexleyֹ’s SEN cock-up to a friend this morning and it made me realise that the formal report into who said what about whom wasn’t really sufficient, at least one question should be asked and answered. A big question.

On 2nd July Councillor John Fuller through no fault of his own found himself making a false statement about SEN transport. It was disappointing to hear because John Fuller is the most approachable - no, the only approachable - Cabinet Member. He very occasionally indulges in the political rough and tumble of Council meetings but there’s never a suggestion of the dishonesty that one might expect from… Well you can guess.

At last Tuesday’s meeting Simon James, the Council Officer in charge, made a clean breast of it. He admitted that John Fuller had been left to wallow in ignorance of the real situation on 2nd July which was unforgiveable.

We also learned from Chairman Alan Downing that the staff who were responsible for the stress dished out to so many parents and the extreme embarrassment to John Fuller had left the Council’s employment but it would be a senior officer who would be responsible for advising John Fuller wouldn’t it? Not a minion.

So the boss has been given the elbow; no?

Not at all, it seems that it must be junior officers who paid the ultimate employment price because the Minutes of the 2nd July meeting record that sitting alongside Cabinet Member Fuller was his right hand man Simon James, yes, that Simon James.

One couldn’t make it up. The man who should have steered Cabinet Member Fuller away from his embarrassment simply didn’t. As the Minutes show, he was right there alongside John Fuller.

His juniors were shown the door but it is him who last Tuesday said that in future, procedures would include keeping the Cabinet Member in the loop.

Can you believe it? The question must be how did he get away with it? In Bexley you have to believe in the incredible.

Minutes of 2nd July meeting. Simon James was sitting right next to John Fuller and watched him flounder without coming to his assistance.

A second question was buzzing around my head today. At every General Election the Labour Party trots out some tired mantra like “24 hours to save the NHS”. This time they have returned to a tried and tested favourite. The Conservatives are going to privatise the NHS.

I have been following election campaigns since 1959 and if memory serves correctly Labour always come out with something like that. So my question is why is the NHS still a a government agency? Maybe the Labour Party is scaremongering again and who was it that first introduced Prescription Charges anyway?


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