"You politicians are all the same. We only see you when there is
an election." How many times have you heard that?
Well change is in the air. Myself and two friends are standing as
Independents in Blackfen and Lamorbey Ward in the local elections on
22nd May 2014.
I am standing as an Independent so that I can vote with my conscience,
free from the control of any political party, pressure group or whip.
I am married with a son, daughter, two step-daughters and seven grandchildren.
I have lived in Sidcup for 43 years, the last 14 of them in Blackfen and Lamorbey Ward.
I am a former Metropolitan Police Officer, having retired in the rank of Inspector after 30 years
exemplary service. As an Inspector I served at both Bexleyheath and Sidcup Police Stations.
I have been actively involved in the community for many years and am, or have been a member of many
organisations and clubs such as the Bexley Pensioner's Forum, Bexley
Multiple Sclerosis Society, Bexley Council for Racial Equality,
Bexley Ex-Servicemen's Club, Cambridge Harriers Athletic Club and
the Royal Naval Association.
Having been a police officer and totally opposed to corruption at any level, I have, for
many years, regularly attended council meetings in order to monitor
Bexley Council for fraud and misuse of public money. During this
period I have submitted several questions to council meetings and
made numerous Freedom of Information requests.
I was the complainant against Derek Conway, the former Member of Parliament
for Old Bexley and Sidcup, who was paying his two sons a salary from
his Parliamentary expenses whilst they were both in full time
education at Leicester University. As a result of my complaint, Mr
Conway was forced to stand down as an MP.
Since then I have ended the careers of several corrupt Members of Parliament,
five of whom have been sent to prison for fraud, the most recent
being Denis MacShane, the former Labour Minister for Europe.
I am also the complainant against Ian Clement, the former Leader of
Bexley Council, who, in his role of Deputy Mayor of London, was
convicted of fraud and sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
As an associate member of the Royal Naval Association, I personally
raised sufficient funds to purchase headstones for the unmarked
graves of several holders of the Victoria Cross.
Some years ago, whilst a member of the Bexley Multiple Sclerosis Society,
I also raised enough money to purchase a new ambulance for the branch.
Together with Elwyn Bryant and Nicholas Dowling, who are also standing as Independents
in Blackfen and Lamorbey Ward, we collected over two thousand signatures, many of them
in Blackfen and Lamorbey Ward, demanding that Bexley Council reduce the salaries
of all council officers earning over £100,000 per annum.
The total pay package of Will Tuckley, the Chief Executive of Bexley
Council, equates to approximately £250,000 per annum, making him the
sixth highest paid local authority Chief Executive in the country.
This at a time when local care workers employed by agencies contracted to
Bexley Council are paid the absolute minimum wage.
The petition was rejected on the grounds that it was based on false
information, even though that information was obtained from the
council's own website.
If elected, as a grandfather with two grandchildren suffering from hearing
and learning disabilities, I will donate a substantial percentage of my allowances
to local children’s charities.
I have lived in the the Borough of Bexley for the past 34 years and
before retirement served the Royal Mail for 35 years. I am a Royal Navy Veteran
with seven year’s service.
I am a member of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the Royal British
Legion. I have been a volunteer worker for the Kent Association for the Blind
and until recently a committee member on the Bexley Pensioners’ Forum.
I am married with three children, two step children and five grandchildren.
As a resident of Bexley I have taken a close interest in local affairs for many
years. When the former leader of the Council was caught fraudulently using a
credit card I was featured in the local press because of my research into the
wrong-doing and my collection of incriminating documents.
Since then I have attended Council meetings regularly and gained a good insight into
how our Council and Councillors perform. I’m not impressed.
Our Council’s slogan is ‘Listening to You Working For You’, but members of the public
seeking answers to questions are treated with evasiveness, disrespect and
contempt accompanied by a total lack of transparency.
I have been particularly interested in the level of salaries paid to Bexley’s
senior executives which are among the very highest in the country according to
the Taxpayers’s Alliance.
The Conservative Leader said they were “good value for money” and the Labour
Leader thought they deserved even more.
The Chief Executive costs the Bexley council taxpayer more than a quarter of a
million pounds a year and the four most Senior Executives are on almost £700,000 a
year between them. Bexley is one of the few boroughs to defy the government’s
instruction to name everyone on more than £58,200 a year.
As if that were not enough Councillors award themselves for occasional
attendances, a total sum of almost £900,000 per year.
In 2011 I organised a petition in favour of capping executives salaries at the
government recommended level of £100,000 and
2,019 signatures were obtained in support. Bexley Council decided that it would
not even discuss the petition at a Council meeting showing once again its total
contempt for the electorate. So much for their slogan ‘Listening to you, working
If I am elected as your Councillor, I will decline the whole of the near to
£10,000 of allowances showered on Councillors, nor will I claim any incidental
Independent councillors prepared to make decisions solely for the benefit of
residents are desperately needed in Local Government. Bexley council has become
a one woman state where democratic dissent is not permitted. In all my
attendances at council meetings I have never seen a vote on local issues that
did not go along strict party lines. I have had enough of a council largely
comprised of self serving people controlled by their party machines.
The time has come for more humility, less arrogance, fewer arbitrary decisions
and an end to the stage managed public meetings which have been in evidence in
recent years. All of those words are quotations from concerned current
councillors and while every one of them is subjected to the party whip there is
nothing even the best of them can do about it.
Independent councillors will be free to speak out for the good of their
residents, not of their party.
Born in 1970, I have made Bexley my home since 2005. I am married and have a
I have acquired a lot of formal qualifications up to and including a Master’s
degree; as well as even more letters after my name – if I could ever be bothered
to use them - from professional bodies. I regret none of these but they
certainly have not made me rich, and personally I wish my DIY skills were
My varied mix of previous employments, encompassing roles as diverse as a
dustman, waiter, delivery driver, quality control inspector, insurance agent,
pharmaceutical buyer, and a civil servant mean that I am comfortable in most
arenas and able to quickly adapt. For the last six years or so I have been
employed in the finance department of a large private company based here in the
Borough of Bexley.
I became interested in Bexley Council after being appalled at their arbitrary
decision to raise the cost of a parking permit in my road by over 100%.
The Council has repeatedly failed to meaningfully dispute my analysis of their
own figures - which demonstrated quite simply that the permits should be making
a profit. They have consistently refused to evidence their own cost estimates
(or should I call them guesses?), which had previously been portrayed as facts,
and on inspection of the Council’s own accounts there is no actual basis for
their claims at all. Did this make any difference to the ‘Listening to you.
Working for you.’ Bexley Council? Of course it didn’t and they have carried on
ripping off local residents regardless!
Ever wondered how Bexley Council could claim to have saved you £35 million but
has not managed to reduce your Council Tax by a single penny? Me too, and I have
discovered, via the Council’s own accounts, that there are aspects of the
Conservative’s Strategy 2014 which are entirely fictional. How odd that none of
our current Councillors managed to spot this. Residents deserve much better and
frankly a far more detailed scrutiny and evidencing of the Council’s claims
should be the norm. Unfortunately many current Councillors are just fond of
their own voices and want to score political points over their opponents. I know
that residents are often very disillusioned with this sort of politics and find
this a disappointing and pointless exercise.
Last summer I had the audacity to think that the Coalition Government’s guidance
indicating that Local Council’s should permit the public to make a record of a
Council meeting meant that Bexley Council would permit me to do so. How wrong
was I? Rather than allow this small piece of common sense democracy a public
meeting was ushered into a private session and the police were summoned.
If openness and transparency are held in such high regard here in Bexley why did
the Council later have to scurry to change its own Constitution in order to
fulfil the Government’s guidance?
After four years of watching the pantomime that is Bexley Council in action I
want to make a real difference and put residents not a political party at the
heart of the decision making process here in our Borough. I genuinely believe
that the Council should be setting an example for others to emulate in this time
of austerity and cutting its cloth accordingly. If elected I will be campaigning
for Bexley to follow the Government’s guidance and cap senior salaries at
£100,000 per year. Additionally, I will not be claiming any Councillor allowance
and will urge my fellow representatives to follow suit. This should go some way
to help plug the £40 million funding gap that Bexley Council itself has
identified for over the next four years.
I would personally like to thank Councillor Craske for his inspiration via
repeated hubris, filibustering and downright lies and claim all of my efforts
are solely down to him! I am sure that his colleagues and many Council officers