am in danger of getting repetitive on this one but I switched on News 24 two
days ago and caught Eric Pickles speaking in the Commons; he said that council Chief
Executives shouldnt be paid more than the Prime Minister. A month earlier I
watched the greedy crew that is Bexley council support their leader Teresa
ONeill when she rebuffed a member of the public who put much the same view
at a council meeting. I have also seen innumerable letters and
emails from interested residents seeking similar assurances and asking to meet
either ONeill or the C.E.O. Will Tuckley to engage in a dialogue on the subject. All of
those attempts have got absolutely nowhere; councillors and C.E.O. alike are
simply not listening to the governments message that we are all in this
together. You and I are in it but fat cat councillors and senior staff
believe they are not.
Im amazed that a down-to-earth sort of chap like Pickles is naive enough to expect the power he plans to devolve to local level will not be abused. What happened when councils took over parking regulation from the police? Bexley sent out a leaflet promising more and easier parking. Instead we got Craske on a mission to destroy communities and blight lives.
What happened when the last government gave councils additional powers to regulate refuse collection? We had to line up bins on the pavement instead of having them collected from our doors and have them left unemptied if the contents fell foul of innumerable petty regulations. What happened when the previous government allowed councils additional power under an act (R.I.P.A.) designed to help prevent terrorism? On the flimsiest of suspicions councils paid private detectives to spy on parents applying for school places and locally tricked residents into undergoing lie detector tests. Councillors like ONeill are totally untrustworthy and disciples of the Im all right Jack school of politics.
To end on a brighter note, James Brokenshire M.P. has come good on his promise to speak up about the inflated salaries of council staff; well up to a point. Ive heard complaints he has not directed his comments directly at Bexley council and that is true, but I feel he has gone as far as he could reasonably be expected to go. I always like to give politicians the benefit of the doubt - until they prove themselves to be beyond redemption.