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Bonkers Blog April 2011

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8 April (Part 2) - Predatory Peter

Referendum dateThere were two items on the Agenda of last Wednesday’s council meeting that caught my eye which I didn’t mention in yesterday’s blog. Both were Craske related and I would have been interested in what he had to say on one of them. The plan was that he put forward a motion on the forthcoming referendum. “The London Borough of Bexley notes the implications for local residents of the referendum on the alternative vote system, and urges all residents who oppose changing the voting system to vote ‘No’ on 5th May.”

Unfortunately it was ruled out of order as it fell foul of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. A pity because I would have liked to have heard councillor Craske’s views on the Alternative Vote system, no really I would! I know that Nick Clegg described it as “a miserable little compromise”, I know that only three countries world-wide use it and one of those is in the process of abandoning it and I know a collection of luvvies and second rate comedians is keen that we should vote for it - which seems to me a pretty good reason to vote ‘No’. Why should anyone care what a collection of actors, poets and athletes think about AV?

As we weren’t able to hear councillor Craske tell 200 odd people why he thought AV was bad I’ll make up for his disappointment by referring rather more than 200 people to what twenty new MPs had to say about it. Their views were recorded by Daniel Hannan, MEP.

Craske strikes me as the sort of old fashioned Tory that brought his party into such disrepute during the nineteen eighties. No humility for anyone other than those in privileged positions, or to put it more simply “wickedly selfish and deceitful”. One bit of deceit practiced by Craske was detailed in the Strategy 2014 document (the proposed cuts) put before the cabinet on 3 November 2010. He said that he planned “commencement of enforcement of moving traffic contraventions using Mobile In-car Camera Enforcement and fixed CCTV. Also use fixed CCTV for no stopping parking contraventions”. He said that the reason was to get “more value for money” from the systems. Weasel words to avoid saying “to raise extra revenue” which would be illegal.

The version of Strategy 2014 put out for public consumption in February pushed the proposal to persecute motorists even more than in the past back to the year 2012/13. Since then more revenue streams have been sought and Craske is nothing if not devious, so hidden in last Wednesday’s meeting Agenda were proposals to “Accelerate expenditure reductions” and one of them was to bring forward the stepped-up CCTV attack on motorists to this year 2011/2012. No formal warning to residents, just attack them without warning. “Accelerate expenditure reductions” is a very odd way of describing a revenue hike but then if you expect honesty from Bexley council you must be very new to the borough. Craske anticipates robbing motorists of an extra £81,000 this year. He doesn’t say which day this new imposition starts (probably wants to keep it an unpleasant surprise) but it is safest to assume it is right now.

The NoToMob continue to be active in Bexley. Today their representative went to the Civic Centre to ask to see evidence that Bexley’s CCTV systems had the correct certification for parking and bus lane enforcement. The ‘Listening council’ refused to see him and under pressure (and only via an intermediary on an internal telephone) insisted that if he wanted to know he must make a Freedom of Information request. How ridiculous is that? Craske’s department cannot confirm they are acting lawfully and insist on a time consuming procedure which Craske himself was complaining about only two days ago. You couldn’t make it up!


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