I said yesterday I believed Bexley council’s priority was to prosecute Bonkers, not Olly
Cromwell. There is not a lot that is new in today’s report but it will help to
make the point if all the old news is brought together.
By the time Bexley’s obedient servants in Arnsberg Way threatened me with arrest last April for “criticising Bexley council at a personal level” I had been writing here for 20 months. Police files recently made available reveal that “on 8th March 2011 police were made aware [by Chief Executive Will Tuckley] that comments had been posted on Bexley-is-Bonkers regarding councillor Teresa O’Neill, namely, Personally I think we need to descend on Councillor Teresa O’Neill with flaming torches and pitchforks as it would seem that she and her scheming cohorts are impervious to reasoned argument." The police went on to repeat another blog extract, “someone wanted to go to the last council meeting with a petrol bomb, but I persuaded him otherwise”.
As all readers seem to know, the first comment was written by the Neighbourhood Watch coordinator for Erith, the ultra-observant may have realised it wasn’t an original Bonkers comment by the inclusion of quotation marks and a capital C for councillors. I’ve never considered Bexley’s councillors merited a capital letter. The second quotation was me reporting what a friend said. I doubt the Neighbourhood Watch coordinator knows a local source of pitchforks and I fail to see that I personally encouraged violence, more the reverse. I have already accepted that reporting the friend’s comment was ill advised - for one thing, he runs a diesel car! - but the important thing to note is that neither of those comments were Olly Cromwell’s. It was me Bexley council was complaining about.
The police file goes on to record the council’s complaint that both Olly Cromwell and I have suggested that “the council has the police in their pockets”. How ironic is that? We have six (according to another report) councillors demanding that action must be taken against two bloggers and the police record that the councillors insisted they must “not have their names released as complainants”. Then they have the gall to protest that one does not live in the others’ pocket! If it wasn’t for those cowardly councillors the police would not have needed to label the files RESTRICTED and put ‘not in the public interest’ notices all over the case. It is because Bexleyheath are and have been, at least since the days of their expensive lunching with former council leader and convicted fraudster Ian Clement, in the pocket of Bexley council that they now look to be thoroughly corrupt and vulnerable to a charge of perverting the cause of justice.
So what in particular makes me think that it’s Bonkers that is in our bent council’s sights, not Olly Cromwell? For a start, as shown above, all the ‘offences’ up to last March, the date of the complaint, were mine. Nothing in the report to the police could be laid at Olly’s door. It could hardly be otherwise, Olly had never mentioned Bexley council until a few days before, his first ever blog about Bexley council was on 3rd March 2011. Little wonder that neither council nor police knew much about him. That would be why his harassment letter accused him of writing blogs on Bonkers. Totally wrong because no research had been done. There wasn’t time; they were after me, Olly was an after-thought, maybe the last straw, but not the first priority of a council scared witless that its wrong doings were being exposed.
Since then Olly may have made himself an easier target than Bonkers because of his foul language, but that is not a crime, a judge recently said so.
The police files additionally criticise Olly for making all councillors’ addresses public knowledge but he didn’t. And if he did, who cares? They always were public knowledge. Councillors are public people, their addresses become available as soon as they put themselves up for election despite Chris Loynes admitting to destroying the electoral records after they were FOI’d. (Still with the Information Commissioner if I remember correctly.)
It was Bonkers that made councillor’s addresses easily available - but only after Bexley council’s constitutional committee ruled that putting the address of any resident on the web was legitimate. If private individual’s addresses are OK for the web, those of public figures must be even more OK.
Another thing that makes Bonkers a bigger target than Olly Cromwell, maybe only a small thing, is that it finds something bad to say about Bexley council pretty much every day - the amount of ammunition Bexley provides is unending - and Olly wrote his blog comparatively rarely. As a result the number of hits on Bonkers far exceeds You’ve Been Cromwelled. It probably does far more damage to Bexley council than ‘Cromwelled’ ever did; the statistics reveal Bonkers is regularly read in some rather important places. Olly’s language makes some people wary about visiting his blog.
Despite my scepticism on the value of raw web hit statistics it still gives a certain amount of pleasure that no other similar UK website has ever claimed more hits than I see on Bonkers and every time Bexley council does something even more silly than their last bit of idiocy the number climbs again.