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Bonkers Blog June 2011

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10 June (Part 1) Petition to council

The people planning to run a petition to Bexley council asking for a debate on the very high salaries paid to senior council staff with a view to changing their contracts have told me they are close to finalizing their proposals. As I see it their plan could run into an enormous obstacle, the fact that Bexley council is undemocratic and will most likely do all in its power to block any views residents might express.

Bexley council’s stated position on petitions is recorded in the very first sentence of their documentation. “The council welcomes petitions and recognises they are one way in which people can highlight any concerns they may have.” This is the standard gloss put over their true attitude to democracy. Buried in the same document is "The council will not take action on any petition which we consider to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate”. In other words any petition the council does not like the look of may be ruled out of order as “inappropriate”.

The jack boot approach to democracy is to be expected of a council which has changed its Constitution to try to put a stop to probing questions. I see little future for any plan to organise a petition on salaries when leader Teresa O’Neill says they represent “good value for money”. Unless an agreement can be reached on the wording of the petition before 2,000 residents add their signature to it, she will likely declare it “inappropriate” and bin it. The last thing O’Neill will want is someone questioning her judgement on salaries. 2,000 people could be reported to the police for harassing our dear leader!


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