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Bonkers Blog May 2011

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2 May (Part 1) - Flak over Flackley

Ever since the editor of the Bexleyheath Chronicle discovered that £2,585 hotel bill for the cabinet’s Christmas jaunt to Rye excuses and accusations have been flying to and fro. It would be so much easier if the council came out with the truth of the matter because what we have heard so far doesn’t quite add up.

Leader Teresa O’Neill said that cabinet members paid for themselves in advance but the council seems to have paid out on a very big bill and their Payments Manager, presumably acting under instructions, won’t say any more about it. There have been suggestions that cabinet members didn’t claim subsistence for the trip which is not the same thing as paying for themselves; what might help is sight of the hotel’s bill and a Freedom of Information request has gone in for it, so far without response. It can’t be that difficult to make a copy and put it in the post can it?

It’s hard to know the workings of a politician’s mind, why MPs think we should pay for their duck houses and porn movies and locally how the council leader can have the gall to stand before public and press and say she doesn’t agree that councillors should “cut their allowances so as to suffer the same pain they are inflicting on the public” or for that matter blatantly lie on their political website. Probably they are so remote from ordinary life and have for so long been placing themselves in positions where money drops into their lap like magic that they have difficulty distinguishing right from the immoral.

Katie Perrior (Blackfen & Lamorbey, £22,650) in a letter to the Bexleyheath Chronicle claims she knows that “many people believe (being given an allowance) is not right” but says without it “only the rich would apply”. She goes on to bleat that she would be out of pocket if she did not get her allowance, quoting travel, childcare, telephone and support costs. She claims to put in 20 hours a week of council work which is a not too shabby £22 an hour. Probably more than half the local population would be very pleased to get that (it’s twice the average hourly wage) and they get their spouses to look after the children when they are out in the evening, pay for their own bus to work, pay the phone company around £17 a month for ‘free calls’ and somehow buy a computer out of their own pocket. Probably Ms. Perrior’s expenditure would be much the same if she wasn’t a councillor apart from the occasional bus ride to the Civic Centre. If she uses a car she doesn’t even have to pay to park. Despite claiming to be a “mother who works part-time” and being “best placed to know exactly what residents are going through" she still can’t explain why the meeting couldn’t have been held in the council offices or in the Marriott next door.

Incidentally, among the voluntary jobs (and being a councillor is a voluntary job) available right now in Bexley is a newsletter editor for the MS Society, a treasurer for the Scouts Council, voluntary jobs with the Met. Police, Shopmobility and charity shops. Loads of things are listed at and just because they don’t pay the national wage for turning up at a few meetings or hand out directorships of loss making companies doesn’t mean only rich people apply. Katie Perrior, like most politicians, hasn’t got a clue about what real people do and collecting twenty two grand for a sinecure does not make her “best placed to know”. Whatever did she do for money before picking up her cabinet position and the extra thirteen grand that goes with it?


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