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Bonkers Blog October 2011

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29 October - Question time

It’s the weekend and people have better things to do than read blogs and it’s a good time to relax and write something that needs almost no research, like answer some of the questions that have arisen this month.

Tempting fate I suppose, but I have still not been taken to task for publishing this site but I do seem to be attracting more comment from people who believe it could be done better.

Why not publish council good news stories too?

That’s the council’s job. They have links to News on their website front page and the Conservatives have their own websites. The latter is where you will read about Bexley having the lowest parking charges in SE London, that Bexley has among the lowest council tax rates in outer London and that Labour councillors don’t know that there is a railway station in Bexleyheath. If the best they can do is lie it suggests they can find nothing good to say about their achievements.

Actually Bonkers is not all bad news. A councillor giving a genuinely warm welcome to members of the public at a meeting won’t be overlooked and chairmen who acquit themselves well are given suitable credit.

Milk bottle topA couple of weeks ago someone at Bexley council asked me if I could pinpoint areas close to where I live which flood after rain. I suggested they look at a drain cover which stood proud of the road surface in front of a bus stop so when it rained a puddle formed around the drain hole and anyone waiting for a bus got a good soaking. Last week that problem was fixed. That will be Tony Hugh’s department on the ball again.

I collected a neighbour’s Blue Badge from Erith Library two weeks ago and everything was handled very efficiently.

Forty eight hours after I pictured the overflowing paper bin a very pleasant young man came out to tidy up. He told me that the plastic lids of milk and fizzy drink bottles can now be recycled but preferably detached from each other when placed in the bin. Whatever happened to the recycling guidance books that used to be sent out? A victim of the cuts maybe?

Is Bonkers a Labour party site?

It must be because it criticises Bexley council and local Conservative websites but not Labour’s, or so I am told. Bearing in mind their meagre representation on Bexley council, Labour councillors have come in for more than their fair share of stick. To criticise website design for being “awful” seems to be a little below the belt, despite me sometimes looking at the underlying code and recoiling in horror at the complexities employed to achieve very little. But if you insist…

Labour’s websites are the worst offenders. One of their sites still thanks voters for their electoral support 18 months ago and the Links page takes you to a six month out of date blog, to a school and a church site neither of which exist (404 errors) and to a site which Teresa Pearce MP abandoned six months ago and circulated an announcement to that effect. No sign of them rebutting the Tory lies. Maybe that's why people suggest Bonkers is Labour’s on-line opposition to the Conservatives.

From reading the local press I think it is more than likely that Teresa Pearce is the most active and effective of our local MPs but giving credit where it is due does not make Bonkers an off-shoot of the Labour party.

Is Bonkers connected to the British National Party?

I can only guess where that suggestion comes from. Quite a lot of my reports are based on information supplied by Michael Barnbrook who in January 2009 stood as the BNP candidate in the Welling by election and came within eight votes of winning. Mr. Barnbrook is no longer a member of the BNP. My own association is limited to reading their 2001 general election manifesto and chucking it away.

What is the connection to the Bexley Council Monitoring Group?

I’m never quite sure. I meet its founding member for an hour or so most weeks and compare notes; that’s about as far as it goes. I have also been known to solve the odd problem he might have with his website.

Why has the contact telephone been disconnected?

Because I was getting too many calls that should be directed to a solicitor or Citzen’s Advice Bureau and whilst that is not in itself a problem, 20 from the same source in a week takes up far too much time.

Why does the site banner keep changing?

Because it can. The website is designed in a modular fashion and it takes about two seconds to swap modules and change the banner. The Home page content changes approximately weekly because slightly more than 50% of blog readers enter the site via the Home page and for it to always be the same would get boring. The Craske based Home page is used more often than the others because when it is there the Google ranking is better. I don’t know why.

How many hits does Bonkers get?

Website hitsThe perennial old question and you will never see a counter like this on a Bonkers page, not even if the errant apostrophe is removed.

As indicated in today’s opening remarks, weekends are always lower than Monday to Friday and school holidays always see a drop too. Ignoring school holidays, page views rise by between 4% and 6% each week but with the number of pages increasing that is not so very surprising. What may be surprising is the number of visits coming in from Northern Italy and that whoever set up the Thames innovation Centre’s server managed to get two spelling mistakes into those three words.

As for 73,135 hits in 13 or 14 months. I’d be keeping very quiet about that if it was me.


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