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Bonkers Blog August 2013

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25 August (Part 2) - Cheryl Bacon’s closed session public meeting. The excuses and lies

Probably I am too much of a fuss-pot on web standards, but I always think it is the height of bad manners to use proprietary file formats. Not everyone can read them. The web is supposed to be a universal medium accessible to all which means observing certain rules. Bexley council sometimes forgets that.

Mick Barnbrook has forwarded an email to me which he cannot read. It came from Bexley council and has a .docx file attached and Mick’s laptop has no way of reading it. I converted it to something readable and sent it back to him, but not before taking a good look.

The email came from Lynn Tyler Bexley council’s Legal Services Team Manager and it was the council’s official response to a complaint about councillor Cheryl Bacon’s decision to hold a Public Realm meeting in closed session.

There is no doubt whatsoever that that is what Cheryl did. No member of the public present was allowed into the reconvened meeting although it is now claimed that anyone new could have wandered into the Civic Centre an hour late and the doorman would have directed them to the appropriate room. They believe this makes the meeting legal. I think the liars have descended to a new low.

The only honest reply was to admit they made a mistake, but Bexley council and honesty are total strangers to each other, so Lynn Tyler had no choice but to lie. Willingly or not can only be guesswork.

Surprisingly there is an admission that Cheryl Bacon did indeed announce her intention to go into Closed Session.
After that the lies come thick and fast. The main excuse is an accusation that all members of the public were being disruptive and were excluded for that reason. Lynn Tyler says she consulted one councillor from each party before replying. She is not silly enough to claim they supported her fanciful version of events.

I spoke to one Labour councillor at length while the meeting was adjourned. She must know exactly what happened and I doubt she would support Lynn Tyler.

During the meeting I sat at my reserved table away from every other member of the public and as a consequence was within three or four feet of councillor June Slaughter. We eyed each other up several times but nothing was said. She will know that I was there alone, neither moving or speaking. Twice Elwyn Bryant wandered over during the adjournments to whisper something instantly forgettable in my ear, does that make either of us disruptive? Now I find myself included in a group of five accused of disruptive behaviour to excuse chairman Cheryl Bacon’s illegal decision to exclude everyone present from the reconvened meeting.
Councillor Bacon clearly announced in response to a question by Mick Barnbrook that he was excluded yet he had been silent up to then. I was expecting him to say something but he never did.

The whole of Lyn Tyler’s letter, and certainly the paragraph above, revolves around the lie that every member of the public present was disrupting the meeting. A lie pure and simple. Councillor Bacon addressed absolutely no one apart from Nicholas Dowling. She was near hysterical and her voice had faded to a mouse-like squeak barely able to communicate with Nicholas Dowling let alone anyone else.

I shall write to the Chief Executive to complain that Mrs. Tyler has lied to another member of the public about my behaviour at a meeting in order to defend Bexley council’s illegal activities. I may demand that he asks councillor Slaughter to give him her recollections. I was right under her nose at the time, she must know the truth.


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