of the more difficult things about writing blogs is inventing a title. I try to
make up something short, hopefully witty but perhaps too often fall back on puns or
historical references which are probably lost on anyone born on the right side of 1960.
That was the case with Saturday’s headline. In the 1970s every wall and railway bridge was adorned with a slogan protesting the innocence of bank robber George Davis. In my view the analogy with the Maxine Fothergill situation fails to some extent because although Davis' conviction was unsafe he was undoubtedly a bank robber.
Maybe Saturday’s blog title implied too much, some of my correspondents certainly think so and they would unkindly place Councillor Fothergill in much the same position as George Davis. A known bank robber but unfairly banged up.
It is alleged that Councillor Fothergill has in the past “skated on thin ice”. By the strictest of standards, campaigning for infrastructure improvements beyond one’s own ward boundary offends against the Councillor’s Code of Conduct if they own property in the other area and forget to mention the fact. I doubt many Bexley Councillors are totally beyond reproach and Maxine’s ‘friends’ have spilled a few other beans about her in my direction. However those beans do not begin to compare with the legumes spilled about the senior leadership of Bexley Council.
I don’t know much about the incidental tittle-tattle and I am not sure I need to know, the main focus must be on that infamous Code of Conduct Committee meeting last December.
I did not intend to return to the MF business quite so quickly but apparently readers want to see the anonymous email that rejuvenated my interest in this business. The obvious thing would be to simply reproduce it here but I showed it to someone a few days ago who claimed that the writing style was very distinctive and named a possible author. It’s an identification risk I am not prepared to take, so this is a ‘translated’ version - expanded somewhat to make its meaning clearer - with the last sentence removed because without supporting evidence it is probably libellous.
The Conservative local election candidate for East Wickham was selected at their AGM on 7th February 2014 after the previously selected candidate proposed by Councillor James Hunt was removed from the list. The new man’s name was Daniel Taylor and he was the Civil Partner of former Councillor Chris Taylor.
Daniel Taylor was employed by Councillor Maxine Fothergill at her estate agency in Gravesend. She suspected money was going astray and caught Daniel Taylor on CCTV three or four times dipping handbags and pockets.
Leader Teresa O’Neill insisted that no action was taken but Maxine defied her and reported the matter to the police who very generously took no action beyond a caution.
Whilst Teresa O’Neil was happy to see a thief on the Conservative benches, Ann Morrison the Chair of Old Bexley & Sidcup Conservative Association does not share Teresa O’Neill’s preference for dishonesty and looked at the CCTV footage. She had Daniel Taylor removed from the list immediately.
That information was not used here but it is now corroborated. There had been a blog hinting at the situation in January 2014 and there was a further cautious and somewhat rambling report a couple of weeks later, but validated facts were hard to come by.
The unused anonymous email strongly suggests a falling out between Councillor Fothergill and the Council Leader, and as I know to my cost, Teresa O'Neill is nothing if not vindictive. Although this is the biggest of the fallings out, there are others. It is not surprising that Maxine Fothergill found herself on the wrong side of a disciplinary process.
Quite separately I have information which links to that story which is not anonymous. The original candidate selected by James Hunt was removed by Teresa O’Neill because he let slip that he was not going to be a yes man. The Great Dictator ruthlessly rules the roost. If she did not you can be sure that there would be more anonymous messages such as that above. Her Kangaroo Courts make honest Councillors ill with worry.