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There are three Council meetings that I could go to this week but on Thursday I have
two alternative offers and one involves driving through Blackwall Tunnel but both
are more attractive than a Council meeting. A big factor is that the public will almost certainly be
thrown out of Thursday’s meeting within minutes of it starting.
The reason is that Bexley Council doesn’t want you to know anything about complaints made against Councillors.
The Agenda reveals that the Code of Conduct Committee is considering six complaints against Councillors, one from a member of the public and five where the children are squabbling among themselves.
The member of the public is complaining of “outright lies” being told on a political website. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the culprit is a Tory. There are enough clues in the Agenda to work out that the lie was this one which a lying Tory put on their local website.
There was only one member of the public sitting in the gallery and that was me and I am not the greatest Labour supporter there has ever been. In any case I make a point of never making a sound while in the Council chamber and I was sitting next to Dave Easton, the Council's Committee Officer. Not the best position for cheering the opposition and the Tory claim has to be a massive lie. Bexley Council is renowned for big lies.
So whoever authored the website was found guilty, right?
Afraid not. “It was determined there was no breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct.” The Committee Chairman, Cheryl Bacon, is a known liar, there is abundant evidence of that, so what else would one expect?
A decision has not yet been reached on any of the Councillor on Councillor complaints. Three are about technicalities at Planning meetings and as I rarely go to them I cannot guess who may might be involved and a fourth complains about abrupt, rude, bullying and abusive behaviour. Well that could be any one of a dozen Tories so I am none the wiser, but the seventh complaint rings bells.
It says that one Councillor accused another of “not having knowledge of specific details relating to two schemes and accusing the complainant of being incapable of holding their position”. That form of words identifies a Cabinet Member as the complainant without much doubt.
It is said that the same thing happened at a Committee meeting, a Cabinet meeting and a Council meeting although no one used words like that at any meeting.
I’d put money on the complainant being Cabinet Member Linda Bailey. I clearly remember two occasions in the fairly recent past when she was seriously adrift in her knowledge. Craske is cunning and cares nothing for the truth, Read is sometimes devious, sometimes clever and occasionally misogynistic, Sawyer overdoes the claimed sincerity, Smith likes to hide himself from view, Massey thinks he is a superior being and Rob Leitch is too nice to be a Councillor but only Bailey displays obvious incompetence.
To research this blog I have had to search for every occurrence of her name over the past two years. Over and over again it is reported that all she does is thank officers for their hard work and agree with what everyone else has said.
That research threw up the fact she didn’t know that the Broadway and Erith Shopping Centres were owned by Bexley Council (it’s leased to a management company) and had to be corrected by Director Paul Moore. Another was a couple of months ago when Councillor Stefano Borella complained that he had only just learned of developments proposed for Slade Green.
Councillor Bailey flew off the handle. She said Stefano was “outrageous” and “he knows damn well that I have briefed Councillors regularly”.
Unfortunately, such is her ignorance, Councillor Bailey had been confused about the location of the Arthur Street estate and had briefed the wrong Councillors. Given the date of her ill-tempered outburst and that of the complaint it has to be Linda Bailey retaliating against a Councillor whose innocent question unintentionally exposed her incompetence.
Further back in time was Linda Bailey's publication of a list of 27 sites ripe for regeneration but she back tracked rapidly and all her pet schemes came to nothing.
When the subject of Homes In Multiple Occupation became a hot topic after an unfortunate incident in Penhill Road, Linda Bailey backed out of the media spotlight and fielded David Bryce-Smilth. She wouldn’t have been up to the job.