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Bexley is not the worst Council in London, its competence in most matters is well in advance of
Conservative controlled Barnet and Kensington & Chelsea for example who must
share pole-position for that accolade. However where it has no peers is in the
field of vindictiveness, spite, lying and occasional criminal activity.
One doesn’t have to look far for examples; let’s use some you may have forgotten.
In 2010 a resident requested a dropped kerb at the end of his drive and was given the OK. Unfortunately he misunderstood and hired a contractor to do the job at his own expense. Councillor Peter Craske got even hotter under the collar than usual and made the resident pay for the pavement to be reinstated and then ripped it up again to install a Council approved dropped kerb. Thus the resident had to pay for his mistake three times over instead of twice.
However he was relatively lucky. Some residents who made similar requests but were turned down were rewarded with bollards instead.
When Rita Grootendorst successfully campaigned against the sale of allotments Bexley Council attacked her for the state of her own garden. After threatening her with prosecution over many months a judge ruled against Bexley Council.
In 2011 another judge ruled against Bexley Council after they unjustifiably pursued a resident for £1·25 million. He said their actions were “unconscionable” which is pretty strong stuff coming from a judge.
Again in 2011 a resident sneakily poked his camera phone through the open door of the Council Chamber and was set upon for his pains by Cabinet Member Linda Bailey with the immortal words “I can do what I like”. It’s still available on YouTube and he was promptly banned from Council property.
Not long afterwards that resident found himself in a police cell accused of encouraging “posting dog faeces through [a Councillor’s] letter box” and using the C word on Social Media. The profanity accusation was true but he had said nothing about dog poo or letter boxes but Councillors and police officers alike perjured themselves until on the ninth (from memory) Court appearance a judge eventually found the unfortunate resident innocent.
Bexley’s harassment complaints against me are perhaps better known but I was accused of writing something penned by someone else entirely. The Council’s friends in the Met told me I would be arrested if I continued to criticise Councillors personally - so today I may well get a late night knock on the door.
Enough of vindictiveness, what about cover ups? I can only suggest you read the Rhys Lawrie and Mrs. Baker stories. On the latter I have a detailed account of how Council Leader Teresa O’Neill and various managers went to enormous lengths to hush up Mrs. Baker’s death - eventually resorting to hush money.
If you have a great deal of time on your hands there is the cover up for Councillor Cheryl Bacon’s lies which Greenwich police (no one trusted Bexley police to behave honourably) considered to be so serious that they passed the file to the Crown Prosecution Service which then spent a year wondering how the hell they could wriggle out of that one!
You may notice that none of the foregoing examples are recent. Bexley Council appears to have learned some lessons since first having to face up to Social Media criticism and most Tory Councillors have stopped lying too - they now do it anonymously through their Conservative Associations.
I was asked recently why the Association’s lies are not often tackled on BiB. Well there is so much of it for a start and for the most part they use the same tired old trick.
Basically the Tories cut a budget and then restore part of it. They vote for the subterfuge and Labour vote against it because they want to see full restoration. I am not convinced it is the best strategy because it allows the dishonest Tories to claim that Labour is against spending more money on services when the truth is that Labour are against spending less than used to be the case.
It is a very effective propaganda tool ruthlessly exploited by the Tories and the Labour Group recently Twittered the same thing. Bexley’s unscrupulous Tories twisted that too. They Tweeted that Bexley Labour had praised Bexley Conservatives’ “effective” policies.
The leading lights among Bexley’s Tories are crooked to the core but none is more dishonest than Cabinet Member Philip Read. Here’s a small selection of his outpourings from the past few days.
Is Councillor Read terminally deluded, in need of psychiatric care, or what? By his own admission his propaganda is losing him Twitter followers.
Labour Councillors and bloggers alike have heaped praise on Belvedere Beach from the outset. I walked a mile up the hill to be there for the opening and earlier described it as “magnificent”.
The first anyone knew of Bexley Council’s plan for a Splash Park replacement was in February 2016 when they issued a Press Release.
It was not mentioned in public again until the plans were unveiled at a Cabinet meeting last November and were welcomed by one and all.
BiB has reported before that Labour Councillors immediately welcomed those plans but Cabinet Member Read has continued to spew out his bile, so maybe the following audio clips will remind him of the truth.
Joe Ferreira congratulated the design team and “really really hoped it would be a success”.
Cllr. Joe Ferriera (Labour): Particularly welcome, I really really do hope it will be a success.
15th November 2016.
Cllr. Daniel Francis (Labour): I clearly welcome what is coming forward.
15th November 2016.
Nevertheless Poisonous Phil had this to say…
Cllr. Philip Read (Conservative): Resolutely opposed by
the opposition. Dragged screaming and kicking into reluctant acceptance and that
acceptance has been lukewarm to put it mildly.
11th July 2017.
Why is he intent on dragging Bexley Council into the gutter with his constant
Over the past month BiB has criticised Bexley Council very little…
• Its persistent neglect of drainage problems.
• My exclusion from the Belvedere Beach opening.
• The poorly designed barriers on the Ridgeway.
• The lame excuse dished out by Cabinet Member Bailey for for not scheduling a regeneration consultation in Slade Green. (Labour didn’t ask for one.)
• Narrowing roads are resulting in more accidents.
All pretty trivial stuff compared to what was covered only a couple of years ago.
So thank you Philip Read for being the one remaining reliable source of Bexley Council stupidity.
I don't usually put much effort into the last day of the month blogs because they tend to get lost within 24 hours, so this one will appear tomorrow as well. For good measure it will appear on the main Index page too until the next major lie from Bexley Council shows up.
Note: Councillor Francis’ words are edited to remove his lengthy description of what his disabled daughter likes most about playgrounds and what features help him most as a parent of a disabled child.