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It’s going to be impossible for me to get to next Wednesday’s Full Council meeting on time which means I will miss public questions.
A few years ago I would have been very disappointed by that. Five years ago people I knew would try hard to get the Council to accept a meaningful question but faced a barrage of rules designed to make things difficult and if possible rule them out of order. One was that anyone posing a question must agree to having their address published on Bexley Council’s web site. Fortunately the Information Commissioner had something to say about that.
If a question did get through the net it would face further obstacles, an answer to a different question might be given, it might become the subject of a filibuster or it could be timed out by slipping in questions from Tory supporters beforehand.
Gradually questions from members of the public diminished in number but next Wednesday we have one.
A Mr. Richard Diment has agreed to boost Councillor Craske’s ego by giving him an opportunity to brag about his new street cleaning machine.
Will the Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Environment and Leisure, provide details of the action being taken to improve the public realm and cleanliness of the Borough?
So who is this Richard Diment drafted in to do a double act with Craske for the benefit of the webcast cameras?
One doesn’t have to look far to find his support for Bexley Tories. (Chris Taylor was defeated in Blackfen by UKIP, the other names are all current Councillors.)
Look a bit harder and you will find references to Richard Diment handing out political leaflets to commuters at railway stations. I doubt they were Labour leaflets.
So Bexley Conservatives, dishonest as ever, have fallen back on the old planted question technique to push their too frequently dishonest propaganda. Talking of which
As one might expect, questions must be addressed to a Cabinet Member and relevant to his or her portfolio. A question to the Leader on knee fondling or to Cabinet Member Craske on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals would quite rightly be rejected. Similarly a question about Mayor Sadiq Khan’s policies or maybe lack thereof would not be accepted.
I know enough of the system not to ask such a question and our Labour Councillors most certainly do. But maybe you didn’t know in which case the most recent of Bexley Conservatives’ dishonest tricks might go unchallenged.
Now that his colleagues seem to have persuaded Councillor Philip Read that blatantly lying on his Twitter account is counter-productive the Tories have had to become far more devious.
The Evening Standard carried an article in August attacking the London Mayor’s record on house building and Bexley’s propaganda machine went into overdrive, goading Labour Councillors for not asking questions about Khan’s failures at Wednesday’s Council meeting.
How could they? There is no responsible Cabinet Member in Bexley at whom to aim such a question.
The Tories own rules would have seen such a question thrown straight out, nevertheless they have managed to distort reality into a story they hope will influence the borough’s gullible.
Bexley Tories have upped their lying game again but we are not all as stupid as they think we are.
Note: Just ten more days to go.