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Bonkers Blog April 2019

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30 April - Pull the other one, it has bluebells on it

The British Isles are the best place in the world to see Bluebells and Bexley is among the very best places in the British Isles to see huge expanses of them. They even manage to grow in my garden.
Lesnes Abbey Bluebells

Bluebells They grow in other people’s gardens too. The ones shown here are in the garden of the house nearest to the Townley Road roundabout, opposite Central Library.

Where you won’t see Bluebells however is on the Townley Road roundabout itself, that is just a weed patch more than a year after it was built. You used to see Bluebells there but not after FM Conway got their hands on it.

Perhaps that they don’t know that Bluebells are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

They may not know but Highways Manager Andrew Bashford does because he has been told several times.

A vocal resident of Townley Road wrote to him when the old roundabout was destroyed to ask him to look after the Bluebells and was told they would be and replaced when the roundabout was complete. Work began on it more than two years ago and while construction inevitably ran well past the scheduled date it was completed more than a year ago.

Isn’t that enough time to replant the Bluebells?

Roundabout Roundabout

My correspondent obtained a promise that the Bluebells would be back along with wild flowers in nearby verges.

Cockup or Bashford fib? It wouldn’t be the first.

Note: The pictures were all taken following an early morning bus ride to Bexleyheath today, the B.O. smells on it were stomach churning. Bexleyheath is a place I try to avoid but while walking through town to Townley Road from Asda and then to the Clocktower bus stop I couldn’t help but notice how run down and shabby it looked.

Patched up footpaths and third rate shop fronts. The one opposite the Clocktower couldn’t make up its mind whether it was a newsagent, phone and laptop repairer, vape shop, cafe or beauty salon. It claimed to offer all those services.

 

29 April - NHS envy of the world? Not when run by Barts Health NHS Trust

It seems that the East Ham visits will have to be lengthy and daily in the short term at least so there is little chance of Bexley Blogging. Regular readers may wish to give these hospital bulletins a miss but they are placed here to create a permanent record of the incompetence of the management and medical staff of Newham University Hospital all the way down to ward staff including the Sister who I would describe as callous.

HaltonWhen 24 syringes were delivered by courier without instructions a phone call to the hospital revealed that a District Nurse would visit on Saturday and Sunday. None did.

This morning (Monday) the receptionist at the General Practitioner’s surgery provided a phone number for the District Nurse. A quick call revealed that he already had his instructions from Newham Hospital and would be visiting quite soon.

He administered the injection but no one had told him there was a leg wound to be dressed. Perhaps worse is that the discharge notes told him that two injections were required but only one type had been supplied. To cut a long story short I collected the missing syringes this afternoon and the District Nurse returned this evening to do the necessary.

The Nurse wanted to know where the physiotherapists were and I explained that none had been seen since before Easter. Maybe as a result my aunt’s foot is now bent inwards by about 30 degrees. She cannot lift it and is in constant pain except when lying in bed. Because of that she went back to bed mid-morning today and slept for five hours.

The District Nurse said a commode should have been supplied as although the old lady has twice shuffled to the toilet in the middle of the night she cannot get off it, it is too low. No Occupation Health house inspection has been carried out, hence the commode problem and the failure to address the landing step issue.

He was concerned about bed sores now that the patient has been kicked out of a vibrating hospital bed far too early. He said it was a clear case of “a failed discharge” by Newham Hospital and went on to say there are far too many of them. He would make an appropriate complaint and request the missing items.

Social Services should have been advised to arrange rehabilitation. Absolutely none of those things have been done. The ward Sister told me last Wednesday that my aunt had been “passed as fit by all the professionals” and ready to be left to live alone as before the leg break. Total nonsense.

If I discover the Sister’s name I will add it to this report but presumably the policy is set by Discharge Consultant Charlotte Pratt, GMC Number 3083318.

Within the last few minutes my aunt’s GP has emailed his apologies and also uses the phrase “failed discharge”. He is going to raise his concerns with the Clinical Commissioning Group. Meanwhile the family is having to pay for almost constant attendance to cover Tony Halton’s failure.

 

Related blogs
25 April 2019. • 27 April 2019. • 29 April 2019. • 2 May 2019. • 3 May 2019 1st part. • 3 May 2019 2nd part. • 6 May 2019 1st part. • 6 May 2019 2nd part. • 7 May 2019. • 8 May 2019. • 9 May 2019. • 10 May 2019. • 11 May 2019. • 18 May 2019.
The Omnibus Edition.

 

27 April - Barts Health NHS Trust. Totally incompetent, dangerous and liars too

When my sister phoned Newham Hospital last Thursday afternoon to get my aunt’s discharge deferred until today (Saturday) she was told that all the professionals involved had passed her fit to live alone with care workers checking up on her occasionally and that hospital staff had been phoning me all day without reply.

That is a lie. There were no missed calls on my mobile and my landline is equipped with a Truecall device that logs all activity to the web. If I pick up the phone, dial 0 and change my mind, it is logged. Similarly if there is an incoming caller who rings off for any reason, the time, their number (or withheld) and duration are logged as a permanent record. No such calls were logged while my aunt was in hospital. Not once did they call me.

I do not believe the comment about being fit to live alone either. There had been only one bowel movement in hospital and not once during my daily visits did I see her get out of her chair or bed unaided. She had to be lifted every time and as mentioned already the physiotherapists all took four days off for Easter.

NewhamMy sister and I got ourselves up to East Ham from Hampshire by 11 a.m., both of us anticipating a long wait because the hospital was unable to give any clue about her likely discharge time.

At six minutes past eleven the hospital rang my mobile number to make sure we were ready to accept the patient because transport had been arranged.

At 13:39 they rang again, same message. Was I ready and waiting? They knew nothing of the earlier call. Internal communication is not Newham Hospital’s strong point.

Thirty minutes later an ambulance delivered a bewildered old lady to the threshold of her own front door with the aid of her own wheelchair. She was crying out in pain as she shuffled to her favourite chair and we looked in vain for any instructions on how she should be treated.

Could we give her paracetamol or had she just had some? Don’t know.

She needed the toilet and remembered how to use the chair lift but her 120 year old house has a step on the top landing between the stairs and the bathroom and bedroom. She cannot lift her leg. It took two people to carry her over the step. The care worker I had hired for the bedtime shift could not manage it alone.

If the staff at Newham Hospital were truly professional they would have discovered that their patient cannot lift her feet off the ground. If the promised Occupational Therapists had visited the house they may have realised that some adaptation was required but they couldn’t be bothered to take a look. It looks as though I will have to make another visit with some timber and a saw.

At 18:41 my mobile rang again. It was the courier company CityLink. The hospital had forgotten to give the medical supplies to their ambulance crew and the courier had been asked to collect them for delivery to my aunt’s address. Unfortunately their instructions did not say where they were to be collected from. Newham Hospital, incompetent to the very end.


Tayberry wardI told them that my only contact point was Tayberry ward at Newham Hospital. Half an hour later a motorcyclist was at the door clutching 24 loaded syringes with instructions to administer them subcutaneously. How? Who by?

When I got home I found a message on my landline answerphone. It said “Hello sir, I am the District Nurse and I…” and then it cut off.

When my aunt broke her hip in 2015 (it was her leg this time) she was kept in a recuperation unit for seven weeks after the two in hospital before she was judged fit to go home, but Barts Health NHS Trust decided to close it.

Now they dump constipated immobile old ladies in their own home without doing any check on whether the house is in a good enough state or whether the family has made suitable arrangements. Professional? What a joke.

I will have to get a commode for the bedroom. Where do you get one of those at the weekend?

My sister goes on holidays frequently and will be away in just a couple of weeks time; what if I become unwell and cannot make the trip to East Ham every day? I’ve trialled a care home but the old lady spends her time packing a suitcase to go home and refuses to eat.


Newham. Worst hospital in London I had already doubled the care workers hours and in the short term there is 24/7 cover but it looks like two carers will be needed to negotiate that step.

I very much hope that Newham University Hospital is the worst one in the country, although Whipp’s Cross must surely be hard to beat, because if this is typical of the incompetence on daily display by hospitals then perhaps we should privatise the lot and sack the incompetents. Starting with Newham’s Geriatric Consultant, Doctor Pratt might be a good plan.


That review in full…


I am horrified by the the way my elderly Father is being treated at this hospital (Thistle Ward). He was admitted on Thursday night, 27 October, as he was seriously ill and had a very bad infection, and we were Informed that he was developing septicaemia. In spite of his medical condition when we rushed to the hospital at about 2300hrs he was lucid and was glad to see his family. On Sunday when we visited him, he told us that he was lying in excrement for a long time and when he informed the night nurses to clean him they just did not bother. Another patient who was in the same bay as my Dad said that the two nurses were watching a horror movie and shouted at my Father! What kind of nursing staff does Newham employ - I feel you are scraping the barrel when it comes to recruiting your nurses.

My Father hasn’t had a decent meal since he has been in hospital as he keeps throwing up. When I mentioned this to the doctor today (1st Nov), they informed me that they saw him eating, but having three small spoonfuls of Weetabix is not a proper meal. Since he has been in hospital he has not had any lunch or dinner. In spite of not eating he has diarrhoea frequently and the doctors need to investigate why this is happening.

This evening (2 Nov) my Father was transferred to a side room and am very concerned that they will just forget about him and he will be covered in excrement as there are no other patients who can raise the alarm. My sister visited him this evening and found he had no nappy or blankets on him. My Father went into hospital with a fully functioning brain but lack of liquid, food and care has reduced him to a shadow of his former self. Please look after your frail patients.

As no one is listening to the family’s concerns, I feel the next step is his MP. I did speak to PALS at the hospital today but I had the feeling that it was a waste of time.

I am so worried that my Father might be treated badly by the unprofessional nursing staff in the side room where there are witnesses. Such a disgusting hospital for not caring.


Thistle and Tayberry wards are adjacent geriatric units.

 

Related blogs
25 April 2019. • 27 April 2019. • 29 April 2019. • 2 May 2019. • 3 May 2019 1st part. • 3 May 2019 2nd part. • 6 May 2019 1st part. • 6 May 2019 2nd part. • 7 May 2019. • 8 May 2019. • 9 May 2019. • 10 May 2019. • 11 May 2019. • 18 May 2019.
The Omnibus Edition.

 

26 April - Abbey Wood. The chaos continues

So Crossrail is unlikely to serve Abbey Wood until late 2020 at best which for Bexley Council may be good news; it is just possible that they will have the local roads ready by then.

CCTV CCTV CCTVHowever across the borough border Greenwich Council has sprung a surprise. After months, years even, of telling local traders that there is no money available for CCTV surveillance in Wilton Road, three support masts appeared. No consultation or anything, they just appeared one day.

Can’t complain obviously but it is all rather strange. Just as well the CCTV is to be on the Greenwich side of the road because Bexley doesn’t monitor theirs.

Gayton Road Gayton RoadAt the station end of Wilton Road, Gayton Road is being given a smart new makeover and it is all beginning to look very good but why is the construction method so very different to that employed elsewhere? In Harrow Manorway where the traffic is much heavier granite blocks have been embedded in concrete set above a steel reinforced concrete base.

The same technique was used in Overton Road and the entrance to Sainsbury’s despite the traffic levels being much lower.

But not in Gayton Road. There concrete blocks have been set in sand above an asphalt base. That is exactly the same construction technique used on my front drive.

That has remained stable for the past twelve years but then I don’t have buses and delivery vehicles using it on full steering lock every few minutes.

It looks good but for how long?


Felixstowe Road Felixstowe RoadOn the other side of the tracks Felixstowe Road was scheduled to get the same treatment starting on 23rd April. How goes it?

Not especially well at present; the station lifts are barricaded and parking has been restricted. Beyond that progress has been confined to some paint on the footpath indicating where utility services might be.

The completion date is a beautifully vague Autumn 2019. After originally forecasting completion by June last year you can understand why Bexley Council is keen to take a leaf out of Crossrail’s latest forecasting techniques.

In Felixstowe Road one must wonder if the new convenience store can survive months of limited access. They have already applied for permission to convert part of the shop to a take-away.

 

25 April - Bed blocking. Barts Health NHS Trust haven’t a clue how to manage it

Cabinet Member for Adults’ Services Brad Smith and his Director Stuart Rowbotham have often said how their collaboration with the NHS reduces bed blocking by elderly people to one of the lowest in the country. There is no reason not to accept their word for it and perhaps they could sell their expertise to Newham University Hospital which is part of the Barts Health NHS Trust and in dire need of an injection of common sense.

Olive I mentioned ten days ago that my aunt, 99 in a month’s time, had broken her leg and it might curtail blogging for a while.

There could be no complaints about A&E on the day of admission (Saturday 13th April); the doctor told me they would have to pin the thigh bone back together the next day and warned me that if things didn’t go well she might die from infections.

But things did go well and 48 hours later another doctor told me what would happen over the next week or so.

She would be given at least a week of physiotherapy to get her moving as soon as possible, her house would be inspected to make sure it was suitable for her eventual return and Newham Social Services would have to be informed to arrange a care package. (†)

In the event she was given one or two days of physiotherapy before all the staff buzzed off for a four day Easter break. No house inspection was carried out and as far as I know Social Services were not informed, certainly I have had no contact with them.

The 26 bed ward appeared to be run by two nurses over Easter which proved to be quite dangerous when they were busy elsewhere while my aunt was trying to stand and head for the door on a broken leg.

At no time have I seen a doctor or a physiotherapist since A&E and the only accessible person with a title was the dietician who was concerned that there had been no bowel movement since the operation.

That changed while I was visiting yesterday afternoon.

Earlier in the week, in the absence of any information, I was guessing that my aunt would be discharged by this weekend so I made arrangements with the care company I have been employing for the past year to resume attendance from this coming Saturday but doubling their hours of attendance. My sister would also come up from Hampshire to be with her aunt full time for at least the weekend.

Yesterday afternoon (Wednesday) the old lady got it into her head that I’d come to take her home and was making serious demands such that I could not just walk away. I told her I would be in trouble if I just took her away but that cut no ice.

I found the dietician, the only person to be located within 20 minutes, and asked him if he would put on his best authoritarian voice and tell my aunt that she could not leave with me. As soon as he began speaking I headed for the door. However two ladies in blue, one dark and one light blue, appeared and told me that she would be discharged today. (Thursday.)

I said that wasn’t possible because the carers’ rota had to adjusted and my sister would need time to make her own arrangements. In terms of office hours I was given no more than two hours notice to bring forward the care package because she was going home anyway. A near 99 year old who lives alone and who I have not yet seen on her feet because of the lack of physios and who is constipated and still needs a catheter was to be dumped and deserted in a home with no fresh food by uncaring medics.

I phoned my sister to see if she could come up today (Thursday) but she had her own hospital appointment in Basingstoke. I said to my sister that the three medical staff just a few feet away from me “did not have a single brain cell between them”. Knowing that they hadn’t got a key to get her into the house I left them to it.

Today, unknown to me, the vicar, the churchwarden and another friend all visited together. They got there just in time to see my aunt waiting at the exit for transport home. No formal request to me to get her home, no check with the care company that they could attend - I rechecked with them and they had heard nothing - no walking frame or commode provided and no key to get her into the house.

When the three visitors protested that she couldn’t be left to fend for herself they said her son - they can’t get anything right - would have to sit with her all night and as one of the visitors said, wipe her bum as necessary. Do they think a 99 year old spinster who never even had a boy friend in her younger days should be subjected to that sort of indignity?

A doctor then showed up to say she had been looking after the 99 year old (I had seen the name Dr. Pratt on the notice above the bed) but admitted when questioned she had been on a week’s leave. I am told that the church warden said after she left “Pratt by name, prat by nature” to which the vicar nodded agreement.

The churchwarden gave me a running commentary of these developments by phone and did a first rate job of telling the incompetents where they were going badly wrong. I didn’t want to phone them myself as I knew I would be telling them exactly what I thought of them and things might get heated, instead I asked my sister to phone.

She could only get hold of a nurse who was persuaded that discharge should be deferred until Saturday morning and she would ring back confirmation when she had it; but so far as midnight approaches; nothing.

The care company still believe that there can be no discharge until they confirm a care package is in place and no one has asked them to do that.

I still haven’t heard anything from the hospital directly except that there was a Withheld number call to my mobile while I was driving this afternoon, so it went unanswered. Maybe that would have been the first formal advice of the discharge that had been attempted several hours earlier.

I already had three complaints lined up for hospital management, now there’ll be four!

The last thing I would want. Much better to pay for someone who really cares.

 

Related blogs
25 April 2019. • 27 April 2019. • 29 April 2019. • 2 May 2019. • 3 May 2019 1st part. • 3 May 2019 2nd part. • 6 May 2019 1st part. • 6 May 2019 2nd part. • 7 May 2019. • 8 May 2019. • 9 May 2019. • 10 May 2019. • 11 May 2019. • 18 May 2019.
The Omnibus Edition.

 

24 April - What Crossrail means to Abbey Wood

Bexley Council told Wilton Road traders when Crossrail work began that they were sitting on little gold mines.

 

23 April (Part 3) - Who runs the better rail service, Southeastern or TfL?

I spent the day in London, a broken rail at Plumstead or some such thing and emergency engineering work somewhere near Cannon Street on the way back. Wow! Platform 1 at London Bridge which has sections no more than four feet wide is a really dangerous place when trains are running 15 minutes late and the escalator delivers ever increasing numbers of passengers into a space already jammed solid.

The new London Bridge is station is an abomination from a passengers’ point of view in many ways but that and today’s issues are a Network Rail problem.

Today Bexley Labour Party is agitating via a Press release for Southeastern to be taken over by TfL. The Slade Green via Woolwich Arsenal line boasts eight trains an hour while the three Overground lines I use most frequently run four and in one case only three trains an hour. That’s a long time to wait when one gets cancelled.

But the fares are lower on TfL and us oldies are able to travel free before nine thirty in the morning.

See if Bexley Labour can persuade you that things would be better under Sadiq Khan.

 

23 April (Part 2) - Arsonists return to Lesnes

The following report is left here but it is very mysterious. An early morning visit to the Lesnes Abbey playground has revealed no sign of damage to any equipment and I can only conclude that the photographic evidence of fire is deceptive. It seems unlikely that a regular commentator to Bonkers would be responsible for a hoax message. Apologies for the misinformation or at the very least exaggerated arson report.

Fire Fire CraskeI have been early to bed for the last few night after tiring days fielding silly questions in a Newham hospital and grappling with the lack of Bank Holiday transport but a neighbour has reported that I missed the return of the arsonists to Lesnes Abbey playground. Fortunately the fire brigade turned up before too much damage could be done she says although Photo 2 suggests otherwise.

The amount of vandalism and petty criminality in and around Abbey Wood is getting out of hand with two youngsters having their phones nicked by a ginger haired hooligan from Bexleyheath and a toddler knocked off his bike by a marauding off road motorcyclist in the past 24 hours alone. All in Lesnes Abbey park.

Councillor Craske is going to go absolutely ballistic if damage has been done again and who would blame him?

If the useless police spent less of their time looking for hurtful words on the internet I might have some respect for them, until then, absolutely none.

Picture 1 from 9th June 2015.

 

23 April (Part 1) - Labour favours Red

Last Wednesday Labour Councillor Nicola Taylor reintroduced the Motion which she formulated last Summer but not debated in November 2018 when the Council ran out of debating time. It will seem odd to many that Council procedures allow a subject that both political parties agree is important to be kicked into the long grass for six months, but it was.

TaylorCouncillor Taylor (Labour, Erith) wanted Bexley Council to support The Red Box Project which aims to provide sanitary products to girls who might otherwise have to miss school. The Motion rather provocatively said that “This Council recognises that recent Welfare Reforms have left families of young girls with the choice of not eating to be able to afford sanitary products or missing vital days at school”.

Why do they do that? They know that such a choice of words will be a red rag to the Tory bull.

Another problem with the well meaning Motion is that since it was originally proposed the Secretary of State for Education has agreed to provide free menstrual products for girls in receipt of free school meals from next September (secondary schools) and 2020 (primary schools).

Councillor Taylor’s address to the Council was heartfelt but overtly political mentioning along the way that a previous Education Secretary [the always appalling] Justine Greening rejected such a scheme in 2017 and a school in Theresa May’s constituency begged parents for donations of toilet rolls.

She explained in sometimes graphic detail involving socks and newspapers the problems created in poor families by “period poverty” and how The Red Box Project set about helping them.

In Bexley they were already distributing products through the libraries in Welling, Blackfen and Erith but full and official Council support was required.


OgundayoCouncillor Mabel Ogundayo (Thamesmead East) seconded the Motion saying among other things that she doubted many in the room would have any idea what sanitary products cost. £10 per month was her estimate and being one of the ignorant myself I was moved to check the prices on Amazon and discovered that they ranged from nine to twenty pence per item. £10 is a figure supported by some surveys but not the ladies I plucked up the courage to ask who suggested 20 tampons per month would be an absolute maximum number.

Even so, if you have maybe three daughters that is quite a chunk of money if you haven’t any spare.

But I digress, how would such a laudable Motion as Nicola Taylor’s go down with Conservative Councillors?

The Motion was applauded by Labour Members but the Conservatives sat in stony silence however they must have liked it because they pulled their usual trick to cover such eventualities; they produced their own alternative Motion to ensure that the Labour Group would not be able to claim credit for it.

The dirty deed fell to Councillor Caroline Newton (Conservative, East Wickham). Her alternative Motion praised the Red Box Project and welcomed the government initiatives. However it failed to specifically support the Project and naturally it omitted the implied criticism of government policy.

Relying on the government alone will kick help for period poverty another six months or more down the road. More than a year in total of Bexley Council procrastination. Politics must always come before people.

Councillor Howard Jackson (Conservative, Barnehurst) spoke in support of the alternative Motion adding that “this is a service not best suited to the voluntary sector”. I was disappointed to hear him introduce political point scoring to such an important debate and ridiculing Labour’s support for the voluntary sector and referring to their usual “disdain”. He seconded the amended Motion. Labour Leader Daniel Francis (Belvedere) said “it was a cheap remark” and he was right. He said that he knew school teachers who were buying sanitary products for pupils out of their own pockets and it was disappointing that that Red Box was getting cross party support in neighbouring boroughs but not in Bexley.

Just before the vote was taken Cabinet Member for Education made a surprise announcement. He said that he had been in touch with every secondary school and found that every single one of them already supplied free sanitary products to those who needed them, either through Red Box or by negotiation with manufacturers. How this can be reconciled with Councillor Francis’s comment is unknown.

The vote was taken and #doitforbexley was relegated to the back seat, however given John Fuller’s announcement Bexley Council’s failure to act now should have little effect.

Labour Group Press Release.

 

22 April - The Leader’s report. Fabulous!

O'NeillCouncil Leader Teresa O’Neill is very fond of the F word, everything her Council does is Fantastic.

In her most recent report to Council she began by saying that the Council is fortunate to have so many Fantastic volunteers which make it a great place to live #doitforbexley and paid tribute to the three former Councillors who had died since the last Council meeting. Mike Slaughter, Helen Fuller and Aileen Beckwith.

She was “delighted” by The Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission Report and the provision of £4·85 million for the Abbey Wood to Ebbsfleet viability study. “It was a major step forward and a Fantastic result for Bexley.”

“It is Fantastic that Bexley is to get two Special Free Schools. It is absolutely Fantastic and it keeps young people in local schools and ensures they will get a good education.”

“It is absolutely Fantastic that Sidcup will see a new Library and Picture House. It will drive up footfall and that will be Fantastic.”

Unfortunately the Post Office in Sidcup is likely to close and following the successful scheme in Crayford the Council is considering whether it will be possible to offer the Post Office accommodation in the new Sidcup library too.

“Councillor Craske has sent out pictures today of the Fantastic proposals for Hall Place.” She had already been there for the start of the Alcock & Brown centenary celebrations and “it is an absolutely Fantastic venue, the site really is absolutely Fantastic”.

“Some Fantastic work has been done by Graham Ward to bring about Digital Infrastructure.” (The free town centre wi-fi that has been promised.) “David Bryce has been absolutely Fantastic with his work with BT Openreach It will mean we are the best connected borough in London. Isn’t that Fantasic?”

“The new bins will be rolled out later this year as a result of us listening to residents; they said the boxes were a pain and really Fantastic that is.

The Bexley Housing Strategy is “costing us money but we have to do things better.”

Getting the cancer and dialysis unit into Queen Mary’s Hospital was “absolutely Fantastic. You get a better service in there than you would in a private hospital”. (I’m pleased to hear that, I am just back from Newham University Hospital, least said about that the better!)

“It really is a Fantastic service.”

Not fantastic is the police Basic Command Unit. “We weren’t in favour, we had a certain amount of concern about it and we have had a lot of teething troubles to start off with. We have less time with the BCU Commander and the Deputy Mayor of London promised a meeting which hasn’t happened”.

“The Safer Neighbourhood Panel meetings have been downgraded because the police see them as a waste of their time. The tasking teams are going to be disbanded.”

There are as you can see, a lot of good things going on at present so maybe there is some justification for the frequent use of the F word, and it’s contagious. Both Councillors John Fuller and Daniel Francis used the same word while making comments, Daniel more than once. Not so fantastic was his revelation that the Labour spokesman on Education was “disinvited” from a Ministerial meeting with the Council. “Who did that?” he wanted to know. Council Leader O’Neill didn’t know how Councillor Perfect came to be invited and disinvited, it was never her intention that she should be there.

 

21 April - Stage managed questions

MayorWith members of the public realising the futility of asking questions at Council meetings, Councillors were given the whole of the 30 minutes allocated and eight of them were able to squeeze in their questions last Wednesday.

Councillor Wendy Perfect (Labour, Northumberland Heath) asked how the Cabinet Member was going to deal with the £3·2 million hole in the education budget.

She was told it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was in other boroughs. The cuts elsewhere had resulted in some parents taking schools to court because of poor spending decisions. His priority was educating children locally and keeping expenditure as low as possible. The new software for SEN transport is helping to reduce costs.

Council Esther Amaning (Labour, Thamesmead East) asked a question about SEN assessments and was told that they were being performed on time. Appeals against decisions were more than five times lower than in the next best nearby borough. Some are ten times worse.

Councillor Melvin Seymour (Conservative, Crayford) asked Cabinet Member Peter Craske how many people had signed up for picking up a piece of plastic waste once a week. The answer was 2,600. He then multiplied the number by 50 to get to the yearly total, 130,000 pieces. By some convoluted logic Craske managed to twist the question back to criticism of the Labour Group. “As we all know, they are the fly tippers’ friend.”

Councillor Linda Bailey (Conservative, Crook Log) came up with the best question of the past year or so. She thanked people for giving their time to be school governors. Would the Cabinet Education join her in thanking them? “Yes”, he would. Now there’s a surprise.

Councillor Stefano Borella asked the Cabinet Member for Growth about train services and in particular would they be better operated by TfL.

Regular long suffering commuter Louie French said his answer would depend on TfL’s business plan and whether Bexley would have any say in what it was. Following my recent Overground journey from Stratford to Richmond which was standing room only all the way to Kew Gardens, I think I know which I prefer.

Councillor Bacon (Conservative, Longlands) made a political point. Given “the mess that Sadiq Khan has made of TfL’s finances” did the Cabinet Member think the Mayor could afford to make improvements? Councillor French said that he had “already maxed out his borrowing limit of £12·6 billion” and related the tales of woe which are Crossrail, the deteriorating bus services and the strikes which he promised to halt. A minute long political speech quoting Margaret Thatcher followed accompanied by table thumping and applause from the Conservative benches.

Councillor Joe Ferreira (Labour, Erith) asked how many people had been referred to the Council through the StreetLink housing support services. Cabinet Member Alex Sawyer said the answer was six. He went on to restate his abhorrence of the housing situation that has been allowed to develop in the world’s fifth or sixth largest economy. Councillor Howard Jackson (Conservative, Barnehurst) said it was “a scourge”.

Councillor Richard Diment’s (Conservative, Sidcup) question may have come from the same book as Linda Bailey’s. The Mayor bravely tried to give it a miss but was pulled up and apologised for attempting to go directly to Councillor Pallen’s question. The profound question asked if Alex Sawyer agreed that Bexley’s volunteer workers made it a strong community.

And sure enough he did - but not without referring back to the previous Full Council meeting which had seen Cabinet Member Leaf ranting about Labour Councillor Dave Putson (Belvedere). His claim was that Councillor Putson didn’t like volunteers. Councillor Mable Ogundayo (Labour, Thamesmead East) said that some volunteer groups were “at breaking point due to picking up the slack of jobs the Council had traditionally done”. Cabinet Member Alex Sawyer said he was “sceptical” about the opposition spokesman’s position but accepted that many groups were at breaking point.

A question from the same mould came from Councillor Eileen Pallen (Conservative, Bexleyheath). She asked the Cabinet Member to pay tribute to the volunteers and charities providing support to older people. “I certainly do” he dutifully replied.

So what did we learn from 30 minutes of questioning apart from 2,600 times 50 being 130,000?

That Councillor French shares my opinion of Mayor Sadiq Khan; that’s about it.

 

20 April (Part 2) - Bexley Conservatives lend their support to Jeremy Corbyn

Slogan HackettThis was Bexley Conservative’s election slogan a year ago and pretty effective it was too, they were returned with an increased majority. But was it an honest slogan? Only when it suits them apparently.

When Councillor Danny Hackett became so disillusioned with what he saw as a hard left Labour party that he could tolerate it no more, did the Tories do all in their power to support him and maybe encourage others?

No not a bit of it.

Leaving Labour was an enormous step for Danny who had been a member of the party for around four years before he was eligible to vote but he has a serious problem with dishonesty, hypocrisy and what some might term bullshit. He is totally against it and in politics that can be a handicap.

True to form most of his Labour party ‘friends’ have shown themselves to be anything but, showering him with abusive comments.

Bexley Conservatives are a little more subtle than that, last Wednesday they decided that being anti-Corbyn needs to be punished and they voted to exclude Councillor Hackett from all Committees. They didn’t have to.

Danny objected.
TweetTweet
After thanking residents and Council officers for their support he said “some people in this room will stop at nothing to use the institutions of this Council to score cheap political points. It is pathetic political posturing”. While not disputing the regulations he said “a consensus could have been reached as in the past to ensure a Councillor outside the two main political parties could have been given a space on Council Committees. I am extremely disappointed it hasn’t happened. In my opinion, all the time Committee allocations are under the control of Group Leaders and Chief Whips the residents we represent are being dealt a great disservice.”
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He knew his decision to leave Labour would not be easy but he would now only be allowed to represent the residents of Thamesmead East at Full Council meetings “and these as we all know are politically stage managed events. People know what questions are going to be asked, Motions are agreed in advance, it is a managed event. As an Independent it is very difficult to be an effective voice in this Chamber”.

He did not think “if a single Green or Liberal Democrat was elected” to the Council they would be simply “given a pass and told where the loos are” and nothing else. Councillor Hackett has had his desk and telephone taken away by Conservatives for having the courage to denounce Jeremy Corbyn. Being vindictive comes naturally to them.

Cabinet Member David Leaf was the only Councillor to express some sympathy for Councillor Hackett’s position and the abuse he has suffered at the hands of former colleagues but he endorsed the decision to downgrade his status.
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Danny was the only Councillor to vote against the punishment for courage.

Over the coming weeks and months I will be twisting Councillor Hackett’s arm and buying beer if necessary, to obtain more details of what he has so far only hinted at. If I read between the lines correctly some of his erstwhile colleagues are not the pleasant and good natured people I had taken them to be.

 

20 April (Part 1) - Read and write no evil

ReadThe most curious and maybe most interesting part of Wednesday’s Full Council meeting was approved without a word of debate. It was the Philip Read amendment to the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.

Councillors have been told not to Tweet while their judgment is impaired and if Philip Read sticks to the new rule the opportunities for ridiculing him will be much reduced. The new rules appeared in draft form a month ago and now they are ‘law’.

What will we do for a good laugh now?

Code of Conduct
What will Councillor Read do after a glass or two if he cannot freely distribute insults?
Code of Conduct
But perhaps he will exploit the following potential loophole? Among the Don’ts relating to attacks, insults, abuse and defamation there isn’t actually anything about directing bile at residents. You can’t do it to Council staff, colleagues or professionals but residents seem to be fair game.

Why? Maybe they aren’t so important in the mind of Bexley Council. Certainly the Code of Conduct Committee was happy to defend insults only six months ago.Code of Conduct
I rather like this bit. No blocking except as a last resort. Both Councillor Philip Read and Council Leader Teresa O’Neill blocked me from viewing their Tweets from the moment I joined Twitter, and in the Leader’s case from the moment she set up her own account.

They achieve nothing of course, anyone who uses Twitter for more than trivia has two accounts. One for posting and another for following account holders who are so ashamed of what they write they don’t want to see it quoted more widely.

Do what I say, not what I do.
Code of Conduct
The weird thing is that I usually agree with Philip Read’s more serious musings.

 

19 April - Councillor Hackett sees Red?

There were several interesting bits and pieces discussed at last Wednesday’s Full Council and two resulted in Press Releases from disgruntled Councillors.

First was the Labour Group’s motion on co-operation with a voluntary group called Red Box which aims to provide free sanitary products to young school girls. As usual the Conservatives were determined not to allow Labour to take credit for anything that looks like a good idea so they modified the Motion quite considerably and approved their own alternative proposals leaving Labour high and dry and more than a little upset about it. The Conservative Motion involves a delayed start date and doesn’t mention Red Box. Labour’s Press Release is here.

The other thing that resulted in a Press Release was the Conservative and Labour determination to kick Independent Councillor Danny Hackett off committees. Standing up against anti-Semitism and Jeremy Corbyn’s inability to deal with it must be punished. One can understand the Labour Group contriving to punish Danny as much as possible but the Conservatives too?

Their election manifesto last year was strong on the slogan ‘Hard Left or Just Right’ but when they have the opportunity to welcome the demise of the Left they back them to the hilt and seek to deprive the people of Thamesmead East of Committee representation.

Councillor Hackett wasn’t happy and put out this Press Release.
Press Release
Note: There will be a full report on both subjects at some time during the weekend but meanwhile daily trips to Newham are taking their toll on time. Things could be going better there.

 

18 April (Part 2) - A conflict of interests?

Church HallThis church hall in Devonshire Road Bexleyheath looks to be a minor eyesore to me, maybe the church authorities think so too because they have submitted a planning application 19/00799/FUL to build a block of four flats in its place.

And what is remarkable about that?

It is right next door to Planning Committee Vice-Chairman Val Clark’s house in Standard Road.

Seems to me that flats might look better than the hall and create fewer traffic problems.

Will she think so too?

 

18 April (Part 1) - Trouble for London

UnwashedThe sanctimonious pointless people (to quote Bexley Councillor Gareth Bacon) or brainless soap dodgers as they are better known who have wrought havoc on London in recent days under the nose of a supportive Mayor and utterly useless police force could have waited for the weekend when the various transport authorities are taking on the job for them.

I need to be in Richmond tomorrow. There are no trains to London on the Dartford via Abbey Wood and Greenwich line and if I take the bus to Bexleyheath station I won’t find any trains to London there either.

The obvious answer is a taxi to Woolwich Arsenal - I will be accompanied by someone who cannot walk too well - and get the DLR to the Bank/Monument for a Richmond bound District line train. But that’s no good either. There is no DLR service from Woolwich Arsenal to London tomorrow.

I know; get a DLR train to West Ham and get on the District line there. Forget it, the District line isn’t running tomorrow.

So that leaves two options. Jubilee from Canning Town to Waterloo and the half hourly fast train to Richmond or DLR to Stratford and Overground direct to Richmond. The scenic route via North London.

Has Andrew Bashford been put in charge of rail planning now?

I’d probably use the Jubilee if it was just me but it will be packed solid and my friend isn’t up to standing all the way.

Incidentally Stratford to Richmond costs £4.60 single on the Jubilee line route but only £1.50 on the Overground.

 

17 April - Road planning madness

Abbey WoodThe three hour traffic delays in Crayford caused by Thames Water are said to be over but Bexley Council hasn’t finished with Abbey Wood yet.

It planned to close all four carriageways of Eastern Way for four weeks while the parallel Eynsham Drive was closed for six so that they could repair the A2016’s central barrier. Offer up thanks that Bexley’s road manager Andrew Bashford is not yet in charge of the nation’s motorways.

The Eynsham Drive closure was deferred but with the diversion route of Harrow Manorway and Yarnton Way both currently reduced to half width the tail backs have stretched back to Plumstead and it takes up to an hour to traverse Harrow Manorway. The 180 and 401 bus routes are effectively cancelled as they are being cut short to retain some sort of timetable on the rest of their routes.

Traffic is scheduled to be back to normal in two weeks time but before then there will be added disruption in Felixstowe Road.

The regeneration work scheduled for November 2017 or January 2018 dependent on which leaflet you have to hand is set to begin next week.

Some details may be read here.

As you will see, Felixstowe Road is to be closed completely in June. The relief road will be Eynsham Drive but with its six week closure deferred to after Eastern Way is opened in the week commencing 6th May, it’s not impossible that both will be closed at the same time.

They wouldn’t be that mad would they?

I wouldn’t bet on it.

 

16 April - Worse than Philip Read?

BlockedI quite like Councillor Gareth Bacon. He did a good job with refuse collection ten years ago and talks a lot of sense as Conservative Leader at City Hall. He is not very vocal at Bexley Council meetings but when he is he is on the ball.

The only time I remember him behaving like an idiot was when his wife made a right old mess of Chairing a Scrutiny meeting back in 2013 and he shouted threats to a member of the public who challenged her. I suppose that is just about understandable but I’m not sure what his excuse for behaving like a school kid now might be.

Like Gareth I assume, I think Sidcup4remain frequently posts a lot of nonsense from her anonymous keyboard and I am reminded of David Cameron’s notorious description of Twitter users, but maybe the nonsense is not as extreme as that which comes from another local Labour activist, No time for Racists. I have often thought I should block the latter if for no other reason than having a stupid name - but I haven’t.

I think it is necessary to listen to all views in order to broaden one’s horizons. I even manage to listen to James O’Brien on LBC to remind myself what rabid Socialism might be like.

When Gareth Bacon has sobered up maybe he will have second thoughts.

By the way, Michael Heseltine is not as stupidly provocative as David Lammy, not even close although I do dislike him intensely for being the architect of the Council Tax.

When he is on the radio I am usually thinking “Isn’t it about time you fell off your perch”.

Councillor Bacon is of course not worse than Councillor Read, how could anyone be? When he resorts to Twitter to insult residents and issue false accusations, I might change my mind.

 

15 April - The good, the bad and the bespectacled in Sevenoaks

CanvassersYesterday’s news about the Independent candidate standing for election to Sevenoaks District Council provoked a variety of comment. I was relieved to hear via Twitter that I had not unintentionally upset Anna Firth, Sevenoaks Council’s Cabinet Member for Legal and Democratic Services and General Election Candidate here in Bexley in 2015.

There was an interest in spreading the news of the candidate’s record in Bexley and her various encounters with authority, something that I confess had passed my mind too. I'd love to see a copy of her election address. Anyone got one?

One email suggested ensuring that Google searches revealed the truth but Bonkers already comes up before maxinefothergill.com on Google searches for Maxine Fothergill.

Although the absolutely useless and most probably corrupt Kent Police accepted Ms. Fothergill’s signed statement that she was found Not Guilty of breaching Bexley Council’s Code of Conduct and charged me with harassment, in part, for reporting that she was, the truth is still freely available on Bexley’s website.

A summary of her encounter with Sevenoaks Council over breaches of planning law are indexed here and of course the documents relating to the infamous High Court appearance are all on line too.

Spreading the word further will be a question of someone with time on their hands following appropriate Face Book Groups and Twitter accounts.

My favourite email response was this one, anonymous but maybe some mischievous Councillor.


Fothergill is not interested in getting elected the only reason she is standing is, that as a candidate she gets an official copy of the electoral roll which will enable her to find all the lonely old ladies and help them get into a home.


Note: There may be an interruption to blogging, the Old Lady of Newham has broken her leg.

 

14 April (Part 3) - Not totally Bonkers then?

CanvassersThe Conservative Party nationally has as most people will recognise gone stark staring bonkers much to the chagrin of local activists who by and large are in despair of how their party leader transformed a once great country into an international laughing stock. For proof that pockets of sanity remain in Conservative ranks one might do worse than take a look at Sevenoaks Council where former Bexley Councillor Maxine Fothergill was to be seen canvassing for the Conservative cause only a month ago.

Take a look at the Nomination Paper below and savour what you see. Somebody has been rumbled at last.

Whatever you might think of them nationally, everyone should hope that the three address shy Tories romp home in Fawkham and West Kingsdown.
Nominations

 

14 April (Part 2) - Bad PR for P and R

Expenditure P and R lose £27 million
Lots of times I have heard Bexley Council say that it always places contracts with local companies if it can and P and R Installations is a local company based in Sidcup specialising in small and not quite so small building and maintenance jobs.

They have contracts with 13 London boroughs including Bexley and several more further afield plus a good handful of housing associations.

There are allegations on the web that they have been guilty of ripping customers off and it could be that there is no smoke without fire because it is also reported that Dover District Council is looking for a new contractor.

A web search will reveal allegations of gas leaks, no heating, failed appointments and perhaps most serious of all, forged gas safety certificates. It is said that just a handful of local authority contracts add up to more than £20 million.

Does Bexley Council know about this? Maybe they should be prompted into taking a look.

I don’t often look at the Council’s list of bills paid over £500, it is too easy to deceive readers because of the lack of full information and therefore it’s rarely worthwhile but when I looked today discovered that it had not been updated for the last four months. The figures shown come from November 2018.

 

14 April (Part 1) - Plastic Peter

Do It For BexleyAs ideas go, this one by Councillor Peter Craske is not a bad one, far better than his decision to take up blogging, that’s for sure.

Quite why residents have to sign up in order to be motivated to pick up litter I do not know. One of my neighbours scours all the local streets for litter once or twice a week. She is often to be seen with her pick up stick and bag and has been doing her little job for longer than I can remember. No sign up and probably no thanks either and no Peter required.

My litter picking is mainly confined to tidying up at the local street bins although sometimes they are so disgustingly contaminated that they require professional attention.

My neighbour is not alone in her unofficial endeavours, a resident wrote to me this week as follows…


I’m sick of seeing all the rubbish scattered around in my area, so while I was out today on my mobility scooter I thought I’d collect all the plastic bottles and drink cans and take them to the recycling bank by Morrisons.

It has gone!

It seems the Council have removed the banks due to fly tipping, so if I want to clean up my area I now have to take loads of rubbish to Thames Road Centre. On my mobility scooter!


Bexley Council has progressively removed street collection points right across the north of the borough - maybe elsewhere too but I have no info on that.

The bins to both the North and South of Abbey Wood station went a few years ago, I suppose that they detract from the appearance of the new gentrified Abbey Wood and The Maggot Sandwich reported the demise of the Erith Morrisons bins a few months ago.

Perhaps the answer when you see a carelessly discarded plastic bottle is to leave the bloody thing alone - or maybe sign up to Councillor Craske’s scheme.

Does he provide a bag and collection service? I doubt he will let me know.

 

13 April - BexleyCon trick again?

The residents of the new Quarry development in Fraser Road Erith are not going to get a new supermarket on their doorstep, Bexley Council says so.

Lidl had applied for planning permission to build on the site where Screwfix and others now are but was refused for reasons unknown this week. Unknown because the document refuses to come up on my computer however many times I try. (*)

Bexley Council has already acquired Wickes and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that BexleyCo has designs on the whole Atlas Trade Park. Putting the same people in charge of building and planning is always going to arouse dark suspicions.Lidl
* The refusal document was eventually downloaded. It may be seen here. Strange that Bexley Council does not like the loss of trees when it was happy to see half of those in the quarry destroyed. Maybe Lidl should offer to build a school.

 

12 April (Part 3) - Virtue signalling

TweetWhen I saw this Tweet late last night the hackles went straight up. When they do the best course of action is to sleep on it, so I did.

The question is should I say my piece about it here? The answer is actually quite easily found, if Bexley Tories had done something similar I would likely jump on it straight away and despite what Councillor Philip Read would have you believe, I am not a Labour Troll.

Last night the new Sikh Temple in Belvedere was looking for planning permission. Approval was pretty much a foregone conclusion. There is already a temple on the site, the Sikhs are peaceful law abiding people and deserve a decent place in which to worship. The Planning Officers had given it their blessing and no one except just possibly a few neighbours (the comments section on the Planning Portal are not yet available for viewing) were likely to object.

As you might expect the new Gurdwara was approved unanimously.

So why did the Leader of Bexley’s Labour Party who is not a member of the Planning Committee think he should add his twopennyworth at the meeting when it was inevitable that his input was entirely redundant? Preaching to the converted.

I cannot see how it could be for any reason than to be able to put out the sort of Tweet you see here and to curry favour with the Sikh Community.

I suppose I am still not accustomed to the self serving ways of politicians. This Tweet is in exactly the same category as the ones put out by the Conservatives after Labour Councillor Wendy Perfect did all the legwork and arranged the necessary meetings to set the wheels in motion for the removal of a troublesome bus stop in Northumberland Heath.

The Tories who had done nothing about the problem bus stop for seven whole years had no conscience about posing for photographs hoping to convince a gullible electorate that all the credit should be directed at themselves.

The only outcome is cynicism for the lot of ’em.

 

12 April (Part 2) - Not so Planny Danny?

Danny HacketPerhaps the following words should appear as a postscript and correction to yesterday evening’s blog but if I put it there most of you will miss it.

It would appear that my knowledge of Council procedures is somewhat lacking and the congratulations on Councillor Hackett’s continued appearance on the Planning Committee may have been premature.

Looking ahead to next week’s Full Council meeting agenda suggests that there is a concerted move to boot him off. My faith in a reformed Tory Leadership is perhaps misplaced.

I met Danny for an update on his situation soon after he left the Labour Party so I know that losing the planning position would come as a major blow. He has five years experience on the Committee and has a real passion for the borough not always noted elsewhere.

Would I be wrong to surmise the hand of his former colleagues in this? If so it would be a typical Corbynista Momentum style move; more Hackney than Bexley. I have insufficient knowledge of the internal machinations of Bexley Council to know whether they can put aside politics next Wednesday night and rethink their decision or recommendation or whatever it is. Can we rely on Bexley Tories to honour their election manifesto to put the town before politics?

One can but live in hope.

There may be a connection but since Danny’s departure I am finding it increasingly difficult to find anything good to write about the Labour Party locally. I have never caught them out lying which is clearly a good thing, but they simply make me feel uncomfortable at times.

With the Conservatives apparently turning over a new leaf, the Deputy Leader greeted me like an old friend at Tuesday’s Cabinet - well maybe that is slightly over stating it but it was a move in the right direction - things may be subtlely changing in Bexley and on Bonkers.

Pity about Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

 

12 April (Part 1) - In good company

TelegraphI spent a couple of hours in the company of John Watson, Elwyn Bryant and Mick Barnbrook yesterday afternoon, all one time frequent contributors to Bonkers. Not so much now, Anno Domini and all that.

Elwyn, and not for the first time, told me what he thinks of his MP James Brokenshire. I think it can be summarised politely as “very disappointed”.

The problem with Elwyn is that he has this weird belief in politicians respecting the manifestos upon which they steal your vote. He seems to think they are honourable gentlemen and not just people intent on protecting their jobs and their own backsides.

Because of his belief in their intrinsic honesty I sometimes think he over eggs the pudding, making no allowance for the fact that James Brokenshire is a Conservative Cabinet Member and therefore almost by definition not to be trusted.

However it would appear that Elwyn is in good company, with The Daily Telegraph no less, for upon opening my copy this morning, what did I find in its Editorial column? Severe criticism of the MP for Old Bexley & Sidcup, one James Brokenshire.

Sir Roger Scruton, his housing guru, said that Islamophobia had become “a propaganda word” and that to him all Chinese people looked alike. Snowflake Brokenshire didn’t like it.

You can imagine how much I dislike people who try to stifle freedom of speech.

Next time I see Elwyn I will ask him to expand on some of his Brokenshire stories which date back to about 2008 to see if it would be worthwhile regurgitating them here. No more sitting on the fence where Dishonourable Members are concerned!

Meanwhile the housing situation remains dire under Brokenshire’s leadership; but Islam and the Chinese are protected - so that’s all right then.

 

11 April (Part 3) - Planny Danny

Danny HacketPlanning meetings aren’t my thing unless a really big scheme is on the Agenda and a new Sikh Temple in Belvedere this evening didn’t really cut it.

The big issue at tonight’s meeting was would Councillor Danny Hackett retain his position on the Planning Committee after resigning from the Labour Party. The Agenda said he would but I needed to see him make a contribution before I’d really believe it, so here he is courtesy of Bexley Council’s webcast.

Those who understand the tribal allocation of Committee jobs will appreciate that for a single Independent out of 45 Councillors to be allocated a planning job is a considerable achievement for Danny.

Obviously congratulations are due to him but it probably reflects favourably on the Council Leader’s new found flexible management style too.

Either that or a desire to dig the Labour Party in the eye.

 

11 April (Part 2) - Growing old disgracefully

For BritainI don’t know where he finds the energy but Mick Barnbrook late of this Parish is older than I am and stomping the streets of Pegwell Bay intent on becoming a Councillor in Thanet.

He is up against an Independent and a Green Party candidate as well as, on paper at least, Conservative and Labour candidates.

Those who knew Mick well will remember how he would not be seen dead at an official function without his well pressed suit, a neatly knotted tie and brightly shining black shoes.

Adorned with a political rosette he can very easily look like an old school Tory Cabinet Member.

It’s not a look that goes down well in the current climate; wearing a rosette immediately shouts politician and too easily leads to a punch on the nose.

Mick regretfully cast it aside only to learn that a man on the doorstep in a smart suit at this time of the year still looks like a politician.

The suit and tie have been replaced by an open neck shirt and jumper although Mick draws the line at wearing trainers. I would doubt he owns a pair.

Dressed down if not quite in the Michael Foot tradition he is still met with with aggression, largely Brexit inspired aggression.

Mick says he has seen no sign whatever of a Labour campaign and not much more from the Conservatives. They poked an A3 leaflet through his door.

It is probably not surprising that the two main parties would want to keep their heads down and few would like to see Teresa May and her lily livered supporters humiliated more than I would. I really do not care what becomes of them as long as they go and go soon but do I want to see the Conservative Party disappearing down the same sewer as their leaders?

I very much suspect that out in the sticks, in deepest Kent for example, Conservative Councillors have a similar opinion of the Prime Minister as I do and the only difference between them and me is that they might have some minor influence on her future.

In all probability we will see a traitorous habitual liar continue in her job while hard working political activists and minor politicians will be wiped from the political map on May 2nd.

May needs to be taught a lesson she will never forget and be written into the history books as the most treacherous Prime Minister ever but it probably cannot be done without decimating Conservative Councillors. Bexley Conservatives must be very relieved that they went to the polls last year.

No one ever said that politics was fair.

Note: Michael’s address to voters is only 25% of his leaflet.

 

11 April (Part 1) - The shape of things to come

As already noted, Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting saw a lot of interesting and probably good stuff announced - although perhaps not enough of it.
Cabinet
Sidcup town centre has been in some sort of turmoil for as long as I have been following such things, usually with a massive impact on traffic flow. It was closed again last Tuesday when I tried to drive through.

The shopping centre has gone down hill and was then dragged up a bit by Mrs. Richardson’s 2014 regeneration plan and now she says it is on the slide again, the ever constant threat posed by out of town shopping centres the internet and the free car parking offered by both.

The major changes that are imminent are the cinema and library with flats included on the corner of Elm Road, the Blockbuster site, and the transformation of the old Manor House into a hotel and spa. The old library in Hadlow Road will be “redeveloped for residential use”.

Ms. Richardson showed a few pictures which may be seen here. Demolition of the old Blockbuster store will commence “in the next few weeks”


CraskeCouncillor Craske said he was excited by the design of the library and cinema and digressed into the long history of his library success story in Bexley. The increased footfall and visitor numbers; always the spin doctor he once was.

Unfortunately Councillor Craske had forgotten that the successful trend was kick started by the Labour decision to move Blackfen Library into the town centre.

Sidcup’s new library and cinema is scheduled to open in the Summer of 2021.

The debate moved on to digital infrastructure and Graham Ward who is Deputy Director of Infrastructure Delivery or some such thing - when is Bexley Council going to update its staff structure web page as it still refers to several people who have gone to pastures new? - said that BT had provided “significant investment in digital infill”. 11,000 more Bexley homes served by fast broadband.

Councillor Craske said that “free wi-fi in town centres is the right thing to do”. Councillor French was rightly concerned about misuse of the facility with a veiled reference to the school pupils who loiter in the Broadway. Mr. Ward assured him it could be selectively switched off.

In the north of the borough plans for Cory’s waste incinerator to provide district heating were advancing nicely.

On and off street electric charging points were planned and a contractor appointed. Chargemaster, it’s owned by BP.

I should perhaps declare an interest here. I suspect I was the only person present in the Chamber who runs a fully electric vehicle, not one of those half baked and frequently useless hybrids. One currently being seen on TV adverts will do almost a mile without using its internal combustion engine but only if you don’t go over 30 miles per hour or go uphill. Last weekend I did a 300 mile plus trip without having to recharge the battery and entirely on free electricity. I am saving about £1,200 a year on fuel costs and another hundred or so on service charges. End of advert.

Councillor Craske said the borough must be kept “in the forefront” of such developments and Councillor John Fuller agreed, referencing Mayor Khan’s Ultra Low Emission Zone.

Councillor David Leaf correctly said it was difficult to hit “the sweet spot” on some technology projects and not be either too early or too late. He looked forward to the income the concession would generate. “As much income as possible would be greatly appreciated.”


ChargingThe ins and outs of charging electric cars are far too complex and I doubt anyone at Bexley Council knows much of the subject. Hopefully Chargemaster - not my favourite supplier - will not let them do anything too silly.

Councillor French asked how the locations of street charging points were selected. He was concerned about the impact on “existing parking stress”. The answer appeared to be at the least used parking places and close to convenient power supplies. No word about where might be best for the vehicle owners. The hope is that they wil be spread across the borough and not just in Bexleyheath.

Chargemaster 7kW charging points are double headed. The 13 units to be provided will service 26 parking bays. The expectation is that more will go into Council owned car parks and maybe even faster chargers - 50kW or more - close to major roads.

District heating, free wi-fi and vehicle charging points will not have any impact on Bexley’s budget. Labour Councillors were in favour of all the Cabinet proposals.

Note: Fully electric vehicle owners are a comparatively rare breed in the UK and have formed a variety of user groups. I mentioned Bexley’s plans on a Kent based one and whilst there is always a welcome for any new infrastructure Bexley’s 13 were seen as no more than a gesture. “13 wow, really going for it” from a Plumstead resident. It is easy to criticise but it is a delicate chicken and egg situation. The charging companies have to operate at a profit but there are not enough customers out there yet and most in Bexley will be able to charge cheaply at home or at shopping cenres.

While the supermarkets offer free charging, Lidl has a free 50kW unit, the only thing going for Bexley’s chargers is ubiquity, and 13 is a long way off that.

On a pedantic note, the ‘chargers’ planned by Bexley Council are not chargers, they are merely 7kW power outlets that can have a two way conversation with the car. The 7kW charger is on board the car itself. The 50kW chargers are chargers feeding the battery directly.

 

10 April (Part 2) - The North South Divide

As residents of Abbey Wood and Thamesmead will know, it has not been easy to get around the area by road for several years and especially the last two when Bexley Council took over from Crossrail as the principal architect of chaos.

Harrow ManorwayThis week they have excelled themselves. Eastern Way, the dual carriageway town bypass that runs from Plumstead bus garage to Erith has been closed east of Harrow Manorway. Not just lane restricted as one would expect of a Council with a ha’porth of sense but all four carriageways at the same time. The excuse offered is central reservation repairs.

The diversion is via Harrow Manorway which is cone restricted to half its proper width and into Yarnton Way which is also lane restricted via a roundabout which can barely be seen for cones. People are reporting five minute journeys taking forty or more with tailbacks to the bus garage on one side and Abbey Wood station on the other.

This photo was taken mid-afternoon today.

On Facebook some are asking who could be so irresponsible as to inflict so much damage on the local economy and asking for his head.

Maybe the answer is Bexley’s Head of Highway Services Andrew Bashford. The same Andrew Bashford who as a mere Team Leader effectively created Bexley-is-Bonkers by lying to me about Abbey Road which he decided should be made so narrow in 2009 that buses do not pass each other on the Lesnes Abbey stretch.

Andrew Bashford told me that his road design was compliant with Transport Research Laboratory guidance on how to safely make roads narrower. Unfortunately for Andrew Bashford he was unaware that the Senior Road Safety Consultant at TRL at the time was my own son. He passed his own judgment on Andrew Bashford’s road designing skills.

Only at a local authority would someone caught out so spectacularly be promoted.

The photo below was posted on Facebook by Danni Değirmenci. It shows the roundabout at the northern end of Harrow Manorway looking towards Abbey Wood station. Progress is so slow that people are driving over the central reservation in order to find another route, but I don’t think there is another route. Maybe they are just going back home.

LBC radio has been featuring the Council inflicted problem on their news bulletins.

Bexley Council plans to create this chaos for the whole of this month and into May. It should be fun when the schools reopen after Easter. One despairs for the intellect of some public servants.
Roundabout jammed solid

 

10 April (Part 1) - The police can’t cope

Last Wednesday evening I was spoilt for choice; three meetings to go to. Councillor Caroline Newton’s Communities Scrutiny Committee had to be given a miss, a shame because she seemed to be genuinely sorry that I wasn’t there. “We don’t have any members of the public unfortunately, hopefully many people are watching on the webcast.”

DobinsonIn case they were not I will trawl through it to see if anything particularly interesting was discussed. One of the things I would have liked to have seen at first hand was the first appearance of the new joint Borough Police Commander Chief Superintendent Simon Dobinson; does he live up to my expectations? One must hope not.

Councillor Sybil Camsey (Conservative, Crook Log) said she doesn’t often speak of her experience as a Head Teacher but on this occasion she would. She did not think that the automatic exclusion of weapon carrying pupils was always a good idea. While in post she had nine, ten and eleven year olds caught with weapons at school but she “had found other ways of dealing with the situation”.

First find out what they had brought them to school, then sit down and solve the problem. In one case she asked a father to take his boy to the police because he had waved a knife at fellow pupils.

“They finger printed him, photographed him and took his DNA which frightened the life out of him.” Councillor Camsey was then able to write to other parents to warn them that “if your child does this, this is what will happen. It was a very simple way of making sure it didn’t happen again”.

Deputy Director for Communities Tonia Ainge confirmed that “there had been fairly much a blanket exclusion policy in schools” but was looking for better solutions. “It is early days.”

Councillor Alan Downing reminded the Committee that “we used to have 240 cameras stuck on lamp posts throughout the borough and a very good control room manned 24/7. I am told that it will all be controlled from Lewisham from now on. Does this mean we will have a Control Room in Lewisham? It is a shame that we have all these cameras and a service contract but we don’t know how they are being used. Is someone paying Bexley for the use of them?”.

Good question Alan. Another was “how has Bexley benefitted” from the amalgamation of the three borough police units.

The Chief Superintendent confirmed that the CCTV is not monitored. The recordings are sometimes looked at but as yet not from Lewisham so it is not a good use of police time. He knew nothing of the funding arrangements.

There were no direct benefits to Bexley from the new policing model except that some crimes, notably domestic violence, are now investigated locally and not by a centralised department. Overall “there are 100 odd fewer police posts and there are 91 vacancies, 57 officers on restricted duties a 6% sickness rate and some deployed elsewhere in London and it goes on. We should have a squad of 15 but we are starting with twelve and can only put nine players on the pitch ”.

Ex-copper Alan Downing suggested reintroduction of a number of ‘old fashioned’ ideas but was told they would all run foul of General Data Protection Regulations, GDPR.

Deputy Director Ainge said that when the police took over the CCTV system there was no financial settlement and spoke of losing the benefits of CCTV when in fact it was consciously given up. Not the same thing at all.

Councillor Downing said that Bexley’s CCTV facility was big enough to oversee Greenwich and Lewisham too but Toni Ainge said that contractual obligations had scuppered sensible arrangements.

Councillor Richard Diment (Conservative, Sidcup) was concerned that crime in Bexley was rising “significantly with relatively low detection rates, one in twenty five for burglaries”.

The replies to the Councillor’s concerns all came from Council officers and were wholly about improving data collection with not a word about improving policing. It will surprise no one.

 

9 April - More jam has been approved for tomorrow

O'Neill It was Cabinet tonight and a lot of exciting stuff that has been in the pipeline for some while got rubber stamped.

The old Blockbuster store in Sidcup is coming down and will be replaced with a library on two floors and a small cinema.

Town centres are to get free wifi and BTopenreach has already said that Bexley is the best connected borough in London.

The incinerator in Belvedere is to distribute waste heat to nearby homes and in another move towards cleaner energy 26 parking bays across the borough will become electric vehicle charging bays. Not before time but it is very much a chicken and egg situation and there is not much money to be made from it right now.

Further down the line there will be chargers in Council car parks and very fast chargers (known as rapids) just off the A2 and other major roads where long distance travellers can refuel quickly.

All good stuff and now compare that with Waltham Forest Council. I still haven’t been able to complete the Council Tax League table for 2019/20. As of late this afternoon every Council Tax link on Waltham Forest’s website led to the 2018/19 figures. How incompetent can one Council get?

 

5 April (Part 2) - How do you put a clown back into his box?

Read I am in the middle of a five day period where family commitments are getting in the way of reporting Council meetings but I am not so busy that I haven’t had time to ponder Councillor Read’s obsession with me. It’s not new, I can go back to 2011 for the first sign of it and his stupidity is beginning to make me feel sorry for Council Leader Teresa O’Neill. Yes you read that right.

Based solely on the timing of Read’s Tweets and his self proclaimed close association with Le Vino, one might easily conclude that he is not always thinking clearly.

I am a nobody nearer in age to eighty than seventy who has no interest in maintaining a personal reputation. As long as I can steer clear of corrupt police officers I have nothing much to fear from Read’s words or anyone elses’.

Read on the other hand is a public figure who, if he had any sense at all, should have some interest in maintaining a reputation, as both a decent human being and as a politician seeking re-election every four years.

I used to refer to Councillor Read as the Northumberland Numpty which seemed to be very apt. Now that he has moved to West Heath ward I will have to think of something similarly alliterative. There must be something, if only I could think of it!


CretinPhilip Read is an embarrassment not only to himself but also to those of his colleagues who have sent me their own personal apologies for his late night ramblings.

So why do I feel sorry for Teresa, the woman who reported me to the police for what someone else said, for “criticising Councillors” and, reading between the lines of police statements at meetings and on paper, interfered with a judicial process? I know absolutely that the Chief Executive did and I doubt he did it without a nod and a wink from the boss.

As I have said before, and quite recently too, there comes a time when you have to let old mistakes go and avoid becoming bitter and twisted. Bexley Council is no longer crooked to the core as far as I can tell.

A whole load of failed and law dodging senior officials have left the Council’s employment since Bonkers was launched and not a few Councillors who to my mind were similarly inclined.

There would be no good reason to start Bonkers if it did not exist already.

Bexley Council is hard done by by central Government but hasn’t yet got too near to going broke while some London Councils are on the edge. That can only be good.

When Children’s Services were judged Inadequate the Leader recruited someone from Ofsted who knew how to put things right. That might be judged an act of genius. And it worked.

When Council officials from other parts of the country, the so called Peer Review, said that Bexley Council’s Scrutiny processes were various shades of rubbish, the Leader reorganised the Committees and appointed some new Chairmen. Councillors Newton and Dourmoush in particular have successfully made their mark. Bexley Council only publicised the few good things in the Peer Review and suppressed everything else but it is unrealistic to expect perfection in politics.

I may be wrong but I would like to think that Teresa O’Neill has finally noticed that Bonkers does not usually criticise Council policies and is softening her stance.

There is probably a long way to go before access to Bonkers is unbanned from Council and Library web servers but there have been small signs of success. I am no longer considered to be a threat to safety by being placed behind a barrier at Council meetings. The Leader, and several of her erstwhile silent colleagues, will now acknowledge my presence in the Council Chamber and even exchange a few pleasantries if the situation permits it.

It may not seem much and could perhaps be largely in my imagination but compared to yesteryear it is a massive relaxation. The obvious aggression has gone.

ReadExcept where Councillor Philip Read is concerned.

At the personal level I would be sorry to see those who run the @bexleynews Twitter account behave themselves as it is fun to take the mickey out of them, but for Bexley Council they must be a bit of an embarrassment. Obviously they must be senior Tories or they wouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.

John Fuller wouldn’t do it; Brad Smith, it’s not his style. Alex Sawyer probably couldnְ’t do it. Louie French; too serious. It doesn’t look like his way either. Which leaves Cabinet Members Craske, Leaf and Read. David Leaf used to run a blog and as everyone knows, so did Peter Craske, he was arrested for it! It could be any of those three but Craske and Read remain favourites if only because their less loyal colleagues have said so.

If Tweedledum and Tweedledee could be curbed Bonkers might become nothing but another small time news outlet. All the wheeler dealer sailing close to the wind Council Officers have left with their Golden Goodbyes. There would be nothing else left to examine.

What can be done to discourage Read in particular from making a fool of himself?

Peer pressure maybe.

It may not be Marquis of Queensbury rules but maybe trawling Bonkers for old blogs that would embarrass Read’s Councillor colleagues and give them a fresh airing. It might be one way of bringing the West Heath Weasel to his senses - if he has any. Hmm, maybe that is the big flaw in the idea.

 

5 April (Part 1) - Intoxicated by his own verbosity again?

Tweet
Another midnight Tweet. I haven’t a clue what Read is talking about this time. Does he? Does anyone?

 

4 April - Cabinet Member for Children. Sounds about right

ReadWith a full timetable for the day ahead a blog looked unlikely but fortunately the Cabinet Member for Childish Activities, Philip Read rode to the rescue shortly after midnight with another of his juvenile Tweets. And about time too, it’s more than a month since the last one.

If his party leader Theresa May had not already done so I would be inclined to think that Councillor Read is on a mission to destroy the Conservative Party’s reputation but maybe it is only his own.

To think that we have people like him in charge of one of Bexley’s biggest budgets. To think we have a woman like May in charge of the whole country, with the help of a Marxist of course!

Read’s midnight Tweet deserves a full width image don’t you think?

Tweet
For the record the names of the authors of @bexleynews came to me from one of Read’s colleagues in a Twitter Direct Message. Doesn’t mean to say it is true of course, probably they all lie.

 

3 April (Part 2) - Useless cops. Corrupt cops. Murderous cops

With Bexley Council appearing to be a lot less Bonkers than it once was, it is possible that the emphasis here will shift inexorably to that bastion of incompetence, dishonesty and corruption, the British police force.

The Times newspaper carried an article yesterday about how the police do not usually investigate fraud. It is estimated that a third of all crimes are fraud but the police look for easier pickings, like naughty words on the internet. A Bexley resident was prosecuted for using the C word on Twitter  (conviction overturned on appeal) and the internet is still offered as an excuse locally for not always investigating more traditional crimes.

Action Fraud ditches most of the reports it receives but passes the most blatant fraud cases to the police who ignore more than 95% of them.

Fraud is a problem everywhere and I was horrified when a friend in Welling nearly fell for a scam identical to the one reported below. He was saved only when about to hand over his cash in a Welling bank and the ‘police officer’ was not prepared to provide him with a properly documented receipt.
The Times
I had a long chat with my daughter’s partner Alastair Morgan today, his brother was murdered with police involvement in 1987 for attempting to shop them for their burglaries, fit ups and drug running.

I can’t tell you in any detail what he said for obvious reasons but let’s just say he has absolutely positive evidence that the Met. Police is corrupt, County Forces are corrupt, all the predecessors of the Independent Office for Police Conduct have been thoroughly corrupt and the police are happy to pursue and even murder their colleagues who show signs of rocking their boat. Even the current Commissioner got a dishonourable mention.

Alastair remains hopeful that everything he and the Home Office have discovered about his brother’s murder and the ensuing cover up will be released into the public domain within the next twelve months.

 

3 April (Part 1) - Tax stats

Tax and inflationI used to look forward to Bexley’s magazine because of the opportunities it presented for dissecting the deceptions and half truths contained therein but those days seem to have gone. Gone because of scrutiny on Social Media and maybe blogs presumably.

I pounced on a footnote on Page 5 of the new issue thinking it might be a fib but the official government inflation rate calculators suggested that if anything the £165 was on the conservative side. Depends on the Council Tax Band obviously.

One might wonder why 2018 was chosen for comparison but the answer to that is with Council Tax going up at more than 5% a year (including Khan’s iniquitous imposition) and inflation at 2% the £165 can go only one way and that is rapidly down.

At about £50 a year!

So by 2021 Council Tax will be higher in real terms when Labour left office locally in 2006 and the services are arguably worse.

Speaking of Council Tax, three London boroughs have still not published their 2019/20 rates on line. The numbers are available on some Estate Agent websites but the experience in earlier years has shown them to not always be reliable and best avoided.

 

2 April - Michael Slaughter

Nothing but bad news today, firstly I was made aware in greater detail than before of some of the poisonous stuff that is directed at local MPs, nearly had me in tears, and then this that probably will.

 
 
 
 

Michael was husband of Sidcup Councillor June Slaughter and twenty years ago Leader of Bexley Council. He served Bexley for a total of 40 years.

 

1 April (Part 2) - All Fools Day

The day started with a blog about someone intent on making a fool of himself and it will continue that way.

The first fool is me. I have become very slack about filing emails. When there are more than I can cope with some get forgotten. Yesterday I came across one which really should have been answered, if not featured here.

It was from someone who like me has has been harassed and unjustifiably pursued by overbearing police officers.


I was reading an old issue of Private Eye and came across the item in “Rotten Boroughs” regarding your experiences with the police.

I have had a similar experience and it got very nasty.

My Council is Merton, where I have uncovered some very unsavoury antics but this got bigger and actually has involved the Met. themselves.

I don’t blog but I have been placing my reports on twitter (@mertonscam1 if you are interested). I don’t think Councillors/Council officials/Police like it.

Two detectives are under investigation following complaints by me to ACTION FRAUD but it is taking one hell of a long time - hence the Twitter feed. Perhaps not the best way of doing this kind of thing but it was quick to set up.

My house was raided by the police just before Christmas - on the pretext of a fence dispute with a neighbour which was settled nearly a month earlier by OTHER police officers.

I was taken to Sutton Police Station, finger-printed, photographed and DNA’d.

I do have lawyers on this but the police have hardly been away from my front door since. On two occasions to deliver letters from the occupant next door. I am not making that up. So much for thin police resources!!!

I am an experienced journalist and in my late seventies and trying very hard to retire properly, but these events won’t let me. Well, I suppose it is better than watching box set after box set of Morse, Frost and Vera etc.

However seeing your story made me wonder if there is some kind of pattern emerging here. Bash the messenger as hard as possible and try to extinguish the message.

I am trying to get my own findings further into the public domain, the story centres on large scale fraud and other criminal activities and my evidence is harder-than-rock solid. It has to be, as I was fully aware from the start what I might have to face by way of opposition.

I think both of our experiences are very worrying and I sincerely hope are not the shape of things to come.


As the man says, the police claim that their resources are stretched but in this case they act as postmen. Only a month ago I heard a local police officer tell a local audience that they couldn’t always attend to burglaries and acts of violence because the internet provides them with too much work.

It’s a policy that can only have come from just out of university wet behind the ears over promoted senior officers.

If you have seven minutes spare take a look at this video. It shows two officers at a Twitter user’s door to warn someone that he has not done anything wrong or committed any offence but their Inspector told them to go and scare him for no legal reason.


Source video.


Another disturbing video will take up a great deal more of your time, 37 minutes and maybe a summary is in order. It shows a photographer engaged in what I do daily. Taking pictures in a public place, in this case opposite a police station.

A police officer rolls up and asks questions that he has no right to ask. I doubt I would have handled the situation in the same way but this photographer knew his rights under the law and what current guidance to officers is.

The first officer called in reinforcements and in a town where the police turn a blind eye to child rape eventually arrested the photographer under The Terrorism Act. They had no legal right to do so and eventually they had to climb down and let the man go without any charge. If you do spend 37 minutes of your life with the video you will see how donning a police uniform turns too many people into out of control lawless liars.

Unfortunately the commentary - which is not by the photographer - contains quite a lot of unnecessary bad language. You have been warned.


Source video.


I only know two police officers personally, one retired and one resigned and both tell me stories which suggest that such behaviour is pretty much the norm. Mick Barnbrook is particularly good at telling me tales of corruption. Last time I met him he provided details of how valuable lost property can end up as the personal possessions of police officers. It’s not a particularly sophisticated fraud but it worked.

I don’t think the police are keen on taking in lost property any more. Probably just as well.

 

1 April (Part 1) - The police. Are they corrupt or simply incompetent beyond belief?

After I got hold of the statement that Maxine Fothergill had signed in December 2017 and analysed it sufficiently to realise that most of it was untrue, and easily proved so, I wrote to Kent Police with examples of her duplicity on 26th March 2018.

A response came on 17th April which said my allegation of crime had been forwarded to the Investigation Management Unit and I waited for their decision - and I waited!

By December I thought I had waited long enough and sent a reminder. The response when it eventually came was that I could be told nothing because I was not the victim of the alleged crime. How ridiculous is that?

I emailed the following rebuttal of that ludicrous suggestion on 14th January 2019.


1) It is my name that occurs 22 times in the largely untruthful statement Ms. Fothergill made at Swanley Police station on 29th December 2017.

2) It was me who Sergeant 11901 Robbie Cooke decided to charge after failing to check whether Ms. Fothergill’s opening remarks were untruthful, something he could have found to be the case with a few clicks on Bexley Council’s website. He also failed to notice obvious contradictions in the statement made against me.

3) It was me who was compelled to attend Swanley Police Station under threat of arrest for non-compliance for interview under caution on 18th December 2017.

4) It was to my house that PC 13546 Abbie Brookes made a personal visit to tell me of her Sergeant’s decision to charge me with harassment for reporting with meticulous accuracy how Bexley Council and the High Court had dealt with Ms. Fothergill’s activities.

5) It was my name that appeared on the Charge notice dated 30th January 2018 and delivered to my address.

6) It was me who had to put down a deposit of £3,600 with a firm of solicitors to prepare my defence.

7) It was my barrister to whom the Crown Prosecution Service sent advice on 5th March 2018 that they would not pursue the case against me.

8) It was me who was awarded £323.45 by Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court to offset my legal costs.

9) It was to me that a Kent Police Inspector sent an email advising that lessons must be learnt and that PC Abbie Brooks and her Sergeant Robbie Cooke should be given feed back as part of their development.

10) It was to me that your Professional Standards Department wrote on 29th July 2018 to contradict the Inspector’s view and claim that neither Brooks nor Cooke had done anything wrong.

11) It was me who was featured in Private Eye Issue No. 1466 which highlighted Fothergill’s “bullying” and the unwarranted charges brought by Kent Police.

Please let me know exactly who was the victim of Ms. Fothergill’s malicious statement if it was not me.


It was ignored totally. Exactly a month later I sent the email again with the same result.

Are you with me so far? I made an allegation of crime because I had become a victim of a demonstrably false signed written statement. I was promised an investigation but ten months later Kent Police told me that I was not the victim of any crime and were therefore not going to give me any information.

When given the evidence that I was the victim of the crime Kent Police decide to ignore me completely.

Adrian HarperI asked the Independent Office for Police Conduct for advice and they said I could make an allegation of Misconduct by Kent Police to the elected Crime Commissioner and one time Bexley Councillor Matthew Scott. You may have thought that Kent Police’s comprehension skills were lacking but they are not nearly as poor as the Crime Commissioner’s Chief Executive Adrian Harper. How do such people manage to get themselves into such powerful positions with a salary of £96,483 a year?

He said that there is no evidence that a Police Force that arrested three people and charged another on the say so of someone who has admitted to losing a very large sum of money is in any way untoward and that to ignore four or more serious allegations of crime by that same person is also perfectly ordinary. Ditto that to tell me that I am not the victim of crime in a case where lies led to me being summoned to Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court is in no way dishonest and no Police Officer is guilty of anything when he tells me that it must be someone else who was the victim.

Mr. Harper says that I know I am not the victim and I am therefore abusing the complaints process. The man has not bothered to look into any aspect of the case has he?

He also says that I am “circumventing the complaints process in an attempt to have Ms. Fothergill charged with a criminal offence”.

Mr. Harper knows nothing at all. I enquired about the year old allegation against Maxine Fothergill but never expected to get a positive outcome. I am absolutely sure that one can never get justice from the police, seven years negotiating with the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards taught me that. There is honesty there at the lower ranks but none that I saw higher up.

I couldn’t care less about seeing Maxine Fothergill in the dock, she trashed her reputation in the High Court in November 2017 and after the passage of time I have no interest in seeing it done again.

Harper completely fails to realise that the name of the game is proving beyond reasonable doubt that Kent Police and the people such as himself are incompetent to the extent it makes them look corrupt. Mr. Harper is making a magnificent job of proving that case.

Harper goes badly wrong when he says I “had a formal letter sent” from my MP Teresa Pearce in furtherance of my supposed vendetta against Maxine Fothergill. I have done no such thing. I did not ask for Ms. Pearce’s help when charged for something I had not done. I have not communicated with her in any way whatsoever about pursuing Maxine Fothergill for the crime alleged against her, and whilst I have from time to time wondered if I should seek her assistance in getting Kent Police to acknowledge that I was the victim of Ms. Fothergill's false statement, I have not in fact done so.

Mr. Harper is either making things up to suit himself or it is yet more evidence that he has made no effort to understand what has been going on. I know that Teresa Pearce wrote to The Police and Crime Commissioner on or about 21st February 2018 but I do not know what she said, I am only ware of the correspondence because she asked me if I knew of a certain email address and because she sent me the reply when it showed up a month later. I think it is fair to say that Adrian Harper gave her the brush off and she showed no sign of being impressed by him. By then the baseless charges against me had been dropped.

Harper then repeats himself in his two page letter by saying once again that I am abusing the complaints process. The man simply fails to understand that the complaint is very simple. I was charged with harassment because of a statement that was clearly false in several respects and Kent Police say that I was not its victim. Who was then? Mr. Harper and the Chief Constable persist in telling me that I was not the victim and that because of that they are refusing to respond to my enquiries.

The man is simply too stupid to recognise that that is the complaint but he then repeats his assertion that I am trying to put Maxine Fothergill behind bars. and for the third time that I am abusing the complaints process.

Maybe it is time to ask Teresa Pearce if she can get a rational explanation of how Kent Police and the clueless Adrian Harper believe that someone else was Maxine Fothergill’s intended victim?

 

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