I try to restrict my Twitterings to the announcement of new blogs and
sometimes not even then. Getting in too deeply can lead to arguments that I
would prefer to do without but no one is perfect and sometimes the temptation is too great.
I was more than tempted yesterday. A Mr. Charlie Davis - no I’d never heard of him either - Tweeted “I’ve campaigned to improve signage for the shops on Wilton Rd. Today it was great to see these now installed after working with @LT_FRENCH and @bexleynews”. (Bexley Council’s Deputy Leader and the Conservatives’ official source of frequently false propaganda respectively.)
I responded “that is the most outrageous lie”.
Mr. Davis was adopted as the Conservative GLA candidate for Lewisham and Greenwich last March and provision of the new signage was in hand long before that. It perhaps wasn’t so much a lie as a gross deception. Any campaign by Mr. Davis was worthless as the signs were a done deal before he came on the scene and to claim the credit is shameful.
Please allow me to explain.
There is a Traders’ Association for Wilton Road (AWTA) and the surrounding area and I have attended every one of their meetings bar one. Bexley Council apparently sought my exclusion from meetings, I am tempted to say that they feared the truth might leak out if I was there, but they were over-ruled by the Association’s Committee.
I write the minutes of the meetings and audio record them all. That’s 38 meetings.
Except for the inaugural meeting no Greenwich Councillor has ever attended a meeting. Danny Hackett when a Lesnes Abbey ward (Bexley) Councillor attended when invited but Sally Hinkley who took his place in the newly created Belvedere (Bexley) ward has been a little more forceful. She actively seeks invitations.
The Minutes for the 9th January meeting record that
Sally took away the problems relating to ASB, the lack of signage directing potential customers to the shops, the overflowing litter bins and the reduced number of parking spaces available since the Crossrail works began in 2013 and the extension of double yellow lines.
Councillor Hinkley got busy the very next day and received a positive response. On 3rd February she requested an update and on 6th February was able to report back to the Traders’ Association as follows
Bexley Council has agreed to provide additional signage to the shops and has already surveyed and consulted the AWTA Chairman about where best to place them. The existing station signage would be improved once the rail authorities had given their permission.
Another site meeting was arranged with the AWTA Chairman, it took place a whole month before Mr. Davis came on to the scene.
The final design of the signs and their location was approved by the AWTA Chairman in June this year. The July minutes record Councillor Hinkley close liaison with all concerned. A graphic of the proposed sign was provided and included in the July minutes.
As of yesterday no active AWTA member had heard of Mr. Davis.
Mr. Davis claims to have spoken to a trader, one who has attended only one of the 38 meetings but who will have received copies of the minutes. He may well have remembered Sally’s promise in January but must have forgotten the February minutes that recorded that signs were already in hand.
Mr. Davis has sought the assistance of Deputy Council Leader Louie French to deflect criticism of his claim to have been instrumental in the provision of signs and it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that neither knew of Councillor Hinkley’s success when they decided to take action - assuming they did.
But it still doesn’t make sense.
Somewhere down the line must be the man who designs or approves signs. We know he was not only involved, he had agreed the new signage as long ago as February. Someone had been out to do a site survey in February. It is inconceivable that word did not get back to the Conservative pair that the job was already done.
Despite that they went ahead and attempted to claim credit for the signs was theirs. It is a pretty much an exact repeat of Councillor Wendy Perfect arranging for bus stop removal in Northumberland Heath and the Tories stepping in with their photo opportunities and less than honest Press Releases to marginalise here.
I couldn’t care less about the morals of an insignificant politician from Eltham but it is a matter of concern that Bexley’s Deputy Leader may have gone along with the deception. We already have a pair of Bexley Councillors who have perfected that technique and we really don’t need another. Maybe his ignorance was genuine, I would like to think so, but it puts him in the same position as another Cabinet Member under the spotlight.
The claim bears the hallmarks of Councillor Philip Read. Can it be coincidence that he was present when the video (below) was made?
The uselessness of Sadiq Khan and his lack of interest in Abbey Wood does not go unnoticed at AWTA meetings. Water fountain excepted, no one at the GLA has given it any attention since Boris Johnson was in charge; whatever happened to him?
Here is Mr. Davis’s address to the people of Abbey Wood. We need someone to take an interest in Abbey Wood after years of neglect but we also need absolute honesty from our politicians.
Someone who presumably hangs his TV on the wall in portrait mode.