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News and Comment May 2020

Index: 2020

31 May - The critics in Newham join those in Bexley and Barnet

Newham's financesAt first it was just the malcontents from Bexley who loaded my Inbox with critical comment about the direction in which our Council was being steered by the newcomers, then their former colleagues in Barnet joined in. Now it is the turn of former colleagues in Newham. (Earlier Newham comment.)

The latest missive…

Your recent attack on Newham CCG highlights problems there. As a resident and employee of Newham Council I can only advise that it’s a Newham thing.

The Council is rife with problems and the new Mayor is set upon changing things.

The agreement with Bexley and Havering for oneSource is being terminated.

After years of Paul Thorogood as our interim Director of Finance telling us their is an improvement plan that never happened, Newham has decided to go it alone.

Hopefully it means the end of fraud and poor controls, but we are beset by recruitment problems and overpaid and poor interims.

Just the tip of an iceberg of weak financial control has been exposed but unfortunately things haven’t improved and considering our vacancy problem they think they can pay us less in a restructuring. That is bonkers.

Note: There is a minor edit in the above where I thought it possible that the author could be identified.

It should also be noted that as far as I know my criticism of the Health Service in Newham is not linked to Newham Council unless they are responsible for the District Nurse Service and the fact that the local pharmacist never has anything in stock and waiting times have been up to four days while he complains the prescription has not been forthcoming. (He had lost it!)

However I do have about 600 paracetamol tablets if I ever decide to become a drug dealer.


29 May (Part 2) - More NHS crap. Far too literally in this case

I have just returned from my nursing trip to Newham and forgotten why I made this morning’s blog a Part 1. To fill the Part 2 hole I will resist the temptation to comment on the appalling driving standards adopted by most of the residents in that God forsaken borough and instead let off a little steam about the equally bad NHS standards to be found over there.

My aunt is very unwell and I fear she will not recover. The GP, who isn’t himself too bad, and all of his incompetent support staff accept that she should be in hospital receiving 24/7 care but in present circumstances that might not be wise and in any case the old lady doesn’t want to be there. I do not disagree with their decision but they are only providing three hours of home care a day leaving my sister and me to fill in the gaps.

The number of their individual cockups would fill a small book and I will spare you the details and confine comment to the fact that treatment has involved suppositories and the consequences of that are unpleasant to say the least, not helped by the fact that my aunt, a centenarian spinster, objects to having a man in her bedroom.

My sister is therefore resisting more suppositories as she cannot cope with the results single handed. The case manager or some such jobsworth said that we must call in more family members to help, oblivious of two basic facts it would seem.

One is that the NHS is supposed to be providing 24 hour care and failing to do so and the other is that 100 year old spinsters, almost by definition, do not have a string of children and grandchildren to call on.

The NHS in Newham employs too many uncaring cretins.

She won’t thank me for saying so but my sister is almost as old as I am and only four feet seven inches tall. She does not have the physical strength to be an unpaid NHS substitute. The only real help she gets is access to a charity helpline after ten at night.

Are there any laws on walking out on an old lady? Surely no one is expected to move house just because the NHS is so bloody useless?


29 May (Part 1) - Of journalists and other reptiles

Confession time; I have not seen even one TV news programme during lockdown. Not really surprising, I haven’t watched one for five years or more. I gave up when I came to believe that the BBC was not telling me the whole truth about anything. I briefly switched to Sky and soon came to the same conclusion about them.

The radio and Internet became my principal news sources but the last time I listened to BBC Radio 4 was the night that the Aldrich farming fellow in The Archers whose first name I have forgotten was taken to Court for polluting his land and some political activist threw an egg or something like that. Three years ago?

Since then it’s been LBC and increasingly TalkRadio for me and almost every day I have listened to the Corona Press Briefing from Downing Street, usually on LBC while getting increasingly annoyed by Eddie Mair’s idiotic interruptions.

The journalists’ questions are utterly pathetic and all too predictable and I am reminded of what my left leaning daughter with a degree in journalism once told me. The trouble with journalists especially at the BBC is that they are all far too left wing. So journalists who I feel are blinkered lefties complain that their colleagues are pretty far left. Little parasites feeding off bigger parasites.

CoatesYesterday the Sky News Political Editor thought he had some sort of scoop when he Tweeted James Brokenshire’s letter to a constituent referring to Dominic Cummings’ expedition to Durham.

James had done his usual trained lawyer thing; chosen his words carefully and sat on the fence.

I received that letter a day before Sky News and didn’t think it warranted any publicity, maybe I was wrong so here it is in full…

Dear Mr Bryant,

Thank you for contacting me about the Prime Minister’s adviser Dominic Cummings. I understand the strength of feeling that this incident has caused given the requirements to follow the public health rules to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. I know that this has meant so many sacrifices. Given the number of emails and letters I have received and my desire to provide a response in as timely a manner as possible, I am sorry if my reply does not address all the points you highlight, but I hope it sets out my thoughts on some of the key concerns.

Dominic Cummings’ compliance with public health restrictions has been put in the spotlight following his travel and stay in the North East with his family. He has asserted that he complied with the rules given the particular family circumstances which he set out in detail in his statement. People will reach their own views on Mr Cummings’ actions and I respect your opinion that they breached the guidelines. I have underlined the strength of feeling on this issue at senior levels of Government.

During a recent media interview when I was asked about the resignation of the Government’s then scientific adviser Professor Neil Ferguson over an alleged breach of the lockdown restrictions, I said that there could not be one rule for one and one rule for everyone else. This remains my position and no-one is above the law.

Ultimately, it is for the Police to determine if there has been any breach of the law and regulations. I note that Durham Police are reported to be reviewing the facts and circumstances to consider what further action may be appropriate. In respecting the operational independence of the Police, I do not think it would be appropriate to pre-empt the outcome of any such work by calling for Mr Cummings to resign. It is right, however, that should new information come to light, the Prime Minister review the situation again – as he has said he would.

It is essential that we remain focused on the urgent task at hand of dealing with the Coronavirus crisis. We must continue to control the virus to enable the release of lockdown restrictions and start the process of rebuilding our economy and life in general. Nothing can distract from this national effort.

Thank you again for contacting me and for sharing your views. I wish you and your family well at this difficult time.

Yours sincerely,

James Brokenshire

As I said before, I don’t think Dominic Cummings broke the law in any meaningful way and we now know that the police agree. His trip was mainly entirely legal but one little bit was very borderline; it may have broken the law but it might not.

If it was down to me I would charge Boris’s SPAD and all his journalist buddies for gathering in someone’s rose garden at a time when such gatherings were clearly illegal. Not that I can afford to be too judgmental; confession time again. On three occasions I have delivered fresh dandelions to a hungry tortoise.


28 May (Part 3) - Twitter nonsense

I only use Twitter to announce new blogs on Bonkers and I am not sure I can be bothered doing that any more. Twitter now not only censors right wing views it blocks access to http websites dependent on the browser in use. I confess to not understanding that bit.

It will tell you that accessing Bexley-is-Bonkers is dangerous despite Bonkers code doing nothing out of the ordinary. It is a plain old fashioned mixture of php and htm files of the sort you might see ten years ago with not a cookie in sight.

Twitter tells me that I must purchase a Security Certificate before it will link to Bonkers and Google has delisted it for the same reason.

It already costs far too much money to bring you news of Council affairs that you can no longer read in the local papers and I do not feel inclined to spend any more. It is another reason why this website must inevitably fade away over time.


28 May (Part 2) - The police lie. Is anyone surprised?

DickIt is an almost unbelievable six weeks since Met. Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, the woman who was behind the shooting of an innocent electrician at Stockwell tube station and who has done so much to thwart the Daniel Morgan murder enquiry broke the law by being part of an unlawful gathering on Westminster Bridge. Doesn’t time fly when politicians are stealing such a large chunk of one’s remaining life expectancy?

A fortnight later a Met. Freedom of Information response said that it was all coincidence that so many police and police vehicles were in one place at the same time; or to quote them more directly it was a spontaneous gathering.

My retired police inspector friend, Mick Barnbrook, knows better than most that nothing significant the police do is spontaneous and unrecorded and certainly not at Commissioner level. He made a Freedom of Information request for a copy of Cressida Dick’s diary.

He didn’t actually get the diary but he has received a written extract from it. It confirms that the Commissioner had a diary entry for 20:00 on 16th April. It says “Clap for carers”.

So there it is in black and white. The earlier “spontaneous” FOI response was a lie. Being on that bridge and having the event in her diary speaks volumes for the judgment of our most senior police officer.


28 May (Part 1) - One One One. Win Win Win

At the suggestion of a friend I called 111 last night while an old lady lay moaning after four or five days of neglect by the NHS services in Newham.

They referred me to the duty GP in Newham who asked if her regular GP had visited. “Not in the past year or so” I replied. He couldn’t believe it. “Why not, has she got Covid-19?”. “No she has been tested negative but her GP said that Newham GPs were banned from home visits”.

“Total nonsense” was the abbreviated reply.

Long story short, the duty doctor rang back shortly afterwards, prescribed the two missing items plus another for Urinary Tract Infection in case the scheduled but never done test proved positive and wonder of wonders, a nurse came round and he stayed all night.

The three items were collected from a late night pharmacist just before they closed at 11. It was still a difficult night but at least there was professional help available.

What is wrong with the NHS in Newham that allows such neglect to happen?


27 May (Part 3) - Crap for the NHS

I won’t be clapping for the NHS tomorrow, not after the shit shower, sorry but they have been so totally incompetent that there are few other suitable words, they have dumped on me over the past few weeks.

As longer term readers will know, I have been looking after an aunt in East Ham for several years. Fit as a fiddle, looks 85 at most, but as she puts it herself “my brain has gone”.

A few weeks ago she became unwell, probably she should be in hospital and she was for four days but Covid and all that, they wanted her out with 24/7 care at home. The only good thing about that is that the NHS picks up the care bill because it’s no longer required only for dementia. That saves me more than a thousand pounds a month but they are only providing the same number of care visits as before but doubling up on the carer numbers.

That leaves my sister and me to fill in all the gaps. I have come to the conclusion that the NHS are taking advantage of a caring family to avoid providing 24/7 care themselves. I am contemplating refusing to do it any more but it is a difficult step to take and inflict on a lady twelve days off her hundredth birthday.

Why a shit shower? What justifies such language? For a flavour of it, this is what has happened since last Sunday, my mind is a blur on the previous weeks but it was all similarly bad.

On Sunday the carer suspected mouth thrush to add to the existing problems and it was confirmed the same day by the District Nurse. I know that a prescription request had gone to the GP by Monday but as of Wednesday evening when I am writing this, it is still not forthcoming. I know the name of the requested medication and the pharmacist says that when he gets the prescription he will need to put in a special order. So we won’t get the stuff until Friday at best. Meanwhile my aunt struggles to speak and points at her mouth.

There is a prescription for paracetamol syrup but it’s not come into stock yet.

A District Nurse is supposed to come in the early evening to administer a mild sedative by syringe. At the weekend she missed one because she said she couldn’t find whatever gets injected and she went off leaving her needle behind. No sharps box. Last night (Tuesday) she failed to turn up at all. When questioned she said it was because of a Urinary Tract Infection. I have no idea if that is a good medical excuse but there is no diagnosed UTI and it is simply misinformation. There has still not been any urine test.

The result of that was that there was no sleep for anyone until 5 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Not that that is much worse than usual.

On Monday, maybe it was Sunday, it’s another blur, a District Nurse manhandled the frail 99 year old so roughly, my sister’s description was “brutal”, that the old lady managed to blurt out the words, “get that woman out of my house”.

Wednesday morning without the promised District Nurse visit and no access to the GP who had taken the day off, my sister phoned his surgery to seek help and advice. She was told none could be given by telephone but to wheel the old lady to the surgery for a consultation. An appointment was handed out for Tuesday June 9th. I am not making this up.

My sister blew her top as you might imagine and was promised a GP would call her back. He/she did not.

Another night begins with no injected sedative, the UTI excuse has been wheeled out again, no medication for the thrush and no one around to help a lady who is really very unwell indeed. And that’s just this week.

Clap for the NHS? Absolutely no way!


27 May (Part 2) - Barnet, Bexley and a bin

Where Barnet goes Bexley follows has been a recent theme and this overflowing bin could have been photographed in either place except that the picture was taken today and I have not been to Barnet for many years.
Bin overflowI have no idea when this bin was last emptied, well over a month certainly and very likely more than three.

From Barnet minutesThere was another email from Barnet yesterday, from someone claiming to have been a close colleague of the former Head of Finance at Barnet Council while the 62 frauds took place and who now claims to be Bexley’s Finance Director’s Deputy. One Nickie Morris.

The former colleague makes the double edged comment that she has a reputation for getting things moving, like people presumably. So many experienced staff left that Barnet’s accounts could not be prepared in time and the audit was delayed. Another touch of sarcasm being that good though Capita losing its contract was, it was even better when Ms. Morris sought refuge in Bexley.

There have been tales of discontent coming from Bexley’s offices for several months which could have been just a few employees with a particular axe to grind but now that similar comes daily from Barnet it would seem safe to assume that Bexley might now have the very same serious problem.


27 May (Part 1) - The last straw for one of the awkward squad

My mother used to say I was born part of the awkward squad and I suspect I am going to prove her right again. I simply cannot get myself worked up over the Dominic Cummings affair. It was probably ill-advised to claim that the short trip to Barnard Castle was to test his eyesight, it would have been better to say he took his wife out to give an opinion on his driving ability after being ill.

What he did doesn’t seem all that unreasonable to me especially at a time when most of us were in a bit of a panic over the scientists’ scary and, as we now know, exaggerated warnings. Whether DC broke the rules is of course another matter; they were probably stretched to the limit at the very least but if I had a father who owned a large estate with three houses and a bluebell wood and at home in Islington I was being pestered by a hypocritical press mob I think I would have done the same. One difference, my car would easily get to Durham and back without a refuelling stop beyond the 13 amp socket at the destination address.

Where this whole business goes wrong for me is that Boris Johnson’s rules have been largely nonsensical from the outset. You must take note of my probable bias, I don’t like the man beyond his ability to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of No. 10.

I am pretty sure that when he was Police Commissioner for London he was not unacquainted with dishonesty and corruption. I have no proof beyond the circumstantial but I would happily eat my hat etc.

If Cummings broke the rules it was because the rules were and continue to be stupid.

It used to be the case that you could exercise by walking around a golf course but it was illegal to take a ball and a stick with you. You could go for a walk down the road, as I did, but you couldn’t sit on a wall when your legs began to ache for lack of use. As mine still do.

TwitterYou can’t invite your girlfriend round to your house unless your name is Neil Ferguson but you can if she comes armed with a feather duster and you slip her a fiver or anything else you might have in mind.

You can now sit on a park bench with a friend if that bench is in a public place but not if that bench is in your back garden. The latter is deemed to be unsafe but because of the inadequacies of the NHS I have recently had to meet approximately 20 of their staff indoors and queue at various poorly stocked pharmacists. That is perfectly lawful.

Boris Johnson appears to be oblivious to the state of the economy and timid and illogical with the lockdown and currently annoying the hell out of me. If I never vote for him again it won’t be because Dominic Cummings may have acted outside the spirit of the lockdown but because of that vicar (Martin Poole) from Brighton’s question at the press briefing yesterday. Will the government review the fines levied on people who have done the same thing as Dominic Cummings? That Dominic Cummings who Boris says has done nothing wrong.

The official answer came a few hours later. No they would not. Now that really is one rule for the elite and another for us plebs. Every man has his limits. For me that decision was mine. Boris Johnson truly is a prat - to contrive the use of Councillor Davey’s favourite Twitter word. Except that unlike him I know how to spell it.

For balance, that other hypocritical prat Kier Starmer has done nothing about his MPs known to have broken the lockdown rules, instead he promoted one of them. And Ian Blackford the SNP Covidiot drove all the way to Skye to break the lockdown, not even an electric car can go that far in one hop.

It’s a Brexit thing isn’t it?


26 May - Bad odours and more traffic planned for Belvedere

IncineratorTwo and a half years ago Cory Environmental made a presentation to Bexley Council which revealed a few numbers about what the proposed second incinerator in Belvedere was all about but keeping the details to themselves probably indicated a lack of interest in involving the wider public. (They refused to let members of the public see the presentation to Councillors.)

A year ago a four day enquiry was held, the local Labour Group issued a Press Release about it, and today as they gain the support of London Mayor Sadiq Khan they have issued another.

If Bexley Council has made any comment I would not know, I stopped being sent their Press Releases six months ago and it is a full year since the Bexley Magazine popped through my letter box. Either the Council’s distributor is a waste of money or I am on a black list.


Click image to read it all.


25 May - Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it

The Summer of Discontent continues in Bexley, the latest leak says that the Council’s Footscray offices are to be closed without any consultation with staff whatsoever and with no evidence that the move will save any money. The displaced staff are to hot desk in the Civic Offices or work at home on a permanent basis.

The staff concerned could hardly be more critical of Chief Executive Jackie Belton and her deputy Steven Moore. Underhand, spineless, reprehensible, inhuman, contemptible and cowardly are among the descriptions culled from emails. The borough will fall apart is one summary.

Mr. ReasonableMaybe it is time to remind readers of the financial neglect which went on under the noses of some of Bexley’s top brass when working in another borough.

Two million was dishonestly extracted from Barnet’s coffers in 62 chunks and no one but the fraudster’s own banker noticed. Bexley immediately snapped up such negectful talent.

Bexley’s current Finance Director heaped praise on the Capita developed system (see image below) which couldn’t detect a massive ongoing fraud, now he is is said to favour its implementation here.

One of Barnet Council’s staff emailed yesterday to say “we were happy when he left.” There is also a reference to his favoured “minion” who followed in her boss’s footsteps.

The system that failed so spectacularly in Barnet is being readied for adoption in Bexley next year.

With so much discontent with developments in Bexley becoming apparent I have asked around for opinions on why Council Leader Teresa O’Neill is going along with it. Not sure I got a sensible answer, among them were that she has now got the ‘Yes (Wo)man’ Chief Executive she has always wanted and why should she care, she is probably angling for another job somewhere.

I’d sum that up as ‘No one knows’ but definitely worrying. More closed offices, more contempt for residents and staff and more Capita.

Good news is hard to come by while we are on the road to economic ruin under a government that has lost the plot. Let’s hope the same is not about to happen to Bexley.

Mr. Reasonable


23 May - Bexley’s downward spiral

It may be coincidence but the number of anonymous messages that appear to have come from Council sources rose soon after Chief Executive Jackie Belton appeared on the scene just over a year ago. I assume that is a measure of the discontent prevalent in the Civic Centre; the imports from Barnet have definitely raised more than a few hackles. Long serving Director Paul Moore left the Council and wrote a heart rending letter explaining why.

There have been lots of suggestions that Barnet’s unloved cast offs are planning to wreak some sort of havoc on Bexley’s tried and tested methods; here’s one of them…

Malcolm, as a current employee of the London Borough of Bexley I must warn you and other residents of the borough of big changes. Unfortunately the current Chief Executive [Jackie Belton] and Directors which she brought with her at varying times are determined to undermine the hard work of officers. Some have been played to such an extent that they cannot continue to work for the authority as it’s got so bad. I’m afraid it will go downhill rapidly.

The forecast came sadly true. Yesterday Bexley’s Head of Street Scene Services threw in the towel. He had given 27 years of his life to Bexley. He is horrified at the way services are being changed and dismantled and how the end result will be far removed from what residents deserve and expect. It is he says, “utterly demoralising”.


22 May - Operation Restore

While Bexley Council was electing its new Mayor I was in my new home in Newham, at least that is what it is beginning to feel like. The result is that I know nothing about virtual Council meetings except that not every Councillor is happy about the way things are going.

The Labour Group said as much in a Press Release.

In particular they do not like the fact that Councillors are allowed to turn their cameras off during meetings, so who knows if they are attending or not, and that Operation Restore forecast two days ago is not open for Scrutiny. Not surprising if the plan is to be based on a job lot set of procedures imported from the failed borough of Barnet.
Press Release

Click image to read all of the Labour Group Press Release.

Having made up a lame excuse to justify their refusal to scrutinise Corona restoration plans, Conservative Councillors immediately decided that the newly cobbled together rule did not apply when there wasn’t a dirty secret to be protected.

If this was a ruling by newly elected Mayor James Hunt it is a very disappointing start. A better decision was the one to reprimand the Twitter addicted Councillor Philip Read for indulging his habit while he should have been paying attention to the meeting.


20 May (Part 2) - A very good choice

For the first time during ten years of Council watching I feel really pleased, inspired?, no maybe that is going a bit too far, by Bexley’s choice of new Mayor and Deputy. Councillors James Hunt and relative newcomer Sue Gower MBE respectively; both of them ‘good guys’ who have never been afraid to recognise my presence at Council meetings and outside.


20 May (Part 1) - Be alert. Bexley needs Lerts

80% of people support the lockdown the polls tell us; but that is just idle compliant talk by those being paid to stay at home. Not a single one of the people I have spoken to in recent days, me included, has observed the lockdown to the letter although the rules were interpreted with a degree of intelligence. What is the point of two people being separated by a simple paling fence that a dog can walk through when you can place two chairs on the same side and open a can of beer?

I don’t mind telling you that this dyed in the wool life long right winger is sick to the back teeth - which fortunately are not yet aching - with Johnson and his bloody useless in a crisis government. Will the head of Public Health England be lined up for the chop at the earliest opportunity for being more interested in a sugar tax than honing his plan for a pandemic?

I have listened to nearly all the press briefings and learned very little. Yesterday the failure to answer sensible questions was blatant and for me were the last straw. Questions designed to give hope to those like me whose remaining years are limited were dodged just as they were when I attended Boris Johnson’s Mayoral election meetings all those years ago.

From my perspective he is saved only by the most inept politician of all time, Sadiq Khan, and a leader of the opposition I despise for his total failure while Director of Public Prosecutions. Can you look at his Shadow Cabinet without falling about laughing? Is that really the best his party can offer?

Very soon Johnson must rebuild the economy of this country and to be fair he has shown tentative signs of trying, thwarted by the left wing loons who control transport in London and schools in run down Labour controlled towns and Councils everywhere who keep car parks and public toilets closed.

The answer to them is simple and it is the same as the law dictates for employment away from the cosy and pampered public sector. People are entitled to stay off work if they don’t feel safe travelling or being at their desk etc. but they don’t get paid.

I wonder what Bexley Council is doing to get things back on track? One can only guess; so I will.

The Chief Executive, my goodness, I have forgotten her name already, will set up a project team and give it a hifalutin name. Something like ‘Operation Restore’.

She will then put her most blue eyed boy in charge of it. That will be Paul Thorogood won’t it? Not that a Finance Director is best placed to know how the borough works, you’d think someone in charge of Growth or Public Realm might have more of a clue.

However if it is Paul Thorogood you can be pretty sure he will co-opt his ex-Barnet side-kick Nickie Morris to hammer out some new wheeze designed to turn Bexley on its head.

No, second thoughts it will be something nicked from that beacon of Tory excellence, the London Borough of Barnet. Something cobbled together at great expense by Capita. Probably the scheme Barnet had to dump in a hurry before it brought them to its financial knees.

That’s my guess anyway. If Bonkers still exists in a couple of years time I may be able to say “Told you so”, or not as the case may be.

I remember now, the Chief Executive is Jackie Belton, Newham’s cast off.


16 May - The end is nigh

If this Corona Virus was put on earth for a reason it would surely be to expose the inadequacies of politicians. I have no problem with the Stay Alert (to the dangers of this virus) message and to interpret the guidelines with common sense; only the mischief makers claim to find it confusing and I can think of a very good reason for that. (They are not very bright.)

I’ve not done it yet but if it is acceptable to meet a friend in a park it must be acceptable to meet a friend in a large front garden, surely only the lunatic fringe of the Metropolitan Police would object to that.

Over the past 24 hours the silliest of the political shenanigans has to be that relating to Transport for London. It’s in effect gone broke.

It was forecast four years ago when Khan said he would freeze the fares and George Osborne, Conservative Chancellor slashed the grant by £700 million. Sadiq stood there like a rabbit caught in the headlights and just let it happen. Maybe not quite, he announced that fares would have to go up more than six months ago. Now of course the lying incompetent is blaming fare rises on Covid-19.

The income lost due to Covid-19 makes the failure to raise fares over the past four years look like pretty small beer so now Khan has two priorities, raising more money and trying to blame the Conservative government for it. Blaming anyone but himself has become the norm for our inadequate Mayor.

The decision to raise the Congestion Charge from £11·50 to £15 and ban the use of the Freedom Pass during busy periods is entirely his.

Raising the Congestion Charge by 30% at the very moment the Government is asking workers to use their cars and is trying to find free town centre parking spaces is the sort of joined up thinking one has come to expect from Khan and maybe most politicians.

Harrow Manorway Harrow ManorwayJoined up thinking is lacking in Bexley too. While Councils are busy making footpaths wider Bexley Council has allowed the footpath along Harrow Manorway to be made much narrower. If you look behind the barrier, as you can near the site of the old Barge Pole pub, you can see that there was no need to put the fence where it is.

Another thing that Bexley Council has narrowed is Harrow Manorway itself. At the beginning of this week another section was given over to buses. Three years of work, eight or more million pounds and ever more road congestion.

Sadiq Khan is not the only source of political spite, we have the public service unions led by the teachers intent on sabotaging government plans too.

I once said here that I came to the conclusion the Labour Party was not for me when by the age of about 13 I noticed that every political slogan painted on a wall was anti-Tory and the 13 year old me knew that painting on walls was bad.

It took another ten years to form a similar impression of teachers. I was working on the second floor of a building at the southern end of Lambeth Bridge which formed a marching route to Parliament Square. The rowdy bunch of long haired scruffs in sports jackets with leather patches on their elbows who marched by more than once were teachers. Granted long hair was fashionable at the time but nothing shouted out rabble louder than those marches.

A few years later in the early seventies there were six school teachers among my close family which was 50% of the working adults, there never were many of us. Of the six, three were fully paid up members of the Communist Party who took regular trips to Moscow, paid for by Leonid Brezhnev probably.

Among the current teachers’ union leadership nothing has changed although reports are that Russia has been replaced by Cuba.

Readers who keep in close contact know why there has been little on Bonkers recently. I’m not sure it will ever get back to normal. If the responsibilities north of the river ever come to an end, and inevitably they will one day, and if Sadiq Khan is still Mayor of London then you won’t see me for dust. I will contribute to falling house prices by packing up and finding somewhere that has not yet been turned into a cesspit by inadequate politicians.


12 May - Coincidence? Probably not, could be a plan

Caring responsibilities have prevented me looking at any Council meeting webcasts and I am not even sure there have been any. Daniel Francis, Bexley’s Labour Leader suggests not or maybe they have been at a much lower level than other Councils. But the democratic failure is not his only concern.

In a letter to Council Leader Teresa O’Neill he highlights several, some of which are…

Click image to read a lot more.

The News Shopper carries a new story which tells us how convenient it is that Councillor Gareth Bacon, doubling up as MP for Orpington was rescued from expulsion from Bexley Council with just one day to spare.

He had not attended any meeting since before the General Election and the rule is six month’s absence and you’re out. It was really quite a neat trick to let him sign in for his first virtual meeting and thereby allow him to continue to claim the near thousand pounds a month Councillor Allowance. On the other hand it will save the taxpayer the cost of a by-election which would be sure to be a lot more.

If I was a scheming politician I would probably be quite proud of pulling that stunt.

Councillor Daniel Francis has something to say about that too. Click the image above to read his comments.

Click for News Shopper report.


11 May - It will be carnage

Well into my eighth decade and with very few family members I seem to have acquired too many vulnerable people to attend to and the only plus point is that it gives me a legal reason to leave home occasionally.

Earlier today it became necessary to do a doorstep drop in central London and I must say the traffic was an eye-opener. It was not too bad heading in at about 4 p.m. but the return trip an hour later was horrendous. There were cyclists all over the place and drivers were by and large giving them a wide berth. It was that that provided the problem as two lane roads effectively became one.

Pulling out when spying Lycra in the distance sometimes provoked a blast on the horn from those who do not look far enough ahead. It took 85 minutes to get from the City to the southern end of the Blackwall Tunnel. I forgot to check the time when I got home but Charlton and Woolwich were fairly free running albeit with the usual standard of driving for which the area is notorious.

If everyone starts to use a bike, those going to work in cars, as is also encouraged over public transport, are going to get there very late. Assuming of course they can find a place to park.

When cyclists start to end up in A&E instead of the office, lots of them will start to risk the trains instead.

Scaring the wits out of the population over the sometimes dangerous virus is going to have nasty repercussions. There is no easy way out.


10 May - Absolutely bonkers

My mate is a taxi driver, I am not allowed to see him but if I pay him to drive me to the shop where I can mingle with strangers everything is just fine.

I have not seen my girlfriend for nearly two months. That’s two months when the vacuum cleaner has seen very little use and the bathroom is not as neat and tidy as it used to be, but if I pay her to come round and be my cleaner, Boris is a happy bunny.

He’s nuts.

In 2011 the government proposed raising the motorway speed limit to 80 m.p.h. The reason was that the economics are heavily in favour of getting the country to run faster. (I know who was involved with the research.)

The current Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the same thing last October. Highways England was of the same opinion in 2018. Higher speeds are economically sensible.

Now the shambolic shower we call a government aided and abetted by bigger clowns like Sadiq Khan and Councils everywhere want us to get on our bikes and to encourage the new stone age by reducing road capacity like they have always wanted to but at a faster pace.

If Boris Johnson cannot make more sensible decisions than those of Extinction Rebellion, then I am finished with him.


9 May - Asking for a friend

Is a key worker, working at home because of a serious underlying medical condition, a sufficiently vulnerable person to justify picking up her broken computer so that she can both work and order groceries again? Boris’s rules are so confusing not to mention absolutely bloody stupid at times.

Sick of him and his cronies to be honest…


8 May (Part 2) - Unlucky or lucky?

On my drive back from East Ham today the radio kept me entertained with war time memories from those who just about remembered for themselves or were retelling their parents’ tales; so here’s another one.

At the end of 1940 my father was living at No. 12 Ripley Road in Custom House, not far from Victoria Dock Road, with his widowed mother Gladys and his sister. He had followed in his father’s footsteps by working at Woolwich Arsenal. His sister was a telephonist in the so called Citadel underneath Faraday Building by St. Paul’s Cathedral and his mother had a job at the biggest gas works in the world in Beckton.

One Friday night they were down the air raid shelter when a bomb fell nearby and damaged their house although not as badly as as their next door neighbour’s.

Late at night they all set out to walk to Gladys’s brother’s house in Plaistow but they met Walter half way. Walter and his wife and daughter had suffered the same fate and had the same idea. They were given shelter in a church hall for a few days. On the Monday my father went to look at what remained of Ripley Road and reported back that the house wasn’t that badly damaged and he reckoned that he could patch it up with some tarpaulin or something. So he bought some and next day went back with it to Ripley Road, however the house had been completely flattened by another bomb. Good job he didn’t fix the house a day earlier.

For no particular reason, here is a contemporary postcard of the local railway station, Silvertown. As a kid I was always fascinated by the railway that served Silvertown, trains went down the road like a tram.
Silvertown Station
A higher resolution image will be provided when the original postcard is located. (I had it yesterday!)


8 May - VE Day 75

Long term readers of this blog will probably have guessed that I have been spending a lot more time North of the river than I would like. Over there it’s not how I remember it from childhood days, it was probably a nicer place back then, bomb craters and all.

Here to commemorate Victory in Europe day are two photos of me celebrating the event 75 years ago. Unfortunately the precise location is not recorded but I do know it was somewhere close to Leyton Orient’s football ground.
VE Day
VE Day
The party was of course a little later than May 8th.


1 May (Part 2) - Another police cover up?

TweetMy old friend Mick Barnbrook has got the bit between his teeth again hunting down the probable lies and inevitable cover ups that he is so good at spotting all around him. How many MPs did he get sent down for expenses fiddles? Five wasn't it?

Currently in his sights is his old employer the Metropolitan Police who even I have evidence, an admission even, are capable of deep levels of corruption among the higher ranks.

The latest target is the law breaking assembly on Westminster Bridge two Thursdays ago. Mick asked the police how it was that the clapping Commissioner and enough police vehicles to fill the bridge could have possibly been permitted.

His reply says that it all happened by coincidence; Cressida Dick just happened to be there by chance, as were all the other officers and the blue lights flashing in unison were not coordinated.

Believe it if you like.

Mick is still quite well connected in police circles and enough information has flowed in his direction for him to be pretty sure that coincidence was nowhere near being involved.

I doubt this is the last we will hear of this one, although the depths to which the police will stoop to protect themselves know no bounds. I speak from experience over the years.

They are quite simply crooked to the core.


1 May (Part 1) - What lockdown?

This short item appears here to prevent a site error, the automatic processes demand an entry on the 1st of the month, however there is nothing significant to report.

Yesterday I had to drive to East Ham again to attend to the vulnerable person. Just after 3 p.m. the queue for the southbound Blackwall Tunnel extended back along the A13 to the Canning Town Flyover. Half an hour later it was slow going through Woolwich to Plumstead Bus Garage too.


News and Comment May 2020

Index: 2020

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