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News and Comment June 2021

Index: 20202021

30 June - A month of Institutional Corruption sandwiched by legal threats and trivia

Maybe it was the wrong decision but the limited time available today has been devoted to listening to last night’s Communities Scrutiny meeting and extracting a few snippets of what may be interesting from another two and a half hour meeting and then posting it with tomorrow’s date. The theory being that it will have a longer life there, at least for readers who prefer to view in Month mode.

Councillor Philip Read Councillor Philip ReadWhich leaves nothing much to report today.

The big event of the month for me was the Daniel Morgan report which labelled the Metropolitan Police Institutionally Corrupt over the whole of the past 34 years and its Commissioner Cressida Dick as repeatedly obstructive towards the Independent Panel’s search for the truth.

To emphasise that the Met. is corrupt all its top brass and Sadiq Khan the Mayor immediately said they weren’t without so much as reading the report - it would take a week. It tends to confirm that corruption and absence of morals are endemic in British Society; from Johnson downwards.

The Metropolitan Police, the Hampshire force which knowingly issued a false clean bill of health on their investigation, and the Police Complaints Authority were all told by the Independent Panel that they owe the Morgan family an apology. None of them have made any effort to provide one.

The end of the month sees two pictures of Councillor Philip Read delivering Conservative leaflets in June unused. It seems a shame to waste them after he said that leaflets were effectively worthless because people who are not given one should nevertheless vote for the candidate that fails to keep them informed. As long as he/she is Conservative presumably.

For those looking for something a little more serious the Communities report is available early.

 

29 June (Part 2) - Councillor Craske reports

Cabinet Member Craske reported to last Thursday’s Scrutiny meeting that the “Serco waste contract is going through the legal processes and the outcome should be announced in July”.

“Libraries have opened this week.” Bexley is “now in its last year of Heritage Lottery funding for Lesnes Abbey”. There are 900 volunteer workers at the Abbey and “we are on course to welcome 750,000 people this year”.

The Martens Grove BMX Park will be formally opened on 10th July and is “already a massive hit”. There are monthly Farmers’ Markets in both Danson Park and at Lesnes Abbey.

Councillor Hinkley Councillor FrancisCouncillor Sally Hinkley (Labour, Belvedere) asked why the Community Libraries were able to open so much earlier than Council run Libraries. As she suspected he would, Councillor Craske blamed Covid.

Councillor Daniel Francis (Labour, Belvedere) asked how Scrutiny Committee Members would be able to engage with the letting of Serco contract as there would not be another meeting in the immediate future.

Councillor Craske said the details of the new contract would be provided to Committee members before it went public which would appear to inhibit scrutiny and presumably the preferred course of action.

Councillor June Slaughter (Conservative, Sidcup) also expressed dissatisfaction with the Scrutiny processes particularly on budget issues. She said she was a lone voice.

 

29 June (Part 2) - Hell Place under fire

Councillor Lucia-HennisBefore 2016 Hall Place was managed by a Heritage Trust which soaked up a lot of money, so much that Bexley Council thought they could do better by managing it themselves. Initially they probably did but things have gone rapidly down hill over the last couple of years at least.

Councillor Geraldene Lucia-Hennis (Conservative, Crayford) chaired a Sub-Group to examine what might be done.

Among other things she was not happy with the catering contract which was a remnant of Heritage Trust days. The current contractor exerts far too much control. Among other concerns was not being able to find a list of the artifacts owned by the Council. There was no list to say what the items were, where they were stored and their value.

She “found it hard to believe that a Council has not got that list somewhere and very very safe”. No insurance documents have been found.

Her Committee visited the house last September and again in June and she was “upset, appalled and troubled” to find in a period of closure absolutely nothing had been done to improve it. Recommendations totally ignored and there was no plan for reopening.

The Events Organiser appointed in April had apparently done nothing. She has had no instructions and as a result no events, weddings etc., had been booked and “that is key to making Hall Place pay for itself. It has been neglected.”

Council Officers had provided no useful information about the catering contract and the list of artifacts. Councillor Lucia-Hennis said she had been given lame excuses many times over at least four months and she was clearly unhappy about it. Sarcastic about the perpetual failures might be a fair description.

Cabinet Member Craske said many of the problems stemmed from the furloughing of Hall Place staff and the narrow corridors that prohibited social distancing but no excuses were offered for the failure to take wedding bookings which due to intrinsic delays cannot translate into actual receptions until next year.

TweetCouncillor Nigel Betts (Conservative, ) said he was “very disturbed” by what he had heard. He wanted to know why there was not “a digital inventory of all of our artifacts and historical items. What happened to the highly technical temperature controlled depository we used to have in Crayford?”

There used to be a similar depository in the old Civic Offices, he said. “It just disappeared and officers shrugged their shoulders. The time has now come when we need answers. It is all very disappointing.” None of his questions were answered.

Keen artist John Davey said the gardens were “looking a bit tatty”, the green house and sunken garden was closed and he was scathing about the reduced facilities provided for art exhibitions. “You can go to museums and galleries but not Hall Place. ‘It’s Covid’ is a weak excuse.

“The house is bare with nothing on the walls, there is nothing there worth seeing. If I wanted a wedding there I would look at it and think why would I come here? It’s the most dreary place I have ever seen.”

“The shop will soon take over the whole art gallery and letting it out is supposed to provide an income along with commission fees on sold work. The shop has just taken over another wall cutting down the hanging space. You get to the point you think are people going to bother to hire a gallery which is three quarters shop? It’s not worth the effort to use it as a gallery any more.”

“I have never seen anyone buying anything and we need to know the cost and profitability of the shop. The only good news is that the railway is being installed.”

Councillor Cheryl Bacon (Conservative, Sidcup) reinforced what had been already said and additionally asked about obtaining a Heritage Fund grant only to be told that £200,000 had already come by that route but it had all been spent on the Events Organiser and improved signage etc.

Councillor Slaughter (Conservative, Sidcup) said she “had a feeling of disappointment that no one has been using their imagination or is fired up by things we could do. We have an amazing building in beautiful grounds and we should be exploiting it”. Things like the greenhouse should be open. She was critical of Council Officers’ lack of answers too. The Chairman agreed it was “unacceptable and Officers should meet us half way.”

Councillor Lucia-Hennis’s Sub-Committee thanked Councillor Stefano Borella for his contribution to the report which will now go to the Cabinet Member. The Committee will probably continue.

 

28 June - Road Safety. There is no Plan B

Councillor Melvin SeymourBexley is said to be unique among London boroughs (†) in having its school crossing patrols funded by Sadiq Khan which may have been a good idea until Covid struck and he (TfL) ran out of money.

Old Bexley Primary School on Hurst Road, Sidcup, has had no crossing patrol since the death of their lollypop man while riding his bicycle to school and there has been a 2,304 signature petition requesting his replacement or a Zebra crossing. The Committee Chairman described the site as “extremely dangerous”.

There used to be 28 patrol sites funded by £100,000 of TfL money topped up with £50,000 from Bexley Council. The number of sites has dwindled to eleven and Bexley chopped its contribution this year due to the need to balance its budget. TfL funding for the eleven ceased in May and will run out next month.

Once upon a time there were 38 sites but ten were deemed unnecessary.

The pay for a school crossing patrol officer is £5,000 a year for two attendances 192 days a year so it is not surprising that recruitment is difficult. Replacement by Zebra crossings is expensive and we were informed that they tend to increase the accident rate. Without funding there can be little optimism for the future.

The Headteacher described the dangers she sees daily outside her school and said that there is not only no Zebra crossing but no central pedestrian refuge either. Letters to the Council have “received no concrete answers”. There have been “near misses several times a week”.

Councillor Val Clark (Conservative, Falconwood & Welling) suggested that the Headteacher raised the necessary money herself through sponsorship. The Headteacher said it was an option she would consider but it might be a long term solution when the need is now.

A Council officer with experience of sponsorship in other boroughs said that sponsorship can be problematic, it can be cut off without notice.

Councillor John Davey (Conservative, West Heath), ever the optimist, thought that TfL might restore the funding as part of the agreed Government bail out.

Councillor Cheryl Bacon (Conservative, Sidcup) asked the Headteacher if she could find her own replacement crossing patrol officer via letters to parents etc. She had “not gone down that route yet” and thought funding and training would remain an issue. On being told that short term funding might be available (because of unexpected retirements) she said she would write to parents.

Cabinet Member Peter Craske said the TfL funding “was stopped overnight” in March 2020 and briefly restored later and some money may be available until 11th December. The Council is making a bid for a share. He was optimistic that some money would become available and recruitment and training should then go ahead despite Bexley having lost its responsible Road Safety Officer.

Councillor Clark asked Highways Engineer Andrew Bashford how long it would take to install a Zebra crossing. She was told that TfL does not allow light controlled crossings without a record of accidents but Zebras are a borough responsibility. They can be installed in something like three months from design through to commissioning at a cost of anything from £15,000 to more than £50,000 depending on the amount of work needed to be done on road surfaces. Sometimes a road must be entirely replaced to allow an anti-skid surface.

On average Bexley’s Zebra crossings see an injury accident every two years and cause about five times as many “rear end shunts. They can create a collision problem”. Outside schools at busy times they can cause congestion and pollution and push traffic into surrounding roads. All of these things must be looked it.

Councillor Sally Hinkley (Labour, Belvedere) highlighted the contradictions in TfL’s policy on light controlled crossings. If the crossing patrol officer does a good job there will be no history of accidents and there can never be a Pelican crossing and experience at a Belvedere school showed that Zebra crossings ‘invited’ children to run on to them without taking the necessary precautions.

The Highways Engineer said that Pelican crossings are not much safer than Zebras due to “Amber Gamblers” and children dashing across the road after the Green Man had gone.

Councillor Clark was in favour of 20 m.p.h. limits, Cabinet Member Craske less so because of the lack of police enforcement.

In summing up Committee Chairman Melvin Seymour commented that “if funding is not forthcoming then, pretty much, road safety in this borough comes to an end”. There was optimism that that would not happen. “It is a good bid and we will plan on that basis” was the official line.

Councillor Bacon saw the problem with that and said that there should be an immediate review into how road safety would be funded in the medium and long term. The Chairman agreed and put the necessary arrangements in place. There will be one and possibly two Old Bexley School parents on the sub-committee that looks for the longer term solution.

† Reluctantly confirmed during the meeting.

I am not sure if it was near Old Bexley School or not but a year or two ago I waited behind a bus at a bus stop on Hurst Road because the road ahead wasn’t clear and the driver behind me mounted the pavement and passed the bus on the wrong side of the bus stop. Who’d be a Lollypop man!

 

25 June (Part 2) - Lollypops melt away and Hall Place becomes Hell Place

I have listened to yesterday’s near two and a half hour Places Scrutiny meeting and unlike the Children’s and Adult’s meeting there is quite a lot ithat merits a report here; but not yet. Far too many other things to do.

Most notable is the mess that Bexley Council has made of the school crossing patrols and the criticism by Conservative Councillors of the marketing of Hall Place, both as a wedding venue and an art gallery.

Fortunately Labour Councillor Daniel Francis has summarised the situation.
Tweet Tweet

 

25 June (Part 1) - The Met is institutionally Corrupt and their denials are futile

Financial Times videoAs forecast yesterday, The Financial Times has explained in a ten minute video why and how the Metropolitan Police is Institutionally Corrupt and the senior officers and former Commissioners who deny it merely prove the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel’s findings.

 

24 June - The Met cannot see the corruption within their ranks which is why there is a problem

Senior Metropolitan Police Officers continue to rubbish the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel’s report which after eight years of deliberation came to the conclusion that the Met was and still is undeniably Institutionally Corrupt. By denying it they prove the DIMP’s case that the Met’s primary objective is to protect itself.

Financial Times contributor Financial Times video
The Financial Times promises us a video for tomorrow explaining why the Panel’s verdict is right and its author has provided a foretaste of what it will say.

“No lesser term [than Institutional Corruption] would be apt.”

The official report makes it amply clear that Commissioner Dick and the Met in general tried very hard to obstruct the flow of information to the Panel, something I was hearing about unofficially from 2013 right through to 2021.

No one suggests that the Metropolitan Police would not like to solve the crime but only when they stop protecting themselves is that likely to be possible.

It looks like the Daily Mail got this report wrong last month. What could the Home Secretary say or do anyway?
Daily Mail Daily Mail

 

23 June - Double the work and squeeze the pay

The Agenda for the Children’s and Adults’ Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee chaired by Councillor Caroline Newton yesterday evening suggested that only the budget slashing might be worth reporting but in the event the whole meeting was deadly dull.

Caroline NewtonWe heard how a Government that is preoccupied with Covid and thinks of nothing else has impacted the borough’s children. Increased level of anxiety made worse by negative media messages. Worries about missed education and exams, missing friends and family and in some cases family deaths. There was more aggressive behaviour in evidence and some children became withdrawn and no longer slept properly.

Who would have thought it? Not an uncaring Boris Johnson apparently.

Bexley Council thinks the answer to increasing problems is a budget reduction. £365,000 this year and another £200,00 next year. The staffing budget will reduce by £65,000, likely made up of one manager’s post.

Councillor Richard Diment (Conservative, Sidcup) queried the staffing reduction. It was confirmed it would be a cut over and above those initially proposed and had recently been an agency post and the work would be handed to an existing manager; presumably doubling his workload. It is no surprise that senior staff are finding jobs elsewhere. Deputy Director Toni Ainge who worked in Bexley for many years suffered such a fate and promptly buzzed off to Southwark, and who can blame her?

Councillor Diment commented that residents would see “potentially big changes” and wanted to see frequent updates on their effect. Re-enablement of elderly people was already suffering but not necessarily as a result of staff cuts.

 

22 June - He would say that wouldn’t he?

In a conversation with my daughter, Alastair Morgan’s partner for the past 30 years, I bet her that she couldn’t go through more than half a dozen pages of the DMIP report chosen at random without finding something deeply shocking. An easy bet to win.

BBC reportReaders seem to be finding the same. Before eight o’clock this morning the phone rang to alert me to an interview on BBC Radio 4 Today with Jonathan Rees, Daniel Morgan’s business partner in 1987. Thanks John, I agree it did in part seem to fly in the face of the facts.

Rees had been with Daniel Morgan on the evening of his murder and became a suspect. Naturally enough he was protesting his innocence this morning but he went further.

He denied corruption and he denied involvement with the planting of drugs in a car belonging to a woman fighting a child custody battle.


BBC reportAs you may read in the panel alongside (click to enlarge), Rees told Radio 4 that he was not only innocent of the crime but it was the subject of an appeal to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

It was, but the CCRC rejected it last December.

That is not surprising; evidence of the crime was obtained with covert listening devices placed in the private eye’s offices, formerly Southern Investigations but renamed Law and Commercial after Daniel’s death. (Chapter 4 of the DMIP report.)

Incidentally, the very observant may notice that old reports on this case refer to five police investigations into the murder but the most recent ones, including today’s BBC report, say there were only four.

There is a very simple explanation for that. The Metropolitan police fibbed and misled the Morgan family during meetings. Institutional Corruption at every level.

Below is what the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel had to say about Rees’ involvement with corrupt police officers. Ten of them went to jail. Rees did not see his involvement with them as corrupt.

DMIP report
DMIP report

Extracts from DMIP report, pages 10 and 6.

 

21 June (Part 2) - Feeble minded Phil

Two Bexley Council meetings will be webcast this week so it won’t be too long before BiB can begin to forget about treading water. Meanwhile, as is so often the case, Councillor Philip Read is anxious to fill the gap, this time with total idiocy. Give grateful thanks to Philip.

Delivering essential leafletsIt is pretty much accepted practice that at election time politicians go door-stepping and delivering leaflets to get their message through to an electorate which might otherwise be in ignorance of it.

Alongside is Councillor Philip Read (Conservative, West Heath) bragging that he has trudged to every letterbox in his ward while standing outside the very last house on his round.

Read must think that delivering leaflets is a very important part of the democratic process and it is; how else would the not terribly interested voter know the name of a candidate let alone be given an insight into his mindset? Councillor Read thinks so too, he wouldn’t be so keen to waste the shoe leather otherwise.

At election time and again yesterday I complained that boasting about not delivering Peter Fortune’s leaflet to my address was not the action of a rational canvasser. Why would anyone do that? Perhaps Mr. Fortune should ask the Bexley Councillor who knowingly failed to deliver his message what the Hell he was playing at.

Councillor Read was not happy with my implied question and he immediately went on the defensive, never having heard of Dennis Healey’s recommendation to stop digging when in a hole.

Read, always keen to demonstrate that he is not the sharpest Tool in the Cabinet, dug himself more firmly into his hole than before.


TweetHe argued that not voting for someone you know nothing about is "totally superficial". Why? If people are happy to vote for someone they don’t know why is Read so keen to deliver a leaflet to every dwelling?

There are no doubt people happy to vote for a donkey so long as it is sporting the right coloured rosette but I am not one of them. I cannot assume that Peter Fortune is a good bloke just because he is a Tory; I fell for that one in December 2019 and saddled myself with a Green, high spending, frequently lying, friends’ pocket lining dictator.

I am not going to do that again. For the record I voted for Shaun Bailey to be Mayor, sometimes the alternative is just too awful to contemplate.

Tweets

A collection of Tweets from Feeble Phil.

 

21 June (Part 1) - It’s corruption, but not as they know it

No apologySeveral readers have emailed and even phoned to ask where they can read the text of Dame Cressida Dick’s apology to the Morgan family for presiding over a much delayed report, largely her fault, and for heading up a police force which is now officially judged to be institutionally corrupt. Not just in the past but right now.

Several news sites referred to the apology - the one alongside came from the BBC - so where is it?

I phoned Alastair Morgan to ask him.

“Hi Al, can you let me have the Dear Mr. Morgan letter you have had from the Met. Police Commissioner so that I can add it to your website?”

You know where this is going don’t you?

No member of the Morgan family has had any contact with official bodies or their leaders since the DMIP report was published or for that matter in the weeks and months beforehand.

The report runs to more than 1,200 pages yet within an hour or two of it being published these three charlatans and ne’er do wells had all said that they had full confidence in the Commissioner.

The Report refers to “institutional corruption” ten times and corruption many times more. Ignoring it is yet another example of Institutional Corruption in Government officials from both Left and Right.

Boris Johnson Priti Patel Sadiq Khan

 

20 June - He’s at it again

Yesterday in a moment of boredom I responded in a slightly cheeky manner to Peter Fortune’s Tweet praising his campaign team. The original Tweet included a picture of Councillor Philip Read. My comment provoked more interest than it deserved but only one doubted its truthfulness. That exception was Councillor Philip Read. He denies being in my road delivering on behalf of Peter Fortune.
Fortune Tweet Fortune Tweet

Coptefield DriveWhen I first published this photo on 10th April I wasn’t absolutely sure who it was standing in front of my road name sign but a Councillor friend said it was definitely Councillor Read. This was confirmed when he photographed himself maskless in a similar pose.

He is fairly obviously carrying Peter Fortune’s election newssheet but Read denies he delivered it in my road.

And why would he think it was rational not to put leaflets through my door? Someone who was once a paid up member of Erith and Thamesmead Conservative Association and while disillusioned with the party for many years as well one might be with people like Read in charge I almost always vote Conservative. There have been a couple of exceptions for local candidates I knew to be good ones.

Every blog written in the week before the May election was inclined in the pro-Tory direction and despite more dithering than usual that is where I eventually placed my Mayoral X. The Conservative Party candidates were not entirely left out.

Why does Read attempt to lose my vote? Not what a real Peter Fortune supporter should be doing.

Councillor Philip Read has to be an unreformed idiot doesn’t he, and if my interpretation of today’s Tweet is correct an idiot incapable of being entirely truthful.

It is odd that Read claims he didn’t put a copy of the Mayoral campaign letter through my letterbox because I got a copy on the day he took his own photo. A double fibber or a memory not becoming of a Cabinet Member?

 

19 June - The Monk’s Bear Garden

EventbriteI was reminded yesterday of how this blog first came into being. I was excluded from the consultation on the narrowing of Abbey Road which is probably no more than 100 metres from where I am sitting right now. I have regarded Bexley Council’s consultation processes with suspicion ever since.

Twelve years later I have belatedly discovered that I have been excluded from the consultation on changing the activities licence for Lesnes Abbey Park which is two minutes walk away, if that.

If I had been notified I would have seen the Eventbrite invitation (see left) to a meeting held last Thursday evening. I wouldn’t have been able to attend but I am pretty sure some neighbours would have done so.

The proposal is to open up the park as some sort of party venue with music and booze. Personally I am not too bothered by that, it is probably a fair exchange for the screams of teenage girls that usually come from the park on a summer evening but there are residents who live much closer to the centre of the park than I do who may take a different view.

The person who didn’t bother to invite everyone who looks out onto the park to the meeting was Lindsey Weaver, Bexley’s Partnership and Activities Manager.

She is looking to have up to 3,000 people in the park which will probably cause a great deal of noise and block all the nearby roads. It can be impossible - literally sometimes - to drive home with the existing level of events which peak at a few hundred people, the annual Catholic church service being the most notorious for inconsiderate parking.

I understand that Belvedere Councillor Sally Hinkley took an interest in the event and residents of New Road and Monk’s Close were not too happy about what they heard.

There was criticism of the Council staff involved who at first sent out an invitation with a wrong date and phone number on it and who had little idea about the current licensing arrangements which were reluctantly agreed with residents in 2006. Their concerns now are much the same as they were then. Noise and road blocking. Monk’s Close in particular is a literal stone’s throw from what may become a music venue.

The expectation is that a new licence proposal will be made public within the next week or two.

The panel below is an extract from a revised and corrected letter to a very few local residents. Click the extract to see it all.

Consultation

The letter goes on to say, “Prior to Covid, Lesnes successfuly delivered a range of events similar to what we envisage”. Bexley Council is renowned for not telling the truth; there have never been prolonged 3,000 guest events hosted there ever before. Not since Richard De Luciְ’s opening day knees up anyway.

 

18 June - Institutionally corrupt? Of course they are

Met. Police Commissioner Cressida Dick is claiming that she and her force is not corrupt but that is because she doesn’t recognise what corruption is. It goes well beyond grubby £50 notes in brown envelopes. Dick doesn’t see corruption because it is pretty much the norm in her office.

DickTake a relatively silly example. Cressida Dick said the appearance of so many police officers and vehicles on Westminster Bridge a year ago was spontaneous.

It was a lie. Mick Barnbrook FOId her diary and the relevant entry said “clap for carers”. Mick sent a complaint to Sadiq Khan and he ignored it so there is another form of institutional corruption.

The Daniel Morgan Independent Panel did not have the statutory power to demand witnesses appear before it and the submission of documents was similarly by agreement only. Nevertheless the Metropolitan Police as long ago as 2013 agreed to do the decent thing but the DMIP report says that the release of documents was resisted right through to March 2021.

I first heard of the reluctance to cooperate in the Autumn of 2013 when the retired judge chairing the Panel disappeared citing personal reasons. It was suggested that he was sympathetic to the view that documents likely to damage the reputation of the Metropolitan Police could never be made public. His liaison officer was Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick.

There was speculation that wholesale shredding was the order of the day and we shall never be sure if that it true but a certain amount of credence for it comes from the arrest of DCS Cook for allegedly having copies of documents at his home address. Never charged with any offence and again it is interesting to speculate why he was not given his day in Court.

One must have sympathy with DCS Cook; according to the Morgan family the only officer who won their trust by trying to nail the murderers and one of the small number of officers to welcome an interview by the DMIP. As such he figures more heavily than most in the DMIP report because he was willing to speak to them and admit that his investigation breached a few procedural rules. The real baddies will have distanced themselves from difficult questions.

Because of the lack of hard evidence there is no verdict on the fate of DC Alan Holmes, an officer recorded in the official report and thought to have been working with Daniel Morgan on exposing police corruption. Like Daniel, Alan Holmes was found dead in suspicious circumstances. An inquest said it was suicide. Books which tell the tale suggest that the gun forensics point in a different direction.

After the Met made such a “pathetic” mess of their initial murder investigation the Hampshire Force was asked to independently review it but needless to say found no problem. Stories circulated that senior Met. and Hampshire officers were best buddies but the DMIP report makes no reference to that, however it does say that a senior Met officer was actually part of the independent Hampshire investigation. The Hampshire force concluded that “there was no evidence to implicate a police officer by name or the police in general as being involved [in the murder]”

The letter subsequently sent to Alastair Morgan said “the two enquiries carried out by the Metropolitan Police and the Hampshire Constabulary have been most thorough and have produced no evidence of police involvement in your brother’s murder”.

The DMIP report labelled the Hampshire force as corrupt along with the Police Complaints Authority and the Met. Their report “omitted serious issues” and the PCA knew of those omissions but said that “all matters have been thoroughly investigated”.

The Met., the Hampshire force and the PCA all knew of the failings but trotted out the “thorough” line for many years.

“It cannot be reasonably explained as coincidence or genuine error and the cumulative failures amount to institutional corruption on the part of all three organisations.” (DMIP report page 1,071.)

Dick is quoted in the press as having offered her apologies to the Morgan family. They have assured me that that isn’t true.

These people, all condemned by a Home Office sponsored Independent inquiry all have the support of the Crime Minister Boris Johnson, Priti Patel and Sadiq Khan. Doesn’t that make them every bit as bad?

 

16 June (Part 2) - Sell the parks, then sell the shops

Both Murky Depths and The News Shopper are carrying reports to the effect that Erith’s Shopping Centre is for sale with an asking price of £18 million. Not a new idea.

When Bexley Conservatives were advocating selling parks to pay for the upkeep of those that remained, UKIP Councillors proposed selling the Bexleyheath and Erith shopping centres instead.

They were told in no uncertain terms that the idea was a non-starter as Bexley Council did not own either. This was a great big fib as the Acting Chief Executive was forced to admit.

Nearly six years later Bexley’s finances have been mismanaged to the extent that the parks have been sold and the shops are going too. And still the local Tories tell you that they are good with money!

Note: The linked blog has not yet been updated. Some of its links are broken.

 

16 June (Part 1) - Daniel Morgan. The local connection

The following paragraph taken from the third volume of the Daniel Morgan report could so very easily be my friend Michael Barnbrook relating one of his many tales of how he was treated while a Police Officer based at the Bexleyheath nick. “Do you want to move house and relocate your children to schools the other side of London? No? Then drop your allegations of misconduct by senior officers.”
From Volume 3 of the Daniel Morgan report
Bexleyheath, Belvedere, Bromley and St. Mary Cray police stations are all mentioned in the Report. A knife found in the possession of a Detective Sergeant suspect arrested and taken to Belvedere was not examined forensically to see if there might be a link between it and “scoring on the axe used to murder Daniel Morgan”.

 

15 June - It’s official. Institutional corruption

After years of proclaiming the Metropolitan Police to be corrupt I am feeling vindicated but I must try not to gloat. It is now official. DMIP Chair Baroness O’Loan was unafraid to say so and if you see some weak minded news media referring to “A form of corruption” you can be assured that far more forthright versions of that phrase were used. It was at least twice made clear that the corruption was ongoing and Commissioner Cressida Dick was credited with hanging on to vital documents until as recently as last March as well as being responsible for suppressing documents from when the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel first began work eight years ago.

The Daniel Morgan report The Daniel Morgan reportAs Photo 1 indicates no one has yet had enough time to digest its 1,250 pages with not an Index to be seen. Its progenitor Theresa May MP dropped in to collect her copy which is just as well because I was able to nick her media box to carry mine home.

Photo 2 was taken after the formalities ended and while journalists filed their reports.

The Baroness did not pull her punches during press questions. Yes the Met had been obstructive and corrupt. Yes they have treated the Morgan family abysmally and yes they have cost taxpayers a large proportion of the £16 million the report cost by deliberately restricting access to police IT systems and documents.

The police were labelled “venal”.

Yes Cressida Dick should consider her position said Daniel’s brother Alastair who has spent half a lifetime pursuing crooked police officers. It has taken a terrible toll on him and he is no longer the man I first met 30 years ago.

Daniel’s widow was visibly upset by the proceedings; another life, along with her two children’s wrecked by bent cops; bent right up to Commissioner level.

The Panel members went out of their way to be kind and sympathetic to the Morgan family, it is not often that one gets to shake hands with a Baroness. Her formal 30 minute address to the media was measured and I was at first prepared for a whitewash but as she went on and especially when answering questions that was far from being the case.

In answer to a press question Alastair Morgan confirmed that not once has Home Secretary Priti Patel been in touch with him. That is a worse record than even Theresa May’s Labour predecessors who were at least prepared to discuss the family’s concerns even if they did dismiss them all after being reassured by police lies.

The report is available from the DMIP’s website.

 

14 June (Part 2) - The never ending corruption within the British Establishment

Tomorrow looks like being a busy day. As perhaps the most distant of the remaining members of Daniel Morgan's family I am pleased to be included in the select few to have been given a ticket to the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel’s Press Conference.

Alastair and IsobelWill it or won’t it confirm what his brother Alastair has suspected over the past 34 years? Will a second murder be revealed? How many senior police officers from the Met and possibly elsewhere will be tarnished with the corruption brush?

I am required to report to Great Smith Street from some time after 09:15 where copies of the 1,200 page report will be available from 09:30. Phones will be confiscated and cameras allowed only with specific permission which I have not sought.

The DMIP Chairman will make a statement at 11:45 and copies will be available to take away. No Panel Member can be interviewed.

No one will be allowed out of the building until the report is laid before Parliament, currently expected to be by 12:15; not that you would know it from tomorrow’s Parliamentary timetable. There is no mention of the report from which one might conclude that the Home Office hopes to quash publicity as far as it can.

There has only been one honest or non-gullible Home Secretary in 34 years and that was Theresa May. Theresa sanctioned DMIP. The present incumbent appears to have loyalties elsewhere.

At or around 12:15 Alastair Morgan will be allowed his own Press Conference, probably accompanied by my daughter Kirsteen. They will have had at best two hours to study the official report.

The stress of getting the question of Metropolitan Police corruption out in the open has, in his own words, driven him to the edge of endurance. I have seen at first hand how his life has been effectively wrecked by a thoroughly corrupt establishment with no sign yet of anything changing for the better.

Alastair’s mother Isobel never lived to see this day, and some wonder why I can publicly say that I have no respect for the police whatsoever. The words that drew down the uninvited wrath of certain unmentionable Labour activists from Sidcup. May they never have a family member murdered.

Today’s Press Reports. The Sun - The Guardian.

 

14 June (Part 1) - One Mad Dog of an Englishman

As the most spineless individual ever to occupy Downing Street gears up to shackle businesses across the land for another four weeks, a reminder of what the lying charlatan was telling us in March last year. The Daily Telegraph headline from 24th March 2020.

His grand idea was to flatten the curve of likely NHS admissions with a three week lockdown. It was enforced by Draconian levels of fines unbecoming of a Communist government let alone one masquerading as Libertarian and only relaxed in May 2021 when shops were allowed to open - but only if we wear a scrap of cloth deemed useless a year ago which has magically become a primary defence against infection.

The number of deaths, all deaths that is, is below the five year average and Covid deaths, counted in such a way as to inflate the numbers, are now on a par with road fatalities and fewer than influenza related deaths. What does this brainless individual think he is doing to a country where the entire vulnerable population has had or has access to the vaccine? A personal mission to eradicate death?

Daily Telegraph

Meanwhile holidays abroad are effectively banned by the quarantine rules that do not apply to this vile individual’s mates who can fly into Cornwall no questions asked.
G7 G7 G7 G7

Our Queen who was forced to sit alone behind a mask at her husband’s funeral not two months ago can now rub shoulders with strangers from around the world without taking any precautions. Johnson is stark staring bonkers and must never be forgiven for his cowardice, hypocrisy and stupidity.

 

13 June - Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Horticulture stallThe first Farmer’s Market to be staged by CC Events UK within the Lesnes Abbey gardens amply filled them today. Most of the pictures shown here were taken before 11 a.m. when 20 or more stalls were mobbed.

It was supported by the local Labour Councillor Daniel Francis and his family and Councillor Nicola Taylor who could be seen under her own gazebo. (The purple one on the right below.)

It was a game of two halves and the crowds thinned a little before 2 p.m. The heat perhaps but I heard a rumour that someone was planning to play football somewhere. Definitely madness in this weather.

Farmer's Market
Farmer's Market
Farmer's Market
Farmer's Market
Farmer's Market
Farmer's Market
Farmer's Market

Final photograph and small one taken circa 2 p.m. Remainder between 10:30 and 11:00.

 

12 June - Lesnes. Bexley’s Green Slime Park

Green flag Egyptian Goose Fox PondThere is no doubt that the bulk of Lesnes Abbey Green Flagged Park is beautiful and well used but less so if you venture down to the pond that borders Abbey Road.

It used to be dry by this time of the year but restoration sorted it out (See Photo 4) and the wild life flourished. Herons, mallards and geese fed on the tadpoles and small frogs that swarmed in the reasonably clear water.

But not any more. The geese fled to my roof top before disappearing completely and all that is left is a family of Moorhens which walk on the slimy surface searching for food. There are about ten there but they scatter into the reeds at the slightest sound.

The possibility of them enjoying a splash has long gone and predators are free to walk over the surface and sniff them out.

Would it be allowed in Danson Park?

Slime Slime Slime Slime

 

11 June - The recurring problem with bin collections in Bexley

Serco failingsThe blue lidded bins and the little food waste caddies are a week overdue for collection in every road within walking distance of home and Bexley Council is making excuses that may not stand up to detailed examination.
Council excuses
Facebook reveals a hotbed of discontent with waste contractor Serco both in Bexley and across the river in Thurrock.

Only the new Labour Leader in Bexley seems to recognise there is a problem.

 

10 June - Demanding, menacing, threatening, censoring - Episode 5

Arguing with friends is something I simply cannot remember doing or wanting to do. Public arguments I can definitely do without which is why the final response to the threatened police action is relegated to ‘The Compendium Page’. It may be a useless gesture towards ducking out of an argument but it makes me feel better and life is depressing enough already.

It might have been easier to ignore the recent threat but the arrogance of someone who thinks she can constantly complain about Councillors without good cause, see the complaints thrown out and then compound their misery by appealing the decisions, believing that no one has any right to know what is going on is the definition of Cloud Cuckoo Land. Banning news. Whatever next?

I knew nothing about this complainant except that I had seen a number of left leaning Tweets but out of nowhere, last September, I was attacked for my opinion of the police which will no doubt be amply confirmed next Tuesday. By way of a response the complainant’s unsavoury Retweets and unwarranted tussles with Councillors Philip Read and Danny Hackett were given an airing. Others Councillors have indicated suffering similarly but don’t want to elaborate on their situations. Maybe the sources were different.

Eight months later a solicitor’s letter and threat to go to the police if eleven blogs are not immediately removed. When eleven are modified to satisfy the menacing demands I am told there is still a way to go.

Over twelve years of blogging I have learned that there is absolutely nothing one can do to combat corruption, dishonesty or stupidity in public life. If a politician commits a crime against an ordinary person the very highest authority in the police will be called in “to resolve their situation” but if the ordinary person hits back he is likely to be arrested. There was such a case here in Bexley very recently which one day may go public.

Maybe I should give up reporting what little goes on within Bexley Council or at least take a rest until the new Cabinet meets on Monday week.

 



9 June (Part 2) - Demanding, menacing, threatening, censoring - Episode 4

The threat from the solicitor was that if I didn’t remove eleven old blogs in their entirety her client would report me to the police for harassment not withstanding the fact that the blogs merely reported the client’s publicly available Tweets and highlighted a certain amount of double standards. Others were simple news items relating to Bexley’s Code of Conduct Committee meetings.

I asked the Labour personality who tipped me off about the likelihood of a letter if he could get his activist to explain why she was being so aggressive and why she had waited a whole eight months after I had responded to her initial Twitter attack to launch another.

After two such requests I received an email from the aggressor herself. It revealed that the delay was related to the appointment of a new Labour Leader and the opportunity to jump in quickly before the newcomer had time to get his feet under the table.

The email was titled “Removal of 11 blogs” and I was commanded not only to remove the eleven blogs but also “to desist from referencing me or my Twitter account in the future”. There was a direct reference to the Harassment Act 1997 and an equally direct threat to use it.

So I was not to be allowed to report the outcome of the complainant’s appeal against the rejection of her most recent complaint against Councillor Danny Hackett. I don’t think that is how news reporting works.

If Danny reveals the outcome to me he can expect to see it reported here.


For your convenience all the blogs on this subject may be read in sequence here.

 

9 June (Part 1) - We can do what we like

Awards question@tonyofsidcup first complained that his questions to Council were restricted by the imposition of rules that do not exist.

Now he is complaining that they do not follow rules that do exist.

Tony has not been around very long. He will soon learn that democracy doesn’t really exist. Not in Bexley, not anywhere.

 

8 June (Part 2) - Pretty Pathetic

After delaying the first two proposed Daniel Morgan Independent Panel Report publication dates, 17th and 24th May, and claiming the right to redact it, later denied, the Home Secretary missed yesterday’s deadline to confirm to Daniel’s family that it would go before Parliament on 15th June, but the Home Office has today said that it will do and without redaction.

The cynic in me says that the Government will extend their lockdown that day so as to drive police and media corruption from the headlines.

For the record, my daughter who next to Alastair Morgan (Daniel’s brother) is closest to the DMIP than anyone else says that the Home Secretary’s initial email about the delay clearly refers to possible redaction. Surely you didn’t expect one of Johnson’s Cabinet to tell the truth did you? Where have you been this past eighteen months?

 



8 June - Demanding, menacing, threatening - Episode 3

I have wondered what the point is of writing about someone who makes news but claims the right to have it suppressed when that someone is unknown to almost everyone reading these words. But it is an important point, little enough Council news is reported already and the right to put a ban on some of it cannot be accepted.

Let’s get this over with as briefly as possible…

When the letter finally arrived I found that some facts had been stood on their head and someone whose first ever contact was a Twitter attack on me for having “no respect for the police whatsoever” was behind the solicitor’s letter. Someone whose name has never been mentioned here and won’t be (I wasn’t sure of it until recently) was said to be distressed by my publication of the aforesaid antagonistic Tweet and some follow-ups. The same someone who admitted accusing Councillor Philip Read of making racist comments and who Councillor Hackett later revealed was behind complaints against him.

Apparently I should have known that the anonymous Tweeter would be distressed by the reappearance of their Tweets on BiB and I was therefore guilty of harassment. Would someone stressed by seeing their own ‘critical of all and sundry’ Tweets featured here continue to send them or stop or even let me know? Surely everyone must know by now that messages of that type sent to me are likely to appear on-line?

I passed the letter to my libel lawyer who had already said that I had no reason to fear a libel claim and he responded by saying it was “waffle” and solicitors have no business sending out such nonsense just because a client asks them to do so. That is fleecing the gullible.

He kindly drafted me a letter of complaint to the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority and a set of notes that could form a basis for reporting the solicitor and her client to the police for issuing menacing threats. I now have a Crime Number in respect of the solicitor but not her client. I felt that reporting the client to the police for what my solicitor said amounted to bribery was sinking to the same level as that client.

Maybe I am just too nice. 😄


For your convenience all the blogs on this subject may be read in sequence here.

 

7 June (Part 2) - Another NHS opt out form

It would appear that the NHS Opt out form provided here on 18th May is not sufficient to stop your private medical data being shared with third parties. An additional one is needed that isn’t too easy to find on line. It may be downloaded here complete with its myriad of typos and the repeated incorrect spelling of dependant.

If you are concerned about NHS data harvesting the Opt Out form needs to get to your GP by the 23rd June.

 

7 June (Part 1) - Say goodbye to Bexley

Bexley Council has been going on about its Local Plan since at least 2019. At that February meeting discussion of the Plan was deferred to the Resources and Growth meeting held the following month but it produced criticism of Town Centres but nothing by way of detail.

Fast Forward to May 2021 and a huge document emerges for Consultation. 221 pages of it.

The general gist of it is cram new houses in everywhere even if that means closing vital shops. The word Doctor or Surgery appears only once and that is because one existing surgery will have to be demolished and re-provided elsewhere. The word library only because of a reference to the Carnegie Building.

There is a general assumption that the DLR and Crossrail will extend into the borough when neither is likely except in the very long term - possibly. Similarly a Thames crossing is envisaged.

So no new facilities to speak of but several lost. Supermarkets and builder’s merchants appear to be the main casualty.

Herewith a list of sites to be built on together with the number of new dwellings. Where these newcomers will do their shopping is not explained, nor how they will get around town given that Khan’s London Plan pretty much bans residential car parking.

Bexley Council claims it will protect local views but it is already too late to save the Lesnes Abbey Viewing Gallery.


Address-site/Homes


Felixstowe Rd Abbey Wood……………90
Wovercote Rd Coralline Walk……………1849
ASDA/B&Q Belvedere……………457
Station Road Belvedere……………119
Woodside School……………138
Belvedere Gas Holders……………395
Monarch Works Belvedere……………90
Crabtree M’way Belvedere……………741
Erith Western Gateway……………443
Pier Road West Erith……………192
Pier Road East Erith……………112
Morrisons Erith……………421
Bexley CCG Barnehurst……………182
Bexleyheath Town Centre……………134
EDF Energy Broadway……………200
Buildbase Pickford Lane……………32
Pepper’s Builder’s Merchants……………29
Belvedere Rd Bexleyheath……………85
Electrobase Works Crayford……………300
Tower Retail Park Crayford……………360
Sainsbury’s Crayford……………448
Erith Hills Fraser Road……………600
Binsey Walk Abbey Wood……………329
Co-op Station Road Sidcup……………59
Lesney Park Rd Erith……………25
Arthur Street Erith……………320
Yarnton Way Picardy M’way……………69
Barnes Cray Farm Crayford……………35
Ballast Wharf Erith……………54
Egerton Place Slade Green……………336
Yarnton Way Harrow M’way……………533
Eastside Qtr Bexleyheath……………518
West Street Erith……………42
Old Farm Park Sidcup……………60


There is further comment at Arthur Pewty’s Maggot Sandwich. Council link to Draft Local Plan (PDF).

 

6 June - Beyond the boundary

LGBTQI am not a sporty person but somehow I have become caught up with a group which attends the occasional rugby and cricket match. Yesterday was spent at a sunny Oval watching a women’s game. It is not a very popular spectator sport. The seating arrangements were very restricted and the crowd easy to count. It was definitely fewer than 50 when the match started and may have been 150 at its peak in the afternoon.

Those nearest to me were obviously players’ family.

Certain cricket fans I have discovered are historians with fantastic memories. A couple in my gang spent the whole day exchanging facts such as who batted in positions ten and eleven and both scored more than 100 runs each and when and where. I have forgotten already.

Fortunately I sat next to Linda as I have several times before. Linda is like me and regards a cricket match as an interesting spectacle and not an excuse to recite the Wisden Almanack by heart.

Linda can talk about stripping cars down to their component parts and building them up again, something I have done in the distant past and builds her own computers for fun. I have never bought a completed one yet.

So Linda and I get on well. I know the name of her local tube station but nothing else about her except that Linda was fairly obviously not born a woman and has not taken the transition to extremes.

I have never been anywhere near asking why she is as she is. None of my business but I have learnt a little about her political leanings. We are both in the same ball park and I wouldn’t mind betting she is not in favour of what I saw on a BBC email this week.

I would have thought that if Tony didn’t regard himself as a He/Him he/she would be known as Linda too.

Googling for LGBTQ Ally reveals hundreds of supporters which may be fair enough but why a man content to be a man is encouraged or compelled by his employer to say so seems to be verging on the stupid to me.

On the other hand our Government would appear to be resisting the latest pressure by Stonewall to take their campaign from the welcome to the ridiculous.
Daily Telegraph Daily TelegraphWhat is it about the BBC? I have not watched a single one of their programmes in, I don’t really know, but more than two years and BBC radio for even longer. They are no longer in tune with much of the population.

 

4 June (Part 2) - Daniel Morgan Independent Panel. An update but not much of one

I called my daughter this afternoon to ask when I should show up at the DMIP Press Conference. She said she didn’t know, the family has not yet heard from Patel.

CrimewatchI was however given a link to a devastating exposé of Metropolitan Police corruption and the law breaking at The News of the World written by former police officer and BBC Crime Watch presenter Jacqui Hames.

Well worth a look by anyone who still doubts the depths of wrong doing by the Murdoch press and the Met.


“It is almost impossible for an ordinary member of the public to get justice or have any transparency to understand the decision making processes that affect them. Where do people like me go when the police have let them down? There is nowhere because it is not in the interests of the press to tell the truth and politicians are either too close to the press or too scared of them to stand up and make them accountable.”


The DMIP report is due to <quote> “be released in Parliament at 11:30 on the Tuesday [15th] so the Press Conference may be around 11”. The chances of the Home Secretary allowing a debate is close to zero.

 

4 June (Part 1) - Motoring myths

It’ll be another two weeks before there is a Council meeting to report so it will be ramble and rant time for much of June. Then there will be ten meetings before the end of the month, four of which will merit at least a few words here.

So what is today’s rant?
saving
Whenever the subject of electric cars is mentioned a whole lot of twaddle is trotted out. I was away from home yesterday morning but Twitter revealed that the TalkRadio host was Leading Britain’s Crap. (Sorry, wrong station.)

I am very much against the Carrie Johnson inspired ban on new fossil fuelled cars by 2030. If battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are better than ICE (Internal Combustion Engine powered) cars then people will buy them voluntarily as they increasingly are. Compulsion is entirely wrong coming from a Conservative government. (When did we last have one of those?)

Unscrupulous manufacturers which have spent a century developing ICE cars to the point of being able to manufacture them cheaply and make big profits don’t want to make BEV prices competitive. There is no money in that at present but gradually the handful of parts in an electric motor compared to the hundreds of oily smelly things which make up an engine will have the obvious effect on price and everyone not addicted to raucous exhaust noise will be tempted.

Halfords who came up with the £100 figure has a vested interest. BEVs are not really self-serviceable in part because they don’t need much servicing. My BEV’s annual service schedule is Check Battery Coolant level. Ditto Brake Fluid. Inspect Brake Discs (they are rarely used and may rust) and Drive Shaft Boots. Adjust Parking Brake if required, lubricate the door hinges and change the Cabin Air Filter. At £70 including a year’s ‘free’ AA breakdown cover and new Sat Nav maps it is no big deal. And so it goes on for ten years when there is admittedly a rather big one. (Change the Battery Coolant.)

Not much money in it for Halfords is there?

Halfords 400 miles of rangeThe petrol heads were ecstatic when the TalkRadio man came out against electric cars and went down the usual path that their diesel SUVs could do more than 600 miles on a tankful but no electric car would do more that 100. I did nearly 400 in mine once although I will admit that the circumstances were wholly exceptional.

But what about the savings? The answer is it all depends on where you charge and of course how many miles you do.

If you drop into a BP station and spend £10 you will buy 1·69 gallons of fuel. Being a habitual nerd I have always kept Excel spreadsheets of my fuel consumption. The Rover 416 averaged 40·89 miles per gallon over the 17 years I owned it. The tiny Kia Picanto averaged 49·44 miles despite the manufacturer claiming up to 73 - and I treated it with kid gloves. It was not built to be a motorway racer.

I will save you the arithmetic. The Rover would do 69 miles for today’s £10 and the Picanto 83.


PodpointThe price of electricity away from home has doubled over the past year or so and BP charges 42 pence per kilowatt hour. £10 would buy 23·8 kwh.

I don’t keep a spreadsheet for the BEV as the car keeps a record for me. It tells me I have covered 5·3 miles for every kilowatt hour over nearly three years which means that £10 would give me 126 miles. That is not an awful lot better than the Picanto but it doesn’t tell the whole story. I have never gone over 400 miles without returning home so I have literally never paid a bean to BP or anyone else. £10 on my daytime electricity tariff would provide very nearly 400 miles and on an overnight tariff it would stretch to 1,060 miles.

A 10,000 miles a year motorist would pay £94 for electricity (best case) but £2,000 for petrol.

There are big savings to be had if your driving habits suit and there is no Vehicle Excise Tax or Congestion charge to pay.

If none of that suits you then I am all in favour of telling Carrie Johnson to get stuffed - and Halfords too.

 



3 June - Demanding, menacing, threatening - Episode 2

The menacing letter didn’t simply arrive courtesy of a second class stamp and a local postmark it came from a City solicitor with an EC3 address. As implied on Tuesday there are some decent people in Bexley Labour so I was tipped off about its likely arrival a week earlier.

A site search revealed that the complainant had never merited a reference here until I was verbally attacked for my opinion of the Metropolitan Police but was additionally associated, and publicly admitted to being so, with a frivolous complaint against Councillor Read and later against Councillor Hackett. @bexleynews came in for on-line criticism alleging that they were content to see school children go hungry during half term. Never named because the complainant prefers to hide behind Twitter anonymity.

I referred every BiB reference to a libel lawyer who reported back that what was published here got “nowhere near the threshold for being libellous or defamatory” and I additionally dug out my correspondence with Bexley police which advised that in reporting news “as a journalist” I could not be held liable for harassment unless my comments were “racist or very extreme”.

Thus reassured I went back to sleep for a week.

 

2 June - Enjoy it while you can

Viewing gallery Line to The GherkinThe park I can look out on while I sit at my computer has been beautiful on recent sunny days. I can be sitting on a bench alongside the Monk’s Garden within three minutes of locking my door or climb the hills into the woods if I feel more energetic. The clear air has provided a magnificent view of the City skyline. I still find it annoying that The Gherkin obscured the view of the BT Tower which I saw built when I joined the GPO in 1962, but that is nothing to what will happen eventually.

If you draw a line from the Gherkin to the Lesnes Abbey Viewing Gallery it goes straight through the site known as 500 Abbey Road where Bexley Council gave permission for a 10 storey tower block to be built.

To give some idea of the impact, Peabody’s tower will be higher than the telephone exchange (the yellow block in the middle distance in Photo 1) and standing on higher ground.

Google Earth

A blue line has been drawn from Lesnes Abbey to The Gherkin but Photoshop allows a width of only 3 pixels. Please enlarge image.

 

1 June (Part 2) - Seen from space!

Twitter RubbishI was under the impression that the borough had only two rubbish dumps but Steve has proved me wrong.

It looks like the wilderness between Manor Road, Erith and the river is a free for all for anyone lacking the civic responsibility gene.

The Google Earth view of the Yacht Club and its immediate surroundings is truly shocking.

Google Earth view

The view from space!

Google Earth view
Google Earth view

Bexley Council’s excuse is that the rubbish is on private land.

 



1 June (Part 1) - Demanding, menacing, threatening

If you Google the words “The Nasty Party” you will be rewarded by about 400 million web pages many of them referring directly or indirectly to Theresa May’s infamous remarks at the 2002 Conservative Party Conference. As Google suggests anyone can repeat her words pretty much with impunity.

Recent events have shown you cannot link similar words to members of the local Labour Party. If, while complaining that they have no idea about police corruption the words “the lefty lot are entitled to their view but infested with some very nasty people” are added you might find yourself referred to the police four times over. One of the occasional blog edits changed the words to “plagued with very unpleasant people" but the general drift was the same.

The threats came to nothing but eight months down the line, up the subject comes again.

I now have a lovely letter from a local Labour source, never named on Bonkers, threatening me with dire consequences if the words are not removed. It goes further and demands the removal of every blog that reported on a variety of decisions by Bexley Council’s Code of Conduct Committee and fights picked with @bexleynews. I am commanded never to mention unwarranted Code of Conduct complaints on Bonkers however newsworthy they might be, ever again.

There is more…

Enquiries and their responses confirm that the threats were not orchestrated by any person whose name may be known to Bonkers’ readers - so please don’t blame anyone whose name has ever appeared here.

 

News and Comment June 2021

Index: 20202021

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