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News and Comment May 2021

Index: 2019202020212022

16 May - There cannot be much doubt that they lied

Keeping Bonkers just about afloat while not being allowed to visit friends and the rain never being far away is not easy but it helps to keep the dementia away and amuses a few people. I am told that my dissatisfaction with Bexley Group Practice is not confined to their neglect of my scan results and others have waited much longer than I have.

I have no idea how many people relieve lockdown boredom by looking in here because I don’t bother to collect the statistics but the number of Twitter followers slowly climbs which is odd because I rarely say anything there except mention new blogs. Email contacts have probably not increased by much but there is more critical comment than there used to be. In the same way that Bonkers gives me something to do while life is otherwise on hold maybe the lockdowns provoke others into starting arguments and making demands.

It would appear that I am not yet forgiven for backing Brexit and I shouldn’t so often assume that Bexley Council lies. History suggests that used to be their standard operating procedure but I am asked to prove it. Rather than refer to numerous old blogs, here is something new. Not a new subject but material that wasn’t used at the time. A clear cut case of lying at the top? I think so and several Councillors took the same view.

Firstly please take two minutes to look at this ancient video not seen here before. Bexley’s former Deputy Leader is on TV defending a Council decision to exclude every member of the public from a meeting. One resident had taken an audio recorder to a meeting after Government Minister Eric Pickles said he could.

In summary the Deputy Leader said…

• There’s a small group of people who have a history of disrupting meetings and being abusive.
• The meeting Chairman talked to individuals to try to get them to behave. They absolutely refused to do so.
• A group of people who are being abusive were breaking up the meeting.
• It was obvious from the beginning they were there to disrupt the meeting and not to merely record it.
• They have a history of disruption.
• We allow photography. If you want to film you simply call us on the day to say you would want to film, you don’t even have to give a reason. These individuals did not do that.
• They stuck an iphone about six inches from the face of the Chairman.

Every word was a lie. The Deputy Leader was not at the meeting, someone must have briefed him on what to say. Maybe it was Bexley’s Legal Department who lied with a vengeance. Among many was…

They sent a similar report to the News Shopper which printed it.

I emailed every Councillor present at the meeting apart from the Chairman to ask if they agreed with the statement made on TV or not. This is the core section of it.

1. Mr. Danny Hackett sat alone in the public gallery and said absolutely nothing and did absolutely nothing throughout the proceedings but was not able to attend the reconvened meeting because it was announced it was to go into ‘Closed Session’.
2. I (Malcolm Knight) sat alone at a table placed no more than five feet from the nearest Councillor, and said nothing, waved no papers and remained in my seat throughout.
3. The four people named above sat together and Mr. Gussman said nothing.
4. Mr. Barnbrook said nothing except that he specifically asked permission to attend the reconvened meeting and was refused.
5. Mr. Bryant said nothing except during the adjournments.
6. Mr. Dowling was polite throughout, never raised his voice and did not put his microphone within six inches of Councillor Bacon’s face or anything remotely similar.
7. Councillor Bacon when directly addressing Mr. Dowling and standing immediately before him while he was seated in the public gallery did not address other members of the public and certainly not Mr. Hackett or myself.
8. That the Closed Session meeting was held in a room that was barricaded from inside, at least initially, to ensure that no member of the public could gain admittance.

May I respectfully request that if you feel able to answer, that each question is either given a yes to indicate your confirmation or you make a comment if your recollections are at variance with my own and some other helpful documents I have in my possession.

One Councillor who had already spoken on the matter was asked an additional question…

9. That you will stand by your earlier statement that members of the public were treated with contempt.

Four Councillors replied comprehensively. Do not assume that none were Conservative.

One reply was Yes to all eight questions and the supplementary Number 9 and confirmed that the door had been initially barricaded to prevent entry.

A second reply confirmed statements one to seven but could not comment on eight because he had his back to the door.

A third confirmed 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8 but said so much was going on he could not clearly recall 3, 4 and 5.

The fourth Councillor gave a much longer answer of which this is part. “I can certainly confirm 1-3, 5, 6, 7 and 8. As to 4, I could not be certain that Michael Barnbrook said nothing during the time when there was a conversation between Cheryl Bacon and Nicholas Dowling. There will be a direction telling Members on no account to reply.”

In fact seven more Councillors, all Conservative, did reply with identical texts but preferred to make no comment. Apart from Linda Bailey none of them are Councillors in 2021.

For the record the “We allow photography” comment (on TV) was definitely a lie. Bexley Council once confiscated my camera and another time after repeatedly refusing my requests to take a photograph, refused the suggestion that a Council Officer used my camera to take an approved photograph.

The police investigated these lies and sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service. The CPS contrived to lose the file and the investigating officer left the police service. Mick Barnbrook who made the criminal complaint never did get an answer.

In a case where eleven Councillors present at the meeting refused to back the statement by the Legal Department and the comments made on BBC TV (both having been briefed by someone else) I think the only possible conclusion is that the Leadership of Bexley Council has a history of serious lying and should always be regarded with suspicion.

Whilst I do not always agree with them politically, Labour Councillors have never been caught out lying, it is solely the preserve of Bexley Conservatives and Council Officers who value their jobs.


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