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News and Comment August 2012

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11 August - Why do they do it?

Why are Bexley councillors councillors? What sort of types does it attract? I can only guess but having watched them for nigh on three years I am beginning to form an opinion. There seems to be three or four distinct categories.

There is a significant group of married couples of pensionable age. The Beckwiths, Downings, Hurts and Slaughters. One might also include elderly gentlemen like Colin Tandy, Roy Ashmole and John Wilkinson in this group on account of their age. They rarely do anything to put themselves on the Bonkers’ radar. Playing politics is probably no more than a nice little pension boost.

Some are clearly in it for power, the networking and the business opportunities that might follow. A prime example would be deputy leader Colin Campbell with his friend ‘Biffa’ Bailey not far behind. Councillor Katie Perrior once claimed she needed her allowances to survive although the likelihood is that that was a fib and her position is no handicap to her business success.

A few give no clues. Whatever drew ordinary decent blokes such as Hall, Hunt and Sawyer into local politics? They couldn’t all be hoping to meet and marry an attractive woman. What brings mischief makers like Philip Read into the game, maybe in his case it is the regular income, he certainly seems to need it.

Read's companiesOf councillor Philip Read’s ten companies nine have bitten the dust big time. Maybe a councillor’s allowance helps to tide him over; in which case it is a good job leader ‘Because I can’ Teresa O’Neill doled him out a committee chairman’s allowance this year. The company that hasn’t yet gone belly up is International Travel Resources Limited and its last set of accounts are not pretty.

Cash at Bank £741 Current assets £776 Current liabilities £16,842 Net Worth - £16,066

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