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News and Comment August 2012

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16 August (Part 1) - The arrogant and dismissive Alan Downing. Bexley council belatedly responds

Arrogant and dismissive Alan Downing Hearing loop signBexley council’s response to an appeal against their decision that mayor Alan Downing was not dismissive when he told a deaf member of the public to “sit down and be quiet” nor arrogant when saying he would “look forward” to any complaint, is now before me, all seven pages of it. Twice that if I count the separate copies sent to Elwyn Bryant and Mick Barnbrook of the Bexley Monitoring Group (BCMG) who made separate and slightly different complaints about councillor Alan Downing blatantly ignoring equalities legislation.

That appeal hearing took place on 12th June 2012 but it was 6th August and following several reminders before the verdict was sent to the complainants. The appeal was heard by the former disrespectful, dismissive and supremely arrogant mayor, Val Clark, plus the nonentity councillor Sybil Camsey. Two loyal Conservative councillors were asked to pass judgment on the new mayor Alan Downing. A totally unbiased pair if ever there was one.

Councillor Val Clark Councillor Sybil CamseyMayor Clark needs no introduction to long term readers; it’s not easy to pick out a highlight from her disastrous term as mayor but maybe it was abusing council address records to write to members of the public who she felt had not clapped sufficiently enthusiastically at a meeting she chaired. Camsey has been previously noted only for her honesty when asked to sign Mr. Bryant’s petition against Bexley council salaries being among the very highest in the country. She said that petitions to Bexley council are “not worth the paper they are written on” and “no one will take any notice”. I suspect Waitrose is just about to provide ample confirmation of the same thing.

As always, my interest in these things is not so much the outcome but to see how ingenious Bexley council can be in covering up its mistakes, misjudgments and criminal acts. In one respect I am disappointed with the outcome, Bexley council has not denied that any part of the complaint is false. Councillor Craske did ignore a request to switch on his microphone. Councillor Alan Downing did refuse to tell the 42 year old from Sidcup to switch it on. Downing did say that if a member of the public was deaf it was their personal problem not his. Downing did repeatedly jab a pen at his chosen victim and told him he looked forward to a complaint, then told him to go away at the end of the meeting. This is good because I get a little fed up with having to use the word liar so often when reporting Bexley council activities. But if you are expecting me to report an outbreak of honesty, think again.

The seven pages are awash with ingenious and perverse interpretations of the undisputed facts. I detect the hand of the council’s Monitoring Office in this, few councillors are bright enough to have come up with this set of excuses, certainly not the pig ignorant Clark. It starts with the claim that a man standing up and saying “Mr. Chairman, I don’t want to interrupt the meeting but I cannot hear what councillor Craske is saying” was “in itself disrespectful” and was the cause of an “inflamed situation”. Nothing to do with Downing refusing to activate the Hearing Loop then.

This smacks of desperation as does the whole reply. Clark and Camsey may have ruled that any interruption of a meeting is disrespectful but elsewhere the council says this…
A chairman should be mindful of disabilities
Lots more to come as time permits.


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