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News and Comment December 2012

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10 December (Part 2) - Building bridges with residents

I suppose it comes with the job description but I find myself regularly looking at other local news websites in and around London. Whilst others report council indecision and incompetence only Bexley provides the ammunition on an almost daily basis with which to accuse it of deep seated dishonesty leading to corruption.

In Barnet which vies to be the most hated council in London, the councillors regularly discuss matters with their critics on blogs, forums, by email and at public meetings. Photography is OK by them; they do not find the need to hide behind a wall of secrecy. Unlike in Bexley there is little sign of the council being in bed with the police. True the anti-terrorist police were persuaded to arrest a parking campaigner but they weren’t instructed by their political masters to let their council leader go free when he was alleged to have assaulted that campaigner and committed motoring offences.

When Barnet residents took over their council chamber last week in protest at the council cabinet’s decision to hand over all their responsibilities to Capita on a ten year billion pound contract the police merely observed the situation. Here the police threatened to arrest John Kerlen when he was slow to remove himself when asked to leave the public gallery of a public meeting. When councillor Linda Bailey assaulted him with the immortal words “I can do what I like”, Bexley police agreed with her and said she could whilst on council property.

Nearer home in Greenwich the talk is not so much its council but criticism of Transport for London and the Health Care Trust. Greenwich council is collaborating with Newham across the river pushing the case for improved river crossings whilst in Bexley the council takes the short sighted view that a ferry boat is good enough. A feeble stop gap measure will ensure the borough is left in the dark ages, transport-wise, for another 20 years. And all because the lady values her Brampton seat and the local NIMBYs more than the wider prosperity she acknowledges improved infrastructure would bring.

Greenwich statement on a white background (from their own fortnightly newspaper), Bexley on blue (from their quarterly magazine) and Newham is so confident that Boris Johnson will make the right decision that it is recruiting Civil Engineers already. (From the vacancies section of their own website.)
Thames Crossing
Greenwich council is asking for your support for its campaign. Bexley council is asking that you make it that little bit harder for its residents to find a job.


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