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News and Comment February 2012

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12 February - The petition against excessive salaries

Daily Telegraph commentOne of the points made by Elwyn Bryant while arguing that refusing to accept his petition was unlawful is that Bexley’s Conservative council was flying in the face of government policy. His point was ruled out of order by the Scrutiny Committee Chairman Don Massey but it remains true whether Bexley council decides to stick its head in the sand or not. Eric Pickles, the government minister responsible is interviewed in today’s Sunday Telegraph, a small extract of which is shown here.

Mr. Bryant’s correspondence from the council says “Following the meeting you will receive written confirmation of the Committee’s decision”. You will not be surprised to hear that he has heard nothing. He needs the written confirmation before taking his next step which I imagine will concentrate on the fact the council used Standing Order 84, which speaks of what may arise during a meeting, to not have the meeting at all. Don Massey thought himself too “thick” to understand the point and by their votes all the Conservative councillors showed themselves to be equally stupid. Only councillor Seán Newman (Labour, Belvedere ward) understood the point being made. It is to be hoped that electors will be reminded of these facts and how Bexley’s ‘Listening to you’ council choses to ignore them in May 2014.

Elsewhere in the country other councils are facing up to reality. In Bath the council have acceded to residents’ wishes and there is a similar campaign in neighbouring Bristol. Both involve the Taxpayers’ Alliance. The TPA is well aware of the goings on in Bexley but has chosen to ignore them. I still suspect the real reason that Bexley doesn’t want to revisit employment contracts for its top staff is that they know too much and silence has to be bought.

Click the newspaper extract to read the full interview with Eric Pickles.


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