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News and Comment January 2012

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13 January - Never doing the right thing

Bexley bolloxIf you were wondering why all has been quiet on the petition front for the last week or two, the answer is simple; its organiser promised the News Shopper exclusive coverage and handed over a complete copy of his correspondence file. It was important to Mr. Bryant that he communicated in the best practical way with his 2,219 signatories and let them know of Bexley council leader Teresa O’Neill’s refusal to listen to those residents. I was not going to place his wishes in jeopardy by reporting in advance of the Shopper. It’s circulation is still some way above Bonkers.

Bexley council’s official response is quoted by the News Shopper and reproduced here. It is the sort of nonsense that you would expect from Bexley council. When the “told repeatedly” excuse was first trotted out it was clearly wrong. Whether a further response to a newspaper constitutes telling Mr. Bryant repeatedly is open to debate but the council has been asked to substantiate its claim. The constitution certainly does allow for a debate if the 2,000 signature threshold is crossed, if it did not Elwyn would not have knocked on doors all summer. And as for the “discuss the circumstances of individual officers”, that is just a smokescreen, the petition didn’t call for it. One can only assume that Teresa O’Neill encouraged her press officer to lie on her behalf. The “legally binding contracts” bit is equally mendacious. Local government staff up and down the country have had contracts renegotiated, why not in Bexley?

Whilst the News Shopper did a good job of reporting Bexley council’s usual intransigence and denial of their fatuous ‘Listening to you’ slogan, the principal aspect of the petition was overlooked completely. Its opening words were “We, therefore, petition and appeal to the Leader of the Council, Councillor Teresa O’Neill, to support her Government and do the right thing.” It doesn’t ask Bexley council to get their senior officers to pore over rules and regulations and find some point that can be stretched a yard or two to exclude a petition they do not like; it asks councillor Teresa O’Neill to act in the interests of residents for once in her life rather than working towards climbing up the slippery pole to City Hall, as did her predecessor, and richly rewarding as many of her cronies and supporters as she can. So Teresa, are you going to rise to Elwyn’s challenge by doing the right thing (a phrase taken from government pronouncements on the issue) or forever be the undemocratic selfish one? Until you do it will be plain to all that your only excuse for riding roughshod over 2,219 opinions is one based on your stock-in-trade; misinformation and lies.


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