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News and Comment January 2012

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18 January - Bexley council’s Green agenda

Bexley Village LibraryBexley council’s scheme to save £40,000 by placing Bexley Village Library in the care of a charity, Bexley Village Community Library (BVCL), is getting comment beyond the local news outlets. The current issue of Private Eye reports it and it even gets a mention by The World Socialists, whoever they may be. Nearer to home The Bookseller and its readers have their say and the Evening Standard provides a few facts that are new to me.

It says BVCL is funded by another charity called Greener Bexley and the latter is chaired by Jonathan Rooks. The same Jonathan Rooks who contested the Old Bexley & Sidcup parliamentary seat on behalf of the Green Party at the last General Election, was a local Conservative councillor (Cray ward) in the 1980s and is to fight James Cleverly in the forthcoming London Assembly election.

Jonathan is notable in connection with another local issue; he is the only politician to have supported Elwyn Bryant’s petition against excessive council salaries. No Tory would have anything to do with it even though it reflects government guidance. No local Labour politician supported the petition; like Peter Mandelson they are “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich”, but Jonathan Rooks said “They really should take into consideration public opinion when it is so strong”. He’s chairman of the Crossness Engines Trust, he is standing against James Cleverly who said this website is “well out of order” and he was a Conservative before they turned bright pink. Maybe I had better look at their manifesto.


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