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News and Comment July 2012

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17 July - Drawbridge up. Heads in sand

News ShopperWhilst contemplating this blog in recent days and the downturn in newsworthy items my mind kept returning to this comment (see left) on the front page of last week’s News Shopper. It was at the foot of a feature on Bexley council investing its pension funds in tobacco companies. Several people thought I should put my own boot in but I am inclined to think pensions should be invested where the returns are greatest and a quick bit of research showed that tobacco has considerably outperformed the FTSE100 over the past ten years. Were my own pension funds similarly invested and if so would it be hypocritical to comment? (†) But the really interesting bit of the story as far as I was concerned is that footnote. Teresa O’Neill, full time Bexley council leader, couldn’t spare a moment to say anything at all to Bexley people. It is becoming the norm and it is not unexpected.

In the three years I have been commenting on Bexley council they have managed to curb their tongues in a variety of ways, even one time habitual liars like councillor Craske has not come out with a juicy new one for months, possibly all year. They have also learned to block their ears; whether it be the curtailment of questioning opportunities at council meetings, rejection of legitimate petitions or a tendency to ignore Freedom of Information requests. The one asking for a copy of Will Tuckley's business diary for May is now well overdue with no comment beyond confirmation that he is being chased for a response. Another enquiring about the possible distribution of largesse to failed officials who are asked to leave is outstanding after more than a year of waiting. When it eventually comes to a head I can already see Bexley council will look very silly.

So maybe things will pick up despite the council’s efforts to enforce blackouts. I have several reports that demand a photographic sortie and if the dreaded bug eventually succumbs to modern medicine I shall be out on the road collecting the evidence.

† My research indicates they are not. I can breathe easily.


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