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News and Comment March 2012

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24 March (Part 1) - Newsreel

There are a number of things in danger of being overlooked so here are a few words on each of them.

Ken Livingstone
Labour’s Mayoral candidate has written to Elwyn Bryant in support of his petition.

I very much agree with the principle that excessive local government pay should be curbed.

Obviously I have no powers over Bexley Council but note the hypocritical nature of many Tory politicians' complaints about pay and pensions for what are mainly lowly-paid public sector workers while at the same time rewarding themselves with pay well over £100,000 in many cases. Often this is only one of the jobs they carry out and seem to have a “portfolio” approach to collecting pay from various sources.

If I am elected in May, I am committed to taking only one job - unlike Boris Johnson whose second jobs include one as a columnist for the Daily Telegraph, for which he is paid £250,000 on top of his salary as Mayor.

In addition, Boris Johnson has doubled the number of people at City Hall who are earning over £100,000 over the last four years. I will cut those numbers and end the gravy train for the few at City Hall.

Jonathan Rooks, the Green Party GLA candidate, gave his support two months ago.

Emailing John Davey (Lesnes ward)
See also the blog for 13th March 2012.

Dopey DaveyDear Councillor Davey,
You have failed to provide answers to my questions and given misleading information. The fact is the information is not on Bexley Council’s website. Is this not evidence that these cars are not legal?

Dear Mr. B, [name spelt wrong]
Due to your abusive emails, I am setting all your emails to be regarded as spam.

Democracy Bexley style again. Lesnes ward councillors were elected by the skin of their teeth. Majorities as low as six. When you are called on to place your X in 2014 I shall be reminding voters that they may be disenfranchised if they vote Conservative and find the need to ask their councillor a question.

Bexley Magazine

I received my copy last week but they were still being hand delivered as late as Tuesday 20th March. Page 11 speaks of ‘New Thames Crossing’ and sings the praises of Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson and his plans for a tunnel at the Greenwich Peninsula and a ferry at Thamesmead. If it hadn’t been for Boris there would be no need for a ferry, we would have had a bridge by now. Whatever you think of that, it is a misuse of taxpayers’ money for a Conservative council, or even a Labour one, to be promoting a Conservative candidate for Mayor after the campaign has officially begun.

Only low level crime by Bexley’s standards but with Boris Johnson starting his propaganda war in Crayford on Monday 19th, it’s no doubt a favour O’Neill felt obliged to offer.

Fire! Fire!

Colin TandyGareth BaconIf you dial 999 you will be answered by someone working for a private company (BT) who will ask “Which service?” and if you say “Fire” you will before long and following a recent decision, be put through to another private company.

You don’t seem to hear so much of Capita these days, but they have got their mits into everything from collecting your council tax to chasing TV Licence evasion in a way that would have put the Gestapo’s methods in the shade. Now they are going to be responsible for directing the Fire Service to your inferno. You can just imagine it… “Your call is being recorded for training purposes, please press 1 if your council tax payments are up to date, 2 if not”. “Thank you. Please press 1 if you are insured, 2 to be connected to our insurance partners” and so on while you sizzle.

Who is responsible for that decision? Bexley councillors Colin Tandy and Gareth Bacon who are both members of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, that is who. The chairman of Capita is paid £900,000 a year. Obviously that is going to keep the costs down. How long do you think it will be before we go back to the old ways? The Fire Service was run by the insurance companies. If you weren’t a policy holder you fried.

Sitting ducks

A message from one of my friends in the know says “they are quacking in their boots”. (Sic).

Quotable quotes

Melvin SeymourFrom the man who made up the story about dog faeces, Bexley councillor Melvin Seymour. “They need to be man enough to say they might have got this wrong”. He was speaking of the Environment Agency’s decision to open the sluice gate on the River Cray and drain it into the Thames leaving the Cray a muddy ditch.

News Shopper report.

The Local Government Ombudsman

The Ombudsman has accepted my complaint of abuse of power by council leader Teresa O’Neill and Chief Executive Will Tuckley and allocated a reference number. It will be interesting to discover what they think about a council that goes around trying to get its residents locked up by lying to the police. It might be even more interesting to discover what the police will be doing about it once the dust has settled.

Phoning me

My phone has been ringing like never before but most of it isn’t Bonkers related unless one of my council friends has been passing my number around.

I had 38 calls over two days which were either boiler room scams, or unwanted call centres. I rigged the phone system so that only calls from numbers I approve will ring the bell but there is a danger of missing calls from the ICO and IPCC etc. so I have changed the system on my home line. If it proves to be a success the same will go on the Bonkers line.

Incoming callers who are not on my known number list will encounter one of those annoying automatic voice interrogation machines. It’s not very friendly but the phone has become too much of a distraction. New but genuine callers will only be annoyed once because they can go on the approved list later.

I have never bothered answering Withheld calls, I lost one friend because of that, he seemed unable to prefix his phone memory with 1470 which would have suppressed his Withheld message. I think that may only work on BT lines, these toy-town phone companies never seem to follow the standards or provide the full range of services.


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