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Bonkers Blog May 2011

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31 May (Part 1) - Big Brother is alive and well in Bexley

Big Brother is watching you.Time for the end of month round-up again - and what a month. We’ve seen the new Constitution ratified, the one that bans any form of recording of council meetings and gets close to banning all questions too. Notomob have been out in force in support of Mr. Peaple who was subjected to police action by Bexley council for entirely lawful activities; i.e. warning customers that his shop was under CCTV surveillance.

Speaking of the police; they have not yet responded following my complaint over their refusal to tell me who instigated the Harassment Letter (apart from a promise of a phone call that didn’t materialize). In similar vein, Bexley council doesn’t seem to have done anything with my Subject Access Request either. No comment and not replying at all seems to be a major part of Bexley council’s defence against probing questions and it is being extended to Freedom of Information requests too as the list of FOIs introduced earlier this month shows. Nearly all are answered late including all those relating to the Harassment Letter and this website. Those answers are two weeks overdue.

It’s been a good month for lists. Council leader Teresa O’Neill announced that thanks to Conservative rule, Bexley now has one of the lowest rates of council tax so I produced a list to show what a lie that is. Bexley is 24th out of 32 in London. A list relating to the constitutional arrangements of all London Boroughs has also been provided to expose last week’s letter to the News Shopper as similarly untrue. The missing Redbridge has been added today and they roundly beat Bexley too. I think we’ll have to ask the other boroughs if they comply with government guidance and allow recording of meetings and make another list.

I didn’t plan on mentioning it this early, but my visit to the Civic Offices on 19th May was only necessary because Bexley council continues to withhold information about councillors’ Consent to Nomination Forms, so I went to look at the Register of Members’ Interests instead. As a result I saw more information on councillors than would have been the case if the FOI had been answered. As you may have noticed I said nothing of my visit but Bexley council thought they would announce it for me. Yet another of their mad schemes likely to back-fire on them. Clearly some very juvenile minds assemble in the council chamber. Unbelievably juvenile, I thought they had sunk about as low as they could with their clandestine emptying of dustbins.

Ahh, the announcement… Addresses have been added to the list of councillors in response to their decision to publish those of residents who ask questions. Use with care and consideration as the home addresses that would have been on the nomination forms have not been forthcoming. Instead all declared property is listed some of which may not be ‘home’. Addresses which councillors annotated ‘parent’s’ etc. have been excluded. If the council ever responds to the the FOI it will be possible to list only the home addresses.

With thanks to reader Paul from Devon who sent the photo of the ‘1984’ litter bin.

 

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