Eric Pickles is coming under increasing political presure to explain why he has so far failed to move to prevent vast sums of taxpayer's money being spent on thinly disguised Labour Party propaganda in Walthamstow. The council publish 'Waltham Forest News' fortnightly. It contains very little actual news unless it sheds the Labour Party in the best-spun light possible (there is never anything critical). It is delivered to over 98,000 homes where it mainly does service to local cat litter trays, diy painting projects and budgie cages. It costs locals, (who let's remember have to pay up on threat of imprisonment for non payment of taxes), a fortune, yet it regularly contains information which is already available on the council's own website, at the local library or which is merely a statement of the bleeding obvious: we were recently told the breathless news that the Olympics were 'here'.
More often than not the paper is merely an opportunity for whichever mediocrity du jour is running the local council to get his lame photo put round through peoples' doors without the Labour Party having to pay to deliver its own election leaflets. Currently the guy in charge is Chris Robbins. He has also been known to try his hand at taxpayers' expense in portraying himself as some kind of an Uncle Chris character on You Tube.
I don't usually repost council propaganda, but this one, which reminds me of Stalin without a little girl on his knee, was put up on 9th Feb 2012 but has been viewed by a mere 84 people. I therefore thought a few more people might like to see another total waste of money from the council at the same time as they contemplate the tax bill we all get sent for the newspaper. It is notable for the tacky opening and graphics, which combine with stirring music, but mostly for the woman who thinks she lives 'under Waltham Forest', which is presumably exactly where the council wants her:
This second one was put up on 9 March and has been viewed by only 30 people to date. By anyone's standards, that has got to represent a waste of whatever public money was frittered away on this nonsense. Incidentally, much of what he is whittering on about is also codswallop, but I shall not discuss that now:
The good news is that Chris Robbins has not had his video blog uploaded to youtube since March, which may not be so much because he is trying to save taxpayers' money (he has never shown any inclination to do that before where getting his face put about is concerned) as that some brave soul may have let him know he is no good at it and really ought not to be letting so many members of the public know.
And so instead, we get more of the paper. This has increased its circulation in the last six months. In my view, Eric Pickles should give serious consideration to having it banned outright. It is a waste of money and represents an abuse of power in favour of one political party.
Guidelines aimed at clamping down on such fortnightly propaganda publications came into force in February 2011 when the Government revised the Code of Recommended Practice on Local Authority Publicity. Waltham Forest Council is one of only three places in the country which has systematically ignored these guidelines.