Conservatives report Greenwich’s propaganda rag to District Auditor

This week Greenwich Conservatives have reported the Labour Council’s propaganda newspaper Greenwich Time (henceforth GT) to the District Auditor.  The decision to ask for an independent person to review the paper came in the wake of the Council’s decision to ignore the Coalition government’s guidance on the style and regularity of local government publicity.

 

Leader of Greenwich Conservative Councillors Spencer Drury has written to inform the District Auditor that Greenwich Time breaches the Government’s code in a number of ways, including:-

 

  • It will continue to be published weekly despite the Government’s statement that it should only be printed each quarter (every three months).
  • GT will continue to mimic the local papers in style and content, offering ‘news’ stories and a clear editorial stance (in support of the Labour Council).  This is clearly banned under the code.
  • There will be no challenge to the Council’s views in GT.  The only voice will be that of the Council – a position which was unapologetically restated by the Council’s communication’s chief when Conservatives asked Greenwich’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee to review the Labour Cabinet’s decision to continue with Greenwich Time. 

 

Spencer also suggested that the Council’s figures for the cost of Council advertising were distorting the argument, as the Council apparently required over £2m of adverts to be published each year.  This compared with much lower figures for other Council, for example Bexley only spent £7,500 each year publishing its statutory notices.

 

Spencer said “In my opinion Greenwich Council continues to publish Greenwich Time in an effort to influence the opinions of people in favour of the Labour Council.  It makes no attempt to offer an alternative view on even the most controversial issues.  In my opinion Labour justifies GT with a fig leaf of financial jiggery-pokery.”

 

“Greenwich remains a one party state with its own ‘pravda’.  It is a disgrace in a modern democracy that this sort of propaganda is allowed to flourish at the expense of other local papers and subsidised by unsuspecting taxpayers.”

 

“It seems to me that while some politicians like to see their views go unchallenged, only Greenwich spends taxpayers money to make this a reality.”