Conservatives welcome plans to limit Council’s propaganda paper – Greenwich Time

Last week Greenwich Conservative Leader Cllr Spencer Drury received confirmation that the District Auditor would take not further action over the publication of Green Time, the Council’s weekly newspaper.

In her letter, the DA made clear that she could not question the council’s policies unless they ere unlawful and pointed out that the Code of Recommended Practise on Local Authority Publicity was Guidance rather than law. 

In response, Cllr Drury said “I full accept the District Auditor’s judgement that his is not an issue for her in the strictest legal sense, however, I disagree strongly with her judgement that the legal team checking editorial content ‘during periods of heightened sensitivity’ was a sufficient check on bias in the paper”

To make clear his doubts about the paper’s neutrality, Cllr Drury pointed to the most recent front page, which includes a long, unchallenged quote form the Labour Council leader, which includes the statement: "The climate of austerity is destroying jobs and opportunities for our local residents and in Greenwich we are not prepared to stand back and permit national and global policies to wreck the lives of so many of our people."

Later in the week, Local Conservatives were pleased to near that The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles stated that he would legislate to ‘stop these town Hall Pravdas’ by bringing in a new law banning them. 

Cllr Drury added “I hope that a new law is brought in to stop publications like Greenwich Time which I see not a public service but straight political propaganda.   Greenwich Time has used tax payer’s money to slowly and actively push out our independent and free local papers, and aims to eventually silence any voice which is different from the Greenwich labour Party.  We are witnessing our local democracy being crushed before our eyes because this Labour Council doesn’t seem to want anyone to disagree with, or hold a different view from them. It is a dangerous path to be travelling down and we welcome any plan that may stop it in its tracks”