Interesting to note the timing of the interference by Eric Pickles in attempting to circumvent decisions that are appropriate to be taken by local government and those decisions to be rejected or supported by local residents. It will take much more than a photo opportunity with Nigel Fletcher, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group in Royal Greenwich and Eric Pickles, to stop the slide in the fortunes of the Conservative Party. Electors, fortunately, have long memories.
Stepping into a clearly local issue is never good politics. Even more so when the impartiality of Eric Pickles is in serious doubt by attacking five Labour Councils in the middle of local elections. Much more important for Government Ministers to be concentrating on the important national issues like the disaster facing the NHS.
In justification for his action Eric Pickles announced:
“Localism needs robust and independent scrutiny. Local Council newspapers undermine free speech. They undermine local democracy-whatever political colour. “
Wow, I was under the impression that Localism meant that decisions taken locally can be challenged by local residents and rightly so. It is Eric Pickles that undermines free speech while lending support to his Press Baron friends.
Greenwich Time, over the years has had a mixed reception and demands for change are clearly appropriate. However, that is a decision that should happen locally and both residents and local organisations should be consulted. This is surely common sense and not a matter that requires Eric Pickles and local Conservatives to bully the Council into a decision that should and must be determined locally.