Council newsletters is pure party propaganda
11:52am Thursday 13th September 2012 in Letters
WHEN Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles announced two years ago that he was clamping down on council propaganda sheets to end the era of "town hall Pravdas" it was reasonable to expect Cotswold District Council to comply.
And, for a while at least, it did. So why is the latest edition of Cotswold News, which is currently being pushed through every letter box in the district, stuffed full of self-congratulatory spin alongside beaming pictures of local Tory mandarins?
The true blue masthead is hardly subtle in its message but it gets worse with a grinning picture of council leader Lynden Stowe directly beneath which is then repeated, only much larger, on page two, Page three sports a picture of Cllr David Fowles (Conservative) while a smiling Cllr Nick Parsons (Conservative) graces page seven. There are no photographs of opposition Lib Dem or Independent councillors.
I have no political axe to grind here and would make the same point with a Labour or Lib Dem council. The fact remains that slapping oneself heartily on the back while ignoring mismanagement and the occasional foul-up is not only dishonest but should not be paid for out of the public purse.
By all means let us have the plain facts on services such as the new plastics recycling scheme but spare us from blatant political point scoring at our expense.
A prime example of how such council propaganda twists the facts is Cllr Stowe's boast in his full page "review" on page two that there will be "no increase" in parking charges until 2015, a claim that will bring howls of anguished laughter from local motorists who are still smarting from CDC's big hikes earlier this year.
The message from Mr Pickles has obviously not struck home in the Cotswolds so he now needs to go further with a total ban on such self-congratulation and on councillor mugshots which are there for no other purpose than to seek electoral advantage at public expense.