The one thing the main political parties in Westminster have in common is that when it comes down to individual people they don’t really give a stuff.
Tory, Labour, Lib Dem, Independent, whoever. And they wonder why people aren’t interested in politics?
Sure the politicos say they care but we know it’s just because they want your vote. When they’ve got that – whoosh! Gone! Thanks for your vote and here’s another spending cut / expenses scandal / bailout of the rich by the poor.
So I get a bit irritated when I read that this week the current Conservative / Lib Demo coalition Government will be seeking approval of a law that will mean the closure of East End Life. This has been rumbling along for quite some time and may have been sired by the same Localism Act that gave us the glory of Neighbourhood Planning Forums. And we know how well that went.
Where did I read about the imminent demise of East End Life? In East End Life. On a Sunday morning. Within a few minutes of it being pushed through my front door.
Is East End Life biased towards the Mayor of Tower Hamlets and his gang? Yes. Was it previously biased to whoever was Mayor before him and his gang? Yes. If Noddy was voted in as the next Mayor of Tower Hamlets leading the Noddy Noo Nah Party would East End Life be biased to people with really big ears? Yes. Well there’s a surprise. Hold the front page.
Are the people of Tower Hamlets quite capable of reading through the party political dross of <insert ruling political party at time of publication here> and separating it from the quite useful stuff? You bet.
I found a little article about the Local History Library and Archives in Bancroft Road and some of their Christmas gift ideas such as a lovely reproduction map of our area of London in 1703 on page 14 of East End Life. Not earth shattering but then local news isn’t.
What else do we have? John Rennie and a full page feature about an East End Christmas during the 1940s. Then some festive tips from Cable Street Community Gardens. Then some adverts and then public notices. The usual nuts and bolts of local news needs. That we do not get anywhere else. Not from the internet, not from hyperlocal sites like this. Not from the local newspapers (such as they are).
The reality is there is an information vacuum at a local level in this country that is not being filled by any media form, digital or print.
East End Life may be biased but at least it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. It will be closed no doubt and the Council will have an extra £1 million or so to spare.
Maybe they could publish a local newspaper with the money? I know there will be a gap in the market for information.