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 Here's an article that appeared on the Guardian's website about the current plight of Salford Star...

 


 

 

 

 HAZELOCRACY...

 

Oh how I laughed when Hazel Blears, Minister for Communities and Local Government, recently launched her BIG IDEA about giving `Real People:Real Power'…"A strong independent media is a vital part of any democracy" she bleated. In reality the complete opposite is happening as local councils are increasingly launching mini versions of Pravda, using their own huge publicly funded advertising budgets to finance what many see as a blatant attempt to control the flow of news and information.

 

Around the London boroughs, fortnightly council newspapers have sprung up all over the place this year but what you won't find in any of these is any true community dissent or proper journalistic investigations into how local taxes are spent. Meanwhile, in Tower Hamlets, the independent East London Advertiser is lodging a formal complaint with the Audit Commission as no-one seems to be able to find out the real cost of the council's free weekly paper, East End Life.

 

Here in Hazel's Salford backyard, on a peanuts budget, volunteers produce the Salford Star – a free, 76 page, fiercely independent magazine that gives the community a voice to tell the truth about the City's `regeneration', backed up by hard core investigative journalism that got us the award for top magazine in the North West this year and runners up in the Paul Foot Awards.

 

The Star is about democracy, empowerment and holding public bodies up to account. We're doing everything that Hazel is urging, yet last year our application for devolved funding from the City's community committees (another of Hazel's BIG IDEAS), was ripped up by Salford Council on the grounds that we didn't meet its criteria of being `balanced'.

 

It was with horror, then, that we recently discovered the Leader of Salford Council deciding to spend £175,000 to take its own `magazine' LIFE IN Salford monthly, and stuff the pages with its own adverts to help pay for it.  Balanced? Last week, Councillor Steve Cooke resigned from its editorial board saying it provided "a thin veneer of democratic respectability to an often misleading and relentlessly and unjustifiably upbeat publication" and that he wanted to play "no further part in legitimising council propaganda".

 

Despite being overturned at a `call-in' committee, the decision to expand LIFE is soon expected to be rubber stamped at a full council meeting where the ruling Labour Party has an inbuilt majority.  Meanwhile the Salford Star's Christmas issue will not be appearing, and the magazine has been put on hold until we can raise the cost of printing it.  You're doing a great job, Hazel…A `strong independent media'? My arse…
 

 

vic lloyd wrote
at 08:04:23 on 18 May 2009
This is appaling and so is the dread hazel Bleeerghs. Luckily you all can vote out this corrupt and controlling council next month and de select any politicians MPs etc thought to be corrupt. Up the revolution. Big change on the way and much more independant thought and self government.
 
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More articles...

SALFORD CITY COUNCIL SPENT ALMOST £10,000 ON MIPIM PROPERTY JAUNT

Star date: 21st June 2018

COUNCIL SPENT £5,750 ON MIPIM PR IN SOUTH OF FRANCE

Salford Council spent almost £10,000 on the jaunt to the MIPIM property orgy in Cannes. A newly published contract register shows that, as well as the £4,022 costs for the City Mayor and two officers to go to the South of France paid by unknown private sector companies, the Council also spent £5,750 on marketing and PR for MIPIM.

The contract register also shows the Council is spending £9,500 on a 'Salford Story' press consultant, £118,000 on its failed 'digital community hub', over £14,000 on a 'leadership programme' and, er, £25,000 on milk and bread?

Full details here...

NATIONAL GRID WILL NOT RE-THINK DEMOLITION OF SALFORD DIRTY OLD TOWN GASWORKS

Star date: 20th June 2018

'WE RECOGNISE THE HISTORIC INTEREST'...BUT THEY'RE BEING DEMOLISHED!

Despite musical protests and petitions, the National Grid is adamant that the Salford gas holders, made famous in the Dirty Old Town anthem, will be demolished.

Campaigners are asking for the Grid to re-think a new use for the structures, like in many other towns and cities, but the company states that while "We recognise the historic interest in the Salford gasholder...the structure is being dismantled..."

Full details here...

SALFORD COUNCIL REFUSES TO REVEAL WHO PAID FOR CITY MAYOR TRIP TO SOUTH OF FRANCE

Star date: 19th June 2018

COUNCIL BLOCKS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST ON £4,000 MIPIM TRIP

Salford City Council has refused to answer a Salford Star Freedom of Information request on which private company paid the £4,022 costs for City Mayor Paul Dennett and two staff to go to the South of France for the MIPIM property event.

The Council states that "the commercial interests of the Council outweigh that of the public interest in disclosure". The Salford Star is to appeal the decision.

Full details here...

DEVASTATING SURVEY OF NORTH WEST COUNCIL WORKERS SHOWS LOCAL SERVICES COLLAPSING

Star date: 18th June 2018

OVER 80% OF COUNCIL WORKERS HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN SERVICES AND ALMOST 50% THINKING OF LEAVING THEIR JOBS

A survey of almost 1,500 local council workers in the North West reveals that 81% have no confidence in the future of local services, 49% are thinking of leaving their jobs, 54% believe their council no longer delivers quality services, and 45% think that their employer doesn't make the right decisions for the public.

The other results of the survey by UNISON to coincide with its local government conference make equally depressing reading, as the union states that "Vital local services in the North West are collapsing".

Full details here...

SALFORD TIME OUT FOR CARERS

Star date: 18th June 2018

TRIPS, CAKES, MASSAGE, ADVICE AND CHAT AS CARERS TAKE TIME OUT

"I was absolutely weary...I needed to get out of the house" Ernie

Caring for a loved one is indeed a labour of love but it can also be life consuming and draining. So a group called Time Out For Carers is making a difference, running weekly sessions where escapism is the order of the day.

There's free massages, trips out, advice on allowances, tea and coffee and cakes, but, most importantly, relaxed informal chats with carers who are all in the same position.

Full details here...

 



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