Do you get “free” newspapers from your local Council? Occasionally, I get some glossy brochures (not printed in NI!) telling me how wonderful the local Council is and these go straight into recycling! Anyway, I read today that the government wants to tighten the rules on council-funded free newspapers, saying they undermine a free press.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said independent local papers should not face competition from “propaganda on the rates”. Mr Pickles wants to stop what he called “town hall Pravdas” passing themselves off as independent journalism.
It’s an interesting situation. Pickles is right in claiming these are nauseous propaganda sheets, funded by the rates. So in a sense I would love to see them all scrapped. But then again, local people ELECT these Councils so if these locally elected Councils seek to promote their virtue, is it draconian of central government to strip them off this?
Lying at the heart of this, to be honest, is my inherent dislike for any local Councils. I see little virtue in any of them (Right or left or central) and wish they did much less than current, for much less of our rates. Is this an anarchic wish? Maybe so! One of my fundamental views is that the LESS power we invest in any form of political institution the better. So, I salute Mr Pickles at one level and look forward to him also announcing the drastic cut-back in ALL forms of central government Pravda communications.