Sunday, December 06, 2009

Cllr Alan Craig on "The Ego Has Landed" - PR Costs and Consultations

It's always good to see someone who is brave enough to speak the truth and challenge issues that others simply don't seem to be motivated to challenge, perhaps because the situation benefits them to stay the way it is.

Cllr Alan Craig has written an illuminating article about a Mayor, a council, a letter to the Newham Recorder (which unsurprisingly has failed to be published in any form so far) and a rather large PR budget.

Here's the letter, but visit Cllr Craig's blog for the full article:

Dear Editor,

The Mayor must be very frustrated.

Each year he spends a fortune of Newham taxpayers’ money on public relations promoting himself and his administration. In glossy magazines and newspaper adverts; on billboards and bus stops; at borough events and in the borough parks – all over Newham there are photos of the Mayor and messages telling us how much wonderful work he is doing in the borough.
But his story doesn’t seem to have seeped over Newham’s boundaries into neighbouring boroughs.

I recently went to a Redbridge Council meeting at Ilford where councillors of all parties, including Labour, were unanimous in strongly condemning Newham for lack of consultation over the approved increase of flights at London City Airport. Redbridge residents live under the flight path too, yet like Newham residents they have been sidelined and stitched up. One Redbridge councillor said that the lack of dialogue from Newham “was politically insensitive and morally reprehensible”.

The previous month, Waltham Forest councillors from all parties including Labour unanimously agreed to make strong representation to Newham’s Mayor over the airport expansion. They are also considering legal action about the flight changes over their borough about which they were not consulted. Waltham Forest residents too have been sidelined and stitched up by Newham Council.

Clearly the Mayor’s public relations campaign hasn’t reached into these other boroughs. They can see his administration for what it really is.

Perhaps he ought to spend another fortune preening and promoting himself there. But this time, not at our expense.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Alan Craig