Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Where's the beef at the Barnet Tory Bugle
Those regular readers of this blog will have read previous posts on the sad demise of the once great local paper, the Edgware & Mill Hill Times and it's stablemates. This fine group of papers has morphed from a great and independent paper, into a mouthpiece for the Barnet Conservative regime running the Town hall. It looks to me as if there is a hotline from the Barnet Tories to the editor, with a seemingly endless stream of "helpful" stories. Rather oddly, stories which may damage them don't seem to surface, or if they do the disappear just as rapidly. Take for example the news that the Tories want to privatise Hendon Cemetary. Does this see the light of day? Well it does if you read VickiM or the Barnet Council Watch blog. Given that it's stuffed full of my nearest & dearest, I feel rather strongly about it. We all remember the Westminster Cemetary scandal. Strangely, no sign of this story on the Bugle's News website.
What do we have? Well there is the story of how Damian McBride could be slung out of the Finchley Labour party for starting rumours about Tories. Clearly this story is highly damaging to Labour and rightly so. There is one tiny problem. I thought journalists were meant to do a bit of digging for their story. I thought they were meant to get a little bit of balance. It seems that these days at the Times, they can't be bothered beyond a quick call to Andrew Dismore. The thing is that if they had bothered to look, they've got a McBride scandal on their doorstep. McBride was sacked as an advisor for thinking of starting a website full of slurs & nasty rumours. Have any of the journalists at the Times looked at what is going on locally? David Miller runs the Barnet council watch website. He is a Conservative, his mother is a Conservative peer. David and his mother have been subject to a coordinated campaign of smears, innuendo & lies, purely because he is in dispute with a faction of the local party.
It is clear to anyone who could be bothered to investigate, what is going on & who is behind the scheme. At it's very mildest, this cyberbullying & intimidation takes the form of planted questions at Council meetings which portray Mr Miller as an obsessive and a waster of public money. This practice has been deemed to have breached Mr Miller's rights, but has there been a public apology to Mr Miller?
I'm all for the McBride's of this world getting booted out of their local parties. The Tories have a great opportunity locally to show Labour how it's done. I'm sure that if the Edgware Times could be bothered to ring Mr Miller, he'd give them all the ammunition they need for a great scoop.