That’s Life

In the absence of being inundated with political literature through the letterbox in recent weeks, it was with some enthusiasm that I celebrated the arrival of the latest edition of Lambeth Life.

Seriously.

The @lambeth_council ‘information news sheet’ is usually the best place to find out all the latest, wonderful achievements of our fine standing local politicians.

With purdah now in full effect, propaganda dressed up within an information news sheet has gone the same way as promised public consultations – hushed to one side until the door knocking is out of the way for another four years.

And so Issue 91 looks like being the penultimate print run of Lambeth Life, assuming @LambethLibems have their way. A return to a LibCon coalition will mean no more information news sheets within the Rotten Borough.

Best make the most of it whilst you still can.

Which is why I rather enjoyed my read of Lambeth Life this fortnight. There’s a cracking photograph on p2 of a Penny Farthing taking on the contours of Stockwell Skate Park.

Likewise below, for a photograph of the amazing art installation, about to be revealed @BrockwellLido.

The Leader’s Column has been written for the last time by @cllrstevereed (or has it…?) and instead, the much more enjoyable Guest Column is penned by the affable Lemonte Johnson.

The community arts campaigner will be recognisable to both Brockwell Park and Lido regulars. Lemonte is the bloke behind Bling Your Bike, an organisation that helps kids to personalise their bicycles.

Lemonte also works incredibly hard behind the scenes at Brockwell Park, and uses the column to promote the summer series of events scheduled as part of the madforbrockwellpark festival.

A fine column. It’s got to be better than banging your own chest and talking about why you should be re-elected.

But all of this apolitical appreciation can’t carry on. A flick through to p4 of Lambeth Life and we get to the Star Letter.

Oh Lordy.

Ice Rink Opposition is the title of the piece penned by Peter Newmark, Vice-chair of the Friends of Streatham Common. As outlined as the special cabinet meeting to seal the Streatham Hub deal, the Friends group has put to print it’s plans to oppose planning permission for the temporary ice rink on the Common.

No response is offered by a Council official to the letter – blame purdah; it’s a common theme for local politicians right now.

A secondonday letter sticks with the same SW16 leisure theme. John W Brown writes an eloquent piece, looking at the alternative locations to house the temporary provision. He suggests St Julian’s Farm Road Sports Ground, Woodmansterne School Sports Ground, Valley Road Sports Ground (also favoured by the Cabinet Member for Employment and Enterprise) and the Adare Centre.

The Labour led @lambeth_council cabinet confirmed at the special Hub meeting that twelve sites were considered to house the temporary facilities. Unlike John W Brown writing in Lambeth Life, the cabinet refused to make the location of these sites public.

Still, at least a response is offered to the letter by Sandra Fryer, the Divisional Director of Strategy and Partnerships. Sandra also fails to disclose which other sites were considered, although she does find the space to repeat the many advantages that the Labour led cabinet believes will come out of the Hub.

The boost to the local economy still appears to be an up and down issue. The Cabinet Member for Employment and Enterprise stated 600 jobs in total would be created in Streatham. Lambeth Life last month revised this figure to 400. We’re back to 600 once again this month with the response from Sandra Fryer.

Moving on…

There’s a half-decent feature on the council list of historical buildings in the borough that need protection. A charming photograph is provided of a neo-Georgian style Clap’ham building, looking much like the neo-Georgian Clap’ham Pool that was recently demolished.

Whoops.

The fortnightly Madchester music feature that looks slightly out of place in a Lambeth newspaper, has also taken a change for the better. No Hooky or Shaun Ryder, but instead Rob B of the Stereo MCs. Rob is a Brixton Boy via Nottingham (yikes) and can be seen for his sins as a regular at Brixton Rec (double yikes.)

And that’s about yer lot. Twenty pages of engaging local content, and not a single picture of a smug looking local politician. The purdah period does have its advantages.

We’ll miss Lambeth Life once @LambethLibDems pulp the paper – assuming the electorate agree with the Love Me I’m a Liberal Lot and their policy of cutting down on propaganda. I wonder where all those statutory local authority ads will appear then? I think @LambethLibDems are also pondering the exact same question.

Who would have thought that a local council ‘information news sheet’ would become caught up in such political intrigue?

Until one more time…

That’s Life!

3 thoughts on “That’s Life

  1. As far as I heard Lambeth Life has been running for some years and the Lib Dem Tories administration 2002-2006 had the opportunity to get rid of it then, but didn’t. What I also heard was that they had the same leaders then too, who suddenly turn very anti Life when in opposition.

    Lambeth Pravda, uh I mean Life, may lack any critical or negative news in it but it does at least it get most facts right which is more than be said for the appallingly inaccurate South London Press. The SLP also excessively focuses on all and any crime and grime. No doubt these events happen but reading that paper gives you a totally distorted view of what life is like here.

    Can there be no middle way? Will Onionbagblog provide balance and incisive media coverage of our community? Or should we just sample a bit of everything and muddle through? The struggle carries on…

  2. Cheers Russell.

    I’ve actually got quite a soft spot for Lambeth Life, when it remembers that it is a publication for the community, and not the local politicians in power. It presents a fantastic opportunity to reach and represent everyone in the borough.

    The arts section and listings are usually worth a look. I find a number of artistic events each fortnight, that would have been off my radar. The current copy is probably the best put together. No coincidence that politicians aren’t allowed anywhere near the publication right now.

    As for the SLP?

    Well…

    No thanks.

  3. I believe it was the previous administration who introduced the Lambeth Life. But under them, and the start of Labour’s reign, it was a thinner publication and came out monthly, at best.

    There used to be mostly 12, sometimes 16, pages per issue. Some of these covered two month periods.

    Even at worst, 16 pages every month, that is 192 pages per year. That has now gone up to 624 pages per year (the current 24 pages x 26 weeks). An increase of 325% more space to fill. In reality it is more like 500% more.

    Not wanting to dispute political gainsaying over this, because in Lambeth it seems no squabble can be too petty, nonetheless the paper we get today has changed a fair bit in scope during the current administration.

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