That’s Life!

And so the final ever edition of Lambeth Life has rolled off the printing presses and been delivered to the good people of the borough – all for 5p per issue, as the masthead is ever keen to point out.

Ah, but will issue #92 really be a fond farewell for everyone’s favourite local information news sheet? Can Lambeth Life limp along to reach centurion status?

That all depends on the electorate, and whether @LambethLabour retains control of @lambeth_council (and Lambeth Life,) or whether @LambethLibDems are running the Town Hall on May 7th and implementing their manifesto policy of pulping the council publication.

[Still waiting for clarification as to exactly where the LibDems would place the local authority statutory ads an alternative to Lambeth Life. One would imagine that our friends at @SthLondonPress are also wondering the same.]

But anyway – Lambeth Life, the last hurrah. Does the flag waving newspaper for all that is brilliant in the borough, keep up the pretence for (possibly) one final fling?

You betcha.

First off – are we out of purdah? I only ask because the politically persuasive headline of Primary Places For All is the lead in the latest edition of Lambeth Life:

“Lambeth schools are performing well, which makes them a popular choice for parents all over London.”

Nodding my head in agreement at the fine work that teachers, support staff and of course the kids are putting in at Lambeth schools (with a little help from @LambethLabour), but hang on – “a popular choice for parents *all* over London?

Um, shouldn’t Lambeth schools be for Lambeth kids? @LambethLabour has been quick to make political capital out of the building (and privatisation) of new schools in the borough.

Are we really building these new schools just so that some pushy parent across the *shhh* LibDem Southwark border can parachute Little Johnny into a decent Lambeth school?

And so the purdah friendly headline of: Primary Places For All is actually Primary Places For All of London – Not Just Lambeth.

It’s fine to boast about your rather good record in education, just be prepared for the consequences, should you shout about it a little *too* enthusiastically ahead of the election. It could come back to bite you on the backside when Lambeth kids can’t get a place in a Lambeth school ahead of the next local election.

Moving on…

Cash Counsellors is the headline in the panel on p2. Nope, it doesn’t refer to the Cash Councillors and the £40k a year that the career politicians in the @lambeth_council cabinet are trousering, but:

“A new service to help people get to grips with money is being offered in the borough.”

Immediately below is the Election Ward Finder. @janeinlondon / East Hampshire, of my local Oval / E Hants parish, may find some use for the:

“…new tool that makes it easier to find the polling station you need to cast your vote.”

Lambeth Life

The Lambeth Picture displays a rather decent photograph of some kids enjoying Windrush Square. The summer weather has really brightened up Brixton. Windrush Square *might* just become a central point for the community in which to meet.

The photo features a kid on a BMX riding through the water fountains – the cheeky scamp! Best stick to yer BMX, young lady. Skateboards are strictly out of bounds at Windrush Square, with local coppers coming down heavy on South London Yoof.

More serious matters are addressed under the headline of: Fire Safety Measures Stepped Up:

“Thousands of homes in Lambeth will be fitted with fire alarms this year as part of an ongoing initiative to improve safety.”

This is a move that can’t come soon enough, especially so considering the rather damning report that found that the council has only two fire certificates for the 112 housing blocks that come under the council stock.

Over to p5. and: Herne Hill Junction Almost Complete.

“A new junction designed to improve safety and cut down on tailbacks is now live [um, sort of…] Work has been going on at the Herne Hill junction opposite the entrance to Brockwell Park for almost a year.”

I prefer the LibDem analysis of:

“Whenever they [@LambethLabour] spot a green space in the borough, they seem to want to build on it. They talk openly these days about the new, exciting and improved Herne Hill Road Junction, formerly known as Brockwell Park.”


Herne Hill

Speaking of building upon green spaces, it is fitting that (possibly) the final edition of Lambeth Life has a Star Letter that licks the arse of Tesco and the compromise of a deal that allows the supermarket chain to build upon Streatham Common in return for an increased store space:

Lambeth Life

“Whilst I agree that it is far from ideal to have a temporary structure on the Common, am I the only one who thinks the overall Hub is a great opportunity for Streatham South?”

…asks Arabella McNeill of SW16.

Not at all. When / if the Hub is finally opened, I am sure it will be ace. It’s just the compromise deal to situate the continuity of ice provision, not to mention the temporary swimming pool and gym, on one of the last great green and treasured pieces of land in the borough that is so bruising.

Brilliant Brockwell is the headline for a second letter, with Keith Hindell agreeing that green space in Lambeth should be celebrated:

“In the fifty years of living in Dulwich I have never seen Brockwell Park look better. Everywhere the turf seems in good condition, for the dozen different sports being played informally, as well as sitting around for a picnic.”

Spot on. Brockwell Park is as brilliant as it is beautiful. The same goes for Vauxhall Park, Larkhall Park, Kennington Park and Clap’ham Common. The parks and public spaces in Lambeth are another success story in the borough over the past four years. Please let’s keep them green, rather than pimping them out as the pay off deal with giant supermarket chains.

Lambeth Life

How to Mend a Puncture on p15. is another great feature, with the friendly folk from Apex in Clap’ham giving a thirteen-point picture guide on how to do the dirty. I always seem to fall down around point number three. A decent and most useful use of local authority newspaper space.

Likewise for Wheels Start Rolling Again, the rather heart warming story on the back page of Lambeth Life, telling of how the Wheels for Wellbeing charity is back in business:

“A charity that lets people with disabilities enjoy cycling is back on track again, after an arson attack forced it to close last year. Wheels for Wellbeing began its Brockwell Park based cycle scheme last year, but was forced into an untimely closure when fire destroyed its base and all of its specially adapted bike.”

But will there be a similar happy ending for Lambeth Life? That is for the good people of Lambeth decide next week. Sure – there are more important issues to base your vote on, such as housing, education and the “financial tsunami” that is about to hit Lambeth PCT.

But a vote for @LambethLabour is also a vote for a return of the grinning politicians each fortnight, telling you exactly why they are worth £40k a year for a cabinet post.

A vote for @LambethLibDems is a vote for… well, I’m not entirely sure when it comes to Lambeth Life. The ‘information news sheet’ may be pulped, but what it will be replaced with is my concern.

That’s Life!

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