FACT: Tameside MBC meddles with the local press. We at the Mafia have our suspicions for some time, but we have never had any conclusive proof until now, and all thanks to the Hazel Blears run Department for Communities and Local Government which produced a whitepaper earlier this year on "Guidance for local authorities on community cohesion contingency planning and tension monitoring" [Word Doc]. Scroll down to page 40 and you will see this snippet:
"Tameside holds regular meetings with local newspaper editors to gather information and stop sensationalist reporting which might otherwise start or add to rising tensions, e.g. in response to a Kick Racism out of Football campaign, an extremist political group wanted to picket a local football stadium. A local newspaper was going to print the story on its front page – an action that was likely to bring unwanted publicity to the picket and fuel rising community tensions. The intervention of the Community Cohesion Partnership prevented the story from being run and in the event no-one turned out for the picket"
Whilst we stand firmly against the BNP in Tameside, it is worrying that the council acting like a Totalitarian regime by regularly interfering with the so-called "free press" to stop so-called "sensationalist reporting".
Go to the Firestation or the Weatherspoons across from the TMBC Offices on Wellington Road and you may just see Nigel Skinner, editor from the Tameside Reporter supping and dining with Roy Oldham. The same applies for David Porter, editor of the Tameside Advertiser.
We have been tipped off by an ex-employee of Tameside Council that Roy Oldham and his marketing cronies like to use council tax payers money to toy with the press by chosing who is the "nicest" to Roy Oldham. By law, the council do have to advertise notices in at least one local paper and Roy Oldham picks as he pleases.
But wait, there's more...
The Head of PR at Tameside Council is Darrell Beck - a former journalist for the Guardian Media Group owned Tameside Advertiser. Beck can also be regularly seen as one of Roy Oldham's entourage in and out of the council. Roy Oldham isn't thick - he is clearly following the New Labour strategy when they hired Alistair Campbell to head Number 10's spin.
But guess who has filled the shoes of Tameside's political reporting for the Advertiser from Darrell Beck? Adam Derbyshire! The journo who gets his stories from the blogs, spins them and doesn't credit the source.
You won't read about this in the local rags (although it has appeared in Private Eye's Rotten Boroughs) as they have eggs on their face and we can only guess how frustrated the press are for this leak. Will the press respond? Will they heck! Roy Oldham and Co will be allowed to continue business as usual.
UPDATE 06/11/08: We thought we may of forgot something. People new to the blog may like to read this article on Roy Oldham threatening to meet with the editor of the MEN over an article a journalist did which he didn't like. He announced this in a full council meeting.