My list last Friday of "100 ways to cut the Council Tax without cutting key services" continues to make waves. It has been welcomed by the Taxpayers Alliance and the Adam Smith Institute. The Daily Mail reproduced the entire list.
But not everybody is happy. I have already mentioned Sir Jeremy Beecham. He has another go on Derek Draper’s Labour List. A very muddled response – for instance equating placing more children for adoption with "cuts to services to Looked After Children." But with a generalised misrepesentation he leaves us to guess which items he disagrees with. Still, at least he has now read it. Maybe. They also have a piece from someone called James Alexander which provoked lots of comments – mostly supportive of my list.
At least Labour List included links to the original piece so their readers could judge for themselves. No so the Daily Mirror which ran an account this morning that was so distorted as to be farcical. I knew something was in the offing as I had a call yesterday. "It’s Bob Roberts, the Political Editor of the Daily Mirror," he told me grandly. Perhaps I would have been more impressed if it hadn’t been that his "scoop" yesterday that the Tories planned to "get rid" of Regional Development Agencies had just been proved false. If only it had been true. Odd given that assures readers he had been told by "senior Tory sources." Perhaps he had better get some better ones or people might think he could just as well be relying on voices in his head.
The piece he wrote this morning was riddled with errors that would make
a cub reporter on a local paper blush. Contrary to his account my list did not suggest
charging people to enter parks but charging companies who put on events
in them. It did not propose "forcing" Council staff to have flu jabs
but increasing their availability. It did not suggest "get rid of
playgroups" but funding them via other providers rather than direct by
the Council. Etc, etc.
Item one of the PCC code says: "The press must take care not to publish
inaccurate, misleading or distorted information." How do you think Mr
Roberts shapes up?