Friday, 11 October 2013

Propaganda Special: West Ken Estate

Our Council has launched a very well financed propaganda offensive on the West Ken Estate they wish to demolish, in order that property developers can move in. The plan, which was condemned this week by the London Assembly, is subject to numerous legal challenges mounted by the vast majority of residents represented by the Residents Association of the two estates - West Kensington and Gibbs Green.

Part of the new propaganda offensive is the apparent re-establishment of the so-called "Steering Group" - the group set up by the Council three years ago to bypass the elected residents associations. The Council has been spending £38,000 of your cash supporting this small mouthpiece group and has even bussed them in to Town Hall meetings to put on counter demonstrations against the elected majority outside. That was, of course, until their own "Steering Group" Chairman resigned in disgust and joined those opposing the scheme.

North Korea Style is back
But the latest wheeze, which you the taxpayer are funding, is an extraordinary contribution to the literature of the English language. Named "Resident Update" it is nine pages of pro-demolition propaganda, which would have made even the editors of the propaganda rag "H&F News" blush, before the Conservative government forced our Council to close it down. Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State forced our Council to close "H&F News" as it was, in his words, "propaganda on the rates" which "weakened democracy". It is difficult to see the difference with this latest attempt. It has a double page dedicated to "mythbusting", for example, while the lucky residents can also join them for a "coffee, fact-chat". 

In fact this effort is backed by the recruitment of a seven-strong "regeneration team", housed in a nearby office, who are introduced to residents in the pages of the glossy colour magazine. And to prove that our local Authority has lost none of its North Korean style brainwashing skills there is even a "word finder" game at the back for kids, with lots of buzz words relating to how wonderful the idea of demolishing the estate is.

So who are these people and what do they want? Here's how they describe themselves:
"The West Kensington and Gibbs Green Steering Group have been set up to provide all our fellow neighbours with information that we have gathered about what is and what will be happening to our estates with regards to the new development"
"We are currently made up of 6 people and always welcome anyone who wishes to help with open arms"
Note that they qualify 'open arms' with "wishes to help" - anyone who doesn't take their view (the majority) can presumably expect to met with the same heavy handedness meted out to this nine year old little girl.

Was that enough? Did they sit back and think, no we'll think of the taxpayers now. No, they did not. For there is a website too - which is the most amateur effort I have seen for a long time. All those people they claim to have in support? Here's a photo gallery of them - see if you can spot the differences in the photos:

To save a long article I will leave it there - download it at your leisure and judge for yourselves. But as you do you may wish to reflect on how hard you have had to work to pay the taxes which our Council is using to produce propaganda on the rates, employ seven people and distribute their magazines - all to promote a scheme which the vast majority of residents have consistently said they do not want and have fought all the way. The local elections are on May 22nd 2014.

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