It’s not like Greenwich Council has ever made any “gaffes”, is it? But hey, you won’t read about them in weekly propaganda rag Greenwich Time, because it’s all about shoring up the reputation of the council and its leadership.
But you will get to see it slag off others, so here’s a shot from the Dear Leader’s own weekly organ across the bows of HMS Ocean, which has spent the past 10 days berthed off Greenwich (and is due to leave this morning) as part of the Olympic security exercises.
As far as I can gather, the council believed it had arranged for Greenwich borough residents to be able to tour the huge aircraft carrier on bank holiday Monday.
Indeed, they could – but so could anyone else, with media including ITV’s London Tonight reporting that the shop would be open to all. The result was huge queues for a rare peek on board a working warship. I hadn’t seen so many people in the centre of Greenwich for a long while, and the navy were good enough to extend opening hours into the evening to cram as many on board as possible. Was the council grateful? Nope.
I imagine the tourist sites of Greenwich must have done roaring business that day, despite some awful weather (luckily, I’ve been there, done that so took one look at the queues and slunk off to a pub in Deptford to hide from the rain) and it’s not as if the navy had to let people take a look – it just seems incredibly sour to me.
In any event, the mooring of a warship isn’t just a Greenwich borough event; sure, prioritise people from Greenwich, Deptford and the Isle of Dogs, but it’s absurd to think that someone brandishing a Greenwich Council tax bill with a BR7 postcode on has any more right to see the boat than someone who lives on the west side of Watergate Street, SE8. This is something that affects a great chunk of London, not just some parochial one-borough event.
Apparently, we’re all meant to have had a letter from Greenwich Council about HMS Ocean and the Oxleas Woods missile defences, but nothing’s appeared on my doormat. Actually, I’m more concerned about the nearer Blackheath ones, although since that’s in another borough, there’s no chance of anything about that. Although they did seem to be becoming a tourist attraction for all the family last weekend…
The trouble with dishing out brickbats is that sometimes, they come back to bite you on the arse. With council leader Chris Roberts widely rumoured to be seeking a knighthood for his efforts on behalf of us, perhaps he’ll rue the day he took on Her Majesty’s Royal Navy.