It’s six weeks since Lewisham Council launched its appeal for SE Londoners to back the Blackheath fireworks display after Greenwich Council pulled its funding. In that time, Lewisham has been industrious in battling to make up the missing £36,000 – rattling tins around Blackheath boozers (bet that Childline woman’s annoyed with the competition) and hawking “VIP fireworks experiences” on eBay.
In that six weeks, what has Greenwich Council done to explain itself to the people it is supposed to represent? Not a lot. There’s certainly been no mention of the cut that’s been made on our behalf in Greenwich Time, its weekly puff sheet – not even in this week’s BAD NEWS special.
The council’s website claims you can “read all the local news” in GT – but in propaganda, what you leave out is just as important as what you put in.
That said, the news did creep onto the council’s website on Monday morning – scroll down, no, right down, there it is! Talk about burying bad news…
“Greenwich Council has reluctantly taken the decision not to fund the fireworks event on Blackheath this year, having been advised to anticipate up to 40 per cent cuts to its grant following the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review.” That didn’t stop it blowing nearly £30,000 on a private party for its new mayor earlier this year, of course.
“The Council is however supporting Lewisham Council’s appeal to local residents to help cover the costs of the event,” it adds, before packing users off to Lewisham’s website, where locals can find lists of Greenwich borough streets that are closed. Consider Greenwich’s hands duly washed of that, then.
Down the road, Lewisham’s eBay auction has reached £770 for the chance to start all the excitement off, be shown “behind the scenes” of the display and be plied with free food and drink. Better than hanging around by the dips with sparklers and a novelty hipflask. Bidding ends on Hallowe’en – and wouldn’t it be great if someone from this side of the boundary could get the prize?
All this said, the London Fire Brigade dispute may succeed in doing Greenwich Council’s work in doing away with the display, anyway…
To donate to the Lewisham appeal, visit www.lewisham.gov.uk/fireworks. For other local blog comment, see The Greenwich Phantom, Crosswhatfields, Kidbrooke Kite and Brockley Central.