Greenwich Time editor thrown out of council HQ

Greenwich TimeThe editor of Greenwich Council’s weekly newspaper Greenwich Time has been thrown out of the council’s Woolwich HQ following the sacking last week of the paper’s chief reporter, Peter Cordwell.

Hilary Bryan and assistant editor Rod Kitson were turfed out of the Woolwich Centre today after they refused to attend a meeting with council director of culture, media and sport Katrina Delaney and communications head Stuart Godfrey without a representative from the Unite union, according to a post from Cordwell on Charlton Athletic fans’ site Charlton Life.

“They were accused of refusing to work and refusing to attend a meeting but it was nothing of the sort. They were there for work but not to be bullied,” he said.

Cordwell himself was given the boot last week for writing letters to the News Shopper and Mercury newspapers congratulating Lewisham Hospital campaigners on winning their legal action against the closure of the A&E at the hospital.

He also called for more action against Boris Johnson’s fire service closures, and against zero hours contracts.

All three are sensitive issues at the council, which has been accused of a lack of action over Lewisham and the fire stations, and of hypocrisy in employing people on zero hours contracts.

Greenwich Time, one of just two council newspapers left in the UK, has been central to leader Chris Roberts’s control of the council – promoting his pet projects and personalities but downplaying those who are out of favour.

But with one if its key editorial personnel sacked and two others in dispute with the council, future editions of the newspaper could be in jeopardy.

The turmoil at Greenwich Time comes as rumours sweep the council and local Labour party that Roberts is considering attempting to stay on as leader, six months after he announced he would stand down after May 2014’s election.

11 comments

  1. Chris Smith

    Interesting times we live in, and great journalism by the way.

    The demise of GT is highly unlikely given the fact that it is mission critical to the Labour Party’s ambition to paint the borough red next May. However no-one should underestimate the impact that a permanent break in transmission would have – for a start off the voice of the people and those of opposing parties might, God forbid, be heard in Greenwich. Post a 51 seat whitewash though we can all kiss goodbye to anything as appalling as a different view.

    Fascinating stuff about the Leader re-thinking standing down. He is a formidable and canny politician, whether you agree with him or not, and utterly ruthless with opponents (as we in the Lib Dems know!) so I would think that any emerging young Pretender to the Throne would still have a difficult job unseating him despite the February announcement.

  2. Darryl

    It’s not that great, it’s lifted from a football chat site 😉

    Anyone who’s ever worked in a business with a single dominating figurehead will know that after a whole, the business tends to reflect the flaws (and talents) of that figurehead. This is what’s happened to Greenwich Council – and with a lack of young talent on the council (why give up your evenings to be told what to do by washed-up, barely-employable duds?), there’s a big problem when it comes to the succession.

    Worth remembering, of course, there’s a huge gulf between the party’s rank and file (particularly in Greenwich & Woolwich) – and the Labour Group (councillors), neither of whom seem to want to acknowledge the other’s existence. And the new selected candidates, who occupy a strange world in the middle. For many of the former, GT is an embarrassment. For the latter, conditioned on self-preservation, it’s a lifeline.

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  4. Paul Webbewood

    I’ve been reading Roy Jenkins’s biography of Winston Churchill.

    According to this, Neville Chamberlain agreed to make way for Churchill on 10th May 1940. Later that day the Germans invaded the Low Countries. When news reached London Chamberlain felt that the new military situation might require him to stay on but he was dissuaded by Kingsley Wood Tory MP for Woolwich West and hitherto a strong supporter of Chamberlain.

    If the rumours about Roberts wanting to stay as Leader are true, perhaps the Borough needs another Kingsley Wood.

  5. Darryl

    “Psst – Chris. There’s Lewisham bin vans massing on Blackheath. They’re heading across the border. The anti-social media has been taken. It’s over.”

  6. Sacha

    The main reason Roberts is thinking of staying on, is that he’s struggling to find decent consultancy/paid directorships in the regen business.

  7. buildthelenox

    Just saw Robert’s name last night when i was looking for something else, on shortlist for GLA job, business enterprise I think.

  8. Suzanne

    For once let’s all say something nice about Roberts (just until he finds a good job, somewhere far, far away).

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