The astonishing taxpayer funded Living in Havering magazine hit a new low in the south of the borough.* The south of the borough is hostile territory for the Conservatives and it reads like an election leaflet. Damian White looks like a candidate for the Dagenham and Rainham constituency in the forthcoming Brexit election. This magazine has gone way beyond his usual personality cult in the Living in Havering magazine.
First, the Damian personality cult PR photo count. This time there’s five Damian photos. That they are PR photo opportunities is demonstrated by the front cover. Damian stands in the centre of a group in a suit, with everyone else wearing yellow safety vests. Damian is literally the focus of the viewers’ attention. His adoring acolytes,** Robert Benham, Osman Dervish and Joshua Chapman are grouped on Damian’s left and three ‘privileged’ workers are to his right.
Damian’s attempt at being more than a photo opportunity is reflected in his domination of the written word. His Leader’s Welcome is a full page, where he identifies the closure of the Chafford Leisure Centre as a possible ‘error’*** He also says that the replacement is an aspiration, which is denied later in the magazine when he says that the council is, “committed to deliver a new leisure centre …. by 2020.” This announcement has all the credibility of a Boris Johnson ‘promise’ which is political hot air.
This outrageous taxpayer funded magazine should be subject to the normal council rules about inappropriate expenditure as it is little more than a Conservative party propaganda sheet.****
* At time of writing this isn’t on the Havering website.
** There’s another acolyte photo with Keith Prince and Osman tucked away
*** Obviously he doesn’t actually say this. He actually says that he’s ‘listened’ which is code for a disastrous decision.
**** Did the Special Edition require a separate budget and how was that authorised?