Monday, October 8

PO7&PO8 spam

The postman delivered the first copy of 'PO7&P08' today (as if I don't get enough paper spam already).
At least I think it was the postman, although I guess it could have been delivered by an unpaid 'intern'.

The problem with any publication that basically pretends to represent 'the community' and is funded by business is that it is in reality communicating a fantasy. Most people I know in the community talk about the weather, their family, whats on TV, why politicians are idiots or why life today is so crap. Hence it doesn't represent local community at all. Where is the critique if the only articles are press releases by businesses promoting a product or service?

'PO7&PO8' isn't a typical 'free' local publication (you do of course pay for it through dealings you have with the businesses that support it, hence in some way it is funded via a tax on the price you pay for a product or service), it was started by the deputy leader of Havant Borough Council, David Guest. So as well as being a propaganda outlet for various businesses, it is also linked to a specific political/economic ideology.

What is intrtiguing is that South Downs College is down as a 'Corporate Supporter' and on the front page of issue one it states 'It is the Corporate Support and the advertising that funds this project' which implies a publically funded body (South Downs College) gives money to a project that has political party connections.

The first issue also mentions Waterlooville Community Forum, which allegedly represents the community of Waterlooville. It replaces two community boards. So whats new about the WCF?
Well what isn't new is the people that are on the new forum, they include Waterlooville Business Assocaition, Residents Associations, church groups and local councillors. Basically the same groups that allegedly represented the community in the previous community boards. A bit of shuffling and then apparently everything is better! A few people in these forums claim they represent thousands of people, the question is do you know who they are or what they look like? Did you ever ask them to represent you?

In this first issue Grainger and Barrett have a chance to blow their own trumpets. Grainger take the opportunity to announce that their 2000 home development will be called 'Berewood'. Yep, in memory of millions of trees that were once the Forest of Bere, Grainger has decided to commemorate the fact that all that carbon is probably now in our atmsophere and that the new development will add more on top of that!

From the environmental point of view, it has nothing to recomend it. The publication doesn't appear to have any standards regarding types of business promoted. That in turn puts a massive question mark over Havant Borough Councils environmental and economic credentials.


siskinbob said...

Yes, I agree another bit of dross pushed through our letter boxes. Your comment regarding the Community Forum is a bit harsh. Have you ever been along ? I have. These folks are trying to get the community involved but as always it is an uphill struggle. It is much easier to sit at home, push a few keys and moan that you don't like what is happening around you. I too am guilty of inertia. I look forward to seeing you at the next meeting.

TheVille said...

Hi Siskinbob

A few people sitting in a forum can never represent thousands that prefer doing other things with their lives.

The 'meeting' concept is now probably redundant and the council has to think about engaging with the public differently.

Anonymous said...

While its all we've got we should make the most of it. I personally believe that the government could introduce an electronic basis for alerting Joe Public about national issues and for voting and the same tool could be made available for the discussion of local issues. It could be based on the internet or even the digital channels via TV.