Weekend Press Round-Up


The Islington Gazette has worrying reports that Islington council is planning to shut half their libraries;

A secret proposal to axe more than half the libraries in Islington, as well as closing Cally Pool and getting rid of pensioner lifeline the Plusbus service, has been leaked to the Gazette.

Street cleaning and recycling will be reduced, lollipop patrols will be given the boot, parking costs will rise and the Ecology Centre will be closed if the confidential Islington Council strategy is adopted.

The proposals, drawn up by senior town hall directors in a bid to deal with Government cuts – £95million over the next four years on top of £112m since 2010 – also suggests leaving parks open all night, stopping doorstep recycling and getting rid of road safety and cycle training.

The Enfield Independent on the state of Chase Farm hospital;

“Chase Farm is in terrible condition and the quality of the site is abysmal. Buildings are far too spaced out and many of them have been left to ruin.

“The hospital is not fit for purpose and not up to the standards of a 21st Century hospital. We have people queuing outside in the rain for some wards and that is not good enough.

People may have noticed that the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn is embroiled in a row about the Jewish Film Festival. The Evening Standard interviews the theatre’s director, Indhu Rubasingham, for her side of the story.

“I absolutely want the festival here,” she says. “It is important to the Tricycle and has been here for eight years. It is a celebration of Jewish culture that is imperative and particularly important at this time.” If the situation were reversed, and the Tricycle was due to host a Palestinian or Arab film festival that had funding from Hamas or Fatah, or their avowed supporters, she says, “I wouldn’t do it”. Recently, the Labour Party asked to hire the theatre to stage a fundraiser “and I said no because I don’t want the Tricycle affiliated to any political party”.

The Barnet Eye has a guest post about the Cat Hill forest protection camp;

The earnest discussion within the gates was because the policeman was asking the squatters to leave the site, despite their protestations that a court judge had given them leave to stay. One of the local residents telephoned his solicitor and asked him to come round quickly to acquaint the policeman of the legal rights of the squatters. The police constable, realizing that his bluff was being answered by coherent argument, became less aggressive, and Donny was allowed out of the gate. He and I sat down in a more relaxed manner and mapped out plans for the squatters to liaise with the library activists in meeting local schools in projects for the schoolchildren to research the background to the reopening of their local library.

Dr Patrick French uses the pages of the Camden New Journal to decry NHS privatisation;

This is most clearly exemplified in the new hybrid company set up by a combination of senior staff – medical and administrators – at the Royal Free and University College London Hospital.

Pared down to its essentials it is a kind of management buy-out of the pathology service of the Free and the UCLH which employs several hundred technicians and other staff.

Of course, the new company is still umbilically linked to the two hospitals. The new company, according to the UCLH chief executive, will be able to provide “blood” services at lower costs and thus create savings for both Foundation Trusts involved.

In reality, however, it is, surely, the first step in what the government accepts will be a long march towards the ultimate privatisation of the NHS.

And finally… according to the Ham and High the self styled Mayor of Kentish Town “has gone feral”;

“You’re probably wondering, how did I get to be mayor?” he said.

“Valid question. Answer: I got here by hard work, intelligence and diligence.

“Bulls**t. I got here by force, coercion and blackmail and I combine it with my ‘not give a f**k attitude’ and my bad temper to climb to the very top of the local government tree.

“It’s a tricksy tree to climb, yeh? Like a Birch.”