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A new address!

This blog is moving! You can now read all things Shepherd’s Bush just as you did before but this time at the following URL:

http://shepherds-bush.blogspot.com/

For the techies amongst you this means I am moving from WordPress to Blogger – the main reason is that for a long time I have not carried any adverts on this site. In the early days, when there were a handful of people reading it, there wouldn’t have been much point anyway. But for the last year thousands of people every month have been, I publish my stats at the end of every month. Last month there were 11,009 views for example.

And many of you, including one reader who left a comment on the last stats post, have said that for all the work that this blog takes – and it is a lot, from the little hobby it was originally thought of back in 2008, I should see if I can earn something in return. Even then I was reluctant – and in any case WordPress don’t allow it! Imagine my surprise then this morning to log on to this site to see adverts that had been put there by WordPress themselves! They are now apparently going to put ads on here anyway to earn money for themselves – so I’m moving to blogspot where at least I’ll be able to have some control over the ads that you see. Most of them will be for local businesses to W12 and H&F. And yes, earn a little bit back myself!

So bookmark the new address – the content will be exactly the same and even better still. We’ve got a really exciting year ahead, starting with the general and local elections, the summer of festivals in W12 and around and more besides. To those of you who’ve been long time readers (and in many cases sources of stories) thank-you. To newish readers I hope you like what you see.

And see you at the new place!

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W12 Centre Stage

Wow. The W12 Centre, in it’s ongoing campaign to stay alive, has erected a music stage!

Cramped in between the escalators the stage is apparently set for young performers from across the Borough and London to entertain the shoppers who will now throng the centre .. well maybe not but well done to them for innovating anyway. Some of the bands probably will bring a small following and in any case just by me seeing the stage I’m giving them free publicity so you can see how these things work.

All the best to them, although the Holland & Barett shop assistant who explained to me that this is a feature that will be staying throughout the summer months did so with something of a sigh!

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Shadow Chancellor George Osborne MP was at St Paul’s Church in Hammersmith a couple of days ago to back Shaun Bailey’s campaign to be our next MP, and the local Conservatives fight to retain the Council. He met Shaun, obviously, but also a crowd of Conservative candidates hoping to be our councillors come May 7th.

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Geoff Alltimes, the Chief Executive of our Council, is the 17th highest paid council officer in the United Kingdom. His very high remuneration package was hiked by 10.8% from £185,000 to £205,000 from 2008 to 2009. Paid hugely more than the Prime Minister, his details are revealed by the Town Hall Rich List, published this week by the Tory supporting TaxPayersAlliance.

I’m not really sure what to make of that to be honest. It’s a hugely responsible job, and the Council needs to attract good people to those sort of roles, but even if you leave the salary level to one side, what about the pay hike of nearly 11%? And is he really doing a more demanding job than the Prime Minister of this country? Valid questions at the very least.

PS Many thanks to Rupert for highlighting this in the comments section of another post .. its another reader generated article!

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The Fulham Chronicle, which has had some problems delivering its papers, has certainly managed to deliver a headline to another west London resident – Tory Leader David Cameron. In scenes that will have Council Leader Stephen Greenhalgh thumping the table in rage the would-be Prime Minister was confronted outside his own house with the Chronicle’s advertising lorry, accusing the Council of spending tax payers money on partisan propaganda.

Given how Cameron backed the Council to the hilt at this meeting I very much doubt it will make the slightest bit of difference to the Council’s position on Pravda, but I would only assume that the authority must have a limit to how much of this public humiliation it is prepared to take before it announces a climb-down. Why am I so sure?

Well our Council is now renowned for plastering the Borough with posters, placards and other signage trumpeting what they see as their various successes. Unsurprisingly there has been a spike in this activity in the run up to this May’s election. So in my mind it stands to reason that they will be far more sensitive to this sort of thing than maybe other authorities. It’s certainly not the sort of message they would want us all to be reading in the run up to polling day, which we all now are. In the Bush alone there are posters at the following locations:

95 Askew Road w12 9as Headline: THEIR NEWS / THE NEWS

Goldhawk Road w12 8EG. Headline: BIASED / UNBIASED.

Sheperds Bush Green w12 7js. Headline: PROPAGANDA / PROPER PAPER

The only way they can apparently stop this is by giving in! Of course, I could be wrong..

PS - The Fulham Chronicle are inviting all those residents who agree with this campaign to a photo call outside Hammersmith Town Hall at 11am on Tuesday 6th of this month. Go to their website for further details but otherwise just turn up.

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11,009 views in March, up from a rather low 9,912 in February. After the craziness of January, which saw over 40,000 views, this is actually about normal with December’s views having been 11,809.

And why I am I giving you two months stats in one go? Because I forgot last month!

Thanks again for coming back, for sending the story ideas through, and keep them and yourselves coming back for more.

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This article is now here

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The news that the RMT is once again balloting its members for strike action will come as no surprise to Londoners, well used to Communist Bob‘s use of the union to further his political goals at our expense.

What seems to be different about what now appears to be the inevitable wave of strike action that will probably cripple the tube next month is that London Underground appears ready for the fight. A leaked document that appeared yesterday with details of discussions amongst managers about how to ‘ride out’ the strike are intriguing for two reasons.

First, the RMT’s strikes are a bit hit and miss these days. This strike for example completely flopped, and our Bob was forced to crawl away trying to pretend he’d won some magnificent victory. So if London Underground stuck to its guns and the strike was weak to start with, they’d probably win hands down.

Second, if the RMT was really embarased by that sort of flop, could it lead ultimately to the end of the Bob Crow regime at the Union? It seems like eons ago now, but the union didn’t used to be this ridiculous. Under the leadership of Jimmy Knapp its members got a good deal without needing to constantly bellow and threaten. The contrast between the hard left thuggishness of Bob Crow and the tough but principled and intelligent leadership of Jimmy Knapp speaks volumes.

One of the most telling remarks made in the leaked document is the observation that tube workers are well paid and ‘insulated from the recession’. Very true. I remember comments on this blog from some RMT members who were apologising for striking as they watched passengers who’d lost their jobs struggle to fit through the ticket barriers with the boxes they’d cleared from their desks that day. Bob couldn’t give a flying composite motion about that.

I wonder if Communist Bob has taken just one liberty too far with Londoners this time around.

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That purveyor of raucous Irish music on a sunday night, the Coningham Arms, is up for sale. You can see the advert here.

I’ve had the odd drink in there in the past, albeit not for a long while. Usually before a QPR match – and also being a Celtic supporter I appreciated the fact its as much a green hoops pub as a blue one. But it never seemed particularly busy, even on match day.

So its hard sometimes to put everything down to the recession, but so many businesses seem to be folding completely or selling on it’s got to have some connection.

Either way, good luck Coningham and all those who sail in her.

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Our Council have responded to me regarding this campaign by the Fulham Chronicle, which calls the Council freesheet H&F News “propaganda” and calls for it to be scrapped.

A Council spokesman said: “H&F News is a very popular newspaper with residents and advertisers because it supports their community. Our residents want to know what their council is doing. They expect us to promote community groups, theatres, businesses and schools. H&F News was launched to fill a communications void because, for more than ten years, Trinity Mirror had no interest in our borough and produced newspapers that very few residents wanted to read. While we welcome The Chronicle going free, it is still very much early days and their readership and circulation has yet to be proven. H&F is a vibrant borough that deserves a strong, vibrant media.”

They also pointed out that H&F News is published under very tight legal restrictions, which prevents any local authority from publishing anything that is deemed to support any one political party. He argued that overall H&F Council continues to bring down the cost of communicating to residents and spends less on communicating than the vast majority of other London councils.

I think regular readers will gather what I think of most of that statement but in the interests of balance I thought it important to present the other side of the argument. Their point on circulation figures might be the Chronicle’s Achilles heel in all of this, given the issues they seem to be experiencing with delivering the paper. Although I did in fact get a copy last week!

Just as I rail against, say, H&F News for being one-sided I wanted to make sure I didn’t fall into that trap myself. So here you are!

Wonder what the Chronicle makes of what the Council have to say?

1400 UPDATE: The Chronicle have been quick to respond to the Council’s comments. Speaking to this blog a Trinity Mirror spokesman said: “This council is quite clearly deluded. They are not media and what they publish is not journalism. They can not hold themselves to account, only independent reporting can do that.

“It is time for them to stop sidestepping the real issue. h&f news is not a  newspaper and they should stop pretending to be so. Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s propaganda sheet goes far beyond their statutory duty and threatens the survival of local newspapers, local democracy and freedom of speech.” 

So we have the Council accusing the Chronicle of being previously uninterested in the Borough and with questionable circulation figures, while the Chronicle responds that the Council is ‘deluded’ and denying freedom of speech. Expect this one to rumble on..

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