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Was pondering this matter over the weekend. When the Dimbleby's ran the local newspapers they would have regarded it as a dereliction of duty not to have sent a reporter to a significant council meeting. They were the paper of record and therefore it was an integral part of their function to do so. Last week's council meeting which decided on the housing budget was something they would have covered in some depth. Fast forward to 2019 and the Wandsworth Times coverage seems to be limited to the Council's press release sent prior to the meeting and, while this site has made an attempt to get comment from across the political range, they have provided very little extra detail. This is not meant to be a criticism, PutneySW15.com has provided better coverage than their competition, a multi-national company which benefits from huge subsidies denied to them. Nevertheless no local media is currently functioning as a paper of record. There is no independent report of what happened at this meeting in which decisions were made on how to spend tens of millions of pounds in the borough. The dysfunction of the press is being compounded by the dysfunction of the opposition. It is very noticeable that the local Labour party didn't respond to requests for comment on this meeting and generally don't seem interested in putting across their point of view. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that Labour in Wandsworth is chronically inward looking and all that matters is debate within the party rather than issues that concern borough residents in general. This basically gives the Council a free pass. No detailed media analysis of what they do and no oversight by an effective opposition. On the face of it it appears that the Conservatives in Wandsworth have been bountiful when it comes to their housing policy but I find it very hard to believe this is the whole truth. A profound democratic deficit has developed which cannot but have very negative consequences in the future. A US-based vulture fund taking over our local newspaper is going to make this a lot worse not better.

David Parker ● 492d