If you believe the propaganda department of Hackney Council, you'd think we live under the most generous and enlightened administration on the planet. Awash we are with fantastic new services. How will we ever find the time to enjoy them all or the means to thank our leaders as fullsomely as they deserve?!
What's more, it seems this is all due to the charm, vision and all-round good-bloke-ness of Mayor Jules Pipe, a man in receipt of a PR makeover that could almost make you think that directly-elected mayors are all about personalities rather than politics.
New schools! Re-opened lido! And the East London Line is coming!
Just the odd caveat:
- Many of these are simply re-openings or replacements of facilities previously closed by Hackney's Labour Council. Mossbourne Academy is on the site of the old Hackney Downs school; Petchey on the site of Kingsland School. The Labour Council closed both these schools in the teeth of opposition from students, parents, staff and the community. It closed London Fields lido in 1988!
- But many other facilities that it has closed over the years remain closed. Nurseries gone. 14 libraries cut to 7. Clissold Leisure Centre, its globally-trumpeted millenium project, still sitting like a white elephant with its doors closed.
- Several new 'public' facilities are being built with public money but then handed over into the control of private hands. The East London Line will be given to one of the dreadful private train operating companies once it is extended. Mossbourne and Petchey Academies are the playthings of Sir Clive Bourne and Sir Jack Petchey respectively (I'm sure the fact that they are both Knights of the Realm has nothing whatsoever to do with their sponsorship of Academies, the irony being that Lord 'Cashpoint' Levy attended Hackney Downs school.)
- Er, October's not the ideal time of year to open a lido, is it?<\ul>