"The Londoner" blasted as propaganda

Mayor accused of diverting funds to fund extra edition in an attempt to secure re-election

Ken Livingstone has come under fire for the diversion of money from the London Tourist Board to fund an extra issue of his controversial "The Londoner" magazine.

He is planning to take an £310,000 from the London Tourist Board budget bringing the total spent on this publication to £2.2 million in 2003/4. Residents of the capital will now be the recipients of seven copies of his �free� newspaper instead of the expected six this year. The paper has been branded as a propaganda sheet by many due to the constant pictures of and references to the Mayor.

Hugh Fasken, editor of the Green Magazine said, ""It really is little more than a Communist-esque flourish to Our Dear Mayor and carries next to nothing in terms of serious analysis, debate, glamour, articles, etc"

Tony Arbour, Hounslow �s Member of the London Assembly, said: �It is outrageous the lengths that Livingstone will go to promote himself. The Londoner is nothing but a propaganda sheet designed to assist in getting him re-elected using tax payers' money.�

He added that he felt it was ironic that money was being diverted from the tourist budget at a time when at the same time the Mayor is saying that London needs more tourists. He accused the Mayor of simply filling every recycling bin in London with waste paper in an attempt to secure his re-election.

There is a widespread suspicion that the Mayor's enthusiasm for the publication of "The Londoner" was down to the bitter recriminations between himself and the Evening Standard following an incident in which it was claimed he pushed a man down a flight of stairs. The Londoner is seen as an attempt to communicate directly with the electorate by-passing a newspaper which he felt to be hostile to him.

A spokesperson for the Neighbour Net Group, which publishes local news web sites across West and South West London including this one said, "There has been a massive change over the last few years in the way that people in the capital get their local information. The media has become much more fragmented with people using more localised and specialist news sources that are more relevant to them. London is a collection of villages not a homogeneous urban sprawl and "The Londoner" ignores this key fact."

September 24, 2003

New Magazine gets on competitor's Wick