If you define honesty as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth then H&F Council is promoting messages that are far from truthful. For example, on the 2nd June of this year, H&F Council spent thousands of pounds writing to every resident in Shepherds Bush triumphantly proclaiming that there is “now officially less crime in Shepherds Bush”. However, the Metropolitan Police figures for the last municipal year clearly show that the overall number of crimes in Shepherds Bush rose by a staggering 4.6%.
Prior to that, on 6th March, residents contacted me to say that the Council had put advertisements up in Bishops Park, Fulham Palace Road and throughout the borough saying that “Fulham’s 24/7 neighbourhood policing was working”... But those parts of Fulham do not have 24/7 neighbourhood policing and neither do seven out of the eight Fulham wards. I wrote to the Council’s Monitoring Officer pointing out that their adverts were “deliberately misleading” and that I was considering reporting H&F Council to the Advertising Standards Authority. The Council responded saying that the posters have been “taken down with immediate effect” and were a “mistake”.
More public money was spent by H&F Council sending out a glossy leaflet to residents in the spring. It was designed to reverse the Conservative’s position on the Shepherds Bush tube station closure after the public reacted against their support for the shut down.
Then, there’s the Apollo license application judgement. For some reason, when the story was written up in the Council’s own propaganda sheet, H&F News, it failed to make any mention of the Labour councillor who had led the campaign against the licence; who had attended court to give evidence and who was even mentioned by the judge in her official summary of her judgement. Instead, they quoted a Conservative Councillor who hadn’t been involved in the campaign or even given evidence at court.
Meanwhile, Andy Slaughter MP (Lab) tells me that when he attended an event in his constituency in the north of the borough, a Council official told him that he could not be in press photos or appear in H&F News. Meanwhile, the Conservative MP in the south of the borough has appeared in H&F News twice in the last few months.
There are many more examples but the fact is that H&F Council spends vast amounts of money promoting a picture that's often far from the truth. Most reasonable people will agree that this is a misuse of public funds. While it is understandable that the Conservatives will want to do all they can to win public backing, it is hard to fathom why H&F Council uses tax payer funds to put out so much publicity that is little more than party political propaganda.