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Mediawatch: A graph of doom or a diagram of choice?

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Dad’s Army has been on my mind this week. First I remembered Private Frazer (“We’re doomed. We’re all doomed”).

Well our so-called graph of doom, our modelling of local government finance through to 2020, launched first by Sir Merrick Cockell and then Stephen Jones at the LGA conference, certainly caught the zeitgeist both at the conference and across the media.

Stephen is of course our very own Sergeant Wilson, who was the chief cashier. Personally I would describe our graph less as one of doom, and more as one of choice. The message was simple and clear - without radical change we hit the bumpers. We got the story across, and no one has disputed the analysis since.
Next to mind was Captain Mainwaring, for this was the week that banking blitzed the headlines (my favourite, a Sun pun “Sign on You Crazy Diamond”).

I somehow doubt that Mainwaring would have made the promotion from bank manager then to BarCap director today. Indeed the press portrayal of the modern banker seemed to suggest that Private Walker would be the one for promotion (and as for Private Pike, well he was a junior bank clerk - where would he be today?).

Who said what to whom four years ago is unlikely to distract the nation from our summer of sport and rain. But it is a reminder that we are four years into the downturn, and that is an awful lot of lost growth across the world.

So the City Deals announcements were, for me, big news - but coverage of them was pretty scant in the nationals, demonstrating yet again just how London centric the papers are. (And yet another announcement on the dangers of council newspapers highlights further restrictions on what we ourselves can communicate to residents). But we are starting to get recognition that the way to national growth is lots of local growth.

Nick Robinson describes this past week as the first salvo of the 2015 general election campaign, with each side aiming to seek defining positions.

Well let’s hope that our ‘moment of choice and hope’ strategy will be seen as defining the terms of the next comprehensive spending review.

Joe Simpson is principal strategic adviser, LGA

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