I am writing with regard to the strike that is currently taking place amongst journalists in the North London and Hertfordshire branches of your company. I write with particular regard to the Haringey Advertiser, a newspaper that has served my constituency fantastically over many decades and a newspaper that my mother and I used to deliver to the roads around Philip Lane (N15) during the early 1980s.
I have a great affinity for the paper and it is with great regret that I understand you do not intend to replace the staff that have departed the publication in recent months. The increased pressure on the remaining staff to fill in will, without any doubt, lead to a significant deterioration in the quality of journalism, which will have serious ramifications for my constituents.
I do not need to remind you that Tottenham is one of the most challenging areas in the entire United Kingdom. When we talk about an unemployment crisis in the country, it is at its most acute in Tottenham. When the capital mourns the death of another teenager involved in knife and gang crime, it will spark off the same debate that has been raging in this borough for years. When the national discourse focuses on the exploitation of deprived communities by big business, the bookmakers in N17 provide the perfect example. When politics and football collide and the commentators from both the front and back pages of national papers deliberate the importance of a football club to its community, it will be Tottenham Hotspur that they talk about first. The borough has, and will always, be at the very forefront of change, tragedy and tribulation and for decades, the Haringey Advertiser has been unyielding in its coverage of it.
My fear is that this will no longer be the case. If three people are expected to publish nine publications each week, it is unlikely that the full horror of what is to befall Tottenham through the impact of government cuts will ever be exposed in its entirety. Without a vociferous local media that leaves no stone unturned in highlighting where the people of Haringey are being neglected and exploited by big business, public institutions and government, my job of advocating on their behalf becomes that much harder. A well staffed Advertiser is fundamental to ensuring that this borough and my constituency of Tottenham are not deserted by policymakers in Westminster, Whitehall or the Wood Green Civic Centre.
Haringey is an incredibly self-contained, complex and fascinating area of the capital that would suffer immensely should one of its local papers recede to become a freesheet of banal, “churnalistic” output. I therefore urge you to replace the staff that have left in order to continue producing the quality local newspaper that has served the borough so well for over 30 years.
Rt Hon David Lammy MP