Expect the Oldham Echo's editorial policy on the ConDem cuts to soften over the coming weeks. Why? Simple. They've jumped into bed with the coalition (http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=1&storycode=46972&c=1 ).
The government's Regional Growth Fund is hailed by its cheerleaders as the catalyst for private sector job creation (you know, those private sector vacancies that will suddenly appear while the public sector shrinks).
Along with the Western Morning News, the Echo will, according to the Press Gazette, "launch competitions inviting small and medium-sized businesses -- particularly those hit hard by the economic downturn -- to apply for grants. They will be run over an 18-month period and each paper will be empowered to allocate between £10,000 and £100,000 from the RGF to distribute to the winners.
"Press Gazette understands that each title will have at least £1m worth of grants to allocate."
Big Al Machray is quoted by Hold the Front Page (http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/campaigns/110413growth.shtml):
"We are delighted to have won government backing for our campaign. We are planning to announce details very shortly."
However, there is a fly in the ointment for Big Al, a bloody big bluebottle actually, as Hold the Front Page's piece continues:
"Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has praised the Echo for the launch of its intiative...
"Mr Clegg said: 'It is absolutely fantastic that the Echo has taken the initiative.' "
Warm words emanating from a source that even Warren "War Zones" Bradley views as toxic are likely to make the minions on Oldham Hall Street (already uneasy about the whole charade) run to the bathroom.
The Regional Growth Fund, trumpeted by Cameron & Clegg as a successful alternative to the Regional Development Agencies, has been greeted with scepticism, if not hostility since its inception last year (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/oct/28/labour-attacks-regional-growth-fund-pathetic-fig-leaf ).
The notion of the Oldham Echo picking winners, as it were, who will suddenly create private sector employment to even ameliorate the fall-out from the public sector jobs cull on Merseyside belongs to the realm of Lewis Carroll. Alas, the farce doesn't end there. According to the Press Gazette, staff at the Echo "will provide 'mentoring, consultancy and business support' for the winning bidders."
So the business which sacked 100 local printers as it moved its printing operation outside Merseyside & which continues to lose readers will mentor & support the lucky winners? Poor bastards.
As one commenter on Hold the Front Page's article remarks, it beggars belief that Trinity Mirror should be chosen for this lunacy.