Rumours abound the offices of Rochdale Council that Roger Ellis' propaganda organ "Local Matters" is no more. Good. The one-sided drivel it often published was an expensive disgrace to council taxpayers.
Accounts of Roger's anger at anyone criticising his actions, or those of his executive officers, are legendary.
At last tally, Rochdale Council's Communication Unit costs almost £2,000,000 a year.
Is this money to be saved? How will The Thoughts of Chariman Roger and the good news of increased civic tractor production be transmitted to the happy burghers of Rochdale?
Is there a cunning plan afoot that takes the costly council spin off the balance sheet?
Consultants and outsourcing?
But who could promote the good news about Rochdale Council and the Lib Dem (mal)administration an uncritical way?
Like the good old days when the Rochdale Observer knew its place?
Is there any connection with the demise of "Local Matters" and the birth of the "Rochdale and Heywood Independent"?
In all fairness, any new venture deserves a chance. Those starting this newspaper were made redundant by the Guardian Media Group so they could have fire in their belly. If it is truly independent then that can only be a good thing for Rochdale.
However, the cynics have already started. They worry about a business plan that his highly dependent on advertising revenue and may rely on "churnalism" from professional press releases.
Now where could such press releases and advertising cash come from? Shurley not Rochdale Council now that "Local Matters" has been scrapped?
It is common knowledge that Richard Catlow when boss man at the Rochdale Observer was very friendly with Rochdale Lib Dems and the high ups in the council. Now Richard heads PIP Media the vehicle that will drive our new local newspaper. There is also a family connection with Catlow Communications - a "public relations and marketing company" also based in Rossendale. Does PR, marketing and good old fashioned journalism make difficult bed fellows?
However, to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, we say good luck to the venture. We hope the critics are proven wrong and that the newspaper is what it says on the banner - Independent. Not some outsourced propaganda rag that glosses over what could be incompetance, corruption and maladministration within our town.