Editor’s comment: I expected better from councillor

Fortismere School, in Tetherdown, Muswell Hill. Picture: MARTIN BALL

Fortismere School, in Tetherdown, Muswell Hill. Picture: MARTIN BALL - Credit: Archant

Fake news!

That, more or less, was the cry of Haringey Council leader Jo Ejiofor as he hurriedly emailed the borough’s Labour Party members about the Ham&High last week.

I say “about the Ham&High”. He actually referred only to “the media”, as though anything that carries current affairs, from the Daily Mail to Novara to the BBC, is part of some multilateral force, which is roughly as useful as saying that every local and national politician, regardless of party, does the same work and has the same objectives. In fact, the Ham&High was the only news outlet that had covered the controversy to which he referred, so he might as well have just used our actual name. But I digress.

“First,” he wrote, barely hours after we had published our story, “let’s correct some misrepresentations. Haringey Council is not ‘giving’ £35.9m to Fortismere School. [And] Haringey Council is not spending half of the school’s capital budget at Fortismere School.”

I’m not sure who Cllr Ejiofor was quoting or correcting there, because neither of these claims has appeared in “the media”.

He is, obviously, entitled to say what he wants – but this othering of journalists is both lazy and bad for democracy, especially when it includes false claims about what we’ve actually said. Neither I nor anyone on my team has ever positioned ourselves as anti-Haringey or anti-Labour, but you would think from Cllr Ejiofor’s words and tone that he were fighting some righteous war against a powerful conspiracy spreading deliberate misinformation for personal gain. He needs to learn to tell his newspapers apart.

Cllr Ejiofor goes on: “Both myself and your ward councillors will keep you up to date if and when there is anything further to report.” Ironically, voters would know nothing of this plan had we not published our story in the first place. But as we have learnt to our cost in recent years, rubbishing journalists is an easy win.