Guardian Editor MIKE LEWIS on the latest round of the newspaper’s ongoing dispute with Carmarthenshire county council

First published in News

THE Guardian’s lone stand against Carmarthenshire county council has been described by one political commentator as David v Goliath.

Yes, the odds are uneven but, in all honesty, we never wanted a fight.

Surely, in these times of austerity it is in the interests of everyone to pull together?

But County Hall’s response to our hard-hitting editorial of September 19 criticising their now-notorious Sainsbury’s press release was to pull all advertising - a move which has cost us around £9,000 - despite a full page right-to-reply.

To describe this as a thirdrate decision by a third-rate local authority would be an insult to all those hardworking frontline county council employees (many of whom are Guardian readers) who help keep our county up and running.

The Guardian has nothing but respect for them - but we do have a problem with a regime which acts like some Eastern bloc state from the 1960s.

The most depressing aspect of all this is that the council continues to spend thousands of pounds on two local papers from a rival group.

TheGuardian, meanwhile, is punished for speaking its mind. I suspect that even people who don’t read or don’t particularly care for us will be alarmed by this sinister turn of events.

We cannot give in to this pressure, because when a local paper gives up its freedom to criticise, a key plank of local democracy has gone.

Should this be allowed to happen? That is the question all county councillors, regardless of their political colours, should be considering today.

Nowis the time to stand up and be counted.

I can’t help wondering what that Amman Valley political legend Jim Griffiths – a fearless champion of the underdog and passionate supporter of free speech – would have made of all this.

He must be spinning in his grave.

Comments (4)

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7:30am Wed 12 Dec 12

randall bevan says...

It is so sad to read this story this morning. The role played by the Guardian,by its very title, has been crucial as a Democratic 'platform' and monitor of the other guardians of our democratic system that we elect to serve and safeguard our interests throughout this island. Local independent press is an essential part of the scrutiny and checks on those who represent us for individuals,alas, carry little weight. I cannot believe that this will prevail and hope that the usual common sense, that I recall among the excellent representatives of my youth, will continue among the current county councillors to support local newspapers especially the Guardian that is such an important link to all of us exiles - my cousin reads it in Australia - wherever we may live. Pob llwyddiant i'r papur pwysig yma.
It is so sad to read this story this morning. The role played by the Guardian,by its very title, has been crucial as a Democratic 'platform' and monitor of the other guardians of our democratic system that we elect to serve and safeguard our interests throughout this island. Local independent press is an essential part of the scrutiny and checks on those who represent us for individuals,alas, carry little weight. I cannot believe that this will prevail and hope that the usual common sense, that I recall among the excellent representatives of my youth, will continue among the current county councillors to support local newspapers especially the Guardian that is such an important link to all of us exiles - my cousin reads it in Australia - wherever we may live. Pob llwyddiant i'r papur pwysig yma. randall bevan
  • Score: 0

10:43am Wed 12 Dec 12

Meirion says...

Let me remind Mike Lewis of that "mmeeting of the people" in Carmarthen in 2006. Issues raised at that meeting of over 250 people in the presence of Adam Price when MP has never been resolved.
Mike Lewis is not alone he has 250 supporters that will support his action in standing up against Carmarthenshire County Council.
There are serious questions that need answered and investigated in Carmarthenshire.
The bureaucratic pirates in that ivory tower on jail hill has got away with it for too long.
However, as we all know spin doctrine is part of society and Carmarthenshire County Council and power crazed politicians need the Guardian more than the Guardian needs them.
It just goes to show that telling the truth is a crime and freedom of speech is on trial.
Let me remind Mike Lewis of that "mmeeting of the people" in Carmarthen in 2006. Issues raised at that meeting of over 250 people in the presence of Adam Price when MP has never been resolved. Mike Lewis is not alone he has 250 supporters that will support his action in standing up against Carmarthenshire County Council. There are serious questions that need answered and investigated in Carmarthenshire. The bureaucratic pirates in that ivory tower on jail hill has got away with it for too long. However, as we all know spin doctrine is part of society and Carmarthenshire County Council and power crazed politicians need the Guardian more than the Guardian needs them. It just goes to show that telling the truth is a crime and freedom of speech is on trial. Meirion
  • Score: 0

9:30pm Wed 12 Dec 12

edjones says...

Do you want to know anything about the new council tax benefit which comes into effect ipril 2013?
Do you want to know anything about xmas refuse collection in Ammanford?
Do you want to know about the xmas markets in Carmarthen and Llanelli but not Ammanford?
Do you want to know anything about the compulsory purchase of land in Llandybie or Gorslas or Llanon?
You'll find them in the Journal, Star, Evening Post and Western Mail.
You don't get these papers! - Hard luck.!
What a waste of money - would make more sense choosing the least expensive more local newspaper.
Do you want to know anything about the new council tax benefit which comes into effect ipril 2013? Do you want to know anything about xmas refuse collection in Ammanford? Do you want to know about the xmas markets in Carmarthen and Llanelli but not Ammanford? Do you want to know anything about the compulsory purchase of land in Llandybie or Gorslas or Llanon? You'll find them in the Journal, Star, Evening Post and Western Mail. You don't get these papers! - Hard luck.! What a waste of money - would make more sense choosing the least expensive more local newspaper. edjones
  • Score: 0

4:19pm Fri 14 Dec 12

Meirion says...

Its all to do with Common Purpose and the Brotherhood working together to oppress the people.
Its all to do with Common Purpose and the Brotherhood working together to oppress the people. Meirion
  • Score: 0

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