This week with Brian 16 to 23 March 2023

Further Afield the week according to Brian Quinn

This Week with Brian

Including thoughts about Auntie, foxes from the sky, too much or too little impartiality, a professional’s budget view, heating the pools and cooling the servers, WhatsApp gone ugly, from our own correspondent, let it bee, one note and one coin, time, mobile horses, a one-party council and saying goodbye.

Click on the appropriate buttons to the right to see the local news from your area (updated every Thursday evening).

If there’s anything you’d like to see covered for your area or anything that you’d like to add to something that we’ve covered already, drop me a line at

Further afield

• The headlines have been dominated this week by a former footballer turned Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker who on 7 March described the government’s “stop the boats” policy as being “beyond awful” and suggested that it was a “cruel policy directed at the most vulnerable people in language that is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 30s.” The pros and cons of Suella Braverman’s initiative have become lost in the fog of a debate about what the BBC is, or should be, and what controls it can, or ought to, place on its staff and freelancers.

[more below] 

The BBC was founded in 1922, a couple of years after the first live radio broadcast was made in the UK. There was subsequently a flurry of broadcast licence requests made to the General Post Office, which then controlled such matters. Wikipedia suggests that a single licence would be issued to a consortium in order to “avoid the chaotic expansion experienced in the United States,” a situation which in some ways still persists there. Thus the BBC was born.

Its first real challenge came during the General Strike of 1926 when many newspapers had their production interrupted. The BBC was keen to avoid being taken over by the government and so ensured that it presented itself as a bastion of impartiality. Whether or not its conduct in this period was even-handed is open to doubt: however, it passed this test and has survived and prospered ever since.

This trinity of its raison d’être – public service, licence fee and impartiality – survived almost unchallenged for much of the century that followed. In recent years, though, these have come under considerable strain. Nowadays, everyone has the ability to utter their opinions on any matter that takes their fancy  immediately and, depending on their standing, to huge numbers of people. These views are likely to be anything but impartial.

Some of these people may work for the BBC or for a production company contracted to it. To what extent should they be controlled, if this is even possible?  Does it make a difference if they deal with news (like Andrew Neil), reality programmes (like Alan Sugar), nature programmes (like Chris Packham), entertainment (like Jeremy Clarkson) or sport (like Lineker)? Given that it’s not really possible to distinguish between private and corporate Twitter accounts, can there be any clarity as to whether the speaker is commenting personally or somehow on behalf of the Beeb?

Most media groups don’t appear to care about this. The BBC cares very much indeed but doesn’t seem to have resolved how its charter, its guidance, its contracts and its own enforcement procedures can be applicable or even relevant to the opinion-driven world in which we now live.

As we all know, the difference between the BBC and every other media group is that it’s publicly funded. It’s venerated but perhaps slightly stuffy: it’s slightly old-fashioned but in general regarded with affection. In these respects it slightly resembles the royal family. Certainly members of both were for decades expected to conduct themselves publicly with the same levels of impartiality.

This consensus started to break down about 30 years ago. New satellite and then digital news outlets widened everyone’s horizons, for better or worse, making the BBC’s rigid objectivity seem increasingly staid (particularly for some presenters). As for the royal family, in the mid ’90s it started turning itself into a soap opera. Both of these trends continue. It’s perhaps significant that both revealed themselves to be different kinds of organisations from how many believed as a result of a single event, the BBC’s broadcast of Martin Bashir’s Panorama interview with Princess Diana in 1995. The fall-outs from this conversation are continuing as well.

The explosion of different opinions has caused another problem for the BBC: for, in addition to having to compete with these, it also has to report on them. Impartiality is hard when there is an increasingly wide range of views, many of which have acquired a level of traction out of all proportion to their veracity. The 2020 election “steal” in the the USA, Covid vaccines and climate change are but three examples. A headline like “Scientists not sure about global warming: it might be caused by humans, or it might not” is not going to attract many likes or forwards. Doubt is out: what so many of us demand is certainty, and at once. Most media outlets happily provide their own version of this, generally perfectly tailored to the expectations of their audience. The BBC cannot. Any seeming preference for one view or the other is greeted with howls of protests.

The BBC isn’t unique here and, ironically, it might share something with Fox News, if only in reverse. During the so-called election steal, Fox gave favourable coverage to this interpretation even though pretty much everyone there realised it was batshit. That was, however, what Fox’s viewers demanded and to cover matters otherwise would be to have unleashed howls of protest from them, followed by defection to up-and-coming rivals. It is companies like Fox which find the idea of an established national broadcaster so repugnant and which would stand to benefit most from the BBC’s dismemberment. With this as an alternative, any shortcomings the BBC has perhaps pale into irrelevance.

The BBC hasn’t helped itself in the Lineker business. One might wonder why it didn’t choose to make a stand when other presenters like Alan Sugar or Andrew Neil uttered public comments that were far from impartial. Perhaps it’s a question of expectation: they were hired to be like that, so don’t be surprised. Lineker, however, is not hired to be politically awkward. If this was the first time he’d spoken his mind, there might have been some logic in going for him. It wasn’t. As the most recent Private Eye points out, he’s been making these kind of remarks since 2017. Perhaps it was the reference to 1930s Germany that undid him? From someone I’ve spoken to who’s looked into this, the comparison seems fair. Was pressure applied on the Beeb from the government? Who can tell? Well, I can’t.

What we therefore seem to have is a set of guidelines that are applied not by some absolute standard but depending on who you are, what you were employed to do, what people expect of you, what triggers you pull and who complains.

There are two things Gary Lineker and others might want to reflect on. The first is that his high public profile is largely due not to his football career but to Match of the Day. No way would he have this many followers were he to be just another ex centre forward, albeit rather a good and intelligent one. Are these really all his followers, or those of the presenter of MotD? Should that inform what he says?

More importantly, the BBC is under attack. Impartiality in exchange for public funding is a business model that’s both increasingly challenged and increasingly hard to reconcile with modern times. It still, however, has a lot of merit. The vultures are circling above: or, perhaps, the Foxes (and I don’t mean GL’s beloved Leicester City) are circling in the Sky. Should extra care not be taken by those who work for the BBC or its contractors, and who have done well from the relationship, to protect something that, once gone, will never return?

But the BBC seems to have made the wrong call here. The goal may or may not have been offside but its VAR system is hopelessly complex, subjective and antiquated. However, in a way it doesn’t really matter. This problem has been brewing for decades. If not now, with Lineker, it would have come up again soon, with someone else.

For anyone who says that the BBC does not instil an objective culture in its staff, I leave you with this thought. The first presenter to come out in support of Lineker (who played for Spurs) was Ian Wright (who played for Arsenal). The idea of impartiality there is clearly far from dead even when, as on this occasion, it’s being directed against the BBC. Well, Auntie can’t have it both ways…

• Meanwhile, Fiona Bruce – who though a well-respected long-standing BBC journalist and presenter, doesn’t happen to present a prime-time football programme – appears to have been hung out to dry as a result of comments made during Question Time on 9 March. She stepped in during a discussion about Stanley Johnson’s wife-beating behaviour to intrude a rapid contextualisation of the charges made against him following a statement from a panelist.

The summary has been accused of being less than perfect but, in the circumstances, that’s perhaps excusable. Not to have intervened, she claimed, would have been legally wrong. She had about two seconds to decide. Particular play is made of the fact that SJ’s smashing of his wife’s nose was “a one-off”. This was, she clearly said, what Johnson had alleged. She could have added that his wife maintained something quite different. That point had already been made by the panelist. I’m not sure any other presenter would have done much better and refuse to believe that she was condoning his behaviour. She was merely hosting a panel programme for an organisation that demands impartiality and trying, at very short notice and in about ten seconds, to explain the background to the panelist’s remark.

The social-media backlash seems to have been formidable. As a result, she’s stepped down from her role as an ambassador for the domestic-violence charity Refuge. I would say this is probably Refuge’s loss. There have been calls for her to be sacked by the BBC. That would seem to be their loss.

As both the above stories suggest, it’s far from clear what we expect from our BBC presenters nor by what standards they should be judged. Both Bruce and Lineker are well-respected figures in their very different fields. In the last week, one has been pilloried for trying (perhaps over-zealously, as The New Statesman suggested) to be objective, while the other has been pilloried for not being objective enough. No other media organisation would be subjected to this level of criticism. For many, words like “impartial” and “objective” are, if their output is any guide, abstract terms. For the BBC they are articles of an ancient faith but ones which are becoming increasingly hard either to implement or to defend. The fact that the BBC is in a corner should not make it fair game. I’m happy to carry on paying my licence fee and get what I want to take from it. We would be impoverished without it. Most compelling of all, look at the possible alternatives…

• There was a budget on 15 March: not a “mini budget” like we had last summer which was neither of these things but rather an uncoated piece of destructive right-wing polemic that set many household budgets back years. As I’ve mentioned before, I find understanding the impact of large sums of possibly imaginary money very hard to assimilate so I’m glad to have received the following summary from John Shepherd, Economics Advisor to Butler Toll Financial Advice  and Asset Management in Shrivenham. Here is his take on Jeremy Hunt’s statement…

“Having spent much of my working life listening to and reacting to Budgets, I am reluctant to get involved again in what I came to regards as an inevitably futile exercise. But, old habits run deep, so some initial impressions from Hunt and the OBR:

  • “He spent more than expected. Given a “windfall” improvement since the last fiscal forecast in the Autumn of £26bn a year, he spent an average of £15.6bn a year from 2023/24 onwards. Spent on energy support, labour participation measures (childcare), capital allowances, defence spending and “other” (freezing fuel duty again).
  • “The fiscal deficit comes down. From 6.1% of GDP in 2022/23 to 1.7% by 2027/28. But not total debt – total debt as % of GDP “settles” at 43.3% towards the end of the forecast period, the highest sustained level since the 1970s. Taxes as % of GDP at 37.7% in 2027/28 – the highest post-war level.
  • “Recession avoided. GDP down by 0.4% in Q1, flat in Q2 and on a gentle upward trend thereafter. GDP growth a staggering 2.5% in 2025 and about 2% thereafter. A 2025 forecast which is “towards the top end of the range” of independent forecasts (it certainly is that) and compares with a BoE forecast of 0.4% (that is not a typo).
  • “Inflation down, real incomes up (eventually). Inflation 2.9% at year end, at zero through all of 2025 and the first half of 2026. Which is one of the reasons for the punchy GDP forecast – real income growth up to around 2%, after the 5.7% cumulative fall through 2022/23 and 2023/24. The largest since records began. Things will get better for households – but not yet.

“So, a fiscally expansionary Budget, expected to add about 0.25% p.a. to growth in the next few years, but at some fiscal cost. Most of the fiscal windfall spent rather than banked. And certainly not the tax-cutting one which Hunt claimed in his speech (citing capital allowances). A better near-term growth view, which is justified, and still the very positive longer-term view, which is not.”

• There was yet another mass shooting event this month, this time in Hamburg with members of a local Jehovah’s Witnesses church as the victims. Fortunately, Penny Post has a Hamburg correspondent, my old friend Owen Jones who promptly supplied us with another excellent article, which you can read here.

• My main form of exercise (and mental switch-off) is swimming and I spend over three hours a week pounding up and down the pool at the wonderful Hungerford Leisure Centre. I’m aware that pools use a good deal of energy; also that many councils have decided to close some of them as a result. West Berkshire Council has not and I’d like to congratulate it again for this decision. This may seem self-interested but I’m far from the only person who uses it. It’s also a good networking opportunity. I’ve got to know two clients of ours, Jim from Broadmead Estates and Matt from Roof Right, during conversations in the shallow end and have told many people about Penny Post during chats there, in the changing room or the reception area. I’m therefore very glad to see that the country’s pools have been offered “a lifeline in the budget with the creation of a £63m fund to ease cost pressures.”

Self-help solutions may exist closer to hand, however. This recent story on the BBC website describes how a data centre (whose computers create heat that needs to be dissipated) have partnered with a Devon leisure centre (whose pool has water that needs to be heated) to create a mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship that even David Attenborough would gasp at. I immediately passed this on to Howard Woollaston, WBC’s portfolio holder for Leisure (and other things) and he assured me that the idea would be looked into. We need to be imaginative and creative in solving this difficult problem of energy creation (and disposal). So if you go to the Hungerford Leisure Centre in a year’s time and find that it’s slightly larger and a couple of parking spaces have been lost and there are people with “XYZ Cloud Services” badges coming and going, please blame me…

Across the area

• News from your local council if you live in the Vale of White Horse, Wiltshire, Swindon or West Berkshire.

• Further information on your district, county or borough council’s activities is referred to in the respective Weekly News sections for the nine areas that Penny Post covers – Hungerford areaLambourn Valley; Marlborough area; Newbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and Downlands; Burghfield area; Wantage area

What’s Appening?

Every now and then, we all do something that makes us cringe with embarrassment. We might, for instance, forward an email rather than reply (or vice versa), or make an unguarded remark inadvertently in the earshot of the person against whom it was directed. Both prove the adage that, these days, it’s wise to regard anything you write or say as being potentially made public to the whole world, or to a sufficient part of it to cause you reputational damage.

Exactly this misfortune was visited on the West Berkshire Conservatives last week. They have a WhatsApp group for candidates and, I understand, campaign workers. A certain conversation on this was leaked. I was sent a PDF with a number of screenshots pasted together, as were other local media groups. This article in Newbury Today provides a fair summary of some of the key points of the exchange. The main reason this has become heated is because, with casual jocularity, violence is referred to several times.

Here’s a possible case for the defence: closed groups have a vernacular of their own and perhaps a term like “violence” can be used in a specific sense. Their closed nature also creates a febrile atmosphere in which things are said which aren’t meant in the sense that others might interpret them, were the material to be more widely circulated (as must always be seen as a possibility). At election time in particular, feelings run high. There’s a herd mentality at work, with each person trying to out-do the other in proving adherence to the cause. The morning after may produce calmer views: and, it could be argued (though wrongly) that there’s no harm done if no one else has seen it. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case here. A lot of people have seen it and are therefore free to draw their own conclusions.

Two MPs have been murdered in recent years and many other elected representatives have been threatened. One might therefore imagine that the idea of violence would be avoided in such discussions.

It has been suggested to me by a senior spokesperson for the local Conservative group that the exchanges involved humour. Well, I guess you had to be on the group chat to see the funny side. It’s not humour as I understand it and I’ve not heard anyone laughing. The suggestion was also made that there was a free-speech element involved. Well, so there is. As a result, others are entitled to their free speech as well.

It’s also been suggested that this is all a “smear campaign.” This perplexed me. This is a closed user group, comprising only candidates and (perhaps) party activists. As there has been no suggestion either of hacking or of falsification, the only conclusion is that this information was leaked by a member of the group. This therefore looks to me like self-smearing, if that’s a thing.

You might wonder why someone who had signed up to fight a seat at the election, or support those who are doing so, should decide to pass the information on to an external party rather than raise any concerns with leadership of the group. So do I. Perhaps they felt that, for whatever reason, going through the party channels would not result in their concerns being addressed. The WBC Conservative’s leader Lynne Doherty is quoted in the NT article, a remark she repeated to me, as saying that she couldn’t say more as “I like every other member am bound by our group rules on confidentiality.” It seems that not all the members of the group share this obligation.

The other possibility is that the person responsible was never really a Conservative at all but had become candidate in order to leak just this information at just this time. Although I admit that this is borderline conspiracy-theory nonsense and I have no evidence for it, it is not impossible. I have no idea how much vetting of candidates takes place to prevent such deceptions.

I don’t know which of these two ideas – internal disloyalty or external subversion – the WBC Conservatives would find the more alarming.

It was also pointed out to me that the discussion “was believed to be in a private group.” That suggests that it’s fine if these views had been expressed but no one had found out about them. You would think that the Met’s recent WhatsApp group revelations would have been a salutory warning for other public office holders.

It’s impossible to pretend that this presents an attractive picture. I don’t know if it’s a unique one. Were I to be able to hack into the WhatsApp or similar groups of other local political parties around the country, I might find even worse examples. This would not, of course, make it better, merely more widespread. We can only deal with what we know: and we know about this and not the others.

The above-mentioned NT article quotes WBC Leader Lynne Doherty as assuring residents, using the popular political verb “to be absolutely clear”, that “let me be absolutely clear: we do not, and never will, condone violence.” However, many might not be clear on this point. Without rather more in the way of retraction, the WhatsApp extracts paint a different picture.

“The Conservatives I lead are conducting a fair and honest campaign” she continues. Every party says this, however. I spent some time last month researching a particular claim in the Conservatives’ manifesto which undermines this statement. Trying to prove that you’re telling the unvarnished truth and every other party is lying through their teeth is an essential part of the election battle. All these claims tend to cancel each other out. We’re going to be seeing a lot more of that in the coming weeks.

Speaking on 11 March, WBC’s Green Party’s Leader Carolyne Culver, one of whose colleagues had been directly referred to in the WhatsApp exchange, said that she had “no confidence in the Leader of the council and no confidence in the ability of this council to deal with bullying and harassment. Last year the Leader of the council proposed a motion about civility in public life. I urge her to act in the spirit of this motion.” She added that she would like to “commend and thank those individuals who had the courage to come forward and speak out.”

There was a chance for the WBC Conservative leadership to have said, like Angela Merkel did in 2021, “we got this wrong and we’re going to put it right.” Instead, it seems it’s someone else’s fault for mounting smears and that we’re all somehow lacking in either a sense of humour or an appreciation of the notion of free speech. This is, as politicians are fond of saying, “disappointing”. The best I can say about this is that hopefully some kind of civility will be resumed after 4 May: until then, as the NT headline correctly points out, it’s all turning a bit ugly.

Let it Bee

On to more pleasant matters. I recently received a press release from the Vale of White Horse Council which explains that it and its close friend South Oxfordshire Council “have launched a new nature recovery project called Let It Bee which aims to increase biodiversity on council land by allowing wildflowers and plants to grow on specific sites. This pilot project follows last year’s successful No Mow May trial on seven sites across the districts owned by the councils.” Locations have been chosen which do not impact on pedestrians or sightlines for drivers and are also near shorter grass areas and pathways for people wishing to exercise, play or relax. There will be signs at the sites identifying the areas. 

More information and downloadable maps on the councils’ dedicated web pages here (South Oxon) and here (the Vale). 

This set me wondering how, in a spirit of friendly rivalry, West Berkshire compared with such initiatives. I therefore wrote to Steve Ardagh-Walter, WBC’s environmental portfolio holder. “We have two ongoing initiatives which relate to this,” he told me.

“Wildflower verges – this has been delivered in conjunction with BBOWT (see the section towards the bottom of this newsletter).

“West Berkshire natural solutions delivery partnership of WBC, several nature charities and landowners, aims to deliver local carbon offsetting schemes and nature recovery projects. Currently a pilot project is being implemented within the Sulham estate which will help shape follow-on work.  There is likely to be a significant opportunity for projects to be funded by developer contributions to meet their biodiversity net gain obligations.”

Democracy and trust

The Green Party’s WBC campaign was officially launched by former Leader Natalie (now Baroness) Bennett in Newbury last week. She spoke at a public meeting in St John’s Church on the subject “Democracy – can we trust the Government?”

It’s a fair question and one we all need to ask ourselves perhaps on a daily basis. One of the ways that the government can be scrutinised is by parliament although as the former draws its members almost exclusively from the latter and as, by definition, the government party has a majority in the Commons, this makes any examination perhaps less effective than it might be.

One huge missed opportunity is the House of Lords which, she suggested, “is more representative of the country than the House of Commons, because no single party has a majority and the crossbench non-party political peers hold the balance of power.” The problem is that it has very little power and can really act only to delay. Change is badly needed. Most, including Baroness Bennett, believe that it should be fully elected. However, to do this in a way that would create balance would require a form of proportional representation. To accept it for that would be to accept that it should also be considered for the Commons. This is the last thing the two main parties want.

In an article I wrote about two years ago, I had a look at this strange constitutional elephant. Reforming this creature, which has defied all attempts to do much more than tinker with it, would be a major legacy achievement for any government. It would also be psychologically beneficial. After all, if this can be changed for the better, who knows what else might also be capable of improvement?

Other news

• West Berkshire Council has spent almost £2,000,000 supporting vulnerable residents in West Berkshire through the Household Support Fund. Read more here.

• The Council has produced a report “setting out key achievements for West Berkshire’s residents over the past four years.” Read more here.

• The Department of Education has validated a phonics scheme developed in West Berkshire for national use. Read more here.

• West Berkshire Council will receive £353,000 from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) in Round 1 of the Planning Software Improvement Fund to begin a major improvement to its digital services and systems used by applicants and the planning service. Read more here.

• West Berkshire Council has announced that it is “cracking down on littering and fly tipping” in the district – easier said than done but the aspiration is a sound one. Read more here.

• WBC is also “pleased to announce that we have been allocated just under £1.4 million to directly help local households most in need with essential food and energy costs via the Household Support Fund (HSF). To date, this brings our total HSF allocation to £3,474,248.15.” Read more here.

• A reminder that bus journeys across West Berkshire are capped at £2 for a single journey and £4 for a return journey until 30 June 2023 as a result of a government-funded scheme.

War.Art.Hope is a thought-provoking exhibition that showcases the work of three Ukrainian artists. Click here for more information.

• West Berkshire Council is “inviting residents and businesses across West Berkshire to take part in its draft Local Transport Plan survey by providing your views on our draft priorities and objectives to improve transport facilities and travel options.” You can read more here. This closed at midnight on Wednesday 22 March.

• Seven local charities will share more than £15,000 following successful bids to the West Berkshire Community Fund. The fund is allocated annually by West Berkshire Council with good causes able to bid for additional funding to support specific projects.” For more information, click here.

• West Berkshire Council’s sustainable warmth scheme helps “to make homes cheaper, warmer and greener through funded energy-saving improvements.” More details here.

Click here for information about help available with the cost of living crisis in West Berkshire, the Vale and Wiltshire.

Please click here for information about what local councils are doing to help support refugees from Ukraine and how you can help.

Click here for the best coverage we’ve seen of all things football-related in Berkshire.

Click here for the latest museums newsletter from WBC.

• Click here for the latest news from West Berkshire Council.

Click here to visit WBC’s business website.

Click here for details of consultations currently being run by WBC.

Click here for the latest libraries newsletter from WBC.

Click here for the latest waste and recycling newsletter from WBC.

Click here for the latest residents’ newsletter from WBC.

Click here for the latest business newsletter from WBC.

Click here for the latest Health and Wellbeing in Schools newsletter from WBC.

Click here for the latest environmental newsletter from WBC.

• You can click here to choose to receive all or any of West Berkshire Council’s e-newsletters.

• See also the sections for Wantage, Marlborough and Swindon for initiatives from Vale of White Horse Council, Wiltshire Council and Swindon Council and the various towns and parishes.

• Click here for a post listing the various places which are offering a takeaway and/or delivery service. If you are aware of any others, let us know.

• The animals of the week are these police horses in Taunton which pursued a motorist who was spotted driving while using a mobile.

• The letters section of the Newbury Weekly News includes, as well as ones referred to elsewhere, communications on the subjects of ability v ideology, commoners’ rights, a well-used hall and paying for the bus.

• A number of good causes have received valuable support recently: see the various news area sections (links above) for further details.

The quiz, the sketch and the song

• So, it’s the Song of the Week. Let’s have Time: not the Pink Floyd one, though that’s pretty good, but David Bowie’s wonderful slice of Brecht/Weill vamp-camp from his remarkable Aladdin Sane album.

• Which means here must be the Comedy Moment of the Week. Smack the Pony did some wonderful sketches, often on the theme of messed-up relationships and bizarre workplace behaviour. Here’s a brief sample of the former: Saying Goodbye.

• And we wind up with the Quiz Question of the Week. This week’s question is: Which is the only local council in England whose members are drawn from only one political party? Last week’s question was: What is one (moderately) interesting way by which you could have £88.88 in your pocket? You could accomplish this by having one of every bank note and one of every coin currently in circulation. Well, I did warn you it was only moderately interesting…

For weekly news sections for Lambourn Valley; Marlborough area; Newbury area; Thatcham area; Compton and Downlands; Burghfield area; Wantage area please click on the appropriate link


One Response

  1. As usual, a succinct, articulate and even handed summary of the deeply troubling Whatsapp “leak”. Your final paragraph hits the nail on the head for me – a group with a sense of decency might have offered an apology. A group with even a passing understanding of the nature of politics and the way this story will continue to dog them might have offered an apology. As it stands, they are demonstrably un-apologetic and looking to blame anyone else that they can. It tells you much about the administration, I suggest.
    Thanks for all you do Brian.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up to the free weekly

Penny Post


For: local positive news, events, jobs, recipes, special offers, recommendations & more.

Covering: Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage, Lambourn, Compton, Swindon & Theale