It may come as a surprise to the thousands of unemployed people across the country that spending cuts are not George Osborne’s only priority (no, it’s not an April Fool) and that he has pledged to achieve “full employment”. Yesterday he repudiated the words of one of his Tory predecessors, Lord (Norman) Lamont, who caused controversy in 1991 when as Chancellor he claimed that joblessness had been “a price well worth paying” to get inflation down.
Mr Osborne’s sentiment is well intended, but for those who have attended interview after interview, but still find themselves out of work, his words will stick in their throats. Tories welcome the Chancellor’s attempt to portray the Conservatives as not just a party for the rich; cynics claim that nothing will change – it’s his latest blatent attempt to steal votes from Labour’s natural territory.
Last night saw the launch of London Live, the only 24/7 channel dedicated exclusively to the capital. What about the rest of the country, I hear you groan! Fear not. It is a small part of a series of regional television channels sweeping the country. Available on Freeview 8, Sky 117 and Virgin 159, Estuary TV (Grimsby) and Mustard TV (Norwich) were the first to go live, and many more are planned all over Britain in the next few months.
As a sister company to us here at i, headed up by Stefano Hatfield, former editor of this paper, we have witnessed at close hand the hard work that has gone into launching a new channel. But wherever you live, we wish your new regional channel the very best.