The bad news is huge Tory cuts in local voluntary sector funding. But the good news, John Fitzpatrick, chair of the Law Centres Federation, told a packed public meeting at the Irish Centre this evening, is the re-birth of civic action in Hammersmith & Fulham.
He described the Conservative council's 60% cut in funding to the Law Centre (see previous blogs) as a "spectacular act of municipal vandalism".
Guest speakers at the special meeting on voluntary sector funding, including columnist Polly Toynbee, expressed their strong support for the Law Centre.
It was left to Conservative councillor Harry Phibbs to justify why the Law Centre's grant was being cut. He tried several times in several different ways to explain why the Law Centre was being targeted but failed miserably despite repeated challenges. He even wished those solicitors facing redundancy well.
To be fair to Cllr Phibbs, at least he turned up to try and defend the actions of the council. Unlike the Cabinet members responsible, whose decision to cut the Law Centre is unashamedly politically motivated.
But Cllr Phibbs hadn't done his homework. He continued to deny that the council is cutting funding to the voluntary sector despite the evidence (see previous blogs) of 18% cuts within this financial year in grants and more cuts next year along with hikes in rents and reductions in rate relief. Several community and voluntary organisations are also being kicked out of their premises so they can be sold off.
The next protest about the Tory cuts, local MP Andrew Slaughter told the audience, will be at the council meeting at Hammersmith Town Hall on Wednesday 27 June. He added: "We mustn't give up hope. They will have to give up because they are wrong."