Lambeth Press Officer – Best Way to Support Streatham High Road – Napalm


A council press officer who joked that the best way to support a high street was to use napalm has left his job.

Sam Masters, who was employed on a freelance basis by Lambeth Council in south London, wrote: “Having spent a considerable amount of time in Streatham, my solutions for supporting the High Road mostly involve napalm.”

He stopped working for the council on Friday after his comment provoked outrage from local politicians.

Streatham MP Chuka Umunna described the tweet as “stupid” and called for Mr Masters to apologise.

He posted on Twitter: “My constituents pay your salary.”

Mr Umunna added: “Part of a local authority press officer’s job is to promote an area not run it down, whether on twitter or any other platform.”

In a letter to the Streatham Guardian, Mr Masters said he was “genuinely sorry” about his message.

A council spokesman said: “Sam was a freelancer on a daily rate and has chosen to pursue other opportunities.”

2 thoughts on “Lambeth Press Officer – Best Way to Support Streatham High Road – Napalm

  1. In public, I have to talk up my town centre. In private, I know that the main thing holding it back is the retailers themselves (aided and abetted by greedy landlords). Some shops haven’t changed their window displays in ten years. Most shops close for lunch, for one or two half days or whole day, or early if the sun is shining. At least two “greasy spoons” have limited hours because their owners don’t want to go over the VAT threshold. “Customer service” seems to mean a surley “what do you want” or “no, we don’t do that”. Several shops sell the same cheap tat (we could remarket ourselves as fridgemagnet capital of England perhaps). The shops that don’t sell tat sell their goods at vastly inflated prices (a recent example, I needed pigeon spikes – £25 for one-third of a metre in the local shop, £25 for one metre online). Our Chamber of Trade spends huge amounts of time raising money for charity on one weekend a year but puts nothing back into the town by way of initiatives to get people in and spending.

    What to do? The retailers refuse to change their ways, the Chamber of Trade carries on as a charity fundraising body. Neither will brook any criticism. Personally, I wouldn’t want to see Portas money wasted in our town and my plan for it would be to give selected traders a “golden goodbye” payment to encourage them to retire. I can see that being popular!

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