I spent a whole evening recently with Brian, an old workmate of mine listening to how wonderful his wife had been.

She wasn’t dead...she’d left him and gone to live in New Zealand.

Brian was truly bereft. He simply could not express how brilliant his wife had been.

She’d helped him in his business, looked after the home, cooked amazing meals, juggled the finances.

“She was my rock, “ he told me which surprised me somewhat as he hardly ever mentioned her during the years I worked with him.

“So, why didn’t you tell her all this when she was with you?” I asked.

“Didn’t realise it then did I? Took her for granted.”

Brian told me he would do anything to get her back. I can’t see that happening as she’s already bought a house and has a job in New Zealand.

Driving home, I started to realise that his missing her after she had gone is not unlike the current situation with local newspapers.

Do you know how residents of Cheshire East found out about the Lyme Green fiasco that cost taxpayers the thick end of £1.5 million?

Cheshire East denied, denied and denied until the local newspaper broke the story.

What would you say the chances were of residents ever finding out about this without a nosey reporter on the case?

How did you find out about CEC’s fake air quality data? How did you find out about the numerous top management suspensions you are paying for. How did you discover that the chairman of the investigation panel has himself been suspended?

Who do you go to with your story when you believe you have been ignored by the police or failed by the health service? How are you going to find out politicians plan to close your hospital or move your fire station so far away Santa will make it down the chimney before they turn up?

If your local newspaper disappears are Google and Facebook going to champion your cause? Are Twitter and Instagram remotely interested in fighting your corner?

Thanks mainly to social media, the printed press is struggling for survival and many local newspapers have already closed their doors and it’s truly frightening.

Politicians detest the media in general and newspapers in particular.

Cheshire East Councillors live in the Westfields bubble.

In that protected environment they can tell themselves anything and frequently do. They see no anomaly in handing out huge pay-offs and propping up their own ailing ‘arms-length’ companies while cutting services and increasing taxes.

They truly believe they are a ‘transparent’ council while deciding key issues on a show of hands steadfastly refusing to maintain a record of how councillors actually vote They do not want anyone to prick their bubble and allow reality into the council chamber and the Guardian has a habit of doing just that.

Can you imagine what would happen without the scrutiny of the local press?

You would only find out what’s happening after the event, if at all. As for championing the cause of individuals...who would you turn to with your story.

Support our local newspaper or...end up like Brian.

By Guardian columnist Vic Barlow