in Wandsworth

Council spokesman: Wandsworth is great because of Clapham

Welcome to the Heart of Battersea, Clapham Junction

The click-bait headline of a Metro article caught my eye over Christmas: 7 reasons why Wandsworth is the best place to live in London. I was lured in, knowing, even as I clicked, it would end badly.

It turns out that a big part of the attraction is that it's close to Clapham, that bit of London that sits firmly in Lambeth.

My first instinct was that a newspaper of record like Metro would never publish an article containing such factual inaccuracies as confusing Clapham and Battersea.

Indeed, Wandsworth's location within London is part of it's attraction. Having children of a certain age I love being within easy reach of the museums at South Kensington. Others might prefer the short jaunt to the King's Road or West End. In other parts of the borough you might value being close to Richmond Park or whatever attractions Merton might offer.

But when four of the seven reasons include Clapham as a positive, but nothing else outside of the borough the obvious explanation that the article is wrong is also, I daresay, the correct explanation.

People leaving Clapham Junction station, Battersea

As anyone heading through Clapham Junction knows, it’s in Battersea.

It's quite clear they've fallen into the trap of thinking Clapham stretches from Clapham Junction station, in Battersea, all the way to Stockwell and Balham. It's disappointing, but it's not the first time and it won't be the last. But what was really disappointing are the people who leapt on it.

It includes several Wandsworth Councillors (admittedly none of whom represent the Battersea area, so I suppose they can be excused) who "couldn't agree more" the Wandsworth Conservative party who also agree and add "Wandsworth is an amazing place", sadly unable to similarly praise Lambeth because of Twitter's character limit.

Most saddening of all was the council itself. Despite having formally supported the Love Battersea campaign they rewrote the Metro tweet (no lazy re-tweets) to share in the glory.

I suppose I shouldn't be disappointed. This is a post-truth age. Once politicians, parties and councils may have been authoritative voices, opinionated voices perhaps, which were concerned with factual accuracy. Now the priority is the positive spin.

And that is fine. But it's sad that those who should be allies in the campaign against Claphamisation abandon it so quickly for the 20 or so minutes of life of a flattering tweet. Even if they don't, I think Battersea is worth more than that.

Ghost sign, Battersea Park

Sign pointing to the deer enclosure

Signs pointing to the children’s zoo, deer enclosure and Victorian cascades in Battersea Park, London

I do rather like this sign, since to me it harks back to Battersea Park’s Victorian heritage (if I’m honest I have no idea if the deer were one of the original features).

The deer were removed in 2001, ostensibly as a temporary measure, during the outbreak of foot and mouth. There was never any intention for them to return—the removal was an opportunistic council cut—but the sign remains near the café on East Carriage Drive hinting at the possibility they might one day be back.

Occasionally it even points the right way.

What’s wrong with being a bit Soviet over the Olympics?

There are many reasons the Soviet comparison is wrong, but an interesting piece: This Olympics hysteria shows that Britain has turned Soviet

Throughout the cold war, Soviet bloc nations used sport as a proxy for economic success. With the connivance of the International Olympic Committee, they turned what used to be an amateur sport into the equivalent of a national defence force, hurling money and status at their athletes

There might be something to that view, but if the Olympics really are a modern equivalent of bread and circuses is that actually a bad thing? There are many worse ways to build a sense of national pride.