in Wandsworth

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.

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