A late cancellation and the fact that all other celebrities are in an Australian jungle led to me officially turning on the Clapham Junction lights tonight – despite being on a list that exists well beyond any alphabet known to man.
Clapham Junction were the first town centre to officially turn on their Christmas lights (although Tooting have had their Diwali lights for nearly a month) and this marks an important season in the retail calendar, especially as the news on the economy gets bleaker by the day.
Also officially opened today was the Lavender Hill skating rink with a demonstration from the Streatham Redskins ice hockey team. Although organised by the Lavender Hill Traders Association (through the commitment and support of Anthony Laban and Clapham Junction Asda) the rink is at the Albert Bridge car park in Battersea Park. The rink is already proving popular, particularly with local schools and with all proceeds supporting the Devas Club, a local youth club, it’s well worth a visit. Tickets can be bought from www.QuayTickets.com or 0870 0666 844
While is hasn’t quite got the recognition of the red ribbon or the red poppy today was white ribbon day – when men are asked to wear a white ribbon as a symbol of their pledge not to cause, threaten or condone harm to women.
Along with several other councillors I attended an awareness event organised by Wandsworth Victim Support to promote the day and highlight the problems that still exist with domestic violence.
Of course, domestic violence is not purely a problem of men harming women, but can exist within any home, with both men and women suffering as victims at the hands of partners and other family members. Wandsworth has always had a comparatively low incidence of domestic violence, but that always carries the fear that there is under-reporting.
The council and Victim Support run a one stop shop every Monday at Battersea Arts Centre. More information can be found via the council’s website at wandsworth.gov.uk/domesticviolence
Today Alistair Darling will announce that Labour have finally seen the benefits of low taxation.
Or has he? The BBC is currently reporting an expected temporary reduction in VAT to 15%, along with the introduction of a new higher rate tax band and the postponement of various other changes. In other words, we’re increasing taxes, not immediately, but it’s coming.
And it’s questionable who will benefit from the reduction in VAT. Any reduction in tax is not to be scoffed at, but if you take a low income household and consider where their income goes, much of it is spent on VAT exempt goods. The weekly food shop – mostly VAT free. Children’s clothes – VAT free. Fuel bills -already at a lower VAT rate.
Of course, they’ll save a few quid on their Christmas shopping, but I suspect that’s small consolation when the parents fear for their jobs as we head into recession.
Is there another way? Well, there was a good article in today’s Telegraph that points out that Conservative controlled councils are about the only places you see efficient, well-run and affordable government nowadays.