Christmas message

As I write this Christmas message, it is a stunningly mild December day and the hottest year on record since records began – a seemingly scary reminder of the threat to our world. So as we go into the Christmas break – there are two issues that ricochet around my brain – the two great challenges I believe the world faces – climate change and living together.

There have been many important local issues this year – from Hornsey Town Hall, to the dreadful planning permissions granted at appeal for the Concrete Factory in Stroud Green and poorly designed high density flats in Wood Green We’ve seen the completion of the roll-out of Safer Neighbourhood Police Teams across the borough and the fight to get a decent new health facility on the old Hornsey Central Hospital site. There has been the usual debacle of lack of school places and we are almost at the point of handing over of Ally Pally – who knows what that will bring?

But it is these two great challenges – or threats to our world – that we need to focus on in the year ahead. We can all make a difference to climate change if each of us does our little bit to reduce our own carbon footprint – and that we should do without questions.

But the shadow of 7/7 has fallen across our land and there is a schism developing between different peoples. We must, in Haringey, make sure that we hold hands across any such divide and send our thoughts too to the people in particular of the Middle East and Africa – the people of Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur.

At this time of year – let there really be peace on earth and good will to everyone.