A Christmas message

Christmas treeHere’s my Christmas message for the Haringey Independent:

Christmas approaches – and we are all wondering how much the recession will affect us. But first let’s think about the good things that have happened this year. We got a Climate Change Bill that has some rigour. 42 days detention without charge was defeated. Our neighbourhood police have had some success in bringing local crime stats down. And having been to many Christmas Shows and concerts by local children and some not so young local people – there are a wealth of good people out there doing good things.

Not so good this year – the Government closed five of our local post offices despite magnificent campaigns by local people. Our Haringey schools still get £1,000 less per child than neighbouring boroughs despite the Prime Minister agreeing with me that it’s an anomaly. The awful tragedy of Baby P – and the parlous state of our Children’s Services revealed by the subsequent investigation. And many people already suffering – or worried they will be shortly – thanks to the recession.

So much still to do next year – as well as holding those now charged with helping us get the best Children’s Services in the land to account.

Knowing that winter is coming, that fuel bills are high and that times are hard – perhaps it’s also time that we thought a bit more about what we each can do to help others around us. We should check on our neighbours, be generous as we can with our time and if we have spare anything – we should share it. We could also resolve to get fitter – that costs nothing if we just walk every day but can bring huge health benefits. We could all resolve to volunteer if we aren’t already – that not only makes the world go round, it makes us feel really good and worthwhile.

Of course, if you lose your home or your job, you are not going to be full of Christmas cheer – so for those of us who remain in work and with a roof over our head – it’s time to demonstrate community spirit and love – actually!

0 thoughts on “A Christmas message

  1. Lynne, I exchanged views with Cllr Haley during the Q&A session at the Muswell Hill Area Assembly meeting most recently, I was disappointed in this council and the Lib Dem failure to preserve such an important festival. Christmas is dead in this country because of political correctness. I am extremely surprised that Haringey Council seems, from what I have observed, to be sponsoring events in Tottenham for the Christmas festivities, yet the council has refused to sponsor or fund anything in the west of Haringey. They have failed to disclose what other activity they intend sponsor apart from that particular event. I had written to Haringey Council requesting relevant information surrounding funding and acquire further information about events on this side of the borough. I have become increasingly aware that the traditional Christmas customs and festivities have gradually disappeared and been replaced with a simple Christmas tree and lights. That is simply unacceptable. The festivities have simply been reduced to lights and trees. That is not what Christmas is all about. Over a significant period of time, I have noticed how the Christmas celebratory customs and traditions have become marginalised, which has resulted in a culture of political correctness in this community and wider society. The culture of Santa, for instance, has disappeared in the borough and Christmas has been minimised to trees and lights. There is more to Christmas than just putting up lights and erecting a tree. I enjoy the culture of Santa and snowmen as well, and I say that as a non-Christian. I regard Christmas as a time for forgiveness, tolerance, unity and a sense of love for others. It is also a time for children to be able to exchange gifts, speak to Santa and enjoy themselves. The santa I used to visit as a child has suddenly disappeared, and it seems this has become widespread nowadays. We have lost that tradition. Many view the UK as an increasingly secular society. I respect that we all have our own traditions, cultures and value systems, but we must remember that Christmas and Santa Claus in particular, has had an immense and historical influence in shaping our society, and making a magnificent contribution to making children happy during this time of the year. When I was growing up in Haringey, I frequently visited Santa as a child at the Wood Green Mall, but this strong tradition has simply disappeared. It appears that Haringey Council Labour Group is playing politics with Christmas and failing to recognise and celebrate its tradition. As a local resident, I fully recognise the central, historical and cultural significance of Christmas in our country's story. We should all be aware of that and celebrate that fact. The Council and policymakers must avoid pandering to political correctness and a secular tradition, which refuses to recognise the importance of Christmas to this society. It is my view that the current strategic socio-political climate has contributed to altering the culture of tolerance in this country, but we should not allow this to affect the way we celebrate Christmas in Haringey. I hope that councillors will put on record that Christmas will remain a central part of Haringey’s tradition, and that everything will be done to promote its significance.