THE WANDSWORTH VOICE

We show below in full an excellently argued case by the UKIP parliamentary candidate for Battersea, Christopher Howe, about the proposed closure of the Battersea Sports Centre in Hope Street seen in the context of the Government’s cigarette plain packaging initiative, espoused by our sitting MP.

“The damaging consequences of smoking cannot be denied. However, the time and expense spent on discussing the packaging of cigarettes would be better used in debating the causes that make people smoke in the first place. Plain packaging will not stop someone smoking or taking drugs. Drugs, as we have seen on television, are sold in plain white tissue. There is no seductive marketing here, so selling cigarettes in plain packaging will not reduce cigarette sales, but may even encourage it.

In most cases adults should take responsibility for their own actions, and not blame the tobacco companies or tobacco itself for encouraging them to smoke. More resources should be put into preventing smoking among children and teenagers. This could be done more effectively by educating them on the consequences of smoking.
With regards to smoking there are some serious social issues that put pressure on people to smoke to find a way to relax, such as unemployment and the lack of prospects, undertraining and a lack of qualifications, poor or no housing, including the abominable bedroom tax, and stressful work schedules. The costs alone to the NHS of treating and relieving the effects of smoking could be saved by spending the money on promoting sporting activities and healthy pursuits. This would help relieve the stress that leads to smoking, and encourage healthy social interaction in a stable community environment.

One of the ways to promote health is to have more sport facilities for school children and adults, and the wider community at large.
At present, the Conservative-led council in Battersea is proposing to close a long established and much used Sports Centre (Hope Street, off York Road). The sports centre is used by about eight schools. As there are not, generally, many local sports centres for the public, people travel from as far away as Croydon to use the Battersea Sports Centre.

Isn’t it contradictory, and somewhat hypocritical, of the government to wish to promote good health practices yet support property developers at the expense of long established and well-used community facilities?

It is proposed by Wandsworth Council that the Battersea Sports Centre should close to make way for affordable housing, whatever that means. Such contentious and local issues should be decided by local residents by local referendum, and not by council servants. It is the citizens who have built up a sports centre community, over generations in many cases, and developed it organically by the dedication and sacrifice of the staff and local people, and visitors. The speculative developers, with their eye on the main chance, try to move in and this must be resisted. The growing support of UKIP in Battersea and Wandsworth will strain every sinew to put a stop to the closure of Battersea Sports Centre, and similar people-focused centres. It’s the local people who are the masters of their communities, not the council stewards, and it’s time to remind the policymakers in Westminster of this fact. It’s no wonder that having to deal with poorly judged and short sighted government policies that people turn to smoking, and other vices. No amount of plain packaging will disguise that.”

THE WANDSWORTH VOICE

Our brighter borough abounds with issues like no other …

Let’s close a sports’ centre now and have a new one ready by 2019.

Let’s apply for a 28 storey residential riverside development to be built on a site, the size of a pocket handkerchief and a mere rotor-blade distance away from the Heliport.

Let’s support an apparently noise-free Formula E race in Battersea Park which is already lining up on the starting grid. Whilst the engines may well be silent surely we will hear the screeching of tyres and the shrieking of drivers as they skid off into the Pagoda and land upside down in/on the Thames.

Let’s propose a re-routed town centre traffic system which will serve as a fine example of urban transport planning mis-management for decades to come.

Let’s support the local MP and Junior Health Minister – who has the dubious honour of doing two jobs very badly (and who may even be de-selected.)

Let’s proudly have the lowest London Council Tax and equally proudly let’s reduce the quality and quantity of services and amenities.

Decisions, decisions …. Let at least our voice be heard throughout any consultation period and let us pray that we shall not be greeted with a series of ‘faits accomplis’. As is so often the case.

THE WANDSWORTH VOICE

These first few days in our new year THE WANDSWORTH VOICE has had difficulty being heard …. essentially because of jolly loud motor bikes and their re-tuned engines. Forget the silent, and indeed deadly, Lycra bicycle brigade – our new scourge is the motor bike.

Clearly neither perturbed by/with apparently ‘unnecessary’ speed or sound limits that apply only to others
nor concerned by potential prosecution via the dwindling numbers of our men in blue, these uneasy riders rampage brazenly along our streets and roads.

One can only imagine that it is not merely a Wandsworthian phenomenon. But it is jolly unpleasant and anti-social.

Something for our new London mayor – of whichever political hue – to stop. And quickly. We can only hope.

Sadly, or not, as the writer has aged – his hearing has not lost any acuity. Nor his tongue any acidity.

Who knows therefore – perhaps in his lifetime – things will change.

If not … It’s earplugs all round.