Column: Alistair McNair’s Christmas column Brighton News

Sorry to bother you with politics at this time of year. Skip to paragraph ten if you can’t face it. The state of your workshop in Brighton and Hove is so dire I had to write. We’re never going to deliver all the presents promised to residents. We are 54 elves – red, green, blue and beige – twinkling away like fairy lights trying to shed light on the city’s problems, but to mix metaphors, we’re not following Nigella’s recipe – the sticks of rock and candy canes are just too red.

There’s lots of dancing and prancing, not much Blitzen, and the red elves might be lit up like Rudolf with indignation but there’s no real guiding light.

This was the straw that broke the reindeer’s back – between the green elves banning flying and the red elves increasing parking charges the sleigh is no longer financially viable. The green elves have requested the outgoing chief executive write to David Cameron demanding peace in Palestine – I’m sure he’ll have a go – so I thought I’d take it upon myself to write to you.

It was either you I write to or the GMB but they’re probably tied up in legal tape right now. Although I’m 47 and really shouldn’t believe in you, it’s more likely you exist than COP 28 will reduce global warming.

Open a window at Hove Town Hall and rather than finding a chocolate you’ll feel a rush of hot air. Hear the elves at it like hammer and tongs? They’re not making toys but throwing them.

Let’s open the first window. Imagine, it’s Christmas, we’re supposed to be unpicking bits of Sellotape from our fingers while listening to George Michael – where are my left-handed scissors? – but the red elves have decided to hold a consultation on closing St Peter’s Community School in South Portslade and hold a by-election in the same ward at the same time. Bit of a coincidence Les Hamilton standing down? Think of Benjamin Franks, our local Conservative candidate, one minute sweating over which graffiti scrawl to stand in front of for his campaign photos, the next shivering with cold as he tries to push a leaflet through a stiff letterbox. What resident prefers a campaign leaflet reminding them of their missed bin collections over a Christmas card depicting a robin and mistletoe? This is the kind of disappointment politicians spread. Still, don’t throw Benjamin’s leaflet in the bin straightaway – he does bring good news.

Unlike the KC’s report into Cityclean we can hear being discussed through the next window. It seems Cityclean was riven by sexism, racism and violence – has SRV replaced EDI? More Brighton Rock than Brighton Eddie Izzard. All this lack of inclusion has got in the way of residents having their bins emptied. The red elves and the green elves point the finger at each other. Reader – why is collecting rubbish so hard?

Before you throw this letter into the recycling, can I ask for a present or two?

First wish – the green elves are threatening a miraculous rebirth in 2027 – please no. That’s a real nightmare before Christmas.

Second wish – can residents have a break? A break from endless tax rises, potholes, parking restrictions, wild grasses – I mean weeds, the smell of weed, public consultations, and apps – delete them all.

You can start reading again if you couldn’t stand the politicking. Let’s think of Christmas – the coloured lights strung across the damp dark streets of North Laine, the schmaltzy music of Bing Crosby and Dean Martin in every shop, the smell of mulled wine, the snowy scenes depicted on Christmas cards, churches lit up with Christingles, beach huts decked out in tinsel, snow falling on the Downs. Everyone is that bit kinder for the thought a child was born. Santa – can I have another wish? That we remember those that find Christmas lonely, that we be better neighbours, and, in the words of Johnny Mathis, we tell our loved ones they’re important to us.

How shall I send you this letter? When I was a child, I burnt my letter to Santa in the garden – my parents told me the smoke would carry the message to the North Pole. I think that would be just as effective as giving it to the Royal Mail, don’t you?

On Christmas Eve I’ll put out a packet of peanuts and a can of beer, switch off the lights and tiptoe to bed hoping that Santa will think I’ve been good enough to pay me a visit. Personally, I just hope for a book token, but being middle-aged a shirt and a pair of socks would be welcome too. Merry Christmas everyone.

Alistair McNair is leader of the Conservatives on Brighton and Hove City Council

More about this article: Read More
This notice was published: 2023-12-23 05:00:00

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *