The Christmas lights are coming on all over Islington, courtesy of the council.
Yesterday we gathered in pouring rain to see Jason Merrells switch on the Essex Road lights. The Essex Road traders laid on mince pies, and children from the RoseBowl Youth Club sang; feet damp, but not spirits.
It was so wet we wondered whether to call off the evening’s canvassing. But with just 23 weeks to go, Christmas and Easter included, to the likely election date, we’re not letting any campaign opportunities slip. So armed with boots and brollies we were off to Barnsbury – and I’m glad we did.
On a single estate we met so many people disillusioned with Labour and switching to the Lib Dems. There was the grandmother worried about her family’s future; a single mum who says Labour’s training schemes have failed her; and a first-time voter who wants to see us win. There was support too from a community activist who used to vote Green. One of the ward team was telling me he’d been approached in the street by someone wanting to help deliver our leaflets. Truly reason to sing in the rain!
Tonight I was doing the singing – carols at the Angel with others from St Mary’s. We were singing at the invitation of Christine Lovett, the energetic director of Islington’s Business Improvement District. The BID brings together businesses from around the Angel who pay an extra voluntary levy which, unlike the business rates, is spent locally on improving the area for their customers.
We started in Camden Passage and ended up in the N1 Centre. Not quite sure what the queue for the Days of Grays tour made of it, but we had lots of smiles and even applause from passers-by. (For what it’s worth, the most popular carols seemed to be Ding Dong Merrily and, as ever, Silent Night).