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Labour take over a shop on the corner of Hereward & Upper Tooting Road, and ruins the landscape Now you all know how much I love Tooting, and especially the terrific range of sweet shops, grocers and greengrocers. The glory of this area is its freedom from chain-stores and supermarkets, and the unique, colourful displays that each shop has. Even the pound shops look quaint. This is a high-street that looks like its owned by its community.

Until the other day, that is, when one of the largest shops on Upper Tooting Road was taken over by the labour party, and turned into a political campaign on a street corner.

This ugly, pointless, loud display is the worst thing to have blotted the Tooting landscape in the 15-odd years that I’ve lived here, and shame on the Labour party for ruining my local high street in such an opportunist, heavy-handed and thoughtless way.

Whatever Labour’s intentions, this bit of street-spam says to me that Labour have no understanding of local issues, no thought for the community, no interest in preserving the high street, no sense of decorum; it’s humourless, colourless, top-heavy, loud-mouthed and insensitive. Yeah, well I’ve changed my view about that since I first wrote this post. I have to say that I’m impressed with Sadiq Khan, now that I’ve had opportunities to meet him and see him in action – like his support of the Save the RACS building campaign, for example.

What annoys me is not the politics – I probably lean further to the left than anywhere else – but the lack of imagination and creativity. If a greengrocer can display apples and oranges in an appealing way, surely local MPs & councillors should learn a few tricks from their constituents, and present policies with similar panache?

Fortunately, you can report a gripe on the Wandsworth Labour Party page. “Has a streetlight been broken for ages? A fly-tip still not been cleaned up? Pavement uneven or road potholed? Abandoned car getting vandalised? Let us know and we’ll get the council to sort it out!” they ask. Unfortunately, they don’t offer to sort things out when a national political party turns one of your local shops into an enormous billboard, covered in slogans and posters.

Disclaimer: I use street-spam to mean any form of ‘vertical litter’, whether legal or illegal, not in the specific sense of illegal bill-posting used by Citizens Against Ugly Street Spam.

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Jonathan Still, ballet pianist