'Most of us are a bit squashed'

Treat yourself to this Christmas video message from the children of a primary school in south London to the local councillor in charge of housing -- and prepare to shed a tear.

The school did a survey of the families of the schoolchildren, and found that 80 per cent were in overcrowded conditions -- "a bit squashed", as the children heart-meltingly put it.

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Both survey and video were put together by London Citizens, the capital’s largest alliance of congregations seeking social change. The children chosen to speak on it are the ones suffering from overcrowding -- and what they say is all true.

If the production values  -- especially the music and choreography -- seem unusually high for an "amateur" video, this may reflect the behind-the-scenes role played by Bernadette Farrell, lead organiser of South London Citizens and one of the leading Catholic liturgical composers of our day.

Meanwhile, spare a thought for poor Mr Roy Evans, Director of Housing of Wandsworth Council, who chose not to appear at the South London Citizens assembly the other night to respond to the video. It’s hard to imagine he’ll be able to hold out against an onslaught of this magnitude.

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