The Editor’s Christmas comment

Mike Lowe feeling festive

Mike Lowe feeling festive - Credit: Archant

Cotswold Life’s editor Mike Lowe doesn’t let the Christmas cheer interfere with the important business of challenging the antiquated viewpoint of a former Archbishop - or deploring the deep-fried Christmas puddings soon to grace Cheltenham’s chippies

As we approach the season of goodwill to all men, it might be seen as a bit churlish to take issue with one of this month’s interviewees – especially when that chap is a former Archbishop of Canterbury. But it would be remiss of me to let Lord Carey’s views on gay marriage to pass unchallenged.

We cannot condone the idea that being gay is in any way open to condemnation or qualification. If morality is about the greater good, then surely it’s also about minimising harm. And where is the harm in two people, who are free of any conflicting commitments, being in a relationship? Indeed, isn’t the church all about love? You couldn’t condemn other minorities in such a way. Why gay people?

Our chief writer Katie Jarvis, who did the interview, reminds me of an encounter she had with a Christian anti-gay marriage campaigner handing out leaflets in the street. As Katie rather pragmatically pointed out, while she could prove the existence of gay people, the campaigner couldn’t prove the existence of God. End of argument.


Something else that has disturbed my festive peace is a press release from the much-admired Simpsons Fish and Chip shop in Cheltenham announcing that they will be serving deep-fried Christmas puddings throughout December. This is wrong on so many levels that I don’t know where to begin.

We are not Scottish, for a start. The barbarians north of the border might head for the deep-frier when handed anything edible, but we are Cotswoldians for goodness sake and have no history or inflicting cruel and unusual punishment on innocent food.

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I suspect, with a cynicism steeped through decades as a journalist, that this might just be a publicity stunt. As I write, Cadbury’s have announced that they will no longer be making chocolate coins – a seasonal tradition in many familes. What’s the betting that by the time you read this, the decision will have been reversed ‘due to popular demand’ and those little netting bags of gold foil will be flying out of the shops?


Every year Cotswold Life supports a charity Christmas concert of one sort or another. We’ve been to Tewkesbury Abbey, Cirencester Parish Church and now we’re off to Gloucester Cathedral on December 17 to help raise funds for Meningitis Now. Full details are on Page 73 of our Christmas issue, so please join us to support this local charity if you can.


So what do we all want for Christmas? My list might be seen as rather ambitious. I’d like a safe new road around Nettleton Bottom and the Air Balloon roundabout; more, newer trains on the Gloucester to Paddington line; free car-parking in all Cotswold towns; a reduction in the rate of VAT on tourism-related spending; direct flights to New York from Gloucestershire Airport; a sensible planning policy that protects green spaces; a by-law banning the serving of food on slates or planks in gastropubs; a government-set milk price for farmers; and special no-voucher tills in supermarkets. Oh, and a new cardigan.

Merry Christmas, one and all!


This article is from the Christmas issue of Cotswold Life.

For more from Mike Lowe, follow him on Twitter: @cotslifeeditor