The colour red was chosen for Chester’s festive baubles because it is ‘synonymous with Christmas’ according to Labour-led Cheshire West and Chester Council NOT because it was a socialist statement.
In what has become known as ‘Bauble-gate’ , Tory group leader Cllr Mike Jones suggested on Twitter the council leadership had instructed contractors to add red baubles, costing £4,300, to the traditional white lights that straddle the city’s streets.
At first it was thought to be a jolly jape, but when fellow Tory councillor Jill Houlbrook tweeted: “I assume this is some kind of horrible joke?”, Cllr Jones responded: “Not from what I have been told.”
But Cllr Brian Clarke, Labour cabinet member for economic development and infrastructure, poured cold water on the conspiracy theory.
He said: “Following consultation with businesses and residents it become clear that whilst people thought the lights were beautiful and in keeping with Chester’s unique architecture, they wanted something that would make 2015 look different from 2014.
“Adding the red baubles – a colour that is synonymous with Christmas – creates this difference but in a managed and cost effective way.
“The council, working in partnership with CH1Chester Bid, has introduced this new twist to Christmas lights in Chester and there will be other additions to the Christmas lighting coming in soon.”
Past and present Labour members of the council, which became Labour controlled on May 7 , lined up to make fun of the suggestion the red baubles were a propaganda exercise. Cllr Richard Beacham tweeted: “I’ve heard Cllr Jones has been seeing red since May.”
Readers on The Chronicle Facebook came up with their own jokes.
Angela Black wrote: “I think it must be a Labour conspiracy, I noticed that the pedestrian areas in the market car park were painted PURPLE and YELLOW that must have been to make Tories vote UKIP during the election. All I have now is a picture of Mike Jones sitting at home in a tin foil hat.”
Phil Bazley posted: “Red is a Christmas colour, what next will the Tories find Santa offensive because he is dressed in a red suit?”
Sophie Evans tweeted: “So is Red Nose Day a covert communist movement?”
The festive fun proper begins on Thursday November 19 when the public can see the annual Christmas lights switch-on and join in with the family-friendly Christmas parade through the city centre themed around the ‘12 Days of Christmas’ leaving from the Town Hall, Northgate Street, at 7pm.