Pick of posts of 2012: Allders, comics and sinking ships

Yesterday, we listed our 20 most-read posts of 2012. We also asked some of our readers and contributors for a more subjective selection and to choose their favourite articles from the past 12 months.

Here’s some of their answers:

Architects' drawings of how Croydon's new HQ will look when it opens this year. Is it £140m of your money well-spent?

Architects’ drawings of how Croydon’s new HQ on CostYouAMint Walk will look when it opens this year. Is it £140m of your money well-spent?

If I had to choose one headline, it would be TaxPayers’ Alliance say Fisher is “part of entitlement culture”. For me, the term “entitlement culture” summed up all that is wrong with Croydon.

The domination of the Council, all major local charities, and key decision-making by one small group of people who are obsessively secret, but feel to believe that they are entitled to behave in the way they do. Croydon would be a healthier, richer society if there was greater transparency and a far wider group of people were genuinely involved in decision-making.

For 2013 and beyond it is vital for the health of our society and our economy that every organisation has separation of personnel: that the same small coterie of people do not dominate every aspect of public life.  I find myself in a community which is rotten and inefficient in so many aspects due to lack of rigour in a basic aspect of governance and management in its elected representatives, trustees and senior officials.

My greatest wish for 2013 and beyond is that we build up a group of citizens who are willing to give, say, five years (and no more) to public service standing as candidates in elections; putting themselves forward as trustees on charities and so on. People who hold above all else a real commitment to high quality, critical management, which provides high quality service to the community – the whole community.

I cannot believe that such a group of people would have made such a mess of libraries; or housing; or development of central Croydon in terms of its impact as urban design on the people walking about at street level; planning parking restrictions, or traffic flows; care in the community; licensing of betting and alcohol sales; . The list is endless…

  • My fave posts on Inside Croydon are the ones that reveal council mismanagement, overspending and bad judgement. I find these useful because as a local resident it can be difficult to really figure out what goes on in the “corridors of power”. One of the most revealing I felt was Croydon awards £30m library deal to most expensive bidder.
  • This really made me laugh. You surpassed yourself with: Senior councillor goes west as Tories consider their futures. Your sources at the Town Hall are clearly prepared to speak to you in a way that is not the case with other publications. Where else would we see lines such as, “He’s the first rat to leave the sinking ship”?
The cast of How the World Wags, Michael Hall, left, Sarah Block, Owen Moore and David Sanders

The cast of How the World Wags, Michael Hall, left, Sarah Block, Owen Moore and David Sanders

Not everything’s deep and heavy on Inside Croydon, and occasional arts coverage is a huge boon to some of the amateur groups in promoting their productions and work, whether it was Surrey Opera‘s work or local pantos.

So Wallander’s not so miserable after seeing Sarah Lund’s jumper, reviewing a comedy group before they took their show to the Edinburgh Festival, was particularly welcome.

  • The biggest story of the year in Croydon has got to have been the decline and closure of Allders, and with his timeline of the store’s decline, your contributing editor Andrew Pelling provided a vital catalogue of the historic problems of Allders, the centre of town and Croydon as a whole.
  • Your work most recently about the council’s attitudes to the poor, including the working poor, anticipates what is likely to be high on the agenda for 2013, when Croydon has put itself forward as a guinea pig borough for the government’s policies of benefit cuts. So Christmas 2012: Scrooge is in charge of the Town Hall is recommended reading.
  • Loyal reader: is your favourite post from 2012 not listed above? If not, post a comment below with your choice, and the reason(s) why.
  • Inside Croydon: For comment and analysis about Croydon, from inside Croydon
  • Post your comments on this article below. If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at inside.croydon@btinternet.com

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
This entry was posted in Activities, Allders, Andrew Pelling, Art, CODA, Comedy, Croydon Council, Housing, John Laing Integrated Services, Libraries, Mike Fisher, Phil Thomas, Planning, URV and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Pick of posts of 2012: Allders, comics and sinking ships

  1. Bring on this group of citizens. Lets make a real effort to get rid of the ‘entitlement culture’ and the greedy b******s who are robbing us blind and doing sod all for us, the people of Croydon. Where can I sign up?

  2. The plight of our libraries would have received little attention, thanks to our secretive council who has kept much of the dealings under wraps, immobilising much of the community through lack of information and the disingenuous messages about libraries having been saved.

    Thanks to Inside Croydon the truth has been exposed and the details uncovered are truly appalling – sham consultations, complete disregard for residents’ views, crass statements made, the silent hollowing out of the service – including cull of staff and book stock. Then followed a flawed procurement process and now the setting up of a secret deal with John Laing, who have long established and much criticised secretive business dealings already with Croydon, looks very much on the cards.

    Want to know more? Take your pick! http://insidecroydon.com/?s=libraries

    Greater accountability and transparency would be very welcomed but I doubt it will come easily in Croydon as it will inevitably expose many skeletons, but to move on, to build a better Croydon for all, it really is the only way and residents need to start speaking up to make this a reality.

  3. Arfur Towcrate says:

    I agree with the analysis that Croydon Council is subject to “domination” by “a small group of people” and that “Croydon would be a healthier, richer society if there was greater transparency and a far wider group of people were genuinely involved in decision-making”.

    However, we would do well to note that this cabinet-style system of local government was made feasible by the Labour government in 2000 and introduced into Croydon by the Labour council in 2001.

    It has served to make back-bench councillors powerless and pointless, concentrating powers in the hands of a minority selected by the ruling party’s elite. Democracy it ain’t.

  4. Arfur Towcrate says:

    I agree with the analysis that Croydon Council is subject to “domination” by “a small group of people” and that “Croydon would be a healthier, richer society if there was greater transparency and a far wider group of people were genuinely involved in decision-making”.

    However, we would do well to note that this cabinet-style system of local government was made feasible by the Labour government in 2000 and introduced into Croydon by the Labour council in 2001.

    It has served to make back-bench councillors powerless and pointless, concentrating powers in the hands of a minority selected by the ruling party’s elite. Democracy it ain’t.

    • mraemiller says:

      The imposition of Cabinet style government for local authorities in 2000 was, on the other hand, a massive pay rise for local potentates …? and I suspect an attempt at more government funding for political parties via the back door.

  5. I understand what Arfur is trying to say but again it’s the same old problem, LETS BLAME SOMBODY ELSE.

    Personally I don’t give a monkeys whose fault it is why Croydon is being ripped off by it’s Councillors and the large companies in bed with them. We need to change something. Get rid of those lining their pockets at our expense regardless of their political persuasion.

    For goodness sake wake up Croydon, get out there and complain. DO SOMETHING TO CHANGE THE STATUS QUO OR STOP COMPLAINING,

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