We will miss Clare Hilley.
Not because she was a hard-working councillor, as she sought to advance her personal political ambitions for what seemed like five minutes.
But because when she was an elected representative for Waddon ward, Hilley and her party-loving husband, Steven George, were always a political accident waiting to happen.
Hilley has never properly explained why she opted not to seek re-election in Waddon last week. Did she expect that she would lose? Or just expect to lose it?
She certainly “lost it” this week.
Hilley has been caught out again. She posted something on Faustbook, and was outraged when someone read it, and re-published it.
Clearly narked that her mates had lost the local elections, in common with other Croydon Tories like Mike Fisher and Gavin Barwell, Hilley did not wish to take responsibility for her own party’s electoral short-comings. Instead, Hilley opted to blame the voters.
According to now ex-councillor Hilley, Croydon voters are too “dumb” to be allowed to vote.
The Huffington Post ran a piece, too, as did the Independent newspaper, and politics.co.uk. The local free paper, the Croydon Guardian, has covered the story, although oddly, the Croydon Sadvertiser has not. All media, and most of the commenters on the web-published stories, professed shock that a former elected representative should hold their constituents in such disdain.
Once the reports appeared, Hilley went off on a day-long rantage via Twatter and on one of the half-cocked websites run by her husband. She was very concerned that the voters of Croydon didn’t understand the difference between local and national elections, she claimed, not seeming the slightest bit patronising. Hilley apparently didn’t realise that she was only making things worse.
She has removed the original “dumb” comment from Faustbook, though.
Hilley, we should declare, has in the past tried to gag Inside Croydon, describing us as a “vile” attack site when we highlighted how she abused her position on the council to apply for jobs in PR, or reported how her husband, Steven George-Hilley, had published a racist post on another of his anonymously run websites.
She got the local newspaper’s “star” reporter in on the story to report her “plight” and the “distress” of being subjected to scrutiny while holding public office. Hilley’s position on the council planning committee, when working at the same time as a lobbyist for developers, remains a story which the Sadvertiser has never reported.
Hilley even hired expensive libel lawyers Carter Ruck to send us no fewer than three letters threatening dire consequences.
Our defence was always that we were merely reporting the truth about the activities of a elected official who had previously shown no shyness in seeking publicity, such as when she sent her wedding pictures to the local papers.
Although she continues to claim, falsely, that she had been defamed, Hilley was forced to withdraw her legal threats against Inside Croydon.
Arch-Thatcherites Steven and Clare George-Hilley are now both working for a “think tank” called Parliament Street. Parliament Street refuses to declare who it is that funds its operations.
Ex-councillor Hilley has also given up her position within the Conservative Party’s yoof wing. Some suggest that she still has ambitions for her abortive political career, perhaps eyeing selection for a safe Tory parliamentary seat in Suffolk.
Would any Conservative Association be so dumb?
- Tory councillor Hilley jumps ship before 2014 elections
- Racist article by councillor’s husband is widely condemned
- Investigation called for over councillor’s planning interests
- “Gis a planning job”: damning email from Croydon councillor
- What does an average councillor do for £11,000 a year?
- Conflicts highlighted before Tory councillor left committee
Coming to Croydon
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, May 31
- Junction Road Big Lunch, June 1
- Stitch Pitch quilting workshop, Upper Norwood Library, June 2
- Croydon Tech City “summit”, June 6
- An Improvised Murder, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 7
- Old Town residents’ meeting, June 7
- Crystal Palace Transition Town annual meeting, June 11
- Old Town residents’ meeting, June 11
- Lakes Playground Action Group fun day, June 14
- Croydon Green Fair, North End, June 14
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, June 15
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- Airport House swing dance free event, June 21
- Classic Car Show at Purley Rotary Fields, June 22
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- Warnings to the Curious, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 27
- South Norwood Allotments open day, June 28
- Fragile, Spread Eagle Theatre, July 24-26
- CODA’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at Wandle Park, Jul 30-Aug 2
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, Aug 10
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 72,342 average monthly page views (Jan-Mar 2014)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org