Labour’s disciplinary procedures are all about factionalism

ANDREW FISHER (pictured right), Director of Policy at the Labour Party when Jeremy Corbyn was leader, questions the dubious procedures, the lack of due process and even bullying in the treatment of some Croydon colleagues

As reported by Inside Croydon yesterday, David White, a popular stalwart of Croydon Labour, has been expelled from the party. The process used would slander the term kangaroo court.

Denied a hearing: David White

David has been a Labour member for 51 years, twice as long as I have. He’s been an elected Labour member of the Greater London Council (abolished by Thatcher in 1986), stood as a parliamentary candidate, and for many years was the secretary of Croydon Central Constituency Labour Party.

Last year, he was selected by local members as one of Croydon Central’s delegates to represent the local party at the Labour Party’s annual conference. David topped the poll. The day before conference, he was sent a letter suspending his membership because of some tweets that were apparently so offensive that no one had raised them as an issue in more than seven years.

Despite this, he has been expelled without a hearing, and it’s not clear if he can appeal in person against the decision. Continue reading

Posted in Andrew Fisher, Andrew Pelling, Croydon Central, David White, Jamie Audsley, Robert Canning, Sarah Jones MP | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poll misery for Perry as #Partygate could cost him council seat

CROYDON IN CRISIS: The latest opinion polls suggest that despite bankrupting the borough, Labour could increase its number of councillors in May’s Town Hall elections. STEVEN DOWNES reports

‘Churchillian’: how the Mirror front page looked this morning

Inside Croydon’s mole in the lawns of Croydon Tories’ suburban Purley headquarters reports complete despair among Jason Perry’s crack campaign team last night, after absorbing the full implications of YouGov’s latest and astonishing opinion poll results.

In the middle of the Partygate implosion of lying Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative government, with MPs defecting and Brexiteer backbenchers invoking evocative phrases from the darkest days of the Second World War, YouGov’s latest figures give Labour an extraordinary 32 per cent lead in their latest poll.

That kind of voting, if carried through to polling day in the Town Hall elections on May 5, would see Val Shawcross elected as the borough’s first executive Mayor by a 3-to-1 majority which would see her powering to victory without needing second-preference votes.

And that kind of voting would see Jason Perry, the Conservatives’ deeply dull candidate for Croydon Mayor, also lose his councillor seat in true-blue South Croydon ward, while 10 other Tory-held council seats would be lost in potentially the biggest Labour landslide ever seen at Croydon Town Hall. It would be as if Tony Newman, Jo Negreedy and 2020 had never happened. Continue reading

Posted in 2022 council elections, 2022 Croydon Mayor election, Chris Philp MP, Croydon Council, Croydon South, Jason Perry, Maria Gatland, Michael Neal, Robert Ward, Selsdon and Addington Village, South Croydon, Val Shawcross | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘Do the right thing’ as Mayor asks Londoners to keep masked

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has set himself on a collision course with anti-vaxxers and right-wing self-proclaimed “libertarians” by insisting that bus, Tube and tram passengers will still be expected to wear masks, even after the government relaxes its so-called “Plan B” precautions against covid-19 next week.

Hold tight: Mayor Sadiq Khan could face a backlash over his insistence on mask-wearing on public transport

Prime Minister (for now) Boris Johnson made the announcement of the easing of the protection measures, which included a legal requirement for mask-wearing on public transport, in shops and schools.

Johnson told the Commons yesterday that the restrictions introduced in December – which included encouraging working from home and “vaccination passports” for some events – would end on January 26. Continue reading

Posted in London-wide issues, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, TfL, Tramlink, Transport | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Government looks to ‘professionalise’ social housing staff

Sign post: the government suggests that some working in social housing are not professional enough

The squalid and inhuman conditions that Croydon Council tenants, many with young children, were forced to endure on Regina Road, South Norwood, has forced the government to announce a wholesale review of training and qualifications for those working in social housing.

The government announced the move this week, saying it is an effort to improve standards and to ensure landlords are equipped to deal with tenant complaints. It is less than reassuring about the standards of some of those working in social housing that the government has named its project a “professionalisation review”.

Following reports by ITV News on the damp and mouldy flats in blocks on Regina Road, a report by independent consultants found that the council and its repair contractors, Axis, had failed “to deliver even basic ‘core’ housing services effectively… potentially symptomatic of poor performance across the council’s housing service”.

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Posted in Croydon Council, Housing, Regina Road Residents' Support Group, South Norwood | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Appeal for volunteers to help run charity café in New Addington

The Royal Voluntary Service has made an urgent call for more volunteers in Croydon to support in a fundamental role.

Help on a plate: could you play a part in RVS cafés at Crystal Palace or New Addington?

Volunteers are needed to take on the operation of newly opened cafés at the New Addington Leisure Centre and Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.

Royal Voluntary Service cafés are a place for visitors to get high-quality food and barista-style coffee, knowing that any profits support the invaluable work Royal Voluntary Service does in the NHS and the local community.

The charity’s work includes running dementia support groups and helping vulnerable people recover after hospital stays.

Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest retailers in the NHS, with its network of cafés and shops providing havens in hospitals to patients, NHS staff and visitors. Continue reading

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Orchard Wassail, Addiscombe Railway Park, Jan 29

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Broad Green candidate was ruled by judge not fit to be trustee

CROYDON LABOUR IN CRISIS: The botched and bungled selection process appears to have chosen as an election candidate someone whose conduct was found to be ‘wholly incompatible with his duties…’ with a charity and ‘a blatant breach of trust’.
EXCLUSIVE by STEVEN DOWNES

Passing judgement: Ramaraj Rajagopal (right) as pictured with Stooge Collins and Manju Shahul-Hameed after their selection for Broad Green ward last October

The omnishambles that has been the local Labour Party’s selection process for May’s local elections looks to be heading for another controversy, after research conducted by this website discovered that one of their candidates is the subject of a High Court judgement that declared that his conduct on behalf of a Thornton Heath-based charity was “wholly incompatible with his duties as a Trustee, being a blatant breach of trust”.

Labour Party officials and the candidate concerned, Ramaraj Rajagopal, have refused to answer questions from Inside Croydon about whether the details of the court ruling were ever disclosed during the selection process, as might normally be expected, or whether any work was done in a thorough due diligence procedure.

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Posted in 2022 council elections, Broad Green, Charity, Croydon North, Manju Shahul Hameed, Ramaraj Rajagopal, Steve Reed MP, Stuart Collins | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tried calling Croydon Council? Please hold the line… forever

CROYDON IN CRISIS: Have you had difficulties getting through to the council, perhaps to report the latest missed bin collection, or when trying to make a Council Tax payment? According to sources at Fisher’s Folly, you’re just wasting your time. By our Town Hall reporter KEN LEE

Wrong number? Or just an extremely badly managed council?

There are staff at Croydon’s cash-strapped council who have been working from home during the pandemic for almost two years without having access to their employers’ phone or internet systems.

And according to sources among the workforce. senior management has refused repeated requests to provide the workers with the equipment needed to do their jobs, leaving some staff unable to do as much as 85 per cent of their council duties while being fully salaried.

According to the well-placed source, covid lockdowns have exacerbated existing issues over working practices at Fisher’s Folly, leading to a breakdown in services provided to Croydon residents.

Inside Croydon’s reports of six-month delays in registering a child’s birth, grieving relatives left waiting for the death certificate for a lost loved one and law-abiding residents being served with court orders for unpaid Council Tax because no one at Fisher’s Folly ever answers the phone are, the sources suggest, in part the result of several years of a deliberate shift to “digital-only” dealings with the public. Continue reading

Posted in Council Tax, Croydon Council, Jo Negrini, Katherine Kerswell, Section 114 notice, Steve Iles | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

South Croydon one of 56 postcodes hit by covid mail delays

Households in the CR2, South Croydon, postcode, West Norwood (SE27) and West Wickham (BR4) are among 56 postal areas warned that their mail deliveries could face delays because of covid-related staff shortages.

Covid-hit: South Croydon delivery office is one of the areas worst-hit by mail delays

Royal Mail issued the urgent warning yesterday.

Delivery offices have been among the worst-hit by covid since the first lockdowns through 2020. Postal workers in close vicinity to collect and sort the items for their walks have been vulnerable to catching the virus.

There were serious mail delivery delays experienced for more than a fortnight in the CR0 area over Christmas and New Year 2022, too. Continue reading

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Labour centrists expel veteran Croydon campaigner White

CROYDON LABOUR IN CRISIS: A former Labour member of the GLC and long-time activist in Croydon Central who did much to get Sarah Jones elected to parliament has been kicked out of the party because of pro-Palestinian tweets from eight years ago.
STEVEN DOWNES reports

The concerted efforts of self-harm being conducted by the Blairites and Progress members running the local Labour Party continued today when veteran activist David White confirmed that he had been expelled from the party of which he has been a member for 51 years.

White has been expelled without any hearing, and has been told that he has no right of appeal. “It grieves me that the party I joined so many years ago has moved so far away from basic notions of natural justice, fairness and freedom of speech,” White said today.

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Posted in Croydon Central, David Evans, David White, Sarah Jones MP | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

Community Kitchen’s guide to support and help this winter

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St Peter’s Church Book and Cake Sale, South Croydon, Mar 19

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#Macarnage: Higher Drive devastated as developers move in

Macarnage: work has begun on Nos 59, 61  and 63 Higher Drive, destroying trees which were supposed to be retained and before changes to the planning permission have been granted

Residents on a plush suburban street on a hillside in Purley have been thrown into a panic since the weekend after demolition workers showed up and started grubbing up trees and clearing the site of not one… not two… not three large detached houses, but FOUR.

And according to locals, it is all being done without fully approved planning permissions or amendments.

The original scheme was for three of the houses, and was submitted by Macar Developments.  It was granted approval by council planners in January 2020 after a favourable report from a Croydon Council planning officer who later got a job with an architects firm that now carries out work for clients including… Macar Developments. Continue reading

Posted in Business, Community associations, Croydon Council, Heather Cheesbrough, Housing, Kenley, Nicola Townsend, Planning, Property, Purley, Simon Brew | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Tory MP Colburn caught out as ‘leftists’ defend public liberties

In the middle of “Party Gate”, one local Conservative MP has shown that not only does he favour authoritarian laws that remove the rights and liberties that helped to make this country what it is today, but he managed to embrace “cancel culture” to demonstrate how the Tories really cannot handle it when people have legitimate questions for them.

Elliot Colburn is the newest MP in Sutton and Croydon, having been elected in 2019 for Carshalton and Wallington, ousting the long-time FibDem Tom Brake. Colburn also has one of the smallest majorities of south London MPs, at just 629 votes.

So he probably won’t have enjoyed the attention he’s been getting recently for his own lack of attention to local matters, being accused of being “Missing”. Continue reading

Posted in Elliot Colburn, Sutton Council | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Big Local Broad Green’s Big Mosaic Tile Pressing Project

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Labour councillor submits bullying complaint to Labour Party

CROYDON LABOUR IN CRISIS: Efforts to de-select Waddon councillor after he was democratically selected by members in his ward have been described as a ‘witchhunt’ and have now been raised by the party nationally.
EXCLUSIVE by STEVEN DOWNES

Croydon Labour, already in disarray with no borough organiser or campaign strategy less than four months from the Town Hall elections, now has its influential Local Campaign Forum accused of bullying and of “campaigning against the Labour Party”.

A formal complaint was submitted to the Labour Party last week. It has been made by one of the party’s elected and (a rarity in Croydon, we’d suggest) still-respected councillors.

Since 2014, Robert Canning has been one of only three Labour councillors in the whole of the Croydon South constituency. Canning’s complaint cites the LCF and its chair, Joel “Bodger” Bodmer, for “Bullying, intimidation or harassment”, “Campaigning against the Labour Party” and “Uncomradely behaviour”. Continue reading

Posted in 2022 council elections, Andrew Pelling, Croydon North, Joy Prince, Robert Canning, Steve Reed MP, Waddon | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hope Is Everything: Rookery gardens gets a Gervais bench

Stay calm: Ricky Gervais, the writer and star of Netflix’s After Life, at one of the ‘Hope Is Everything’ benches that have been installed around the country

Today is supposed to be “Blue Monday”, which some claim to be the gloomiest day of the year. But depression doesn’t care what day it is, which is one of the reasons why CALM – the Campaign Against Living Miserably – has teamed up with Netflix and Ricky Gervais’s new series of After Life to put up 25 benches around the country to encourage people to… well, just talk.

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Posted in Croydon parks, Gardening, Health, Norbury, Outside Croydon | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Dangerous’ benefit cuts will hit women, disabled and children

CROYDON COMMENTARY: A fixed and badly flawed consultation has been used to justify ‘Dickensian’ cuts to Council Tax Support, which will affect 20,000 households across the borough from April.
SOPHIA MOREAU (pictured left) outlines who will suffer the worst as a result of the new measures

I’m troubled by the Council Tax reforms set for approval by Croydon Council at a Town Hall meeting on January 24.

The discriminatory effects of these planned cuts to Council Tax Support were preventable. The council didn’t reach out to organisations representing those with protected characteristics. The council’s head of payments, revenue and benefits committed to sharing the equality impact analysis when asked in November 2021. But then didn’t. Continue reading

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200 fewer trains per day after Govia’s latest timetable cuts

The rail operators running Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express “services” are providing 200 trains a day less than they were running this time last month.

All aboard: that’s if you can find a Southern service, that is

That’s according to a senior official at Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR).

All services into Victoria Station were cancelled for almost two weeks over the Christmas and New Year holidays, ostensibly for engineering and signalling works. But before those works were finished, Govia announced that they would be starting 2022 with a much-reduced, emergency timetable, they claim because of staff absences due to covid. Continue reading

Posted in Commuting, East Croydon, Norwood Junction, TfL, Transport, West Croydon | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

American refugees given a welcome in 18th century Croydon

SUNDAY SUPPLEMENT: Using contemporary records from the Governor of Massachusetts at the beginning of the American War of Independence, DAVID MORGAN has pieced together what might have passed during a visit to old friends in Croydon

Exiled: Thomas Hutchinson, in a rare surviving portrait. Many others were destroyed by angry Bostonians, because the Governor was so hated

There was an emotional early morning meeting at the vicarage in Croydon early in August 1774.

Reverend East Apthorp, the American-born Vicar of Croydon, and his wife Elizabeth were being visited by Thomas Hutchinson and his daughter Margaret.

It was the first time the four had met in England since Hutchinson and his family left their home in the colonies, where they were one of the foremost families in Massachusetts.

Or, at least, they had been one of the foremost families there.

The family friendship between the Apthorps and the Hutchinsons was a long and enduring one and all four would have been eagerly anticipating the reunion.

The Boston Tea Party in December 1773, one of the most significant events in American history, had such a damaging impact on Hutchinson’s standing as the Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts that within six months, he was forced to leave the country. Continue reading

Posted in Church and religions, Croydon Minster, David Morgan, History | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Labour failed to conduct checks on councillor’s racist tweets

Labour’s dodgy candidate selection process has come under scrutiny once again after the party chose to blame Philip Normal for failing to disclose his “offensive and discriminatory” tweets when he was selected as a councillor in 2017.

Dodgy selections: Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is losing members, and councillors

It is the latest episode in a tailspin of ineptitude in the Labour Party since Keir Starmer became its leader and appointed Croydon’s David Evans as its General Secretary.

Normal, who in 2020 became the country’s first openly HIV-positive council mayor, resigned as a Lambeth councillor on Thursday following the storm of complaints when his racist, Islamophobic and transphobic historic tweets were highlighted publicly.

But Labour officials now admit that no one bothered to check Normal’s social media history before selecting him to stand in a safe ward at the 2018 local elections. Continue reading

Posted in Crime, David Evans, Steve Reed MP | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Council’s tax benefit cuts are ‘Dickensian’ and ‘discriminatory’

CROYDON IN CRISIS: Now the council’s discredited leadership has the gall to claim that 80% of the borough’s residents support their arse-covering move to cut benefits from the poor, the disabled and elderly.
By STEVEN DOWNES

Croydon’s Labour-run council has been accused of being “manipulative” and using false claims to help justify its proposals to save £5million per year by cutting Council Tax Support for around 20,000 households across the borough.

For some hit by these benefit cuts, they will be as much as £116 per month worse off – a bigger hit to Croydon household incomes than the Tory government’s reductions to Universal Credit.

The cuts are being introduced by the cash-strapped council’s chief Hamida Ali and cabinet members Stuart King and Callton Young, all of whom worked under discredited leader Tony Newman in 2020 when he crashed the borough’s finances. Now, it is the disabled, the elderly and the most vulnerable in the borough who they are making pay for their own costly mistakes.

And as if to emphasise the Labour council’s continuing appalling poor judgement, the benefit cuts will start in April, just four weeks before the Town Hall elections, in another idiotic act of political self-harm. Continue reading

Posted in Callton Young, Council Tax, Croydon Council, Hamida Ali, Stuart King, Tony Newman | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Careful what you wish for: Town Hall deadlock would be chaos

CROYDON COMMENTARY: With four months until the local elections and first-ever Mayoral election in Croydon, here local Conservative Party member BEN GADSBY says that the voting outcome is not a foregone conclusion

Campaign slogans: May’s local elections could be slipping out of the reach of Croydon’s Conservatives

In 16 weeks, Croydon will have its first-ever directly elected Mayor.

People have stopped celebrating the referendum result (was there a party? If so, I wasn’t invited. No idea why), and started thinking about what it will all mean in practice.

Some people aren’t just imagining chaos, they seem to be hoping for it – or at least, Geoff James from Kenley seems to be. His article this week says that, “An elected Mayor who is not aligned to the majority party could be the best result for Croydon.” Continue reading

Posted in 2021 Mayor Referendum, 2022 council elections, Croydon Council, Jason Perry, Val Shawcross | 6 Comments

Boff bashes Boris, as careerist Philp digs himself into a hole

Croydon’s only Conservative MP is rapidly developing a reputation for cravenly saying anything that might get him a promotion. By our political editor, WALTER CRONXITE

No shame: today’s revelations of the Downing Street pandemic partying

Croydon South’s Tory MP Chris Philp is looking increasingly marginalised, and more ridiculous than ever, after being wheeled out on national television to defend the indefensible over the Prime Minister’s partying through the pandemic at No10 Downing Street.

Philp was used as boozed-up Boris Johnson’s human shield on BBC Newsnight last night, as it emerged that two more parties had been staged at Downing Street, again in breach of the government’s own covid precautions, in this case on the eve of the funeral of Prince Philip.

It’s not as if Philp has not been accused before of over-enthusiastic brown-nosing in the cause of his own craven career advancement – and by no less an organ than the Murdoch-owned Times – though on this occasion, the Culture department junior minister’s judgement appears to be deeply flawed, as other members of his party seek to distance themselves from the apparently doomed Johnson.

“It’s a case of all the shits leaving the sinking rat,” was how one Westminster insider put it today. Continue reading

Posted in 2022 council elections, Andrew Boff, Boris Johnson, Chris Philp MP, Croydon South, Gavin Barwell, London Assembly, London-wide issues, Shaun Bailey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Estate demolition threat sees campaign march on West End

Council tenants, their families, friends and supporters from across south London will be marching on the plush West End offices of one of the country’s leading property companies tomorrow to protest against their local council outsourcing the destruction of their estates and communities to the hugely profitable commrcial estate agency.

According to one campaign group, estate agents Savills “win contracts to assess the very places they then put in applications to destroy”.

In Lambeth, opposition councillors are seeking to call-in the decision to award Savills a £6.7million deal for the estate agents to “assess” its housing estates before disposing of them.

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Posted in Environment, Housing, Lambeth Council, London-wide issues | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments