We are still waiting for our invitation for Friday’s little event up at Westminster. But a smart invite to the second-best social event in London in the next few weeks arrived here at Inside Croydon Towers this morning.
The Mayor of Croydon’s inauguration dinner has got us terribly excited. Our only worry is that we can’t yet make up our minds whether to wear tails or our military mess dress and regalia.
You’ll notice that the event begins with a reception in the Sun Lounge of the Fairfield Halls. That’s normally called the “champagne bar”, so we won’t be expecting any of that dreadful, cheap Cava stuff. Champagne all round in the champagne bar we say! Splendid!
The nice people at the Town Hall attached a very helpful menu card with the invitation, just in case we have any special dietary requirements or prefer the vegetarian option when we move into the Arnhem Gallery for the sumptuous three-course dinner with the new mayor and all the aldermen and women who’ll be wearing their finery and hard-earned civic badges.
But after a couple of glasses of champers, all paid for by the Council Tax-payers, we’re sure we’ll be entirely happy with our smoked fish platter to start, followed by rib of beef (Note to the chef: make sure it’s on the rare side of having its arse slapped can you, please, Alphonse?), all rounded off with profiteroles in “a rich chocolate sauce”.
Maybe the council flunky putting together the menu on our behalf has an ironic sense of humour: “rich” and “sauce”? We should say so!
But hey, we don’t want to be a dog in the manger about all this, like those nasty Labour types, led by Tony Newman, who are threatening to boycott the whole affair.
They reckon that it is in some way “inappropriate” to enjoy a slap up meal and get pissed at the Council Tax-payers’ expense, with what one senior Croydon official has described as “an exodus of colleagues in the past month”, as 200 redundancies kick-in after the worst set of council spending cuts since Maggie Thatcher still had all her marbles.
It’ll be their loss, because we hear that the Arnhem Gallery has a particularly good cellar. We’re certainly not expecting them to be pouring the cheap house plonk on the top table.
Inside Croydon is thoroughly behind the council on this one. If you can’t celebrate a chap becoming mayor, then what’s the point of volunteering to act as lobby fodder for Mike Fisher and his top team of budget cutters?
Besides, it’ll be a wonderful networking opportunity. There’ll be the 70 councillors with their partners, plus 40 Aldermen and women, the new mayor’s personal guests, and Jon Rouse, Nathan “Mr Efficiency” Elvery, and the council “leadership team”, not to mention some of Croydon’s Captains of Industry (or what some like to call “Conservative party donors”). It’s a good job that the Arnhem Gallery can cater for up to 400 people, or we wouldn’t all get in!
We’ll even be able to take the lady wife, though we’d better ensure she goes steady on the bubbles early in the evening. Don’t want to be telling her to “Calm down, dear” before carriages, and certainly don’t want her spilling her wine over Croydon’s “First Couple” Dudley and Margaret Mead if she gets a bit tipsy. Heaven forbid!
We even hope that young Clare Hilley, Waddon’s busy new councillor, will bring along her new beau for us to meet, which should really be fun, provided he doesn’t over-indulge too early in the piece.
No, with the council-funded wine flowing, a lot of good business can be discussed on the night. That’s all got to be worth £15,000 of anyone’s money.
Especially if it’s someone else’s.