The powers that be at the Town Hall look like they are making serious efforts to stifle open discussion of Croydon issues, with politically naive legal threats being bandied about in some quarters, and senior councillors from the ruling Conservative group even trying to ban the use of word “riots”.
Could this have anything to do with Croydon’s ill-advised and bungled bid for city status, we wonder?
Croydon Greens got the wrong side of the authoritarians at Thornton Heath‘s summer fair last month, when they dared to post a sign on their stand that questioned what caused the Croydon riots.
According to the Greens’ website, David Fitze, a councillor for Fairfield Ward (not from Thornton Heath), and Croydon’s deputy mayor, approached their stand with a couple of “burly stewards”.
“We don’t want the word ‘riot’ appearing anywhere,” the Greens claim that Fitze told them, as if he had stepped straight off a remake of Fawlty Towers.
According to the Greens’ report, Fitze told them, “Thornton Heath did not experience any riots.”
Of course, none of this has anything to do with the possibility that, were Croydon’s dubious bid to achieve city status for the borough next year, Fitze could find himself mayor of the City of Croydon. Heaven forbid that Croydon’s riot reputation might just scupper that personal ambition; the council’s farcical bid document is doing a good enough job of that itself.
Croydon Greens’ position is straightforward, open and transparent. “Croydon as a borough experienced riots. This is not about Thornton Heath, it’s about what happened in our borough. It’s an opportunity to hear what people have to say and to convey our thoughts. The board was there to stimulate discussion.
“The strategy not to allow or display anything relating to embarrassing instances in history is the hallmark of every regime that shuns democracy.”
Inside Croydon thinks we ought to encourage more discussion of the issues, not stifle it. So we suggest that our readers should write to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him: Just what is he trying to hide?
- Inside Croydon: brought to you free of charge, an independent voice standing for freedom of speech for the people of Croydon
- City bid document is half-baked masterpiece of padding (insidecroydon.com)
- Croydon was vulnerable after being short-changed for decades (insidecroydon.com)
- MP Wicks renews demand for urgent inquiry into Croydon riots (insidecroydon.com)
Dear Inside Croydon
If you want to discuss the riots and Croydon as a city, then come to the debate at 6.30pm, 19 October 2011, at Mind in Croydon Training Room, Altyre Road, where free speech and robust views will be welcomed.
If Croydon Green Party are guilty of anything, it is not standing their ground and saying a polite but firm no to David Fitze and the organisers of the Thornton Heath festival.
Meanwhile, Cllr Fitze needs to have a word with the Council’s website manager – if you look up http://www.croydon.gov.uk/news/democracy/local-independent-review-panel-causes you can see that a “local independent review panel has been set up to look into the causes of civil unrest” – but since most people won’t have a clue what “civil unrest” means, they spell it out with “Were you affected by the riots in Croydon? An independent local review panel of five people is looking into the causes of the riots of 8 August.”