Twitter and Barwell’s mates on the Brothel Advertiser

Ready for Christmas. but not to engage with Waddon residents on Twitter: Councillor Clare Hilley (right)

The Croydon Sadvertiser – the paper that “exposes” brothels on its front page, while advertising them in its classified section – has been put up to do another hatchet job on Inside Croydon, this time over Twitter.

These are desperate times for the Sadvertiser. Its paid-for circulation is still sliding, down to 11,873 per week (Jan-Jul 2011, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations) from 13,379 – its previous all-time low – in the six-month period up to January 2011. The gamble to distribute thousands of copies door to door may have also failed to staunch falling advertising revenues.

Desperate times create desperate measures, such as the Sadvertiser‘s sadly exploitative post-riots photo stunt, over which the newspaper’s editor was challenged on Twitter and proceeded to lie to his readership.

So irony of ironies, the Sadvertiser has decided to run a feature “about Twitter and politics in Croydon, broadly geared around the different ways politicians and the public use the medium to engage with each other and whether or not it’s a good or a bad thing… It’s also only fair I give you a heads up that Inside Croydon is likely to get a mention in the article.” Pardon us if we don’t quite swallow that.

We have cause to believe that the reporter working on this, who we refer to as the Tory Tool, has been put up to this by a motley collection of local Conservative politicians, who have managed to garner for themselves a dire reputation for hectoring, rudeness and belittling Croydon residents in 140 characters or fewer.

New Addington Tough Guy Tony Pearson (followers >300), who no one ever forced to seek public office, resorted to unfounded allegations that he was being bullied when he refused to answer simple questions on Twitter. Calvin Coolidge’s kitchen tips spring to mind. As his colleague Gavin Barwell has Tweeted in the past, rebutting falsehoods is not bullying.

Pearson’s Tory colleague on Croydon Council, Clare Hilley, went running to the Sadvertiser earlier this year with similarly unfounded accusations, which the newspaper failed to publish for fear of legal action. Hilley, despite being an elected representative, pre-emptively blocked Inside Croydon and at least one resident of her Waddon ward just because they dared to express opinions at variance to her own rabid Thatcherism.

#tweetlikeanMP was a trending hashtag at the weekend, yet one of Croydon’s MPs, Barwell, single-handedly generated an entire note book of genuine examples of impatient, ill-considered and frankly laughable Tweets of his own as he grandstanded to his 1,500 followers.

Driven by his malicious dislike for Inside Croydon, and we assume fear of this website’s growing readership and influence (ahh, the green-eyed monster), the Sadvertiser‘s Tory Tool has once again set aside any notion of proper impartiality in his rush to do the bidding of local politicians, possibly in the hope of some snippet of news that he might receive in a Town Hall tip-off some time in the future.

As an aside, if you needed any prima facie evidence of the Sadvertiser‘s casual lack of impartiality, compare the prominence and space given to Barwell and his cronies to the coverage for spokespeople from other parties in last week’s feature commissioned to mark 100 days since the 8/8 riots.

Anyway, to save you the bother of reading Friday’s Sadvertiser, or the 60 pence expense, we have put similar questions to a range of the Croydon Twitterati. And unlike the Tory Tool, we will publish them in their entirety, unedited (except for matters of style, and our usual editorial standards).

Click here to read the genuine views of the Croydon Twitterati

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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
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