3.45PM UPDATE: scroll down for an update, and check out the comments, too.
It is a sign that May’s London Mayoral election is to be a tough battle when a visit to Croydon expected tomorrow from incumbent mayor Boris Johnson is met with such anticipation, ANDREW PELLING writes
Hopefully, tomorrow Mayor Boris will make it to East Croydon on time and not via East Dulwich.
The planned location for this assumed Valentine’s Day election photo opportunity visit will be Reeves Corner at 11.30am on Tuesday.
Interesting to note that politicians are once again paying less attention to riot-scarred London Road.
On Twitter and on Facebook, Croydon Business Improvement District’s Croydon Visitor Centre has been somewhat breathlessly calling for support for a photo-call at the designated time.
“Old Town Traders are invited to Reeve’s Corner at 11.30am on Tuesday 14th February to take part in an important press call/ photo call for Old Town and to toast to mark a positive future for local traders, 6 months after the riots. Please pass this message along – we are hoping for lots of support,” they gush.
Given the date, expect lots of scarlet-red, heart-shaped balloons, with senior figures political figures pledging that they “heart” Croydon, however insincerely.
If indeed this stage-managed event turns out to be another Mayor Johnson visit, you have to ask whether it is appropriate that an organisation funded by business rates collected by Croydon Council and which receives money from the council for work to promote Croydon should be openly acting as a cheerleader for one political party’s candidate’s election tour.
It is clearly contentious to be toasting an election candidate with the message that there is a positive future for them, when after six months the Mayor’s Office has not even paid a penny of the Riot Act compensation due to many Croydon traders.
Should we take from this publicity that more than 500 Croydon businesses in the BID scheme are actively endorsing Johnson’s mayoral candidature?
UPDATE: Over the weekend, we contacted Croydon BID to question its involvement in this photo-call.
It was gone 3pm today that we received this message from Maria Chapman-Beer:
“Tomorrow’s photocall is being organised by and in conjunction with local traders and business people in Croydon’s Old Town to demonstrate their commitment towards regenerating and restoring confidence in the area following last August’s disturbances.
“Croydon BID and the Croydon Visitor Centre’s role in this is simply to make people aware that the event is happening.”
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- Croydon misses out on Boris’s £32m Outer London awards (insidecroydon.com)