MP Gavin Barwell, statistics and a convenient oversight

Barely one-third of the people of Croydon – 37 per cent – believe that politicians and their council “really care about helping people like me”, according to a survey conducted by the BBC.

Such a statistic suggests that the vast majority – 63 per cent – of the people of Croydon therefore believe the opposite: that politicians and the local authorities do not really care about helping them.

Gavin Barwell: glaring omissions

That is a very damning statistic which ought to be of grave concern to the likes of Croydon’s £248,000 per year chief executive, Jon Rouse, and all 70 local councillors who were elected to serve at the Town Hall.

Odd, then, that career politician Gavin Barwell, the MP for Croydon Central and before that a councillor in the borough, makes no mention of that particular survey finding in a posting on his own website this week.

Barwell can be quick to dole out abuse to residents and happily repeats untruths on Twitter, but he remains remarkably thin-skinned when it comes to questions about his public conduct, never mind direct criticism.

Despite receiving a generous allowance of public money to run his parliamentary and constituency offices, Barwell continues to discriminate over who receives updates from his website – which must be counter-productive, because he surely would want as many people, in Croydon, across London and the nation, to know what he is up to.

Thus Inside Croydon was again denied an immediate update of Barwell posting his latest little gem to his website last week.

Did whoever it is that posts to Barwell’s blog deliberately devise a headline that was so dull as to be off-putting to the casual reader? “BBC London 94.9 research” is hardly the stuff that is going to pull in fascinated readers wanting to learn more, nor is it something intended to drive traffic via search engines.

But anyone who gets beyond that snooze-fest of a headline will discover that Barwell was interviewed by BBC local radio this week, when he was asked for his views on the survey, conducted across five London boroughs. Barwell omits to inform his readers why these boroughs were selected (all five had significant rioting last August), and inevitably, he opts to take a somewhat rose-tinted view of the findings insofar as they relate to Conservative-run Croydon.

“Generally speaking, Croydon comes out the research [sic] pretty positively compared with the other boroughs (as you would expect, given that three of the other boroughs are among the most deprived in London),” Barwell writes. Or put another way, Croydon is the best of a very bad bunch.

Indeed, there ought to be little comfort from the findings of this survey for those in charge at the Town Hall on a range of issues, including how “safe” residents feel in and around their neighbourhoods.

Somewhat conveniently, Barwell manages to make no mention at all of the responses to the question about people’s opinions of local politicians. Most odd. Can’t think why.

There’s another oversight on Barwell’s website this week, too.

Last month, when Croydon’s “independent” review of the August riots was published, Barwell was quick to post his two-penn’orth on his blog. After all, the chairman of the review panel is his old mucker from the board of governors at the Whitgift Foundation, Willy Barnett.

“It is a good piece of work,” Barwell enthused then, “with some important recommendations… I am grateful to the panel members, and the council officers who supported them, for the time they have put into it.”

This week, the Metropolitan Police published its report on the London riots last August. It concedes that the police failed to protect parts of Croydon, but it does not reflect very well on the leadership offered from Barwell’s Conservative colleagues in the Town Hall and at City Hall on August 7 and 8 last year.

Yet so far, on Barwell’s website, not a word about the Met’s report. Of course, a busy MP might say that they have more important things to do that to communicate with the people of Croydon and beyond about every cough and spit of local public life. But on such a significant report, from the police, about the single most infamous day in Croydon history for at least 50 years? Not a word. How very odd.

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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
This entry was posted in Crime, Croydon 8/8, Croydon Central, Croydon Council, Gavin Barwell, Jon Rouse, London Assembly, London-wide issues, Mike Fisher, Policing, Riots Review Panel, Steve O'Connell, Whitgift Foundation and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to MP Gavin Barwell, statistics and a convenient oversight

  1. mraemiller says:

    It is indeed amsuing that His Honour William Barnett QC and Gavin Barwell MP both hang out down Trinity. However, in his defence I would say that the report at least holds some interesting data about the location and ethnic groupings of the rioters convicted. For example 64.41% of rioters were from Croydon. However, that still leaves 35.59% who were crime tourists.

    And the much debated stats for how many of those convicted were black actually come out at 54.81% now we have the hard facts. It would have been interesting if His Honour William Barnett QC had managed to cross reference these stats against where these people lived.

    However, moving beyond the purely empirical data…. the report while establishing a timeline and stating lots of events and explanation as facts ….contains a remarkable lack of explanation, exposition or substantiation as to how it arrived at its conclusions.

    It is one thing to publish a report in 50 pages to make it “more digestable” (read “patronising”?)… however, it is truly remarkable in my view that not a single interview or submitted statement is quoted. How are we supposed to know the level of certainty of, for example, any event in the timeline when not even the number of witnesses that verify it is stated – let alone what they actually said?

    It is like reading the abstract and conclusions of a scientific paper only to be told that the mathematical working and input data is unavailable and we must simply trust that His Honour William Barnett QC is honest. Which I’m sure he is, but without facts to back him up his conclusions read like little more than statistical research and hearsay.

    As to Barwell’s invitations. Well, he invites me to everything. Maybe I am special? I am even receiving junk mail from Boris Johnson now (I dont know why he doesn’t directly forward it to “opposition watch” and be done with it).

    Barwell’s being rude on twitter…. Well, if people are rude to him I dont see why he shouldn’t be rude back. However, I have to wonder how much time he has on his hands to indulge in these infantile bitching matches. He doesn’t seem to know when to cut his losses on some conversations ….Should he not be focusing on those with the greatest need rather than those with the loudest voices?

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