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.
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.
- Inside Croydon: brought to you from the heart of the borough, free of charge, an independent voice standing for freedom of speech for the people of Croydon
- The week at Westminster: Barwell’s Mayday promises exposed (insidecroydon.com)
- Compromised riots report covers up policing problems (insidecroydon.com)
- 4 Days in August: Steve O’Connell’s lasting shame? (insidecroydon.com)