And lo, it came to pass…
This website is not in the habit of saying “I told you so”, but on this occasion we think we will indulge ourselves for a little prediction which, had we put a tenner on it at Ladbrokes South End six months ago, would have repaid us with at least… well, another tenner.
Last October, when Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell was looking for a new parliamentary assistant, we surmised that the job might end up going to a Conservative party loyalist (“No shit, Sherlock!” we hear you mutter), and suggested that Mario Creatura might be just the man.
We noted that, “… although he may not meet the ‘essential’ requirements of ‘excellent writing and research skills’ or have ‘previous experience working in Parliament or politics’, we reckon that Croydon Conservative Association activist and Barwell cheerleader ‘Super’ Mario Creatura is a virtual shoo-in”.
Well, now it appears that Creatura’s grovelling sycophancy has finally paid off.
While Barwell may have appointed a Reeves family member to the role advertised in October, it seems that the MP has finally bowed to the inevitable and put Creatura on the payroll (paid for by us, the nation’s tax-payers).
We must have missed when the MP advertised the vacancy. Barwell and Creatura have been unusually coy about announcing the appointment, with barely a Tweet on the subject between them and not a peep on the MP’s website about this important piece of constituency news.
In the past fortnight, Creatura has left his public relations job at Surrey University to take up a state-funded role as parliamentary and constituency assistant to Barwell, based at Westminster. Creatura’s salary scale is estimated to be in the region of £28,000 per year for a full-time position.
It means that since he became an MP in 2010, Barwell has had on his state-funded staff:
- Sara Bashford, Conservative councillor for Selsdon and Ballards
- Eddy Arram, Conservative councillor for Ashburton
- Stephanie Reeves, previous a parliamentary assistant for Peterborough’s Tory MP, Stewart Jackson
- Mario Creatura, local activist for Conservative Future, the youth wing of the Tory party, and failed Conservative candidate for Croydon Council in 2010’s elections, when he stood in Selhurst ward and polled less than 9 per cent of the vote.
We cannot be certain, but we suspect that Creatura’s appointment may be as a replacement for Eddy Arram, who is about to take up office as Mayor of Croydon (as Inside Croydon was first to reveal, here).
Creatura’s appointment throws up some interesting connections.
Both he and Stephanie Reeves attended the same college at the University of London, Royal Holloway, where Creatura was a contemporary of Jonathan May-Bowles – also known as “Jonny Marbles”, one of the founders of radical group UK Uncut, whose 15 minutes of fame came when he threw a custard pie into the face of Rupert Murdoch during a Commons select committee hearing last summer (and got a slap in the face from Wendy Deng for his troubles).
Last weekend, Creatura was among the cheerleaders for the Change: Croydon project, working alongside his new colleagues Barwell, Bashford and Reeves.
Presumably as a properly CRB-checked supervisor of the youth groups, Creatura led the work gang as it painted hoardings along London Road in the council’s distinctive purple, decorating it with images of books and pencils, and slogans such as “Educate”. And this all more than 48 hours before Croydon Council gave formal approval to a scheme to buy the old hospital site and use it to build a new… school! How prescient of them!
It remains unclear whether Creatura was working on this “apolitical” project as (a) Tory MP Gavin Barwell’s state-funded parliamentary assistant; (b) a prominent activist for the Croydon Conservatives; or (c) as an apolitical volunteer.
But as his 9-5 job is to serve the people of Croydon Central, if you wish to contact Creatura for advice or assistance on a local matter, you may be able to reach him on 020 7219 2119 for diary issues, to arrange tours of the House of Commons or other matters, or the constituency office on 020 8663 8741 if you’d like help with a problem.
You should make use of “Super Mario”, Bashford and the rest – after all, you’re paying their wages.
- 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
- MP Barwell says he got it wrong over group’s racist incident (insidecroydon.com)
- Police called out for “racist” incident with Barwell’s work gang (insidecroydon.com)
- Use your loaf, Gav: Barwell’s “Let Them Eat Cake” moment (insidecroydon.com)
In the local election in 2010 in Selhurst ward, Mario got 1407 votes out of a turnout of 6228, which is 22.6%. In what way is that “less than 9 percent”?
In the sense of the official figures published by Croydon Council:
The 45 per cent of the electorate in the ward who did not vote do still matter.
The official figures you provide are rubbish. The only way you can get it to be 9% is if you do not make any allowance for the fact that voters voted for 3 candidates.
Ah, a classic case of rejecting the facts if they do not fit with your desired outcome.
They are not our figures. They are the official figures provided by Croydon Council.
Take it up with them – they’ll probably refer your enquiry as an FoI, at a cost of £250… and they will tell you the same.