Croydon North attracted nine candidates wanting to be an MP at the last General Election. The upcoming by-election looks also to be attracting a high number of participants.
The Communists have selected Ben Stevenson, who ran in the constituency in 2010 securing 160 votes. Stevenson fought the last campaign opposing prospective cuts to public spending, the school academy movement, anti-migrant parties and the power of privatised utility companies as expressed in the party’s People’s Charter.
Wokingham resident Robin Smith says that he will be putting himself forward as the Young People’s Party candidate. The YPP is also running in the Corby by-election which is being held on November 15.
A former Conservative party member in John Redwood’s constituency, Smith has described himself as being “member number six” of the new party, which may be a reference to cult 1960s show The Prisoner.
The new party says that it will likely not appeal to the over-40s. They want to see taxes based on wealth and asset taxes rather than income taxes; they feel that corporations are under-taxed and individuals over-taxed.
On the party’s blog Smith advised that: “I’ll be going to Croydon Friday morning to pay respect at the memorial service [for Malcolm Wicks] and then to do my first rekkie. That will be where I eventually seek nomination for entry onto the ballot.”
UKIP candidate Winston McKenzie was also at the memorial service sporting his usual black fedora, but he may look less eccentric than other candidates this time around.
The National Front is entering the fray as part of its campaign to try to outdo the British National Party in an unpleasant conflict being waged between the two far-right parties.
Richard Edmonds, a 69-year-old who was a follower of John Tyndall and spent time in the BNP opposing Nick Griffin, is the likely candidate.
Meanwhile, another party that is also a marginal player in Croydon politics, with no elected Croydon representatives, the LibDems, were at the grandiosely titled “Croydon Conference Centre” in Surrey Street, staging the party’s Greater London regional conference.
TheLibDems’ choice of Croydon will not be driven entirely by the town’s value for money for conference locations, as the Liberal Democrats try to show they have a new relevance in Croydon. Lembit Opik was at the top of the bill, still regarded as a drawing card despite his appearance in televised jungle reality programmes and his equally firm rejection by London LibDem members when he came fourth and last in their internal party selection of Mayoral candidates. Opik then polled just 252 votes.
Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake – no longer having to look towards Croydon for future votes if the Boundary Commission’s constituency changes are anything to go by– was at a Q&A session,hustings for Euro candidates were held and there was an introduction to a new group called BUILD, which aims to help LibDems to deal with their record on reaching out to diverse communities.
It is tricky to discover exactly what the LibDem candidate, Marisha Ray, was doing on her campaign yesterday, since her personal Twitter account has protected status. A campaign account, @Marisha4Croydon, has so far attracted just six followers, and has yet to make any Tweets. Maybe there is nothing to report.
Brake, however, Tweeted one picture that showed that you can indeed get the whole of the Croydon Liberal Democratic party membership on the top deck of a 205 bus, even when supplemented by the MP and London Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon.
Brake’s Conservative government partners were also campaigning yesterday, claiming 100 canvassers out on the streets of Croydon North. Their campaign manager, Gavin Barwell, has some form in making unsubstantiated, exaggerated claims for attendances at events he has staged. Photographic evidence provided by the Croydon Tories shows fewer than 30 supporters, and notably few appeared to be from the ethnic minority groups that comprise so much of the constituency that they seek to represent.
Conservative literature claimed that their candidate Andrew Stranack worked closely with the late Labour MP, Malcolm Wicks. Is this another exaggeration?
Stranack says that he will be emphasising policing and schools in his campaign. That’s quite a dangerous tactic with the Conservative-controlled Croydon Council’s terrible miscalculations of the need for school places in the north of the borough, with old office buildings being put forward as a means of providing a school in Norbury.
On policing, Stranack is on equally weak ground when there’s a police station closure in the new constituency, and many London Road traders are yet to receive Riot Act compensation from an under-staffed police service that had to abandon the area during the 8/8 riots.
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