The secrecy, half-truths and bogusness of so much of what Croydon Council is about was extended even to the float at the Mayor of London’s New Year’s Day Parade last month.
Alongside similar floats from the other London boroughs, Croydon’s flat-back truck was supposed to represent the best of what Croydon has to offer. Except a key aspect of the presentation was not from Croydon at all.
The 2013 concept had been presented, noisily, to a council before Christmas by Councillor Lynn Hale, whose day job is as a parliamentary assistant to Croydon South’s absentee MP Lord Bletchingley (so she’s probably very good at filing expenses claims).
Then, the concept was “sold” as a “fusion” of all that is good about modern Croydon, with the London Mozart Players, one of the last cultural gems still based in the borough, to have their musical performance merged with some dubstep.
Ahhh, our council being cutting edge…
Dubstep is recognised as having originated in Croydon, with Hatcha and Skream having both worked in the Big Apple Records store on Surrey Street. There really ought to be a blue disc on the wall where it is said to have all begun.
Dubstep is now a diverse genre, and elements of it have been incorporated into mainstream chart music.
So obviously our council went out and got a leading dubstep figure from Croydon for the Mayor of London Parade. Oh no they didn’t…
The video of the event is wonderfully produced by Councillor Tim Pollard, the deputy leader of Croydon Council and the man tipped to be the next leader of the borough’s Conservative group. It features the London Mozart Players kitted out in hand-made hats by a local hat-maker, accompanied by a surprisingly small gaggle of grinning people, among them some senior council employees (the things you have to do these days to avoid getting your P45), and working the turntable it shows a teenaged dubstepper called Toby Harrison.
At no point did anyone from Croydon Council ever come clean and let anyone know that Harrison is, in fact, from Lewisham.
“I’m not actually from Croydon,” Harrison told Inside Croydon with a candour that is much to his credit, but which was notably missing from our council’s parade presentation, “and never said I was throughout the project… but yes I did represent Croydon on New Year’s Day.
“I guess the people organising it thought the fact that I’m from south London was enough.”
They just didn’t think that they needed to tell anyone.
No one is suggesting that this is a big deal in the overall scheme of things. After all, Pollard and his colleagues running the council for years tried to tell us that the new HQ would cost Council Tax-payers nothing, when now they are admitting it will cost every single household in the borough at least £1,000.
But if senior councillors and council employees really cannot be bothered to find a dubstep or contemporary music performer to represent the borough – Brit School anyone? – and then cannot be straightforward enough about such a high-profile presentation on behalf of the borough, then what else might they dissemble about?
Here, for the benefit of Tim Pollard and whatever genius in the borough’s Ministry of Truth it was who came up with the notion of passing off a kid from Lewisham as “genuine” Croydon, is an example of some real Croydon dubstep (we resisted the temptation to use Skream’s track called WTF) …
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