Croydon Tories appear to be preparing to dump the 2012 Mayor of Croydon from their candidates for May’s Town Hall elections.
Veteran Ashburton councillor Eddy Arram was a uniquely divisive, despised and somewhat ridiculous figure when he donned the pompous mayoral robes in April 2012.
During his year as mayor, Arram continued in his job as a doggedly loyal state-paid constituency worker in the office of Croydon Central’s Tory MP Gavin Barwell. On top of his Barwell salary, Arram also received more than £29,000 in 2012-2013 in “allowances” from Croydon Council.
His conduct when he was supposed to be an impartial chairman of council meetings drew official complaints from the Labour group, prompted a mass walk-out from the Town Hall chamber, and even attracted derision from members of his own party who despaired over his partisan conduct.
One local Conservative even made a public call for Arram’s de-selection as a Tory council candidate in Ashburton over an accusation of bullying at a council meeting last April, when the mayor exceeded his authority and ordered a woman from the public gallery simply because she exercised her right not to stand in memory of Margaret Thatcher.
At that time, Croydon Tory John Cartwright described Mayor Arram’s behaviour as “the most outrageous and contemptible thing I have ever witnessed in 15 years of attending council meetings”. Now, it seems that Cartwright may get his wish granted that Arram should not stand for re-election to the council.
Despite soon wanting your vote, and all for a 50p a week bribe paid for from your own money, Croydon’s Tories are being excessively secretive about who they will have standing in wards across the borough.
So the public – or voters – are having to rely on signals from the party that has controlled Croydon Council for all but 12 years of the last half century to fathom whether they are likely to be represented by people who are up to the job.
In Ashburton, it has been an open secret for some time that Avril Slipper, a colleague councillor of Arram’s since 1990, is to stand down at the May elections.
Arram’s fate seems certain to be portrayed by the local Tories as an “honorable retirement” – Arram has been a Croydon councillor since 1981 – in an attempt to save him any blushes and themselves the embarrassment of admitting that they had given up on his Nasty Party antics. Much in the same way as their party nationally tried to portray “Nazi stag-do MP” Aiden Burley’s sacking as “an honourable resignation” (© 2014 G Barwell).
As recently as last November, the Tories’ leaflets in Arram’s ward showed just the three councillors, together with the ubiquitous credit-claimer, Barwell.
But similar leaflets distributed in Ashburton in the past week show that the action team has now grown to six, with the addition of Gareth Streeter and Sylvia MacDonald/McDonald (the Tories don’t seem to know how to spell their own candidate’s name). In common with most of the wards in Croydon, the Conservatives can only put three people up for election.
Town Hall watchers have interpreted this as signalling that two of the current councillors are on their way out, and no one has called “Taxi for Mr Kellett”. Which therefore probably means that Arram is finally on his way out.
We’ll let you know when we get the invitation to Arram’s farewell party.
Coming to Croydon
- Mark Steel at Ashcroft Theatre, Feb 12
- Purley Swimathon: Feb 13
- Croydon Arts Network meeting, Feb 15
- Chinese New Year children’s event, Upper Norwood Library, Feb 18
- This War! St Gertrude’s Theatre group, Feb 19-22
- Welsh myths children’s event, Upper Norwood Library, Feb 20
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Feb 20
- Mr Pooter comes to Croydon, Feb 20-22
- Warm and Well event, Upper Norwood Library, Feb 22
- Stop the Incinerator fund-raiser, Feb 24
- Fairtrade Film night, Antenna Cafe, Haynes Lane, Feb 27
- Fairtrade event, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 1
- Coulsdon and Purley Debating Society, Mar 3
- Patchwork and quilting workshop, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 3
- Fairtrade stall at Food Market, Haynes Lane, Mar 8
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, Mar 15
- Norwood Society talk, Upper Norwood Library, Mar 20
- Croydon Half-marathon, Mar 30
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