Is “Call Me Dave” Cameron taking tips on how to behave like an utter twat from his Tory colleagues in Croydon?
First, we heard about the dodgy, blatantly party political letter which the Prime Minister had sent out, on No10 headed notepaper, promoting a Tory policy on National Insurance. Conservative government ministers have been forced to admit that this letter was distributed to more than 1 million addresses around the country.
This piece of political huckstering cost the tax-payer £430,000 and is now subject to an investigation by the Electorial Commission. Let’s hope the Prime Minister is forced to repay the postage bill out of his own pocket.
Of course, for Inside Croydon’s loyal reader, this sort of sharp practice with official letter-headings and abuse of public position is nothing new. It is around six months since we exposed the MP for the Whitgift Foundation, Gavin Barfwell, for misusing parliamentary symbols for a political letter sent out to constituents.
Barfwell is a member of Cameron’s Whips’ office. Maybe he dropped a hint to the PM as they strolled through the corridors of power? He might even have boasted about how he was allowed to get away with his stunt. Barfwell’s dodgy letter saw him escape with little more than a slap on the wrist from the authorities at the House of Commons. But Inside Croydon has also noted that Barfwell has stopped using the portcullis – a royal badge used by parliament – on his political mail-outs.
But not content with copying his Croydon MPs’ campaigning techniques, Call Me Dave appears to resemble his south London representatives when it comes to facing his constituents about topics of concern, not unlike the notorious Croydon South MP “Sir” Tricky Dicky Ottaway, the former Royal Navy officer with all the backbone of a jellyfish.
Last week, a couple of Anglican priests made an appointment to visit Cameron’s constituency office in Witney, Oxfordshire, in order to deliver an open letter about levels of food poverty in the country. When they arrived, they were greeted by the police.
Back in January, Inside Croydon reported how Ottaway had made a cry for help when confronted by around a dozen, clearly threatening (ha!) constituents, including one old dear in her 80s, who wanted to lobby their MP about the Gagging Bill at one of his regular constituency surgeries in normally sleepy Purley. Ottaway seriously claimed that he feared being murdered in his office by this bunch of martinets.
As a senior backbencher and former member of the armed services, perhaps Ottaway has been briefing Cameron about the rising number of dangerous anarchists inhabiting the Church of England?
In Oxfordshire in Holy Week, around 40 people had walked to Cameron’s office following a church service and stood on the other side of the road while their two representatives sought to deliver their letter from the End Hunger Fast campaign, which had been signed by 42 Anglican bishops and more than 600 clerics. But despite Cameron’s Witney office expecting the visit from the Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev John Pritchard, and Rev Keith Hebden, the prelates were barred.
Hebden told The Independent: “They were expecting us, we had phoned ahead. Most of my surprise was reserved for them not even opening the door.
“It is deeply ironic, to say the least, that on the same day David Cameron was writing in the Church Times talking about what a good Anglican he is, he was wasn’t able to receive his own bishop in his constituency office. I think this speaks volumes.”
And we cannot help but consider that Cameron’s office would never have behaved in such a spineless manner had they not been following the example set by a Tory party’s grandees who supposedly represents Croydon.
Coming to Croydon
- Private Peaceful, Charles Cryer Theatre, Apr 23-26
- Alison, A Rock Opera, Spread Eagle Theatre, Apr 23-26
- Shabden Park Farm Lambing Open Day, Apr 26
- Stop The Incinerator Beer and Bingo fund-raiser, Apr 28
- Future of Crystal Palace debate, Apr 30
- Groundwork River Wandle project workshop, Apr 30
- David Lean Cinema: The Railway Man, May 1
- Groundwork River Wandle project workshop, May 1
- Hauntology – the architecture of Croydon, Apr 5-May 2
- David Lean Cinema: Wadja, May 8
- Coulsdon Euro election hustings, May 8
- David Lean Cinema: Blue Velvet, May 10
- Norwood Society Talk: West Norwood – a place of change, May 15
- David Lean Cinema: The Invisible Woman, May 15
- Coulsdon West local election hustings, May 16
- Croydon RFC charity memorial day, May 17
- Coulsdon East local election hustings, May 19 (confirmed)
- David Lean Cinema: The Rocket, May 22
- David Lean Cinema: Dallas Buyers Club, May 29
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- Classic Car Show at Purley Rotary Fields, June 22
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- South Norwood Allotments open day, June 28
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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