After a political career that started in failure (to misquote Enoch Powell), John Cartwright has at last won a public vote.
Cartwright, after spending 20 years contesting every possible election in Croydon as John Loony, the Official Monster Raving Loony candidate, is the runaway winner of Inside Croydon’s online ballot to discover who our readers believe to be best suited to be the next leader of the Croydon Tories, taking over from florid-faced Mike Fisher, after he was caught red-handed topping up his councillor allowances pot in the #WadGate scandal.
Loony, aka Cartwright, got the backing of 25 per cent of those who took part in our exclusive online poll, more than twice as many votes as any other candidate.
The Inside Croydon ballot ought to send a chill down the spine (if they have one) of the local Tory leadership (ie. Gavin Barwell), since votes for John Loony/Cartwright and another option, “None of the above”, amounted to 42 per cent of all those cast.
That’s hardly a ringing endorsement of the calibre of Conservative councillors serving at the Town Hall.
And therein lies the snag in any Loony/Cartwright leadership “campaign”.
Despite being welcomed with open arms by the Tories when he defected from the Monster Raving Loonies last year, and being perfectly qualified for the upper echelons of the Croydon Conservatives as he is a Trinity School old boy, Loony/Cartwright is unable to stand for the leadership of his local party because he is not already a councillor.
“If anyone is betting on me to become leader of the Conservative group on the council, they’re even more bonkers than the insane people who incorrectly voted for a Labour council in the first place,” the ever-loyal Tory Cartwright told Inside Croydon, adopting the party line determined by Fisher, of blaming the voters for exercising their democratic rights.
Jimmy the Snark, our tame bookies’ runner, had tipped Croham councillor Maria Gatland as the hot favourite to win any leadership contest. “She’d go down a bomb,” Jimmy said, not altogether originally. But she’s been bombed out of this contest.
“The bookmakers have stopped taking money on the contest now,” Snark said this morning.
“It’s as good as decided already, so much so that it’s looking like a stitch-up inside job for Tim Pollard. In fact, Paddy Powell’s now offering odds-on that it was Pollard who leaked the details of Fisher’s allowances to the papers.”
Pollard was very much a key part of Mike Fisher’s team in running the council for the past eight years, accumulating a “black hole of debt”. It was Pollard who led on ignoring council policy and legal advice to take publicly owned crockery from Croydon’s Riesco Collection, valued as worth £13 million, and managed to flog it off in Hong Kong for a mere £6.5million. “Plunderer Pollard” got just 13 per cent of the votes in our online poll.
Gatland secured 12 per cent, while Dudley Mead got just 4 per cent, largely because he was telling anyone who was interested that, now in his 70s, the time has come for a new generation to shine. Whether he was thinking of Pollard’s generation is uncertain.
Last in our poll was the ever-unpopular Phil Thomas.
With the Tory group on the council reduced to just 30 councillors, it is fair to say that there’s not a large pool of talent to choose from. Pollard, a councillor for Sanderstead, is believed already to have the support of more than the 15 council colleagues required for an outright majority. It may have helped that no one else has come forward to stand.
Pollard is not entirely inexperienced, either, on the matter of snouts-in-the-trough over council allowances. Since 2010, Pollard and his wife, Helen Pollard, erstwhile councillor for Heathfield ward, between them have received in council allowances:
All entirely legal and above board, and also, at more than £67,000 per year, above the amount which Mike Fisher was claiming even with his secretive extra 10 grand that saw him forced to resign as Tory leader.
Helen Pollard’s contribution to her household’s income, more than £21,000 per annum paid for by Council Tax-payers, was put in jeopardy earlier this year when Conservative party members in Heathfield did not consider her good enough to be a candidate for the local elections. She was deselected. Belatedly, however, she sought selection in Fairfield ward, where she did get picked – much to Tim’s relief – and was elected.
Of course, now in opposition, the allowances available to the Pollard household are much reduced. If he becomes the leader of the opposition on the council, Tim Pollard can expect to receive £32,000 per year. That should soften the blow a little.
- MP Barwell claims Labour leader knew about #WadGate for months
- #WadGate: Fisher forced to resign as Croydon Tory leader
- Tory leader Fisher is caught red-handed with £10,000 pay hike
- #WadGate: The Movie
- Exclusive readers’ offer: a free glass of wine for diners at Albert’s Table
- Special readers’ offer: 25% off meals at PizzaExpress Purley
Coming to Croydon
- Tell Me About Your Ex, Spread Eagle Theatre, Sep 9-13
- David Lean Cinema: Camille Claudel, Sep 11
- Warlingham rugby dinner with international Richard Hill, Sep 12
- Soul Symphony Community Choir sessions, Sep 16-Dec 23
- Police question time, LNK at Centrale, Sep 17
- David Lean Cinema: Chef, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: Remembering the Great War, Sep 18
- The Complete History of the BBC – Abridged, Spread Eagle, Sep 19-20
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Sep 20
- South Croydon business breakfast, Sep 20
- Open House London weekend, Sep 20-21
- David Lean Cinema: A Night At The Cinema in 1914, Sep 22
- Activity to Work back-to-work workshops, Sep 23
- David Lean Cinema: Jimmy’s Hall, Sep 25
- Streatham Common 6M race, Sep 27
- Fancy dress family funday, Sep 28
- Ukrainian choir concert, St John’s Shirley, Sep 29
- Tree Sides, Spread Eagle Theatre, Oct 2-4
- The Goon Show, Spread Eagle Theatre, Oct 8-11
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Oct 18
- South Croydon business breakfast, Oct 18
- This Was The World and I Was King, Spread Eagle, Oct 23-25
- Albert Einstein – Relativity Speaking, Spread Eagle, Nov 12-15
- South Croydon business breakfast, Nov 15
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
- Choose Your Own Documentary, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 21-22
- The Last Sense of Sudden, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 27-29
- Ghost Stories for Christmas, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 3
- Fog Horn Funnies, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 6
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 407,847 page views (Jan-Jun 2014) If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org