Barwell’s aide attacks Labour for implementing Tory policies

Those members of Croydon Conservatives who have privately expressed concerns about their party’s new leadership at the Town Hall had their doubts firmly underlined this morning when Sara Bashford made the political error of publishing her innermost thoughts about the conduct of last night’s council cabinet meeting.

A bit rubbish: Croydon Tories' deputy leader doesn't know why she's at the Town Hall. Nor do we

A bit rubbish: Croydon Tories’ deputy leader doesn’t know why she’s at the Town Hall. Nor do we

Under the illiterate and over-stated headline “Last nights [sic] fiasco” on Croydon Conservatives’ website, Bashford chose to highlight for criticism three areas of policy where council leader Tony Newman’s flip-flopping “Labour” council is merrily continuing to apply the same measures that she and the Tories were implementing as recently as May.

Bashford’s inspired areas of attack on Croydon’s Labour-lite council were…

The Beddington incinerator: Bashford and the Tories enthusiastically signed up Croydon to a multi-million-pound contract with Viridor to build a toxin-belching incinerator on the borough boundary.

In 2010, Bashford’s Conservative colleagues even campaigned saying that they would not allow an incinerator to be built in or on the borders of the borough; once elected, they did exactly the opposite.

In opposition, Labour long campaigned against any incinerator, but since coming to power this year they have gone along with the previous Tory council policy. This, Bashford seems to think, is something worthy of her disapproval.

Fisher’s Folly: Under the Tories, Croydon Council spent £144 million of public money, plus £80 million in interest on loans, to build a vastly over-priced council office building which had leaks in the roof and “special” taps which flooded toilets on several floors. The previous council had to spend £20,000 extra to replace the “special” taps, an expenditure which was approved by the cabinet member responsible… Sara Bashford.

Croydon Tories' incinerator pledge from 2010: a promise broken soon after

Croydon Tories’ incinerator pledge from 2010: a promise broken soon after

For reasons lost on those who endure working in the wretched building, Fisher’s Folly was recently awarded some meaningless architectural award. In response, Simon Hall, Labour’s finance supremo, described the building as “fantastic”. This may have been a use of irony, or in the literal sense of fantastic: “unbelievable”. This, Bashford seriously believes, is something of which she can make political capital.

Libraries: It took Bashford nearly two years to run a consultation and competitive tendering process over Croydon’s libraries. Which was flawed and failed, and had to be competed by someone more capable.

Today, she chose to highlight that Croydon’s Labour council has yet to take the management of the library service back in-house after being in office for less than six months. Feeble stuff indeed.

In her carefully considered polemic, Bashford also raised Purley pool: the same Purley pool her former leader, Mike #WadGate Fisher, said he would close in 2014.

Bashford also questioned the sale of school playing fields, having served until May in a Tory council which… yep, sought to sell-off playing fields.

It used to be said that to be attacked by Tory grandee Geoffrey Howe was like being savaged by a dead sheep. By comparison, Bashford makes Howe seem like a rabid T-Rex on testosterone.

Bashford continues to be known by her easily earned nickname of “Book Token”, after she came up with the brilliant notion (we’re being sarcastic here, folks) of providing the borough’s residents with book tokens instead of libraries. Bashford’s handling of the Tories’ attempts to privatise the borough’s libraries were so ham-fisted that she had to be relieved of that responsibility.

That error-strewn track record ought to have been enough to deter Croydon Tories’ new leader, Tim Pollard, from promoting Bashford ahead of other, more competent female Conservative councillors. Perhaps Pollard was ill-advised when he preferred the Selsdon councillor as one of his two deputies. Bashford’s day job just happens to be working in the constituency office of Tory MP Gavin Barwell.

There is a growing band of those who believe Bashford has been promoted well beyond her ability. “Last night at the Council Cabinet meeting,” Bashford announced on her local party’s website today, “I wondered why I was there.”

So do we.


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This entry was posted in Gavin Barwell, Sara Bashford, Selsdon & Ballards, Tim Pollard, Waste incinerator. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Barwell’s aide attacks Labour for implementing Tory policies

  1. Stupidity? Political naivety? Or a fiendish Tory stratagem?

    Suppose somebody in Croydon Conservatives is already looking towards the next local election in 2018. And suppose they’ve decided that a rewritten narrative would be a useful asset when they come to launch their campaign in three years time.

    Take three major blunders from the last Tory administration – the Beddington Incinerator, Fisher’s Folly and outsourcing libraries – and begin to shift the blame. Very few voters will remember precisely which party did what. By May 2018 the worst the Tories can expect is that their idiot decisions have been neutralised.

    They have seen the strategy work nationally, where repeated assertion has resulted in the Labour Party being held entirely responsible for the 2008 economic crash; in reality, greedy American bankers were substantially to blame.
    But the Tories keep asking why you would give the keys back to the person who crashed the car, presumably because private polling tells them it strikes a chord with uncommitted voters.

    Welcome to the start of the Croydon local election campaign 2018, or conversely the loose-lipped ramblings of a woman promoted well beyond the level of her own incompetence.

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