Cameron hammers home why Croydon Tories can’t be trusted

Was this morning in Croydon the point where David Cameron finally, fully, exposed himself for being full of the Bullingdon bogusness as the majority of the country has suspected for a decade?

Panic Time Spectator coverBecause only a 9-carat Old Etonian bullshitter would somehow forget what football team they claim to support. Fickle, or just thick? In a speech supposedly about colour, and not just which teams play in claret and blue, a seemingly small slip was in so many ways revealing, and exposed Cameron for the dissembler that he really is.

It had been all so carefully arranged, all so carefully stage-managed, hermetically sealed, without any awkward questions from the likes of Andrew Neil, or Inside Croydon, to trip him up. But then Cameron doesn’t need us there to do that – he’s perfectly capable of doing that for himself.

There was the autocue for him, so that he could deliver his carefully prepared monologue, with the exquisitely turned empty phrases, and the faux bloke-ishness reference to football. “Of course, I’d rather you supported West Ham,” said the previously acclaimed Villa fan, pronouncing his aitches like no West Ham supporter has ever done. Cue awkward laughter.

In a speech in which he talked about Britain’s “shining example” of having “multiple identities”, all Cameron managed to do was expose his own, and Croydon Tories’, two-faced attitude to race and racism.

There was the front row seating arrangements, with the three Croydon Conservative candidates (unlike Croydon Labour last week, the Tories at least made an effort to ensure that all three turned up for the monologue from their party leader). Head boy Gavin Barwell was there, calculatingly positioned between two black men, to hear a speech in which Cameron actually suggested that the Conservatives would be the first party to have a BME Prime Minister.

“Maybe it’s someone in this room now,” he said, presumably looking around to see if he could spot another Old Etonian.

Tory leader (for now) David Cameron adressing his hermetically sealed audience in Croydon this morning

Tory leader (for now) David Cameron addressing his hand-picked audience in Croydon this morning

Therein lies the problem with so much of mainstream British politicians: say one thing, do another.

In a word: hypocrisy.

For all the speech’s laudable intentions, what Cameron said can hardly be a credible sentiment when you consider the real track record of his party nationally, and especially locally here in Croydon.

Cameron was making the speech to an audience of Croydon Conservatives who have not had an Afro-Caribbean councillor for a decade. In one of London’s most ethnically diverse boroughs. Odd that.

He was making that point to an audience of Croydon Conservatives who, when given the choice between Croydon-based councillor Vidhi Mohan and white, middle-class party donor Chris Philp, chose Philp for the ultra-safe Croydon South seat. Mohan was later given the “honour” of standing in Croydon North, and the task of overcoming a 12,000-vote Labour majority. Odd that.

He was making the point to an audience which included Gavin Barwell, who once wrote to his own party, “We need to face up to the fact that we are in this hole because of things we have said and done over the years – [people think we have] a lack of concern about discrimination.” Yet as an MP, in 2012, Barwell duly followed Cameron’s party line and voted in Parliament to repeal Section 3 of the Equality Act, which supported our society’s duty to treating people equally and free from discrimination.

Odd that.

Anne Piles, front left, "Backing Barwell" at the start of the election campaign with Croydon's three Tory parliamentary candidates - Vidhi Mohan (North), Barwell and Chris Philp (South)

Anne Piles, front left, “Backing Barwell” at the start of the election campaign with Croydon’s three Tory parliamentary candidates

And he was making the point to an audience of a local Tory party who have chosen to do less than nothing about the brazenly racist attitudes expressed by one of their more senior members, one who has even held positions on influence on Conservative selection committees.

But then Anne Piles is  #BackingBarwell, just like Prime Minister David Cameron. So there’s nothing odd about that whatsoever.

There have long been suggestions of the Croydon Conservative party including elements who hold barely disguised racist attitudes.

Yet Cameron, the man who presided over the repeal of equalities legislation during the last parliament, was using Croydon this morning as his platform to launch what he called a “2020 vision” for the BME communities: “Ambitious but realistic aspirations to help people from all our communities really thrive.”

All our communities, Dave?

Does that include the traveller community, which was so readily traduced in a racist tweet by a prominent member of the Croydon Tories?

Can what Cameron has to say on BME opportunities and equalities really be taken seriously when even members of his own political party in Croydon suggest that they have been denied equal opportunities by the same Conservative Party?

Patrick tweet

It could just be that the public face of David Cameron and Gavin Barwell’s Conservatives is at odds with some of their colleagues’ private beliefs. After all, you can’t really trust anything said by someone who can’t even remember what football team he claims to support, can you?

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in 2015 General Election, Chris Philp MP, Croydon Central, Croydon North, Croydon South, Gavin Barwell, Vidhi Mohan and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Cameron hammers home why Croydon Tories can’t be trusted

  1. Tory results in last year’s local elections reflect Tory prejudices. They can’t win in north Croydon or (ominously for them) central Croydon, because they are not ethnically diverse. They can still win in Croydon South – for the time being. But Greater London ethnic diversity is spreading slowly south and will soon engulf council wards and eventually the Parliamentary constituency.
    Gavin gets it, for all his many other faults, but he is halted in his tracks every time by the nastier members of the Conservative Association, who are still intent on retreating further – Ukip-like – into their imaginary pre-1960s enclave.

  2. In writing “Because only a 9-carat Old Etonian bullshitter would somehow forget what football team they claim to support” you are being grossly unfair to poor David Cameron. Through and through he is pure 24 carat dissimulation personified.

  3. Peter Rogers says:

    Politicians should steer clear of working class ‘blokey’ stuff like football. Didn’t Tony Blair claim to have watched Jackie Milburn play for Newcastle which would have required Blair to be born about 20 years earlier than he actually was? Admittedly it wasn’t the biggest fib ‘Wor Tony’ the lifelong Geordie told…

    • It reminds me of the time Tommy Cooper was in the reception line at a Royal Variety Performance.

      When the Queen was presented to the comedian, he asked Her Maj: “Do you like football?”

      She replied that she didn’t particularly care for it. “Can I have your Cup Final tickets then?” Cooper asked.

      Will Cameron be at this year’s Cup Final now that he’s a lapsed Villa fan, I wonder?

      • Nick Davies says:

        I wonder how many of the current Croydon crop are queueing at the turnstiles at Selhust park this afternoon.

  4. Peter Rogers says:

    Didn’t know he was supposedly a villa fan, what’s his connection to Birmingham or is it because one of the princes (the ginger one that’s [allegedly] not related to the royal family perhaps) supports them. Or did he go to school with Nigel ‘cockney geezer’ Kennedy? That’s the end of my Villa knowledge – probably more than call me Dave’s though

  5. Peter Rogers says:

    If Cameron’s out of work by the time the cup final comes around me and the DWP think he should be spending his time applying for jobs or he’ll get sanctioned. Cup finals are for hard working families…

  6. To misquote Captain Beefheart, a carrot is as close as a Tory gets to a diamond

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