6 – 1
In football, 6-1 is not the sort of scoreline that you’d expect to help you win you the league title. But that’s how many times the two main contenders have visited this part of the city so far this year, with Zac Goldsmith clearly not bothered about playing for penalties.
The number of visits to the boroughs since the start of 2016 appears to offer some insight into who is taking the greater interest in our wedge of south London.
There are more Tory votes to be won than Labour out here in the outermost reaches of south London, as number-crunching by the very useful LondonElects website has shown.
At the last London election in 2012, after the transfer of second preferences, Boris outdid Ken by 58,586 votes to 50,849 in Croydon and by a very great margin in Sutton, by 37,323 to 19,003.
Those running the #BackZacAndCrack campaign appear to appreciate that. And Steve O’Connell, the Tory Kenley councillor who trousers a second wodge of public cash as the Assembly Member for the area, is doubtless also very grateful for the support Goldsmith’s attention brings. Has Sadiq Khan forgotten Labour’s candidate, Marina Ahmad?
So far, in the first 11 weeks of this year, the Tories have ensured that their Mayoral candidate has made a personal appearance in Sutton or Croydon six times.
- Tomorrow’s secret squirrel mission
- To Shirley on March 9 to worry in front of the TV cameras about proposals to build 651 new homes
- campaigned in Beddington and Selsdon on February 27
- campaigned in Sutton on January 23
- launched his Greater London Action Plan in Croydon on January 19
- and came to Sutton with Chancellor Gideon Osborne on January 13 to talk about investing in the tram (ahem…).
By contrast the only visit from the Labour Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan this year is a canvass of Thornton Heath on February 13.
Goldsmith has even tailored part of his latest election leaflets to this part of London, saying that if elected, he would stop “the South London incinerator from breaking environmental limits”, which is a curious pledge to make, unless the Old Etonian is harbouring the mistaken belief that he is seeking office in the Environment Agency.
Nevertheless, the pollsters continue to have Khan well ahead (and they always get these things so right).
If, on this occasion, they are right about the outcome of the vote on May 6 for the next Labour Mayor, it is to be hoped that south Londoner Khan – who may occasionally mention that he is the son of a bus driver – can be persuaded to take a keener interest in Croydon. After all, it is where one of the property developers who helped to fund his selection campaign is based.
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