If there were any lingering doubts over the real reasons for the Croydon Tories’ continued hostility to having a gypsy and traveller camp at Purley Oaks – or, indeed, at any site proposed in the borough – then the presence of Anne Piles at a local party get-together this week will have confirmed underlying suspicions.
Piles, or the “Sage of Selsdon” as she is regarded by no one, until recently held a senior position within the ever-diminishing ranks of the Croydon Conservative Party. Piles, for instance, was on the panel which rejected Mike Fisher’s application but accepted Chris Philp as their parliamentary candidate for Croydon South.
And it was Piles who made her prejudices about travellers abundantly clear in the public forum of Twitter.
Croydon Conservatives have never taken any disciplinary action over Piles’s racist tweets, as she laid bare her blatant prejudice.
All of which appears to be happily tolerated in the Croydon Conservatives, some of whom clearly believe they still inhabit the 1950s…
Indeed, Piles continues to be a welcome guest at local Tory functions, as she recorded on social media this week, providing a check list of those who appear to find her conduct acceptable among the handful who turned out for the Croydon North Conservatives Christmas party.
“Had a great time at the Conservative Mulled Wine and Mince Pie event in Croydon North,” she chirped.
“I was lucky, as someone gave me a stool to put my feet on, which helped me no end. I wish I could do that wherever I go! Simon Brew hadn’t heard about my problem and was quite shocked.”
It’s unclear whether the Purley councillor had previously been unfamiliar with Piles’s racism problem, or whether his “shock” was over some other, less fundamental issue.
“Alasdair Stewart was there, Scott Roche, Richard Chatterjee, Audrey Terry, Gloria Hutchens, Steve O’Connell (who told me about the problem with his new hip), Mario Creatura in his lovely pink shirt, Gareth Streeter (as lovely as usual) and Amy Pollard with her sausage dog Chip, who is in line for a championship at Wimbledon. He spent some time chasing a tennis ball.”
Expect most of those namechecked to be among the Tories’ candidates for the council elections in 2018, and ensure that they are questioned over why they tolerate the casual attitudes to racism of the likes of Piles and others within their close circle of political friends.
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