WALTER CRONXITE reports on the latest dodgy leaflet from a Conservative candidate in Croydon, which tries to pass off a motley crew of party hacks as ordinary residents
Do politicians take us for fools ?
Chris Philp has a leaflet out on “Why local people are backing Chris Philp to be Croydon South’s MP”.
Sixteen supposedly ordinary Croydon South residents are pictured, and of course they all extol Philp’s merits. It’s the latest piece of Tory bumpf from a seemingly endless supply which would put Andrex to shame (though the end-use of the product is often the same).
Here at Inside Croydon Towers (which is strategically placed near the confluence of the three Croydon constituencies), we’ve been fortunate enough to receive only two leaflets from Labour during the course of the campaign, and one of those must have been from an overenthusiastic Labour activist who strayed into Croydon South with a leaflet for Sarah Jones, their Croydon Central candidate.
The other Labour leaflet was no more helpful, really, because it looked like the candidate was running for office in Lambeth.
In his latest leaflet, according to his fan club, Philp’s supposed plus points include (a) opposing new housing (always a good ploy to appeal to Nimbys in the midst of a housing crisis); (b) being “active, energetic and a brilliant constituency MP” (pass the sick bag, Alice), (c) driving a delivery van when he was aged 24 (no mention that Philp’s company went bust, owing thousands of pounds);
(d) that he “isn’t just another career politician” (really?); (e) that he secured “£300million of investment to fix the points and signals” (just a shame he’s yet to get the Southern trains to run on time); and (f) that he got the strikes on Southern stopped (seriously).
These might well all be OK reasons for these local residents to back Philp.
But missing from the leaflet, and perhaps explaining the motivation for why these local people are backing Philp and making these comments, is any up-front and transparent declaration of interest that they come respectively from:
(a) Peter Davis, a former Tory Central Office Research Department desk head and special adviser to Ken Baker, who was in Thatcher’s cabinet. Davis even got an OBE for ‘political services’. He must be sooo proud of that;
(b) Brian Udell, former Tory councillor in Coulsdon and local party officer;
(c) Sophie Khan, former Tory Croydon council candidate;
(d) Stuart Millson, former Tory candidate for Southwark council;
(e) Richard Brundle, a former chairman of Croydon South Conservatives; and
(f) Samir Dwesar, another failed Tory candidate for Croydon council.
Wouldn’t it be more honest to explain to voters that a very significant reason for these people lending their names to support Philp is that they are or have been active Tory party members?
Or did Philp think that to be that straightforward would devalue the comments?
Surely Philp must know “real” local people who genuinely value his work these last two years as their new MP?
As Kenley local business owner Mike Belliere is supposed to have said, “He’s the best MP we’ve had in my 40 years living in this area.”
That may be sincerely meant. But the competition is hardly Test match standard: Philp’s Tory predecessors were the expenses-grabbing Tricky Dicky Ottaway and the too occasional constituency visitor Sir William Clark.
And as for the suggestion that Philp – who refuses to publish his own tax returns – has ever managed to “grill” the Chancellor of the Exchequer and “not pulled any punches” in his questioning as a member of the influential Treasury Select Committee, then clearly Purley resident Chris King has a very different notion of effective parliamentary scrutiny than others who have witnessed Philp’s pusillanimous performances in the committee.
Because at the time, Philp was described as a “toady” and an “arse-kisser” (in Murdoch’s Times, of all papers), and it was written that “brown-nosing is first, second and third nature” to him.
To judge by Philp’s latest leaflet, brown-nosing and arse-kissing are clearly attributes much-prized and very common among Croydon’s Conservatives.
- This Friday, June 9, Inside Croydon is staging a free talk about the election from American politics professor Bob Beatty. Click here for more details and to book your place
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