As exclusively revealed by Inside Croydon, the local Tories are putting their ‘B List’ candidates only in less-winnable wards. WALTER CRONXITE reports that it appears that some of those Conservative B-listers don’t seem to understand their own party’s policies
When the people of New Addington go to their polling stations in May to elect councillors for the next four years, they might need to exercise a great deal of care over their choices, since even some of the leading parties’ candidates appear more than a little confused over the policies that they are standing for.
Take Neville Dick, who is a candidate in New Addington North ward.
Recently, Dick has taken to social media and been actively…
- Promoting a petition calling on the Government to save post offices from closure
- Starting a petition calling on Croydon Central’s former MP, Tory Gavin Barwell, “to stand up for the NHS” despite the concern that “so far, it doesn’t look like he’s said much”
- Tweeting Croydon Central’s current MP, Labour’s Sarah Jones, to ensure the Prime Minster keeps her pledge to “tackle huge pay rises at big companies”
- Tweeting Jones again saying that “no one should have to wait six weeks for support” and asking her to show her concerns in the Universal Credit debate
- Retweeting UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis over the union leader’s serious concerns about NHS bursary cuts
All of which is just what you’d expect from a someone hoping to become a Croydon councillor in next May’s elections… if they were standing for the Labour Party.
Indeed, given the number of senior members of the party in control of the Town Hall who are not seeking re-election, you’d expect an increasingly desperate Labour council leader Tony Newman to be giving this apparent leftie his backing while out on the stump.
But no: Neville Dick has been selected as a candidate by Croydon Conservatives.
Dick is one of Croydon Tories’ B-listers, setting out his stall in the newly formed ward of New Addington North.
According to the man himself, he’s “a highly successful Sales Management Professional with an extensive track record of consistent Achievement of results” (so he’s a salesman) and someone who “combines energy, tenacity and enthusiasm with Exceptional relationship management skills which have been instrumental to success” (he’s been promoted at some point).
Whether those attributes will be enough to endear him to the good people of what was previously known as Fieldway ward remains to be seen. Fieldway is one of the most deprived areas in the country according to a number of Office for National Statistics indices.
From his public pronouncements so far, Dick appears to be wholly out of step with right-wing, Thatcherite Tory thinking. His views can’t even be categorised as that dated, somewhat paternalistic concept of “One Nation Conservativism”.
Dick’s views on the changes that brought about the redrawing of the borough’s ward boundaries are however, as you might expect, truly conservative (small “c”).
Here’s what he had to say about the Croydon review:
Unfortunately, this humble opinion is at odds with the position adopted by Croydon Conservatives, who wanted things to be gerrymandered in their favour. Oops.
Standing alongside Dick on the precarious Tory platform in New Addington North will be someone who appears to be equally confused about where his political loyalties lie.
Ace Nnorom is certainly not publicity shy. In 2014 he was the UKIP candidate for the Croydon council ward of Woodside (where he attracted support from 522 voters), and the following year stood in the General Election as the Kipper candidate for Vauxhall.
According to an interview in The Voice, Nnorom “became fascinated with Nigel Farage after hearing him speak at the European Forum. Gradually he drifted away from Labour, which he had joined through the unions. When David Miliband failed to win the leadership – a campaign that Nnorom helped organise – he became disenchanted with the party.”
Seriously, who would boast about organising David Miliband’s leadership campaign?
The Voice described him then as a man who “seems generally sincere, even if he’s misguided”. Joining Croydon Tories to fight a no-hope contest perhaps fits that description, even though Nnorom has got a PhD in Law, an LLM in International Laws and the World Economy and a BSc in Economics and Political Science.
In June 2017, Dr Nnorom gave an interview to the international news agency Pressenza, in which he talked about his Biafran heritage and, referring to the British colonialist Frederick Lugard who established Nigeria by force in 1914, said that after a century of amalgamation, “now we want our freedom and country back. We weren’t given a choice to whether to stay in Nigeria in 1914. Now it’s time to give us that choice through a UN-monitored referendum. If there will be any war it will be forced on Biafrans. Biafrans are peace-loving people”.
As with Dick, Croydon Tories appear to have selected a candidate whose real political leanings are at odds with their own.
The Nigerian diaspora website, Naijant, reported in 2016 how Broxbourne’s Tory MP, Charles Walker OBE, asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to say what reports he had received of confiscation by the Nigerian government of land in Biafra or land owned by Biafrans.
He was brushed off with a statement that “the UK fully supports the territorial integrity of Nigeria and President Buhari’s commitment to work for a secure and prosperous Nigeria for all Nigerians.”
Or, as Naijant said of Walker, this “clearly puts him at odds with the official position of a government run by his party.”
Historically the low-turnout contests in this part of the borough have returned Labour councillors with opposition right-wing votes being cast for UKIP or the BNP, rather than the Conservatives, though Tony Pearson, a Tory activist and Gavin Barwell fan club member, did get elected for one term, until 2014. Pearson has been re-selected for his home ward for 2018.
In one of the most diverse boroughs in the country, Croydon Tories’ duplicitous two-tier approach to selection has had some members of the Black and Minority Ethnic community applauding their approach, as the Conservative ssignal their diversity virtue with selfies galore. The truth is that, in 2017, there is not a single Croydon Tory councillor who is from an Afro-Caribbean background, and the Conservatives – with their A list and B list of candidates – have managed to push many candidates from minority backgrounds into contesting wards they cannot win.
Roll on May 3.
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