WALTER CRONXITE reports on the predictable and inevitable latest piece of Croydon nepotism going on in Downing Street
Things are so bad for the interim Prime Minister Theresa May that she’s sent for help from… Mario Creatura.
The Times is reporting that the Coulsdon councillor and former gobby fac totem for Gavin Barwell has now rolled up in Downing Street as a “digital special adviser”. The country really must be going down the toilet.
The appointment is as desperate as it was predictable. “It’s the worst kind of 18th century nepotism,” one Katharine Street source blurted, part in mirth and part in disgust, when given the news today.
The Times does not report whether the post Creatura is filling was ever properly advertised. Nor does it explain that Creatura is the third Croydon figure to be employed in a senior role in Downing Street since Barwell arrived at No10 in June as May’s Chief of Staff.
Creatura follows Sara “Book Token” Bashford, the former teaching assistant who has landed a plum job in the Cabinet Office after being rendered unemployed following her Barwell’s defeat as Croydon Central MP in the General Election, and Nero Ughwujabo, the chief executive of the Croydon BME Forum, who was appointed as a special adviser in the Tory Government last month.
One-book-wonder Barwell is notoriously incompetent with social media – and that’s according to none other than Creatura.
When he was an MP, Barwell spent tens of thousands of pounds of public money to hire Creatura to try to burnish his reputation with tweets, selfies and other social media.
Creatura politicised the local anti-knife crime charity, Lives Not Knives, by getting them to conduct voter registration sessions with Tory activitists, and he even offered the charity’s founder, Eliza Ribeiro, selection in a safe Conservative council seat (sensibly, she declined Creatura’s offer). Barwell also encouraged Creatura to help establish a Tory astroturfing operation in response to this website.
But, following a trusted career path for a wannabe future Tory MP, Creatura left the MP’s employ in 2015 for a spell in the private sector, to use his assumed “political influence” to flog weak lager. Now, though, the old team is reunited.
Unusually for him, Exchange Square resident and wannabe local Lothario Creatura is trying to be discreet about his new job.
He doesn’t mention the new job at all on his Twitter profile or on Linked In, where he simply states that he worked as a PR for Heineken from 2015 until October 2017.
“Previous work includes managing public affairs and political stakeholders for Heineken UK as well as being a policy, campaigns and communications adviser to Rt Hon Gavin Barwell – now Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister at Downing Street”.
The Tories know they got crushed on social media at the General Election. Chris Philp, the Croydon South MP and someone well-known to Creatura, said as much in a BBC London interview in September.
It was almost as if Philp was making the case for Creatura to be handed another publicly funded job for the benefit of the Conservative Party.
Theresa May once said she would not tweet because “people do not talk in hashtags”. But as The Times notes today, something has changed around the Prime Minister’s Twitter account, as the Tories play catch-up in the increasingly sophisticated political battle being waged online.
As the Thunderer’s online political column reports, “Mario Creatura, a Conservative councillor from Croydon, has joined Downing Street as a digital special adviser. Among his qualifications for the job seems to be the fact that he used to be a parliamentary researcher to Gavin Barwell, who lost his seat in June and is now the PM’s chief of staff. Creatura is already having an impact.”
On Budget Day on Wednesday, The Times notes that Theresa May’s political Twitter account tweeted 26 times. “This was more than the previous eight days combined, and the most since the Tory leadership contest last year.” Though whether this constitutes a proper, paid job for a grown-up, at tax-payers’ expense, is a moot point.
It is also debatable whether the dream team of Barwell and Creatura is really any improvement on Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, the gruesome twosome of May advisers who were blamed for the political disaster that was June’s General Election.
There is a vacancy within the Conservative Party HQ for a digital director – paid for out of Tory funds, rather than from our taxes – after a job ad “failed to attract anyone considered sufficiently creative for the role,” according to The Times.
The paper added: “‘Anyone young who knows about this stuff is likely to be a Corbynista,’ a Tory source said, wearily.”
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