ELECTION COUNTDOWN: WALTER CRONXITE, our political editor, rounds-up the latest additions to candidate lists from the LibDems, Greens and UKIP for May 3
UKIP, a party without a leader and, post-Brexit, seemingly without any purpose, has virtually abandoned the pretence of being a political force in Croydon, as they are fielding just eight candidates in the local elections next month.
That’s down from 42 in 2014, when they had at least one candidate in each ward in the borough.
Yet the absence of UKIP candidates could turn out to be bad news for Labour, as they seek re-election as the biggest party at the Town Hall.
The deadline for candidate nominations was yesterday at 4pm. While other, neighbouring boroughs have efficiently published their lists of the declared candidates, Croydon – where the unaccountable chief exec Jo Negrini is responsible as the returning officer – has yet to do so.
It means that, for now, the electorate has to depend on the political parties themselves to detail who is seeking their votes, and where, on May 3.
And by this morning, only the Conservatives and Greens had managed to publish a borough-wide slate.
Labour’s struggle to organise itself by the deadline has meant that many of the “paper candidates” in the south of the borough have not been formally announced – presumably because Jack Buck, the full-time administrator who likes to describe himself as the “borough organiser”, has been distracted with his own council election campaign, in Southwark.
UKIP’s half-hearted, half-arsed attempt at representative democracy is matched by Croydon’s half-baked LibDems, who even this morning were listing only five candidates in what they say are two “target” wards, though they failed to say what the “target” is. They claim to have many more candidates. But if they can’t be bothered to identify them, why should we?
Half of UKIP’s candidates will be standing in New Addington’s two wards, an area where four years ago they polled more than 20 per cent of the vote. The candidates include Peter Staveley, the former Croydon UKIP head honcho who has abandoned his home ward in Addiscombe for what he must consider a more fertile territory for his party’s particular brand of politics.
In 2014, Croydon’s Tories, bitter at losing out to Labour, blamed the rising UKIP vote for their defeat at the polls. There’s a sense that such resentment is still simmering under the surface in the comments from Croydon Tories’ leader, Tim Pollard, in urging the voters of Croydon to consider local issues come May 3.
But in the absence of UKIP candidates in 22 of the borough’s 28 wards, where will the 2014 UKIP voters plant their Union flags this time, if they bother to turn out to vote at all?
For Labour prospects in wards such as Addiscombe East and Waddon, where 12 per cent voted UKIP in 2014, that could be a troublesome prospect if they opt to support the Conservatives.
For the political parties without councillors at the Town Hall, and therefore without the civic subsidy of hundreds of thousands of pounds in councillor allowances to boost their campaign funds, pulling together a full slate of 70 candidates, all with signatures from 10 nominees from the appropriate wards, is a demanding task.
The demands play into the hands of the Croydon political duopoly of Tory and Labour, who both are able to employ full-time administrators.
Thus the Green Party was only late yesterday able to confirm the names of a further 13 candidates in six wards, in addition to those names published by Inside Croydon on Thursday.
They include the well-known local environmental activists and experienced campaigners Tracey Hague and Esther Sutton, both standing in Addiscombe West, where the on-going problems caused by Labour’s Mark Watson’s Lebanon Road one-way road system are certain to be a hot topic on the doorstep of the affected streets.
It all adds up to Croydon Greens falling short of a full slate, with 64 candidates in total, which they say is the largest number of candidates for their party in any London borough.
The additional Green candidates are:
Addiscombe West: Joe Hague, Tracey Hague, Esther Sutton
Broad Green: Tim Watson, Amber Weatherspoon
Fairfield: Takudzwa Chideme, Alex Gwilt-Cox
Selhurst: Catherine Graham, Matthew Lucas
South Norwood: Marcus Boyle, Tariq Salim, Hania Wisskirchen
Woodside: Lydia Regan
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