Those who suspected that next week’s Fairfield council by-election might turn out to be… well, a bit rubbish, have been proved right.
A pile of dumped Tory leaflets were discovered in the town centre last week, slowly turning to mush in the heavy downpours after they had been discarded on the pavement, undelivered.
And meanwhile, the faltering Liberal Democrat campaign has been delivering leaflets on behalf of their candidate to the wrong addresses in the wrong part of the borough, to residents who won’t get to vote in the Fairfield by-election on November 7.
On discovering the pile of discarded and unwanted Tory leaflets, at least one enterprising resident took the opportunity to report the fly-tip, identifying Mario Creatura as the culprit.
For while 20-year-old single mum Jayde Edwards is registered as the Conservative candidate in the Fairfield by-election which is being held a week on Thursday, it is no secret that Creatura, the sometime Downing Street special adviser, has been pulling the strings on the campaign as a means of promoting his own attempt to be elected as the MP for Croydon Central.
Fly-tipping, of course, is a criminal offence which can result in penalties amounting to thousands of pounds. So much for any Tory promises to clean-up Croydon’s streets.
To add insult to injury, the dumped Tory leaflets have effectively been paid for by the borough’s Council Tax-payers.
Funding for much of the local Tory and Labour Party campaigns is drawn from contributions paid out of the council allowances paid to the borough’s 70 councillors. In the past year, Croydon Council paid £1.6million in allowances to our elected councillors, at least 10 per cent of which was handed over immediately to the local Tory and Labour parties – a public subsidy to those two parties in Croydon of around £160,000.
The LibDems, with no councillors, receive no such public subsidy in Croydon.
Which makes their small band of activists’ delivery rounds to households outside Fairfield ward all the more wasteful.
Homes in streets bordering the election area have been receiving leaflets on behalf of candidate Andrew Rendle. The misdirected deliveries show quite how out-of-touch Croydon’s LibDems really are.
The leaflets are straight out of the LibDem playbook of electoral deception, complete with a dodgy graph which shows that their party came second in Croydon Central in the Euro elections held earlier this year, and passing this off as fact.
The fact is that no one knows exactly how the public voted in Croydon Central earlier this year, because no count was taken in that particular electoral area (European election constituencies are far broader). Any reasonable estimation of LibDem voting strength in central Croydon would have them at around 13 per cent. Rendle’s deceptive leaflet tries to claim 22 per cent support, intimating that he has some chance of winning the council seat.
Rendle’s leaflet makes other dodgy claims, and lies by omission.
Under headlines that say, “Elect a new voice” and “Hold Labour to account”, the leaflet says, “Andrew considers helping you as the most important role for a councillor and [sic] is the most experienced candidate in this election… helping thousands of constituents for MPs,” the FibDems say.
Of course, Rendle is anything but a “new voice”, and he has a long track record of doing anything but holding Croydon Labour to account.
The truth is that until 18 months ago, Rendle was a Labour councillor, doing anything and everything that Labour council leader Tony Newman demanded of him, with never so much as a peep of criticism of his council leadership. And then he failed to be re-selected by Labour for the May 2018 council elections.
And as for what Rendle considers to be the “most important role for a councillor”, during his time on the council, as Croydon’s “Autism Champion”, Rendle went for nine months without calling a single meeting of the borough’s autism board, because he was too busy helping himself (trying to get re-selected by Labour).
The by-election has been called because of the controversial resignation of sitting Labour councillor Niro Sirisena, whose conduct is now subject to a police investigation.
It has given the local Tories the opportunity to mobilise a large number of enthusiastic members of the cult-like SPAC Nation church. Edwards claimed that at the weekend she had 250 people out supporting her campaign, which may seem overstated, though it is clear that the Tories’ ground campaign has many more activists engaged than Labour’s feeble support for their candidate, Caragh Skipper.
Edwards tweeted yesterday, “250 young people who stereotypically would never have an interest in politics flooded the streets to engage with the amazing residents in Fairfield.”
Let’s hope that this time round, Creatura managed to make sure they all took their rubbish home with them or disposed of it responsibly…
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