Ageing rocker WALTER CRONXITE reports on how one Croydon South election candidate is adding a bit of art to the campaign
Two Labour musicians are coming to support Labour’s Sarah Jones’ re-election campaign on Sunday.
This Croydon version of the Magical Mystery Tour features Kevin Brennan, from the parliamentary rock band MP4, and award-winning recording engineer Olga FitzRoy, Labour’s candidate in Croydon South, whose first job was working in Sir George Martin’s recording studios.
Brennan, the sometime MP for Cardiff West, is the shadow minister for Arts and Heritage. More importantly, he is part of MP4, who through their recordings have raised more than £1million for charity.
FitzRoy has worked with some of the world’s biggest bands, including Coldplay, Muse and Foo Fighters. This week, she expressed the ambition, if elected, to provide the backing vocals to Brennan and MP4.
As regards to her political ambitions, FitzRoy has been reaching out to Croydon South’s Remain voters. She is a committed Remainer who backs a second referendum and says that she will campaign for Remain.
FitzRoy is standing for election against Tory Chris Philp, who in 2017 had a 11,000-vote majority, and she is tackling the Conservative’s careerist desertion of his belief head on, stating in her latest election literature that Philp “dropped his Remain principles the moment he was offered a job by Boris Johnson”.
Unusually for some recent Labour candidates, FitzRoy has been actively campaigning out and about in Croydon South, though on Sunday she and Brennan will be visiting the Croydon Central constituency.
Sarah Jones was elected in 2017, beating Tory incumbent Gavin Barwell by 5,000 votes. Keeping Jones in her seat is Croydon Labour’s priority while keeping Labour in second place and whittling away at Philp’s majority is the best FitzRoy can probably hope for in Croydon South. La
bour outpaced the Liberal Democrats in 2017 by 21,928 votes to 3,541, which has prompted FitzRoy to urge Remain-supporting LibDemmers to vote for her to have any chance of unseating Brexit-backing Philp.
Labour’s campaign session on Sunday will take place awkwardly close to the Fairfield Halls, which re-opened in September after a refurbishment which ran more than a year late and cost at least £11million over budget – though Croydon punters are at a loss to see where all the money has been spent.
A planned café at the Fairfield Halls is only just ready to open this weekend, while local arts groups have been told there is nowhere for them to exhibit their paintings in the complex, and where tonight’s big, live concert in the newly configured “Wreck” performance space has been cancelled.
While knocking on doors around Croydon Central, will Labour’s arts spokesperson Brennan face awkward questions from residents about the unfinished and incomplete refurbishment project, and just where the council’s Brick by Brick company has spent all that £41 million? Certainly, the Labour council is refusing to answer questions on this sensitive subject.
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