‘Scum’, ‘louts’, ‘oddballs’: what Tories really think of Croydon

Meet Keith.

This is Keith: he thinks Croydon is ‘full of scum’

Keith likes nothing better than sitting at the wheel of a top-end Porsche sports car.

Keith is a member of a Croydon Tories’ Whatsapp group.

Keith describes himself as “a bit of a cocky lump”.

Keith thinks Croydon is “full of scum”.

And his mate, Norman, another local Tory and a leading light in a large residents’ association, says that Croydon is “full of louts”.

It is nearly eight years since the Conservatives controlled Croydon Town Hall. They are clearly confident of winning back control of the bankrupt borough next May.

It is unlikely that any of their councillors or candidates would ever let slip in public such disdainful and contemptuous views of the people they are elected to serve (though, of course, it is not entirely impossible).

But scratch the surface of a Croydon Tory, and all too often their true feelings about Croydon and its diverse communities emerge.

The people posting these unpleasant attitudes should not be surprised to see them being reported here.

They were warned: Ben Gadsby’s prediction

One member of the Whatsapp group, Ben Gadsby, who recently made Croydon Tories’ shortlist for candidates to run for the borough’s firsst elected mayor, showed mature and perspicacious judgement when he noted, in reply to fellow commenter Norman Young.

He wrote, “I rather fear screenshots of these conversations sent to Inside Croydon won’t be taken as a wind up. And there are 156 people in this group, I suspect Norman many won’t know you well enough to know this either.”

Another group member, William Perry – understood to be the son of Jason Perry, the leader of the Tory opposition group at the Town Hall – also offered a reasoned approach.

“Comments like these about our residents from our members make me ashamed to be a Croydon Conservative,” wrote Perry.

“I’m a proud Croydonian and won’t let anyone tell me otherwise.”

‘Scum’: Tory Keith makes his views very clear

Which is fine, as far as it goes.

But Croydon Tories have a well-deserved reputation for receiving reports of bigoted and racist views, and doing nothing about it. It is almost as if they tolerate racists and bigots among their ranks.

Anne Piles, the Sage of Selsdon (as she’d like you to believe), thought there was nothing wrong with her posting her racist views on social media, including use of the “N” word about her house cleaner. A one-time committee member of the Croydon Conservative Federation, Giles remains a staunch Croydon Tories member today, unsanctioned, unexpelled.

Anne Piles: Croydon Tories have never acted against such overt racism expressed by one of their prominent members

Then there’s the proverbial bad penny Peter Morgan, with a wide range of unpleasant and racist views, almost one for every occasion, who has in his time been readmitted to the Conservative Party and has often attended Croydon South MP’s Chris Philp’s street stall in Purley. It appears Morgan is closer to having the endorsement of his MP than his condemnation.

The examples of Piles and Morgan are, we must hope, merely the extremes.

But their uncontrolled outpourings have offered an insight into the often unsavoury thoughts of rank and file Croydon Tories. As does the weekend’s Whatsapp exchange.

Recognise this ‘cocky lump’? The resemblance to Keith is uncanny

Responding to a thread about the (dilapidated) state of Croydon town centre, the Porsche-loving but barely literate Keith (we have his mobile number, but unfortunately not his surname), wrote, “My main reason to no go croydon [sic] is it’s [sic] crap parking, feels full of scum and it’s actually dangerous… So much attitude and confrontation.”

On a recent visit to a town centre pub to watch some televised sport, Keith says he felt afraid. “Walking through the night time economy felt well and I’m a bit of a cocky lump and up for an argument, not often I feel unsafe…

“Used to go “out” a lot in central croydon [sic] early 2000’s [sic] but it feels like a different place now.”

Inside Croydon has only been sent an incomplete thread (perhaps to help disguise the source). The next Keith comment appears to be in response to another member criticising his choice of language.

Having dug a hole, Keith keeps digging.

“Yeah perhaps the wrong choice of word but oddballs and people hanging about up to no good… I don’t know how to correctly address them!”

‘Group of louts’: Norman Young is a prominent member of the HOME residents’ association

At this point Young, a prominent member of the HOME residents’ group in Addiscombe, pipes up: “The correct word now is Croydonian. Not sure what we are now that we don’t fall into that group of louts (that often).”

When Perry took issue with this, Young tried to brush off the remarks as a bit of Tory joshing.

“Do try to remember that sometimes we like to wind people up, making a bit of a joke, even though the underlying source may have some truth,” Young wrote.

All a bit of a joke: how one local Tory tried to brush off their questionable remarks

“Don’t forget that there are still quite a few of us in this group who have been around a bit longer than you know what it used to be like here.

“Croydon could be the best place on Earth, and it could be if the increasing number of louts isn’t reduced and other bad things stop happening.”

Of course, not all Croydon Tories will hold such repugnant views of their neighbours and fellow Croydon residents. Indeed, the exchange demonstrates that some are prepared to challenge such opinions when they are aired publicly.

The question remains, though, whether the leadership of Croydon Tories is capable of taking appropriate action against such arrogant undercurrents.

Clearly some, such as the source of this material, believe that it needs to be shared publicly to force the hands of Croydon Tories’ leadership.

“Keep up the good work,” the source wrote to iC.

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About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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19 Responses to ‘Scum’, ‘louts’, ‘oddballs’: what Tories really think of Croydon

  1. Hope the Croydon Conservative party suspend or kick these individuals out.

  2. Christopher Myers says:

    Gosh this is not the type of selective stuff I expected to read on IC. I hope you’ll now wade through the social media swamp for crass comments from Labour members

  3. Ian Kierans says:

    Interestingly as noted in the article, it was a source that brought this to IC attention. Not sure were the wading through social media occurs?

    Maybe there is a source that can collate crass comments from Labour members, hmmm –
    Oh wait – does not some of the Cabinet, Council, Councillors and Party officials not already do that all by themselves? And strangely the members are the ones stating this is not Party policy nor equitable? Kind of a reversal there.

    Clearly by the replies the Conservative party are already going tsk tsk to those self proclaimed retired louts.

    Personally I have not noticed much difference or reduction in the loutish behaviors in either the north or the south. In fact I am finding this spreading to the administration and their contractors also.

    Seems it is open season for most to inflict loutish behavior on residents especially those vulnerable. I do recall my tutors saying years ago that behavior begets behavior. Or was it turn the other cheek? -perhaps both!

  4. Lewis White says:

    A Halloween-tide Dream……..

    Time : Sometime in the future
    Scene: The historic gilded-ceilinged and marble-pillared Mayor’s Chamber at Croydon Municipal Offices, in the new Surrey County Borough of Croydon

    Action: a new Mayor is dealing out the positions in the new Kitchen cabinet.

    Annie, yes, how does it feel to be Chair of the new “Ethnic minority focus group”, on £150k a year ?

    Norm, d’you fancy taking the Cabinet Member role for Community inclusion and valuing people? £162k do ??

    And Keith, do you see yourself as “Strategic Chair of Transportation and Air quality” ?
    With responsibility for LTN review, honorary title “Cycle Lane Czar” all at £165 k a year, plus a Porshe (non electric) and car allowance (unlimited mileage within Borough, payable at 90 p a mile) thrown in to make it worth your while.

    Yes? Great!. The Dream Team ! R we red E for action ! Yes yes yes !

  5. Anthony Miller says:

    “My main reason to no go croydon [sic] is it’s [sic] crap parking, feels full of scum and it’s actually dangerous… So much attitude and confrontation.”

    Keith’s got a point. With the Whitgift Centre a semi-ghost town and George’s Walk closed off for the Nestle dimantlement, central Croydon often feels like a ghost town or a product of dystopian fiction. Add Covid on top and there’s a very strange atmosphere. The cheapest place to park is the Whitgift pay and display which is now public because only an insane CEO would want their office above the Whitgift ghost monument but you get what you pay for – it is so worn in each bay you can see where decades of tyres have eroded the tarmac through to the concrete. Allders remains unused as it was CPOed for a project that never happened. The most regular visitors to the south end of the Whitgift Centre are buckets to catch the rain water. The Fairfield Halls is an arts centre with no one to staff the foyer during the day and with no parking. Open spaces such as College Green are walled off by hoardings even though the Council hasn’t managed to flog them off in its fire sales. The Croydon Park Hotel is now a ghost monument. Boxpark bustles with cheap lager instead of people going to the long demolished theatre…. but at least that’s one of the few commercial successes. Centrale is becoming like the Whitgift. North End is increasing a bleak wind tunnel. Its not just the shops dissappearing, lots of banks too have deserted the public spaces leaving even more empty units. I never thought it possible but these days there’s more life and sense of a community atmosphere round Valley Park. It’s all gone horribly wrong.

    • You’ve missed the point, Anthony.

    • Angus Hewlett says:

      The slow-motion collapse of chain retail is happening everywhere, even rich suburbs like Wandsworth are suffering much the same fate (have you been to the Arndale recently?). Less wealthy places like Elephant and Castle have had their shopping centres outright demolished. Kingston seems to be doing well, but at the expense of other town centres, even Richmond has empty units now. Brixton is a mixture of old-school independents, and pop-ups selling eye-wateringly expensive beer and noodles to the gentrification crowd.

      When the pandemic arrived, the transition to a more service- & experience-based local economy was at best paused, and at worst seriously damaged.. there’s just too much square footage in Whitgift and Centrale relative to the amount of economic activity they can actually support. Into the vacuum step the dubious likes of Gravity and Flip Out.

      On the positive side – Surrey Street, Church Road and the northern end of the High Street still feel lively and friendly, much more so than Valley Park. North End gets pretty busy when they bring stalls in for events, as seems to be happening more regularly now.

      I’m optimistic that as all the new flats (and there are thousands at various stages of construction) start to become occupied, there will be more people around to spend a bit of money in the local economy. There’s a raft of positive goings-on among independent businesses: the street food stalls on Surrey Street, Ludoquist reopening, several high quality cafes (Crushed Bean, Triple Two, Earthy Coffee)… the days of big box retail and “shopping”-as-leisure-activity are over; the highwater mark of that culture was decades ago – the movie Mallrats came out in 1995!

      The dinosaurs are dead, long live the mammals – but even I’ll admit they’ve still got a bit of evolving to do.

  6. I think Keith might be a bit of a fantasist. It looks like his picture was taken in a Porsche Showroom car park. Keith probably drives his mum’s car.

  7. B says:

    The Tory s are Just a disgrace and I hope none of their candidates win .

  8. Angus Hewlett says:

    “I’m a bit of a cocky lump and up for an argument”

    And he’s the one calling other people louts and oddballs?


    Same kind of human being that thinks not being able to refer to “birds” any more is “political correctness gone mad”.

    Pot, meet kettle.

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