Are you local? Tories seek distance from party-goer Boris

Conservatives in Croydon, hungry for power, are beginning to see the Prime Minister as an electoral liability. By political editor WALTER CRONXITE

Not a pretty sight: Croydon’s Tories are getting touchy over their national party

With election day in one month’s time, Croydon Conservatives, having been first to pick their Mayoral candidate and the quickest to name all their ward council candidates, are now running weeks behind Labour in publishing their manifesto – their promises to the public for the next four years.

But the candidate declarations, which closed this week, make something absolutely clear: Jason Perry and the brains trust running the Croydon Tories’ campaign are deeply embarrassed by bumbling Boris Johnson, Rishi Sunak and their law-breaking, philandering, tax-dodging, party-going national party colleagues at Westminster.

Every one of the Tories’ 70 candidates standing for election across Croydon’s 28 wards on May 5 will be described on the ballot papers next month as “Local Conservatives”.

The message is clear: we ain’t nuffink to do with the shambles who are filling out questionnaires from Scotland Yard in between supposedly running the country.

Local Conservative: Boris Johnson’s partygate has scandalised the nation

But that might not be enough to distance Croydon’s Tories from the country’s Benny Hill-like premier at a time of rising stealth taxes and soaring inflation.

Given the complete clusterfuck that has been the Labour-run Town Hall in Croydon over the last few years, the Conservatives really ought to be a shoo-in come May 5.

But across London, the Conservatives have been polling by as much as 30per cent behind Labour, suggesting that in any borough other than Croydon the Tories are facing an electoral meltdown next month.

Clearly, the nightmare of Newman and his numpties is not considered enough to scare Croydon voters into lending their support to another bunch of serial incompetents and shysters, and hence the prefix “Local” has been added to their candidates’ descriptions.

Tories in neighbouring boroughs such as Bromley and Lambeth are not pulling any such superficial stunt. They still appear as “The Conservative Party candidate”.

However, the “Local Conservatives” in next-door Sutton, where they fancy Ruth Dombey’s FibDems’ citadel is beginning to crumble, clearly agree with their Croydon colleagues that they also need to distance themselves from a national party which is divided over the on-going disaster that is Brexit, the response to covid and the cost of living crisis.

Local Conservatives: Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murthy, who lives at No11 but is a non-dom for tax avoidance purposes

With a deeply dull candidate for Mayor in Perry and the continuing scandals breaking in and around Downing Street, the “Local Conservatives” here appear anxious that they need, in some way, to demonstrate some perceived difference with their lot at Westminster.

Which is something that will only create further difficulties for them in the coming weeks when rule-breaking Chris Philp or other Tory MPs turn up for the next round of egregious photo-ops and mutual back-slapping in the run-up to polling day.

In that respect, Labour have already been wheeling out what they must regard as their “big guns”, though their MPs’ visits have been done almost entirely as visible support of Mayoral candidate Val Shawcross, and not so much for the tired old re-treads from Tony Newman’s disastrous Town Hall cabinet that bankrupted the borough, some of whom still think they can be re-elected.

MPs Ellie Reeves (who?), Tooting’s Dr Rosena Allin-Khan (straight after a mercy mission to Ukraine) and Blairite flag-bearer Wes Streeting have all done a turn in Croydon, albeit in front of noticeably small turn-outs of party loyalists.

There is one theory doing the rounds in Katharine Street that Jason Perry is delaying the publication of the Conservatives’ Croydon manifesto to avoid his being questioned on its substance at the election hustings, which are coming up thick and fast in the coming week, with one organised by DEMOC in Park Hill this evening.

Local Conservative: MP Chris Philp, recently accused of breaking parliamentary rules

Perry has already been badly caught out over his conflicting and contradictory positions over efforts to reduce air pollution and his absolute opposition to a cycle lane in South Croydon.

“I confirm my commitment to improving our local air quality in this climate emergency, because it is of national and local importance to take the urgent actions necessary to improve our environment in Croydon,” Perry said on his campaign website. “This means tackling air pollution, as well as moving towards ending our reliance on non-renewable energy sources.”

A day later, Perry was backing a data-scraping petition opposing a move which would improve “local air quality” (there’s that word again) as well as “moving towards ending … reliance on non-renewable energy sources”. Perry’s petition drummed up prejudice against a cycle lane.

Of course, the big question Perry continues to dodge is around how he intends to manage his own, full-time personal business interests, as a plastic window frame salesman, and the more-than-full-time demands of running the council as its Mayor.

Unanswered questions: the Tories’ ‘local’ schtick won’t fool all the voters

The supplementary to that question, of course, is the one about why he is on the ballot paper in South Croydon ward for re-election as a councillor. The rules won’t allow someone to be Mayor and a councillor.

So either Perry doesn’t rate his own chances of victory as Mayor at all, or he’s prepared to impose unnecessary costs of £20,000 on the “local” Council Tax-payers for the staging of an immediate ward by-election to find a replacement for him as a councillor.

Given that Perry voted through the two Labour council budgets that led to the borough going bankrupt, it probably won’t be the only blatant contradictory position adopted by any of the politicians, local or otherwise, that we are going to hear in the next four weeks.

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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
This entry was posted in 2022 council elections, 2022 Croydon Mayor election, Bromley Council, Chris Philp MP, Croydon South, Ellie Reeves MP, Jason Perry, Lambeth Council, South Croydon, Sutton Council, Tony Newman, Val Shawcross and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Are you local? Tories seek distance from party-goer Boris

  1. jackgriffin1933 says:

    I’m beginning to think it’s all irrelevant.

    With the exception of Labour marginals – Addiscombe East, New Addington South possibly – does anyone really believe that there are sufficient floating voters are out there to create the swing necessary to wrest control of Croydon Council from Labour?

    Does anyone honestly believe that, in the privacy of the voting booth, the esteemed editor of this organ is going to vote anything but Labour?

    Does anyone honestly believe that, in the privacy of the voting booth, that Peter Underwood or, say, Esther Sutton are going to vote anything but Green?

    Even tactically, just to change the regime this time?

    Of course not. Sadly, most will still vote with their tribes.

    They certainly aren’t going to vote Conservative: the only party – whether you hate them or not, however useless or not – with the critical mass to displace Newman’s numpties.

    OK: so we’ll get a (Labour or independent-but-Labour-really) mayor but, as IC has oft said, that’s a just a bit less shit, no matter who wins.

    Pelling, now positioned as Good Labour, will be too deep into the finances – surely the number one priority now – to immediately worry about planning; and while Shawcross may have recently come out in defence of the Whitgift Estate, I’m not convinced she’s as anti-developer as DEMOC supporters would like.

    Thus the party-aligned obduracy we see from so many will likely return Labour again, and we’ll get more of the same old, same old, but smugger (“You see – they voted us in again”).

    I’m no instinctive Tory, but remember folks: the fact is that any local vote for Labour, or any party that can’t take control of the borough, is effectively an endorsement of this useless shower and is to be complicit in the ongoing and future shambles.

    • And a vote for the “Local Conservatives” is effectively an endorsement of a corrupt lying law-breaking two-faced racist clown and his stuck up pals, whose buffoonery over Covid has cost thousands of people their lives.

      • Jackgriffin1933 says:

        And that is the problem/ paradox of local elections vs. General Elections Arfur. Do you vote locally based on an opinion of national government, or on direct local needs and issues, regardless of party?

        I’m all in favour of using local elections to hand out punishment beatings to central government.

        But in our case it’s our Local Authority – our Labour Local Authority – that needs a punishment beating too. As do, to an extent, our local Labour MPs who are either complicit in (Reed), or silent/ in denial (Jones) about, this shitshow.

        Save your enmity for Boris and his stuck up pals for the General Election – when it matters nationally – Arfur and give the local numpties the whack they deserve.

        Otherwise it’s just ‘whataboutery’!

    • Peter Underwood says:

      You get two votes for mayor so your first choice should be for the person you think would be the best mayor. If you want to vote negatively to keep someone or some party out, then that is for your second vote.

      I’m meeting lots of people who don’t want to vote Labour because of the Council and don’t want to vote Conservative because of the Government. They are voting Green because they know we can be relied on to work for the good of Croydon. Green politicians are not told what to do by our party (unlike the other parties) so every elected Green is effectively an independent and our focus is working for the people who elect us.

      From my experience, I honestly do believe that there are enough floating voters to change who runs Croydon. That’s why I am asking everyone to put me as their first choice for Mayor for a fresh Green start for Croydon.

      • Jackgriffin1933 says:

        Fair points Peter, well made.

        However, I think people are overestimating the amount of change that can be wrought by the new mayor, especially if the main council remains under a single political control.

        We need a change in council control regardless. Good luck to you in the mayorals, but I can’t see the Greens in OC, much less a Lab-Green coalition, much much less a Con-Green one.

        A bit like the Conservatives need to lose the next General Election to lose their Bojo and regain their mojo, local Labour fans need to sit on their hands this time round to remind local Labour councillors in whose interest they are supposed to act.

        FWIW: I shall probably vote Pelling then Shawcross for mayor.

    • Gavin FL Palmer Independent candidate for Mayor of Croydon says:

      All is not yet lost.
      The winner is going to come from either a Labour positive or Conservative leaning vote.
      Thats were the voters leanings come from.

      To be frank neither the LibDems nor the Green Party, good candidates that they are have ever had any chance of getting a majority or mayoralty unless in a grand coalition with previous councillors because

      1) their policies are already well known for decades. So you are voting for a party not the person
      2) They are known to attract minor numbers of votes in every first past the post election because its the top two/three that win from previous polling.
      3) Its is used for people signalling their support for what their policies say rather than conviction that they will win or
      4) a protest vote in disgust with both main political parties.

      If voters vote for either party as first or second preference then one of the mayor party candidates will win the mayoralty because of the large number of second preference votes having got to the second round.
      .
      However if both Mayoral votes are for independent candidates when both mayor parties miss out on their entire vote as either first or second.

      Only an independent unaligned Mayor is likely to be able to cause the reform of both political parties.

      Tackling the behind the scenes enforcers of the party line and whipping compliance with typical requirements to do or die loyalty to party leader rules. An independent Mayor would have cabinet colleagues from both main parties without favouring rank or age.

      The corrosive 2 party culture that has grown has allowed both parties, when in absolute power , to cover up misdemeanours by controlling the Scrutiny committee chair, then commanding and controlling of civil servant appointees to thwart adversaries or benefit the current administration. Typically involving long notice periods to give 18months post firing work free bonuses it seems to me.

      I only want to sort out Croydon Council bring order, transparency, openness to clean it up, remove the dodgy contracts, payments, flush the cess pit of Brick by Bricks operations and attitudes. One term should be enough then I can hand over to the next Mayor a Council with proper check and balances and controls.

      That is unlikely to happen when a superior Mayor has a party to cover up misdemeanour, fraud, nepotism, corruption and multiple breaches of the civil service code.

      At the hustings last night in St Matthews church, where I once attended as a Cub Scout, out of my deep respect for Gerry Meredith Smith, leader of DEMOC ,who I have known for 20+ years, I took my prime reserved place in the front row, as my fifth place once reserved for me was given to newly Independent candidate Andrew Pelling Gerrys friend with a big name. Andrew had discreetly attended the Croydon Constitutionalists hustings in Clyde Road I attended so he would know Im more than a challenge.

      Andrew Pelling missed the Thornton Heath hustings when I wiped the floor of the other four candidates in both policies, detail, my integrity and loyalty to Croydon, family history, directness and life long accomplishments to cause good governance and expose corruption.

      Peter and Richard would make good independent cabinet members and scrutiny members for sure.
      However Why should we in Croydon pander to national party standings which are not relevant in a local election for Mayor in Croydon? Thus excluding independent candidates that have won first time Mayoral elections like myself.

      Disruption. My website postings etc have been delayed as my assistant had her laptop, bank cards and her personal mobile stolen in Croydon requiring cancellation of also several of my bank cards causing a big problem with domain names, websites, emails, twitter, instagram etc. Stuff happens.

      • It must have been a very deep and mucky barrel that Croydon Tories scraped when they picked you to to fight for them in Woodside. They definitely dodged a bullet when you decided to instead stand as an independent candidate for Mayor. You make Creatura look modest and gifted

      • John Cartwright says:

        “Wiped the floor”? What a vacuous load of self-important deluded dribble. I am struggling to work out which of the three minor candidates is most bombastic in their over-inflated pomposity and unaware of their own complete irrelevance.

        • By the “three minor candidates”, Johnny, you obviously mean Palmer, His Excellency Winston McKenzie (we really though he’d defected to your old party, the Monster Raving Loonies) and that charisma-bypass plastic window salesman.

          • John Cartwright says:

            The third of the minor candidates is Farah London of the Taking The Piss Party (who is so important that she awarded herself a meaningless “Pride of Croydon” trophy a few days ago). To be fair, it is the TTIP party as a collective, and not she as an individual, that is self-important and pompous.

  2. Sally Clear says:

    I think everyone is embarrassed by Boris. He is self obsessed and shit at being PM. He sees the Ukraine conflict as a vehicle to reinvent himself – hideous to watch.

    However – I would like do know what each of the candidates say about scrapping Planning Guidance Document SPD2 – this is the document that allows small developers to irrevocably ruin our borough.

    Is Inside Croydon going to do a hustings or similar event where the above question can be asked.

    Many people I know who voted for having a mayoral election did so because of the huge disappointment and distrust in Heather Cheesbrough’s planning department.

    My next question would be how can we go about getting Katherine Kerswell removed from office in Croydon – she was handed the full time job far to quickly and many now realise is not suitable for the post.

    • We decided some time ago not to get involved with the circus of hustings, Sally. We’ve got limited (very limited) resources, and prefer to use them to do what we hope we do best.

      Hustings are quite a formulaic, stilted and, sad to say, dated way of political involvement, and they have a tendency to be attended only by party activists and party hacks, and a handful of politically active individuals, some with their own, personal and often questionable agendas. There’s plenty of hustings already being organised: most will be attended by all the same old faces.

      We’ll be reporting on last night’s event later today, but we are already aware of one candidate who is pledging to sack Heather Cheesbrough if elected, and to remove Kerswell, whose CEO’s position (and juicy salary) would be made redundant by having a full-time, executive Mayor.

    • jackgriffin1933 says:

      As I’ve written elsewhere on IC, SDP2 is in part only a local manifestation of H2 ‘Small Sites’ and other elements of the London Plan from the Mayor of London’s office (March 2021).

      Croydon has been set a minimum target of 6,410 completions on Small Sites (less than 0.25ha) with a presumption that these are delivered by small- to medium-sized builders.

      They are also to be focussed in the hinterlands around stations and should get “permission in principle”.

      So in the absence of SDP2 and even with a new mayor, the odds are that we will see continuing activity on this front, especially proximate to ALL our stations – even in the leafier bits.

      Purley etc also can’t expect special protections because the London Plan also states in relation to Small Sites: “Boroughs should recognise in their Development Plans that local character evolves over time and will need to change in appropriate locations to accommodate additional housing on small sites”.

      I used to be quite hung up about the planning issues in Croydon, but now see it as inevitable and actually beneficial (the right kind of developments – family houses – at least); but now think the finances are the most important concern right now.

  3. Frank Ward says:

    Wonderful analysis, agree with everything but the conclusion. I too despair of our political parties but suggest the best outcome might be to have an Independent mayor and a good number of Green councillors to try to keep everyone honest.

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