WALTER CRONXITE on the South Croydon ward by-election result
A by-election in South Croydon ward that should never have needed to be staged (except for Jason Perry wanting to cover his own arse in case he didn’t win the mayoralty), with a Labour candidate imposed on that party’s membership despite a shockingly bad performance in the local elections in May, and with the “alternative” vote split three ways, managed to return a Conservative councillor at a time when the Tory government is entwined ever deeper in a mire of sleaze, lies and incompetence.
Oh, and the other matter which was entirely predictable was that the turn-out was a pitiful 25per cent.
Clearly, not only are the voters of Croydon not yet ready to forgive Labour for bankrupting the borough, they also can’t be arsed to drag themselves to put a cross in a box twice in two months just to satisfy the egos of vain, third-rate local politicians.
Danielle Denton, from Pollards Hill, who at the start of this year was not even a member of the Conservative Party, thus becomes the 33rd Tory councillor in Croydon. And the Tories remain only the second largest group at the Town Hall.
None of which makes the slightest bit of difference, because Tory Mayor Perry rules supreme, not even delegating any powers to senior members of his own party.
Estate agent Denton, no doubt, will now spend the next four years collecting her £11,000 annual council allowances and saying very little. Today, she said nothing when she had the opportunity after being declared the winner of the by-election.
One (minor) surprise, though, was the speed with which this particular Croydon vote count was conducted, after the trauma of the long weekend in May endured by so many at the hands of Returning Officer Katherine Kerswell. Conducted in the Braithwaite Hall next to the Town Hall – so no expensive private school hire fees for the Mayor to pay out of his salary – the 3,000 or so ballots cast were all counted and the declaration made within two hours.
The state of the parties
How the Town Hall seats stand after Thursday’s South Croydon by-election
Denton was elected with the less-than-resounding support of just 10.5per cent of South Croydon voters.
In May, Ben Taylor produced Labour’s worst election result in the history of Croydon as a London borough. This time, Coulsdon resident Taylor managed to do worse still: he got fewer than a thousand votes, representing just 6.6per cent of the electorate.
Indeed, there was a swing from Labour to the Tories compared to the local election result on May 5, with Denton getting 42.8per cent, compared to 40.8per cent less than two months ago.
With Labour’s London party officials imposing a candidate, ignoring its members and abandoning the trio who had run a decent-enough campaign in a target ward in May, their vote share was down from 29.4per cent to just 26.9per cent.
But in a by-election where 3-in-4 voters preferred not to take part, the only real lesson to take from South Croydon this week is that the overwhelming majority of the public really has lost trust in their local politicians.
Read more: Tiverton. Wakefield. Can South Croydon be an election shock?
Read more: No Overall Control: full election results for Croydon’s 28 wards
Read more: Tory Perry wins historic Mayor election by less than 600 votes
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Confirmation that local democracy is broken. But who cares coz west is in terminal decline and a war is coming our way.
I wasn’t notified about this so I didn’t vote
If you don’t mind me asking, where in South Croydon do you live? Because from what I witnessed, for all it’s worth, we had a very hard-working and thorough Labour Party team in South Croydon that endeavoured to comprehensively cover the entire ward over the last few weeks.
Agree about the effort but shame Ben Taylor lied about his address and the glossy letter Labour sent the day before the election had such a deliberately misleading graph though.
What happened to Bridget Galloway and the other two candidates who did better in the recent may elections?
Labour have never and can never win South Croydon because they cannot attract Tories to vote for them even with our cowardly lying Prime Minister and the most morally and financially bankrupt Government in history!
This is extremely disappointing.
I’ll probably receive criticism here for my opinions, but I’ve rarely seen a by-election council candidate work as hard as Ben Taylor, nor a team so committed and enthusiastic as the volunteers who rallied behind him over the last month or so. And whilst, Labour most certainly isn’t entitled to Green and Lib Dem votes, it is worth pointing out to anyone who wanted to send Boris Johnson/the Tories a message, that had the 448 LD votes and the 269 Green votes gone to Labour, Ben would have beaten the Tory candidate by 232 votes. So, the upshot is that the electorate has given more validation to Perry, including his financially wasteful decision to hedge his bets by standing for both the mayoralty and in his South Croydon council seat.
Anyway, I know I’m simply pointing out the obvious here, but I feel compelled to comment as someone who saw first-hand how hard Ben and his team worked, and am thus thoroughly disappointed that his deserving efforts didn’t pay off.
Have you forgotten about the Newman, Butler and Scott “reign of terror”, and incompetence? The voters are not mugs. It will take a long time for Labour to erase the memory of the damage caused to the borough by the entitled Blairites.
Financially wasteful for Mayor Perry who is paying for the cost of this election from his Mayoral salary,
I hope that’s true but I’ve yet to see proof that he has done so.
Apologies if I don’t accept his word for it.
If you want to restore trust in politics you need to provide hard evidence.
It was very noticeable how the conversations changed during this by-election campaign.
Early on, when it felt like I was the only candidate going out knocking on doors, I met quite a lot of people who said that they normally vote Conservative but would consider voting Green this time.
As the campaign went on this changed to people saying that they would have considered voting Green but this time they had to vote Conservative to make sure that Labour didn’t win.
This change was no doubt brought about by the messages spread by Labour (and the Conservatives) that Labour thought they might win. It is clear that in this area, and I would suggest across most of South Croydon, the Labour brand is more toxic than the Conservative one. People are more scared of Labour winning than anything else.
So I would like to say to all of those people who claim that their main aim is to ‘get the Tories out’ or ‘send Boris Johnson a message’, you need to get Labour to stand down and ask people who normally vote Labour to vote for a different party, not the other way round.
Good analysis by Peter. For the betterment of Croydon’s governance Labour needs to be replaced as the alternative party to the Conservatives.
The failure of the two Labour MPs to intervene as their party crashed the council’s finances will be an issue in the upcoming General Election. Instead they campaigned against reform of how Croydon council is run.
More specifically it is the toxicity of Tony Newman and Paul Scott that has repulsed voters. These two fuckers have done so much to harm Croydon and their decisions continues to do so.
Don’t forget Alison Butler.
On second thoughts, do
I do like Peters thoughts and Andrews points are also valid, but honestly Susan summed it up in the fewest words and that is the reality and view of so many.
This view spreads not just about the three names (Thanks Arfur) but to others not named.
It sadly also extends to those that failed to speak or place party politic’s and dogma over actually representing people and their interests as they were elected to do.
It extends to the organs of administration that repeatedly fail the people of Croydon and those employed at senior level who protect their salaries and ignore their residents.
But Peter is right while there are voters that do not vote in such great numbers and cannot be bothered and come with the excuses that they are all the same then we will get the same.
And in South Croydon that is what has happened once again.
If Peter and the Green Party wish people to vote for them (and they do deserve for people to vote for them) it cannot be on others negatives alone – they should broaden their appeal and detail the policies to prove the issues in a way that sways more people.
Agree Ian. That’s why I questioned why the Greens’ leaflet was so vague (e.g. Peter “will work hard to make things better”) when their policies are so critical to our survival as a species.
Labour will never stand down anywhere though so we’re back where we started.
Lost trust or feel there is no point as Labour can never win this ward despite decades of trying?
It’s a loss of trust across the board, Martin. Only 10% of voters backed Denton – that’s no endorsement.
100% agree here. This is definitely no ringing endorsement of the Tories, but as per your other comment, another sign of the discontent many local voters, even those ordinarily sympathetic to Labour, have with local politicians of all stripes, including the previous council.
Agree it’s no endorsement. It’s astonishing that anyone trusts Labour after their recent disastrous failures here and even more shocking that Tories can still win so easily with our cowardly lying Prime Minister and the most morally and financially bankrupt Government in history!
Could any politician have fucked things for his local party more than Tony Newman?
Labour had it in the bag- majority rule on every council committee, the Tories relegated to watching on mutely.
And then Newman’s big mistake – going on holiday with Paul Scott to Benidorm and on their return allowing Scott to carry out a personal political vendetta every fortnight on the planning committee. The single most stupid thing Newman could have done – he invited the Tory masses in the South to seek a Mayoral election.
Why would Newman undertake this absolute act of self destruction unless he is delusional, completely thick or being advised by Steve Reed MP?
We now know it’s all three.
And it ended up with Newman and `Scott’s political careeers in tatters. It couldn’t have happened to two more self-serving pathetic little men.
What an epic fuck-up.
Outstanding analysis, Claire.
Fancy standing in for Walter Cronxite when he takes his sabbatical later this year?
Thanks Inside Croydon. I pride myself in cutting to the chase.
My husband tells me before COVID I never swore. Mind you, it’s not a symptom I’ve seen on the NHS site.
Strangely my wife says the same, she puts it down to having time to actually realise what most others recognised for some time. But I did find it on the NHS site it was under Tourretes syndrome, sadly though with only one symptom any diagnosis would be suspect
Tell Walter his sabbatical is not agreed as he is so desperately needed as matters get hotter and murkier than a demons orifice after a hot chilli meal!
Where is Walter Cronxite off to?!
There’s a rumour he’s been poached by Retch, because they are fed up of constantly having to play catch-up on his scoops.
Mr Hill is right to say that there was a huge Labour effort in this by-election. It is thus notable that despite all that effort that there is a swing away from Labour.
For there to be a swing away from Labour suggests that voters do not believe Labour have changed from the party that bankrupted the council and throws out whistle blowers. That would be an accurate voter perception.
The result suggests also that we are still in a honeymoon period for Mayor Perry and that Tory voters are content and supportive so far.
A better result last time also came from having a very good candidate in Valerie Shawcross leading the Labour ticket.
The pretence that the Labour candidate’s address on Cane Hill is in South Croydon did not aid rebuilding trust in Croydon Labour.
It’s unfortunate that Ben hasn’t been elected. He’d have made a great councillor as opposed to the ‘paper candidate’ that has got in. I don’t think Perry’s honeymoon will last too long – his levelling up bids will doubtless fail, and there’s only so far grass-cutting will get you with the disadvantaged youth of Croydon.
These are tough times for Croydon Labour for sure – though I haven’t been encouraged about the road back. Develop a narrative about the concentration of executive power and the inauspicious start for Perry and communicate that through all channels. And show a bit of contrition about the part and point to the good people in the Council who actually know what they’re doing and should be untainted from Newman’s reign. Scrutiny is – as it should always have been – everything.
The disadvantaged youth of Croydon don’t vote.
Soon there will be more participation in this comment section than at the election, where the final official turnout figure as published by the returning officer is 24.54%.
If the same swings occurred in a uniform fashion across all wards the result in council seats would have been Cons 35 Lab 34 LD 1.