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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