The Mayor of Croydon was elected a year ago on a promise to bring to account those responsible for bankrupting the borough. Tomorrow night he will attend a Town Hall ceremony where one of Newman’s Numpties will be handed an award for ‘exceptional’ service. By WALTER CRONXITE
It was only a few months ago when Croydon Conservatives were leafleting residents telling the story of financial “mistakes” in the last two years of the Labour-run council – the years after the departure of the discredited Tony Newman, when he had been replaced as leader by Hamida Ali.
Tomorrow night in the Town Hall Chamber, those very same Conservatives, including Mayor Jason Perry, will confer on Hamida Ali a special civic award for her “service”.
Ali will be made an honorary alderwoman/person (delete to taste). This will be granted to Ali under exceptional circumstances, because she only served as a councillor for eight years, from 2014 until she stood down in May 2022.
Throughout that time, Ali was a councillor for Woodside, where her ward colleagues were Newman and his best mate, Paul Scott. Newman promoted Ali to his cabinet very early in her council career, too, so that she was in his inner circle for the majority of the period where the council crashed the finances, eventually to be accused of “corporate collective blindness”.
In order to become an alderman/alderwoman/alderperson (delete to taste), it would normally require at least 12 years’ service on the council – considerably more than that provided by former councillor Ali. But under elected Mayor Perry, Ali has been promoted to the civic honour “exceptionally”.
According to the council constitution, being granted this honour exceptionally is allowed only if in the opinion of the council, the person has “rendered eminent services to the council as past members [meaning councillors],” this being granted “by a resolution passed by not less than two-thirds of the members voting”.
There are 33 Conservative councillors on Croydon Council, plus Mayor Perry, who also gets a vote in such matters. That gives the Tories 48per cent of the votes, more than enough to block an award for “exceptional” service if they wanted to.
Which just goes to show that while, in public, our local red-blue duopoly politicians might appear to be in constant conflict, once they get away from the gaze of the webcast cameras, and into the snug confines of the Mayor’s Parlour, perhaps with a glass of tax-payer funded sweet sherry in their hands, it’s all very clubbable as they look after one another’s interests.
Ali took over as council leader from Newman in October 2020, as the full horrors of the financial crisis she had helped to create were only beginning to unravel.
The Conservatives have accused the Labour-run council under Ali’s leadership of a deceit of budgeting a non-existent £10million more for parking income, using estimates that her team “knew were totally unrealistic”.
Financial promises were made by Ali and her crisis cabinet that were “impossible to deliver”, from Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ income, too.
The local Tories also pointed out how Ali’s Labour administration let the Fairfield Halls fiasco run up costs of nearly £70million – more than double the original budget.
Another £70million was taken from the Housing Revenue Account, which is supposed to be reserved for council tenants’ needs, but used on other spending by Labour, the Tory leaflet said.
It was all these extra financial hits to the council finances when Ali was in charge that led to Mayor Perry asking the government to let them be the first ever British local council to default on their debt.
Yet Ali still gets one of the highest honours that the council can award, effectively a pat on the back from her political pals, for “eminent service” measured in hundreds of millions, and all paid for by Croydon residents.
And irony of irony, Council Tax-paying residents are specifically not invited to tomorrow’s Trumptonesque annual council meeting.
It’s generous of Croydon Tories to be so forgiving, but it’s all at the cost of Mayor Perry’s 15per cent Council Tax hike.
Read more: Perry admits he can’t take action against council’s bankrupters
Read more: MP calls for misconduct charges against ex-councillor Hall
Read more: Penn Report wanted police probe into possible misconduct
Read more: Cover-ups and denial over Brick by Brick failure
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Do we have any idea what was ‘exceptional’. If not, can we not find out.
As implicit in the report, Cllr Ali was exceptional in her complicity
I shall enter!
Simply more evidence that Croydon needs to ditch the failed Conservative and Labour cartel.
Surely the award is linked to her fantastic performance on TV and subsequent lack of action with regards to the Regina Road housing scandal. She became famous overnight or was that infamous?
Didn’t she “apologise” for Regina Road? Isn’t that exceptional enough for Croydon?
This has long been the Croydon Council way. It has long been irrelevant making the distinction of these two groupings into party politics and more relevant to judge them by their actions of the last decade. They are all one big happy party who have brought complete disaster to Croydon.
Enoch Powell was wrong about a lot of things, including when he wrote “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.”
That’s because not all political lives fail, especially those from Croydon.
Barwell ended up in the Lords, like so many other has-beens. Croydon’s answer to The Simpsons’ Barney has been given a new job in the Shadow Cabinet. And now Comical Ali is being made an Alderwoman.
Would it not be proper to invite Jo Negrini and the Colm Lacey for a Darwin Award – how to lead, dispense of and sneak out the back door with wads of cash handed to them.
Yet the award be that of the “great escape” & “washing of hands”.
Mr Perry you are the court jester , the Blackadder of Croydon. Long may you serve! Many crimes are committed on streets yet BBB and Fishers Folly there were a plenty with blind eyes order of the day.
Realistically, they could not nominated for the Darwin Awards as they have not removed themselves from the Human gene pool.
Perhaps a more apt term would be to nominate one for creating a new exceptional species of political ineptitude and silence or just humanity/inhumanity – or vice versa?
sham – Ali NOT deserving of an award. Not a natural leader.