When the local MP tells Parliament that Croydon has an image problem, then you know there must be something to it.
The launch of Inside Croydon coincided with Gavin Barwell, then the newly elected Member of Parliament for Croydon Central, making his maiden speech at the House of Commons on Wednesday evening, June 2, 2010.
In his (it has to be said, somewhat dull) eight-minute address, full of platitudes about Croydon geography and history, sounding suspiciously as if much had been copied straight from Wikipedia, Barwell, the chairman of governors at the £18,000 per year private Trinity School, assiduously toed his Conservative party line on education. No surprise there.
But there was one line from this professional Tory party politician’s speech which was certain to make headlines, and which is sure to be re-used forever in future, dragged up from the cuttings every time a hack newspaper columnist wants to make a point about chav culture, the Croydon facelift or life in the suburbs.
It is engraved in Hansard forever more.
“There is no getting away from the fact,” Barwell told Parliament, “that Croydon has an image problem – a reputation for rather unwelcoming 1960s architecture, and for crime and anti-social behaviour.”
Apart from the rather ham-fisted manner he managed to take a widespread opinion and pass it off as a “fact”, at least Barwell unwittingly did this site a favour, by summing up why we are here.
“If, to expose the fraud and imposition of monarchy, and every species of hereditary government — to lessen the oppression of taxes — to propose plans for the education of helpless infancy, and the comfortable support of the aged and distressed — to endeavour to conciliate Nations to each other — to extirpate the horrid practice of war — to promote universal peace, civilisation, and commerce — and to break the chains of political superstition, and raise degraded man to his proper rank — if these things be libellous, let me live the life of a Libeller, and let the name of LIBELLER be engraven on my tomb”
Thomas Paine, 1737-1809
The 2010 election was keenly fought and historic in many ways, especially so in Croydon’s three parliamentary constituencies and local council elections. Though not that you will have noticed if you relied on local ITV or BBC broadcasts, or even on the tired and dull Croydon Sadvertiser.
And if you turned to the blogosphere for your local news you would have got, well…. the Sadvertiser website or its freebie rival, the Croydon Guardian, offering coverage of the news and resulting issues which, frankly, is often puerile or patronising.
While other boroughs and towns have keen and active hyperlocals, Croydon did not.
Then we came along.
In its first five years, Inside Croydon was threatened with a libel action by a Tory peer, whose lawyers quickly abandoned that notion.
We’ve had late-at-night visits on behalf of a Conservative councillor, who also hired one of the most expensive firms of lawyers in London. We did not back down. The individual concerned is now an ex-councillor.
And we’ve received multiple threats from a Labour MP, too, in an attempt to gag us from publishing the truth. Once again, we held our ground, always based on hard evidence.
We also helped launch the campaign to Save the David Lean Cinema, we revealed the secret sale of the Riesco china collection, we exposed the £24million scandal of the Bridge to Nowhere at East Croydon Station, provided in-depth coverage of the #WadGate affair at the Town Hall and since 2014 have delivered a 24-hour live blogs on local and General Elections.
We have also been at the forefront of the coverage of the wretched collapse of Croydon Council, from the launch of Brick by Brick, the Fairfield Halls fiasco, the damning Ofsted report on the council’s children’s services and, of course, the financial crash of the council in 2020.
Meanwhile, other publications have made their journalists redundant and abandoned their coverage of the area, and its politics.
And all through that time we have provided a platform for an eclectic and varied range of views and opinions about living life on the fringes of London.
This site has become an evolving mass of news, views and information about where you live and work that we attempt to make interesting, stimulating and which offers a real voice in your community, so often missing from council events or the established mainstream media.
Inside Croydon is interested in everything related to life inside Croydon: music, theatre, education, football, crime and policing, traffic, housing and planning, cricket … The list is endless.
- Consider Inside Croydon a wayfinder towards some activity you might want to become involved with this weekend. So if you have an event to publicise, send us the details at email@example.com.
- Consider Inside Croydon as a lightning rod for the issues that affect you, your family and your colleagues. If you have issues with your bin collections, noisy neighbours or dodgy parking, email us with your story. We can publicise your plight and get the attention of your councillors.
- Consider Inside Croydon to be an ever-watchful observer of life in and around Croydon, keeping tabs on our local political “servants”, their actions and their expenses.
Make sure you comment on what is posted here, and please do send to us the news, announcements, and event details from your neighbourhood, your street, your school, your choir, residents’ association or drama group, your sports club or your evening class.
Let Croydon know what matters to you, inside Croydon.
- You can comment on any of the stories already posted on the blog
- You can write your own article
- Send us your pictures of Croydon life
- Or you can suggest a subject for an article
- Follow and contact us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/insidecroydon
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can post a comment on any of the stories on this website.
You will need a WordPress log-in.
We will not accept anonymous postings or comments from anyone using an obviously false email identity (although in cases where a commenter wishes to maintain some confidentiality, we may withhold the name of a poster or source, but we insist on knowing that person’s identity).
By having a comment section, we provide all readers with an immediate “right of reply”, something which is not an option in traditional newspapers.
We welcome comments from all sections of society, and of varied opinion. Debate – by its very definition – requires disagreement. So we will always welcome divergent views and we encourage people to express where they agree and disagree with others.
But do not confuse the notion of “freedom of speech” with some misguided idea that you can write anything without responsibility – you cannot.
Inside Croydon, as publishers of this site, carry the responsibility for what is published.
Comments don’t appear until they have been moderated.
We will not allow comments that are abusive, defamatory, racist or sexist. Or palpably untrue.
We will not publish comments which are deemed gratuitous or threatening, and reserve the right to ban those who make such comments.
All comments are subject to editing.
We believe that all comments should seek to add value to the original post. So in order to encourage discussion in an environment that is welcoming and inclusive, we will remove consistently off-topic remarks and personal or routinely negative or derogatory attacks.
Comments left should be considered published under the Creative Commons licence.
We look forward to hearing from you.
See our Comments Policy above.
Inside Croydon aims to report robustly, but always accurately and fairly.
If you think that you spot a mistake in a story, you can post a comment or email the Editor at email@example.com and it will be fixed as soon as possible.
If you think you have a more serious concern, here is Inside Croydon’s complaints procedure.
Please get in touch at the above address, following the steps outlined in the procedure, and we’ll try to resolve the issue.
Last updated 22iii2022
- Inside Croydon is a member of the Independent Community News Network
- Inside Croydon is the borough’s only independent news source, and still based in the heart of Croydon
- 1.4 MILLION PAGE VIEWS IN 2017
- ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS 2017: Inside Croydon was source for two award-winning nominations in Private Eye magazine’s annual celebration of civic cock-ups
- If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or a local event to publicise, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org