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.
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Last updated 22iii2022
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