Saturday 7 May 2022

Croydon Goes Bankrupt: The Sequel

The story so far:  in a series of stunning scandals and maladministration, a curiously non-ideological one-man Labour dictatorship in Croydon reduced the largest London borough to bankruptcy.  Considerable opprobrium lighted upon this individual, his crazy schemes and disgraceful neglect of residents; but Croydon looks demographically fairly safe for Labour, not least because Tory voters are fairly widely spread across the vast borough, whereas Labour votes are nicely concentrated geographically, sufficient to hold the council and 2 of the 3 parliamentary constituencies.

Meanwhile in Croydon South, the only constituency held by the Tories, the hyperactive and "creative" MP Chris Philp came up with a wizard wheeze to solve his perennial local problem.  The Labour council was forever approving planning applications his core voters hate.  So, reckoning that a borough-wide elected-mayoral system would be a lot less wasteful of Tory votes, and might conceivably come up with a Tory majority, he organised a campaign + referendum to switch to the executive mayoral system (the same system just cancelled by Bristol voters: these enthusiasms come and go).   Philp's Croydon referendum campaign, bitterly opposed by Labour - despite official Labour policy being in favour of elected mayors -  succeeded by a huge majority.  Hardly surprising: the Borough was by then bankrupt and the scandals had achieved unusually wide currency, local and national.


The Tories then selected their current leader - i.e. leader of the Minority on the council - as Mayoral candidate, simply on Buggin's Turn.  He's a nice enough chap (always the most damning thing you can say about a person) but has the charisma of a potato, and no more than the usual local profile enjoyed by a councillor, i.e. virtually zero outside his own patch.

Labour, having recovered their wits after the crushing referendum result, suddenly discovered they were, after all, in favour of elected mayors, and pulled a serious stroke by selecting a genuinely well-known and genuinely local candidate: career politician Valerie Shawcross.  She'd been Leader of the Council many years ago; a Deputy Mayor in the GLA for many subsequent years; has a superb grasp of London politics; is fairly moderate and well liked, as these things go; and has completely clean hands as regards the recent Croydon Labour scandals.  Her campaign (notable for a complete absence of the colour red!) was excellent and of course Boris is a gigantic ball-and-chain just now.  What made her prospects even better was that Mr Potato and the Tories ran a very poor campaign, with truly lame leaflets etc.

But she lost!  In an election-night count that went on for 36 hours(!), with recounts, the Tory won by less than 2%.  As they say around here, inability to count is what got Croydon in this mess in the first place ...

Philp's gamble, which must have seemed like a slam-dunk only a year ago, will have cost him some sleep over the past three weeks.  But it's come off.  Couldn't happen to a nicer chancer.

(Sorry, that's, errrr, chap )



dearieme said...

There's a Croydon in Cambridgeshire. People from there are always keen to emphasise that it's not the London Croydon.

Its WKPD entry includes such amusing trifles as "In 1086, about 28 peasants lived at Croydon."

Matt said...

Typical Tory thinking - I have a wizard wheeze but of course I won't think even one step further and consider the consequences of it. Because it's so clever (in my own mind) I won't even bother to make a decent hand of it.

Nick Drew said...

Can only agree, Matt

(& not just Tories)

UK politics is seriously amateurish, with the occasional Mandelsonian aberration. Too many strategists, not enough tacticians & executors

and the strategists are often very poor, too: Boy Obsorne is my favourite exemplar of this, also Gordon Brown

genuinely operating on the strategic plane, but no good at it

Don Cox said...

"UK politics is seriously amateurish"

Well, MPs, councillors, etc are supposed to be representatives of the people, not carefully selected superior beings. Democracy, not plutocracy or (worst of all) theocracy.

I would say that we have far too many trained politicians.


jim said...

Strategy is nothing without tactics.

There is the difficulty, any prat can dream up a strategy, implementing tactics is much more difficult, risky and poorly rewarded. So don't be an implementer. Which is the central difficulty with British politics - there really is a difficulty for every question that no one will own up to.

The place is too small, too crowded round the decent bits and not easy to find meaningful (taxable) work for all. And too many chiefs and not enough persons who can/will actually do something.

I am attending a planning appeal soon and will certainly not give my honest view. I have no doubt the other side will not give an honest view either and the inspector will be stuck between a rock and a hard place and the hypocrisy of HMG. Confucius and The Rectification of Names comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

I thought strategy was nothing without logistics…. or was that something happening elsewhere

andrew said...

"Which is the central difficulty with British politics"
It is the central difficulty with a lot of Britain.
Everyone wants to be an architect or analyst. Not very many want to be a programmer or plumber.

After 25 years in it i think i am just about competant as a systems architect.
Though most of my genius comes from asking "how will this work end to end. Demonstrate that. Now estimate how much it will cost to fill in the gaps"
Everyone seems to be too important to actually look. Everyone draws the parameters of the problem in a shape that they are comfortable providing a solutoon for.

andrew said...

Well the job title is systems architect though the job feels more akin to one of those people who clean up the fatbergs.

visc said...

Nick Drew - a little off topic but relevant to the ""UK politics is seriously amateurish" comment.

Finally got around to reading the Varoufakis account of being crushed as Fin Min of Greece. Great descriptions warts and all, poor/naïve policy suggestions

...Anyhow one of the thought threads was that as power moved to the unelected technocracy, (central banks/ Corps / NGOs), calibre of politicians went down in lockstep with their ability to shape things.
Is not our our own malaise of the political class merely a sign of this more macro trend...'post democracy' and all that. Fir example, why go into politics when what you really need to be is tech monopolist to change things?

E-K said...

Shame. I hale from Croydon. Raised in Mitcham, teenage in Waddon, educated in Croydon (construction) and brain and hearing addled in the Gun Tavern and the Cartoon... fed at The Real McCoy afterwards.

I was there a month or so ago for a close friends funeral (sorry, didn't have time to call in and wasn't in the mood anyway.)

I stayed in central Croydon and fully expected to be mugged or even stabbed. Instead I found nothing but friendliness and mainly from black people.

James Higham said...

I've been following this through Croydon Constitutionalist. Seemed inevitable.

Elby the Beserk said...

Spot on. As more and more "government", government has morphed into administration by quangos, NGOs and supranational bodies.

None elected
None accountable.

We're angry with the wrong people in reality; rather we should be hunting down the Gates and Schwabs of this world, and sticking very sharp pointy things into them where it hurts the most. Add to what I write above re elections and unaccountability, it does not help to have sociopaths running the show (that's you as well, Boris)

Don Cox said...

Gates began his career with a crime: he stole the cp/m DOS code and licensed it to IBM for use in their "toy" personal computers. There was a bit more sharp practice after that.

But he soon grew up and reformed, especially after his marriage. In recent decades, he seems to have done a great deal of good.

Mr Schwab seems to be a successful banker. What harm has he done to you, exactly ?


Timbo614 said...

@Don Cox
Gates did NOT steal any CP/M code He bought a CP/M look alike the was originally called QDOS ( Quick and Dirty Operating System) for $60,000. Added a few necessities and sold it to IBM as MS/PC-DOS.

Elby the Beserk said...

Don Cox said...
Gates began his career with a crime: he stole the cp/m DOS code and licensed it to IBM for use in their "toy" personal computers. There was a bit more sharp practice after that.

But he soon grew up and reformed, especially after his marriage. In recent decades, he seems to have done a great deal of good.

Mr Schwab seems to be a successful banker. What harm has he done to you, exactly ?


8:21 pm

Schwab? "You will own nothing, and be happy"? I don't recall ever voting for Schwab OR Gates to have any hold on UK policy? I guess you haven't heard about "The Great Reset", Don? Or that Gates' marriage ended as a result of his flights to Paedo Island with his buddy Epstein? Or what he did in Africa?

"Health officials administers polio vaccine to children at refugee camp in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Aug. 28, 2016 (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

This latest pharma-induced pandemic started out in the African countries of Chad and Sudan, with the culprit identified as vaccine-derived polio virus type 2.

Officials now fear this new dangerous strain could soon ‘jump continents,’ causing further deadly outbreaks around the world.

Shocking as it sounds, this Big Pharma debacle is not new. After spending some $16 billion over 30 years to eradicate polio, international health bodies have ‘accidentally’ reintroduced the disease to in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and also Iran, as the central Asia region was hit by a virulent strain of polio spawned by the a pharmaceutical vaccine. Also, in 2019, the government of Ethiopia ordered the destruction of 57,000 vials of type 2 oral polio vaccine (mOPV2) following a similar outbreak of vaccine-induced polio.

The WHO has specifically warned of this alarming trend happening in Pakistan.

The same incident has happened in India as well.

It’s important to note that the oral polio vaccine is being pushed by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), a consortium which is supported and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation."

Gates is a weirdo who got lucky and turned into a megalomaniac with huge pull over vaccine campaigns all over the world. Check his TED talks on such matter? He's actually very ignorant even on matters such as cell biology.

Anonymous said...

It's changed a bit since Betjeman wrote this, that's all I can say. In the 50s/60s, Croydon, like Bexley Heath and Ealing, was shorthand for lower-middle-class suburbia. I think George Melly described "a million Atcos whirring" on weekends.

In a house like that
Your Uncle Dick was born;
Satchel on back he walked to Whitgift
Every weekday morn.

Boys together in Coulsdon woodlands,
Bramble-berried and steep,
He and his pals would look for spadgers,
Buried deep.

The laurels are speckled in Marchmont Avenue
Just as they were before,
But the steps are dusty that still lead up to
Your Uncle Dick's front door.

Pear and apple in Croydon gardens
Bud and blossom and fall,
But your Uncle Dick has left his Croydon
Once for all.

Don Cox said...

So the basic objection to Bill Gates is that he supports vaccines. I can see that anti-vaxxers would loathe him.

I'm certainly very glad that I had the oral polio vaccine when I was at school: polio was a real menace in those days. But that was long before Bill Gates arrived.

I will take every vaccine that's on offer.

And I was born in Croydon. :-)


visc said...

Sorry to say Don that comment is both trite and obtuse with that comment.

In nothing in the earlier comment was "antivax" whatever that means these days.

The objection to Gates (apart from being paedophile of some sort- it indicates the twisted level of morals he holds.) is that:

His foundation pushes medical treatments that are both harmful, and misrepresented. This includes the killing and maiming thousand of children. (which is why the Gates foundation was thrown out of India regarding the polio shot.) It does not care only that it's monomania is assuaged.

Additionally the Foundation pushes only treatments it has decided are "good". This of course might not matter for example if it did not buy influence including with our own MHRA. Are you naive enough to pretend that money never influences decisions? I can be quite sure if a Russian (boo hiss) billionaire was giving £3m to a UK Govt agency this comment sections would be squealing at such buying of influence.

That apart the Gates Foundation then promotes treatments Gates has interests in, so this is 'philanthro-capitalism'.

Finally he doesn't believe in bodily autonomy and actively promotes against it. You go ahead and do whatever you want with your body, no one wants to prevent you as far as I can see.

So in the final analysis this gets down to Benn's 5 questions ...
What power have you got? Where did you get it from? In whose interests do you exercise it? To whom are you accountable? And how can we get rid of you?

Anonymous said...

"apart from being paedophile of some sort"

Let's be honest - or let's remember the sixth form - 17-18 year olds are pretty attractive, whether you're 18 or 58. Epstein's genius was to create an adult Magic Kingdom where anything could happen (like Steven Hawking in his wheelchair with a young woman "all over him like a rash"), and where - crucially - people could forget the critical faculties that in a dodgy bar might make you ask "why is this pretty young thing so interested in middle-aged me?" and set off alarms.

IMHO he was almost certainly involved in some kind of entrapment, probably Mossad-related, but I imagine he and Ghislaine were so good at their job that they didn't often need to be too explicit about the bargain.

Graeme said...

Does anyone know what "spadgers" means in Betjeman's poem?