Our Free Speech event, My tuppenceworth, on Tuesday 19th November gave lots of people the opportunity to speak. One of those speeches came from Mike Swadling, we have reproduced the text below.
My tuppencyworth sets out to prove what former House of Representatives Speaker Tip O’Neill said “all Politics is local”.
For I would like to talk to you about a Democratically Elected Mayor of Croydon.
Now don’t let the title fool you, this merely reflects the title
given in the legislation.
An elected mayor replaces the current council leader, and wow
does that leader need replacing.
First some facts about the borough.
- If Croydon was a city it would be the 8th
largest in the UK with over 385,000 people.
- Over 14,000 businesses are based in Croydon.
- At an average salary of just over £29,000 we earn
about £5,000 more than the UK average.
This numbers hide some huge disparities.
The London Borough of Croydon, was formed in 1965 from the
Coulsdon and Purley Urban District and the County Borough of Croydon.
It is really 2 or 3 distinct areas thrown together as part of
the Greater London sprawl.
The 60 bus coming into Norbury, travels through the typical
inner London communities of Thornton Heath and Broad Green.
Croydon and South Croydon are more typical outer London
Then somewhere travelling down from Purley the area turns
into rural Surrey as the bus passes and eventually climbs the North Downs into Old
Those differences exemplify why we need a mayor.
Today reflecting these differences, Croydon has a
Conservative strong hold to the south, a Labour strong hold to the north. With swing seats in Parliament and on the Council
in the centre.
The parties focus overwhelmingly on the swing wards, and
frankly they admit this themselves.
But it gets worse….
The leader of the council is selected by the councillors of
the winning party. This could be just 21
votes from councillors, all in safe seats.
This is compounded by over half the councillors being granted
special allowances for additional roles, often given to them by the same leader
they have just appointed.
An elected mayor will be for voted by all of the people of
If they want to win election, and re-election they will need
to win substantial numbers of votes from, and represent all of the borough.
We want an executive head we can vote for, someone to drive
the town forward, and someone to blame.
Even in this illustrious group, few here will know who at the
council is responsible for the potholes that litter the town, or who has
responsibility for our 120 parks and open spaces.
Who do we hold accountable for the Children’s Services that
continues to be rated as Inadequate by Ofsted?
With a Mayor we know who is responsible and who to hold accountable
– it is, the Mayor.
We have a campaign.
It is the only show in town to improve the way Croydon is
We are formed by, and have support from many local residents
We also have support from the Conservatives, Croydon South
Labour, The Brexit Party, the Libertarian party and the Christen Peoples
We need 15,000 signatures and we can then put it to the people. If you are a Croydon resident sign the petition and give the people of Croydon a free choice.