Fresh from his support of the march against knife crime through Croydon last Friday, and the weekend demonstration in London against the Policing & Crime Bill, Andrew Pelling, the Labour Councillor who supported Jeremy Corbyn as leader, is still waiting for a meeting with Croydon Labour’s Campaign Forum to review its decision to rescind his selection for Waddon Ward.
A very diverse a group of people who are appalled by the LCF decision have formed an exploratory committee to look at whether he should run as an independent Putting Croydon First candidate for Mayor and for Waddon ward. There is also a petition to re-instate Andrew.
His offence has been to talk to a web based media editor about Labour Group, Party and Council affairs. Yet he has has not had the Labour whip withdrawn from him.
Born in1959 Andrew has a long track record in local Government and Parliament. He became Croydon Councillor in 1982, being Chair of Education in the late 80s and early 1990s. The Conservatives were defeated in 1994. From 2002 to 2005 he was Leader of the Tories on the Council and did not restand for the Council in 2006. He was elected to the London Assembly in 2000 and re-elected in 2004. He was a member of the London Development Agency, and chaired the GLA budget committee. In 2005 he won Croydon Central for the Tories with a majority of 75 votes. Following his arrest for alleged assault on his wife he had the Whip withdrawn, and continued to sit as an Independent until being defeated by the Tories in the 2010 General Election. There were no charges.
Subsequently joining the Labour Party he was elected to the Council in 2014 for Waddon ward. He seems never to have been trusted. Instead of using his knowledge in the Cabinet he was marginalised on the back benches. In 2017 he and Callton Young (now Cabinet member in charge of the finances) were removed from their committee roles. Andrew had proposed the need for legal advice over the issue of banning Bashment black music in the Town Centre’s night time economy. Callton voted with him, as did the Tories.
Andrew has a sense of mischief. His Twitter and Facebook accounts are an eclectic mix of items, mostly not politics. However his views can be discerned.
On 14 January he re-tweeted this 1941 quote of George Orwell posted by English Radical History:
“The British ruling class obviously could not admit to themselves that their usefulness was at an end. They had to feel themselves true patriots, even while they plundered their countrymen. Clearly there was only one escape for them – into stupidity.”
On 13 January he tweeted that single staircase tall buildings in Croydon should be retrofitted or new towers with 1 staircase refused, pointing out that Altitude 25 has only one staircase.
He also warns that the Policing Bill is ‘authoritarian nonsense’ and predicts that giving police powers for stop and search for carrying any article for a protest will be abused against minorities. He suggest that Croydon planning objectors are at risk.
‘Listening a good start but only takes Tories to starting line. How Cons will do things differently what voters deserve & need to be told before thinking of voting Tory. It’s insufficient just to shout at Labour re bankruptcy & offer no ideas.’ (Tweet)
‘Please, Croydon voters at the May 5th Mayoral and local council election day, give the Tory candidate a miss this time, even if you normally vote Conservative.
Local Tories aren’t toffs who treat people like us with contempt. Local Conservatives don’t even realise that that is what their party is at times. I forgot that myself at times when concentrating as a Croydon Conservative working with others like Gavin Barwell to try to make the local Conservatives relevant to a changing Croydon in its policies and in its candidates.
Sadly, Tory toffs at the top of their party look down their noses at us Croydonians and our Borough. I remember how David Cameron gave us 15 minutes at the Chateau Napoleon on his election tour for party leadership before dashing off to Sutton. His opening remark? A condescending observation about the Croydon facelift.
Conservatives are increasingly out of touch in London and in Croydon. They lost in Croydon overall by over 18,000 votes at General Election 2019. They can’t win here in the Mayoral Election. That’s one of the reasons bookies give them wide odds to win.
So not voting for their Mayoral candidate won’t matter and so, even if you do normally vote Conservative, you should look for other choices in May to encourage the Conservative party to change.
So give the Conservatives a miss till they change.’ (Facebook)
‘Labour has rescinded my Waddon ward candidacy after allegations of talking to Inside Croydon. I do talk to the press, that’s what politicians do. I am called for re-interview. Everyone knows the negative result already as other pro having a Mayor candidates are being removed. The chair of the referring body shows which way the wind is blowing by telling a negotiating third party that “This is not about justice, this is about Labour party rules” and that there is no guarantee it will be a no…..
For the Mayor it’s a supplementary vote system where you have a first preference and a second preference. So you can vote for the best individual candidate in your view and vote for a party with your second vote. It’s not like First Past the Post elections where independents can be seen as merely spoilers.
And this election is about choosing the best person for the job as almost all the power is with the elected Mayor chosen by all the people. In any case, the Mayor should report to you, the voter and resident, rather than to a party machine.’
In responses to this posting Ian Marvin says that he can understand why Pelling is considering standing, but does not ‘think there’s long enough to build an independent campaign at this stage. Objectively I guess you’ve be quite vulnerable to attack and negative campaigning.’ Chris Burling understands how he feels and advises him ‘not to conflate the Waddon issue with running for Mayor. You would be running a Potemkin campaign at best. I really think that you should discuss this with your ward.’ Lib Dem Gill Hickson warns that ‘Splitting the Mayor vote would risk the Tory getting in which would not be good. I can’t believe Labour are not letting you stand in Waddon when it’s one of the marginals they need to win. Personally I’d be happy to have you stand as a Lib Dem in Waddon’.
Hickson is wrong as it is not the Mayoral election is not first past the post system, but first and second preference.
Petition To Re-Instate Andrew