#VoteVidhi – Are Croydon Conservatives scraping the pork-barrel?

By - Wednesday 9th July, 2014

Jonny Rose, the scourge of Croydon’s political class, turns his ironic gaze on the Conservatives’ new candidate for Croydon North

Dead meat.
Photo by Thomas Bjørkan, used under Creative Commons licence.

A recent FOI request has suggested that Croydon Conservative councillor, Vidhi Mohan, has been instrumental in allocating a majority of the Mayor’s Regeneration Fund to his own council ward of Fairfield.

An examination of the document shows that nearly twice as many projects were funded in Fairfield ward than any other ward in the borough with the total amount allocated numbering over half of the entire fund – £12million.

Congratulations, then, are surely in order for what seems to me to be one of the most impressive examples of ‘pork-barrel politics’ in Croydon history.

Pork-barrel politics?

The term pork-barrel politics refers to when government funds are spent to benefit a particular politician’s constituents.

The general idea is that if a representative’s district is given a big new project that ends up bringing in a substantial amount of money to the area, then the politician will be ‘repaid’ through votes and campaign contributions.

The practise of pork-barrel politics is almost entirely associated with US politicians (for some sublimely ridiculous examples of ‘pork’, go here). However, it is not unheard of in the United Kingdom. Most notably, two Tory MPs in 1996 sought to withdraw support for the then-Conservative government unless means were found to keep their local A&E open (spoiler alert: they were).

The Mayor’s Regeneration Fund and the £12 million question

Talk to anyone living north of the borough and you’ll hear the need is always the same: investment.

For too long, the perception has been that there are ‘Two Croydons’; with South and a majority of Central enjoying the fruits of local government largesse, while North Croydon has been largely neglected.

This divide was almost certainly exacerbated by the 2011 riots with North Croydon (and London Road, in particular), experiencing the lion’s share of damage.

Following the unprecedented disturbances across London, the Mayor announced £70 million towards major long term improvements to the damaged town centres and high streets. The fund is focused both on the areas which were worst affected, and where there is “potential to drive growth and prosperity”. Croydon received a grant from the Mayor’s Regeneration Fund of £23 million, plus more than £26 million of match funding from Croydon Council and others through the Connected Croydon programme. The investment ostensibly focuses on improvements to Croydon’s streets, squares and open spaces, and on supporting new and existing businesses.

Mohan – as (then) acting Council member for Economic Development – was in charge of meting out these funds, yet three years later and many of the shop-owners and residents of London Road continue to wait for funds they believe are rightfully theirs (whether they are correct in this belief is another debate for another day).

The politician Croydon North needs – #VoteVidhi2015

That said, the announcement that Vidhi Mohan has been chosen to become the Conservative parliamentary candidate should be welcome news for ‘our friends in the north’.

Whatever you think of the Conservative candidate, he has a good track record of delivering on projects, is an excellent spokesperson for Croydon, and has been a good-humoured participant in the Town Hall meetings.

It’s clear he has done what’s best for the people of Fairfield. Should the good people of Broad Green Village and its environs vote him in, I have every confidence Mohan will extend the same magnanimity to them, too.

Furthermore, Mohan’s seeming dalliance with pork-barrel politics promises to bring some much needed US-style glamour to Election 2015 – a welcome breath of fresh air compared to the deathly-boring skirmish across the border.

Croydon North doesn’t just need an MP that will ‘speak up for it’, but also one that can make sure it gets the investment it deserves.

The brutal fact is: if there is any constituency that could use a politician that is adept at pork-barreling – it’s Croydon North.

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose

Jonny Rose is a committed Christian who has lived in the Croydon area for nearly twenty years. He is an active participant in his local community, serving at Grace Vineyard Church and organising Purley Breakfast Club, and was ranked "Croydon's 37th most powerful person" by the Croydon Advertiser (much to his amusement). He is the Head of Content at marketing technology company Idio, the founder of the Croydon Tech City movement, a LinkedIn coach, and creator of Croydon's first fashion label, Croydon Vs The World. Working on Instagram training. Views are his own, but it would be best for all concerned if you shared them. Please send your fanmail to: jonnyrose1 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  • Anne Giles

    Interesting idea.

  • Y Bachgen





    • http://idioplatform.com/ Jonny Rose

      YES WE CAN.

      • Y Bachgen

        Croydon’s very own “Contract with America”?!

    • Guest

      Stupid boy

  • Y Bachgen

    For the record, I think this is a great piece of satire and folks should lighten up.

    I can’t believe ANYONE thinks Jonny is actually condoning the pork barrel approach that Vidhi so blatantly pursued.

    • bieneosa

      Yes, it’s a blatant ribbing of Vidhi and his candidacy for Croydon North given
      the impact of his pork-barrel politics on said area. I do wonder why the official Croydon Conservatives twitter handle tweeted a link to this article and why Gavin Barwell’s assistant tweeted that this article is a ‘seal of approval’ for Vidhi? One valid conclusion is that Vidhi’s selection is seen as a joke by his peers.

      • Guest

        I think this speaks volumes!

        • http://idioplatform.com/ Jonny Rose

          Lengthy screengrabs are the preserve of psychotic obsessives. Behave yourself X

          • Stephen Giles

            And they are getting worse by the day.

      • Stephen Giles

        After the inside croydon medal are we???

        • bieneosa

          If you disagree with my comments, at least come back with a valid argument that one can debate in a mature fashion. This is just an Eastenders-style rant with no rhyme or reason.

      • Stephen Giles

        And nobody sees you as a joke???

        • bieneosa

          Clearly you are lacking in cojones otherwise you would be willing to step out the shadows, relieve yourself of the ‘guest’ avatar and present yourself to the world.

          • Stephen Giles

            Why are you writing “bollocks” in Spanish on a site that the public read?

          • http://idioplatform.com/ Jonny Rose

            Please, Stephen – this is a family newspaper. At least have the decency to use asterisks when you write “b*llocks”.

          • Stephen Giles

            No way, Bieneosa should not have used that Spanish word in a family newspaper, hardly “mature”. If she deletes her post, then I will delete mine.

          • ArfurTowcrate

            If Self-Righteous of Selsdon did that, then all you’d see is ****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

      • Stephen Giles

        Don’t agree.

      • Stephen Giles

        Oh, I hadn’t realised you were now working for Inside Croydon!

        • bieneosa

          News to me too! As per my comment to ‘Guest’, if you disagree with my comments, at least come back with a valid argument that one can debate in a mature fashion.

          • Stephen Giles

            No, I’m my own man and I say what I think – as you well know – ref Argentine Ambassadortrix!!!

    • http://idioplatform.com/ Jonny Rose

      I weep for the future.