For the first time ever, Croydon is under No Overall Control. Croydon has a Conservative executive Mayor Jason Perry who will be wielding a tremendous amount of power. However, we think that Jason Perry is very aware of the narrowness of his majority and knows that is an unwise mayor who doesn’t at least try to get the full council on side with his or her plans.
Being the mayor of a borough the size of Croydon with its nearly 400,000 residents means that Croydon’s new mayor is going to be getting a lot of lobbying over the next four years, not just from the elected councillors, but also from residents, businesses and pressure groups.
Having a council with no one party holding a majority means that with numerous interests in competing for what promises to be very tight resources Croydon as a town is going to have to learn how to sort out problems and make decisions without resorting to unpleasantness which has been the case the past few years. Despite what we read in the papers, it may be the first time that this has happened in Croydon, but No Overall Control is a fairly normal way to run a council and many do, for years on end. What is now needed from Croydon councillors is professionalism, discipline and a some good will and as was said by Fr. Sam Dennis from St Lukes a couple of weeks back The CRO agrees that our new Council needs to ‘hear testimony, look for common self-interest, assume good faith whilst still applying tension’.
In the past few days we have ample evidence of candidates and councillors with genuine respect and even affection for each other that crosses the party lines. Maybe Croydon can draw from the shared experience of a truly gruelling count progress to work together over the coming months.
The CRO also hopes that Mayor Jason will be choosing his cabinet with an eye to the political makeup of the Council and is looking forward to hearing announcements on that..
There is a lot of work to be done and seeing how Croydon copes with this unprecedented situation of the new Mayor and a Council where interests and coalitions may shift will be very telling. But the goal must be thoughtful co-operation.
The CRO is willing to do its best. As an observer and commentators on all thing Croydon, we want to play it cool and stay positive. It’s tempting sometimes to jump online and let off a bit of steam, maybe write some things that are unkind or cynical. The CRO will be reminding itself that there is often two sides to a story and counting to 10 before hitting the send button.