I took a look at Thornton Heath, once a salubrious district of small time furriers and bank clerks, insurance agents and district nurses. Thornton Heath never quite made the big time, but it was a decent respectable neighbourhood.
Things have changed around those parts. Even the outgoing Labour MP Malcolm Wicks, lives behind bars, such is the crime rate in the area. I never thought I would find a picture of an MP behind bars. Such luck.
The local paper, the Croydon Advertiser doesn’t seem to have run a list of candidates yet, not that I could find. However, I found one here.
Malcom Wicks is standing again, in what is surely a safe seat for Labour with a comfortable 13,888 majority.
The Conservative candidate, Jason Hadden, inherits a 2005 figure of 9667 votes so has a lot of catching up to do. The LibDem candidate, Gerry Jerome, is a Sutton councillor who has moved across into a different local newspapers region…..why?
Then we have the UKIP candidate, 21 year old Jonathon Serter, about whom little is known beyond the fact that he believes that only UKIP by taking us out of the EU can offer worthwhile job opportunities – his biography on the UKIP site doesn’t state whether Jonathon has ever held a job or whether he is holding out for the chance of being an MP. At the tender age of 21, being an MP would seem to hold out more possibility of being a decent job than waiting for UKIP to get us out of the EU.
The Green candidate, Shasha Khan held out more interesting possibilities. He has been active in the area for many years, and stood in the constituency in 2005.
He was described in glowing terms in the East London Lines Blog.
Shasha Khan’s reflective cycling jacket beams in the sunlight, creating a yellow aura around him. In a suit his inquisitive manner and searching brown eyes would make him intimidating but dressed in Hi Vis and a sensible khaki sweater he immediately puts you at ease.
However, Shasha’s ambitions are not solely centred on success in the General Election; he also has his eyes on the local election, for, as he says:
“He would earn £11,880 per year. He says that he could live on this, although he would be reliant on his wife. “My wife is great and really supportive and recognises that this is in me and that I need to try and do it. Maybe I need to go and have my head examined!”
Plan ‘B’ then Shasha?
The council election means that for the first time, Shasha is perhaps the closest he has been to getting a fulltime job in which his passion to make a difference can actually pay the bills.
Seems what we have here is two candidates who are looking on the election as a job interview.
Living on very little money is nothing new to Shasha. Being thoroughly Green, he cycles everywhere, and recycles everything else, as he peddles his Green manifesto from door to door.
Which is why he arrived in Malvern Road last Wednesday. Intending to knock on every door, informing the householders of the benefits of going Green, and the dangers ever present from council incinerators, but mindful of the 30% of the ward who are ‘economically inactive’ as they say these days, and the 1 in a 100 chance you have of being the victim of a crime in Thornton Heath, worse odds than Croydon, which is saying something, he carefully chained his trusty bike to the lamppost thoughtfully provided by Croydon Borough Council.
Alas, alack, he had moved no further than 10 doors away from his green mount, when one of those 30% economically inactive decided that the Gary Fisher bike was a sight to take home with him. Snip, snip, and the bike was racing off down the road with a new owner.
Now he has to continue canvassing with his Dad’s car – which must have increased his carbon footprint 100 fold.
It’s a hard life being a committed Green after a job in Thornton Heath.