How Wandsworth Council is recycling failed councillors

2 mins read

Author: Cyril Richert

Wandsworth Conservatives - Not Delivering for You posters (original on
Wandsworth Conservatives – original photo on

On Thursday 9th November, John Locker was elected councillor in the safe Tory ward of Thamesfield (I always remember what a Society member told me a while ago: “if the Tory party was putting a monkey up for election in that ward, he would get elected“). The name might ring a bell as John Locker was ousted from Bedford ward at the last local election in 2014, where Labour’s Rosena Allin-Khan and Fleur Anderson were elected. That is how Wandsworth Tory party is thanking obedient Tory councillors, by making sure they find a safe place where they can stay with a pretence of power.

While you might believe that your local Conservative councillors would have some weight to Cllrs Govindia, Cook, Senior, and the rest of the cabinet’s decisions, to defend their ward residents over unsound decisions, the reality shows that they have none. A good Wandsworth Tory councillor, likely to be saved from an election defeat, is barely allowed to make minor ripples on prominent local issues.

Why are they not rebelling then (if they disagree with the Council they could become independent)? Because they are power-thirsty and ambitious, and get the hope to play a role in the Tory Council of Wandsworth. If you want to see a good example of that, just talk to a Putney Society member of their former chair, Steffy Sutters, who was “appointed” Tory Councillor in 2010 (safe ward) and promoted to cabinet in 2014 as chief whip and with responsibility for communications…! [1]

Within a few years Wandsworth Council will have managed to transform York Road into a vast building site promising a forest of new towers and skyscrapers, without any concern to the pressure it will cause to the local amenities.

Even Network Rail acknowledged that Clapham Junction Station is congested and running over capacity. If Wandsworth Council is concerned, it still remains to be seen. In any case they are not prepared to act upon it: in reality their policy on permitted developments is only rubbing salt into the wound.

Are they listening to local residents, the people who actually live there? Yes, they listen, to spot where the irritating “noise” comes from so they can later close their ears and ignore the local community, because “they know better!

[1] “There are two kinds of politicians: insiders and outsiders. The outsiders prioritize their freedom to speak their version of the truth. The price of their freedom is that they are ignored by the insiders, who make the important decisions. The insiders, for their parts, follow a sacrosanct rule: never turn against other insiders and never talk to outsiders about what insiders say or do. Their reward? Access to inside information and a chance, though no guarantee, of influencing powerful people and outcomes.” – Larry Summers, seventy-first secretary of the United States Treasury and twenty-seventh president of Harvard (quoted in Adults In The Room by Yanis Varoufakis)

If you want to see more of the last public meeting organised by the Clapham Junction Action Group, it’s >> HERE.


Did you like reading this article? Help us write more!

Clapham Junction Insider (formerly known as the CJAG website) has been publishing local news for over 14 years and remains committed to providing information about the local community and engaging in public interest journalism.

Our goal is to feature a wide range of community campaigns and initiatives, local societies, charities based in the area, fundraising efforts by residents, and provide assistance to residents.

We have always been dedicated to these endeavours and have no intention of changing. In fact, we would like to expand our efforts further.

Until recently, all the stories, analyses, and reports published have been made possible with the invaluable help of many volunteers. However, it requires a significant amount of time and effort, and we are frustrated that we cannot do more. There are numerous topics we would like to cover, but we require financial resources to provide regular information.

Therefore, we kindly ask our readers to consider offering financial support to sustain these efforts. Any contributions made will help support community and public interest news, as well as the expansion of our coverage in this area.

2 ways of supporting our project

Do you think what we are doing is helping the community and you want to encourage us to do more? We have set up two ways of supporting our project:

  1. Paypal: For one-off contributions, you can just use your bank card. However if you wish to encourage and support us regularly with a small amount, you will need a Paypal account to set up a monthly subscription. Click here to donate.
  2. Patreon: this is a well-known membership platform that connects content creators with supporters. Mainly, it offers financial tools that let supporters subscribe to projects that give creators a predictable income stream as they continue to create content. Click here to subscribe and support us regularly.

If you do support us in this way we'd be interested to hear what kind of articles you would like to see more of on the site – send your suggestions to the editor.

CJI editor and Clapham Junction Action Group co-founder and coordinator since 2008, Cyril has lived in Clapham Junction since 2001.
He is also funder and CEO of Habilis-Digital Ltd, a digital agency creating and managing websites and Internet solutions.