Croydon South Labour candidate in the mix with Beyoncé and Adele

By Samuel Draper
December 10 2019, 10.35

Olga FitzRoy, Croydon South’s Labour candidate, is a name to listen out for after the BBC named her the 11th most powerful woman in music last year.

The grassroots activist who campaigned for equal rights for self-employed new parents was listed alongside Beyoncé and Adele by BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.

As a recording and mix engineer – responsible for combining the different sonic elements of recorded music into a finished product – she found success working with Coldplay and on the ‘Doctor Who’ score.

And now she plans to transfer skills like working long hours, handling male-dominated environments and people management into politics.

She said: “In recording studios, once you have the basic technical knowledge the rest is dealing with people, judging personalities, knowing when to speak up and when to let go. I’m also used to being adaptable with arrangements like childcare.”

Music is important in Croydon, the birthplace of vocal Labour supporter and grime artist Stormzy.

Ms FitzRoy said: “Stormzy is the man of the moment – he’s brilliant. He uses a female engineer, Manon Grandjean.”

Stormzy has not yet been in touch but Ms FitzRoy said she is happy to meet and chat.

Ms FitzRoy balances living in Streatham and parenting four-year-old Lucas whilst exploring Croydon South.

She said: “I was out with my son on Farthing Downs pretending it was a Gruffalo wood. It has some beautiful views.”

While campaigning, she has encountered people wishing to discuss Labour’s issues with anti-Semitism.

She said: “I’ve personally called for an independent complaints process so that racism, bullying and harassment complaints are properly dealt with.

“There are some really horrible racists that have unfortunately not been kicked out of the party and I think if we lead by example with something well-funded and properly resourced, other parties will have to follow suit.”

The Lib Dems have accused Labour of not campaigning in Croydon South, but Ms FitzRoy wants voters to be pragmatic amid the first past the post system.

She said: “The Lib Dems are not going to come close. I hope people will vote tactically. In this constituency, if you want a people’s vote, you have to vote Labour.

“We’re the best placed party but it’s an uphill battle. We’ll catch the Tories here, it’s just a matter of when.”

While campaigning for shared parental leave for freelancers, Jo Cox’s successor in Batley and Spen Tracy Brabin recommended that Ms FitzRoy should enter politics.

While it never became law, it remains a priority if Ms FitzRoy makes it to Westminster.

Trying to mix things up in a seat which has always been Conservative, Ms FitzRoy’s ambitions remain flexible.

She said: “I’d like to be a Labour MP, but I also love my job. I want to keep making great records and working on great scores and soundtracks.

“Ultimately, it’s about creating something that I’m proud of, enjoying the process and working with nice people.

“That’s one thing that surprised me when I started with grassroots campaigns.

“Politicians get a bad rep. I was surprised at how accessible they are – if you have a good case, they will listen.

“There are some good people there and I’ve made some good friends in politics.”

Read more about what’s important to south west London constituencies in our 24-page General Election preview special.

Featured image courtesy of Hannah Woodall/Chrissy Jones, with thanks

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