VOTE 2014: Winston McKenzie’s colourful career as a failed politician and hit-and-miss community activist has seen him accused in the past of not being able to organise the proverbial piss up in a brewery.
After today’s shambles on North End, it will be known that the UKIP candidate for South Norwood in Thursday’s Town Hall elections is incapable of organising a carnival in Croydon.
On the eve of the local and European elections, UKIP are trying hard to make it across the finishing line on polling day without again managing to fire both 12-bore barrels in their own feet with another scandal or allegations of racism or other assorted bigotry. So McKenzie tried to put on a carnival to demonstrate his party’s “diversity”. But there was barely any music, no food, no drink and no dancing. Just bad tempers, some shouting and some placards.
What unfolded, as Malcolm Tucker might have said, was a clusterfuck of an epic PR disaster outside Dorothy Perkins. “The most extraordinary political event I’ve been to in some time,” said Michael Crick, Channel 4 News’s veteran political correspondent.
McKenzie, the chairman of UKIP’s Croydon North and Lambeth party, had put it around that Nigel Farage would be attending. That the UKIP party leader never showed up may have done Farage a small pre-election favour. Some have suggested Farage’s absence was because McKenzie had forgotten to tell his party leader about the event.
McKenzie had certainly failed to inform the youngsters from a local steel band that they would be playing at a political event run by UKIP. They started packing away their instruments after one number, as various protesters, including some saying that they were Romanian, gathered to give Farage a piece of their mind.
With broadcast microphones thrust into his face, McKenzie kept digging himself ever deeper into the massive crater he’d created. Croydon is “a dump”, he said. Asked why his leader had failed to arrive, McKenzie said something about Croydon being unsafe. “Certain situations you have to avoid.
“Can you blame him?” McKenzie said.
The last time McKenzie staged a public UKIP election event, when the former boxer was standing in the Croydon North by-election in 2012, his party leader was also billed to attend. He did not show up then, either. Can you blame him?
For McKenzie, political allegiance has always been about the expediency of getting himself elected, as he has managed previously to stand for Labour, Tories, LibDems, Veritas, as an independent, and for something called the Unity Party. But now for McKenzie’s political ambition, the carnival may finally be over.
Inside Croydon’s recent coverage of the local elections:
- The Croydon party line: UKIP
- The Croydon party line: LibDems
- Policy analysis 1: The incinerator
- Policy analysis 2: Hammersfield
- Policy analysis 3: Crime
- ADDISCOMBE: Labour looking vulnerable to Barwell’s push
- Council CEO parrots Tory party line in official press releases
- Conservatives snub hustings as sham candidates exposed
- Council allowances and local politicians’ secret consensus
- The list of candidates for the May 22 local elections
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema: The Rocket, May 22
- Songs From The Ledge, Spread Eagle Theatre, May 23
- Greek Myths: stories and mask-making, May 27
- Howard Marks: Scholar, Smuggler, Prisoner, Scribe, May 29
- David Lean Cinema: Dallas Buyers Club, May 29
- Tales from Ancient Greece, Upper Norwood Library, May 29
- Upper Norwood Library Book Club, May 31
- Stitch Pitch quilting workshop, Upper Norwood Library, June 2
- Croydon Tech City “summit”, June 6
- An Improvised Murder, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 7
- Lakes Playground Action Group fun day, June 14
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, June 15
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- Classic Car Show at Purley Rotary Fields, June 22
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- Warnings to the Curious, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 27
- South Norwood Allotments open day, June 28
- Fragile, Spread Eagle Theatre, July 24-26
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, Aug 10
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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