Clacton’s to get Douglas Carswell. Croydon North looks as if it will get Winston McKenzie as its next UKIP parliamentary candidate. Again.
As UKIP puffs out its chest at the thought of becoming a proper, grown-up political party, with a real MP and all that stuff (as and when the stunned Tories get round to moving the writ for the by-election in Clacton caused by Carswell’s defection), here in Croydon credibility doesn’t seem to be a priority for the fourth party.
McKenzie is one of six candidates seeking selection in Croydon North at a UKIP meeting being held next Wednesday. Two-thirds of the list is made up of names familiar to Inside Croydon’s loyal reader, since four of them – including McKenzie – were rejected when they sought selection as the UKIP candidate for the much more politically attractive parliamentary seat of Croydon South.
Steve Reed OBE is the Labour MP for Lambeth South, and has such an unassailable majority that the local Conservatives have opted to put up the Fairfield councillor, Vidhi Mohan, as their no-hoper candidate at next May’s General Election, rather than waste any effort or the talents of anyone with real ability. UKIP’s chances in Croydon North are slimmer still.
McKenzie was the UKIP parliamentary candidate in Croydon North at the 2012 by-election, when he polled 5.7 per cent of the vote, saving his deposit, while losing the vestiges of any integrity he may have had with the wider public by pursuing a homophobic campaign of innuendo against Reed, in which McKenzie asserted that it was “child abuse” for gay couples to adopt.
Inside Croydon this week contacted McKenzie, in his capacity as the chairman of the Croydon North and Lambeth branch of UKIP, to request details of those seeking selection. McKenzie did not reply. Perhaps he was too busy organising another Croydon “carnival”.
The PR car crash of the chaotic UKIP “carnival” outside the Whitgift Centre before the local elections undermined the party’s credibility with polling day just days away. That was also the occasion when McKenzie called Croydon “a dump”, which may be something else he will be questioned on at Wednesday’s hustings.
Failure to be selected this time for a constituency which is unwinnable for UKIP, in a local party where he remains chairman, may finally signal the end of his political “career”, which has been as unsuccessful as his attempts to be the promoter of a borough-wide youth sports festival, or the proprietor of a Thornton Heath bar and grill, which closed after 17 months of operation in 2002 following a police drugs and guns raid.
The five others include Elizabeth Jones, the chairwoman of UKIP in Southwark. She has some serious campaigning experience as the third candidate on the UKIP party list in the recent European elections in London. She recently sought selection as a parliamentary candidate in the far more promising political territory, for UKIP, of Thanet, a place beloved by song-writer Ian Dury. In that contest, Jones was beaten by someone called Nigel Farage.
Jones describes her interests as “unashamedly elitist” but with “a very wide social reach, from high life to low life”. Jones is anti-military interventions in the Middle East and, in line with her party’s policy, is in favour of local referendums if sought by 5 per cent of the electorate.
Like Jones, Jeff Bolter also sought selection in Croydon South, where he was the UKIP candidate in 2010. For 15 years, Bolter was based at Addington Village’s police station, where he was regarded as a friendly face of the local police service. He is critical of cuts to police numbers and of police station closures, which remains a live issue in Croydon North following the 2011 riots and the recommendation – unfulfilled by the Met – of a permanent police presence on London Road.
Bolter was encouraged that “19,000 voted UKIP at the Croydon council elections”, although he probably realises that the bulk of UKIP’s support is to be found to the south of the borough.
Former Labour party member and Woodside resident Ace Nnorom feels that UKIP “is for the time” and favours control of migration, as he feels that free movement of EU people leaves the country open to criminals from eastern Europe, but he does not see the party as racist.
Two other candidates are Bruce Machan and Gary Carp (we think we’ve typed that correctly).
Machan, who works in the pubs business, was a council election candidate in the Thornton ward of Lambeth in May, where Lib Peck, the leader of the local Labour group, was elected. Although the only UKIP candidate standing in that ward, and finishing a long way behind the three Labour candidates, Machan came fourth in the poll, ahead of the Tories, LibDems and Greens.
Surrey resident Carp works for retail data analysts, and runs an intriguing blog called retailiation.
Somewhat confusingly, the UKIP party in Tatton – the seat held by Tory chancellor Gideon Osborne – has a report from last April stating that someone called Gary Carp has been selected as their parliamentary candidate for 2015. Can there really be two Gary Carps in UKIP? Or could someone selected in one constituency really go off and seek selection in a second? Even in UKIP? In hustings organised by Winston McKenzie, anything could be possible.
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Coming to Croydon
- Festival of books, Central Library, Aug 27-30
- Upper Norwood Library well-being groups, Aug 30
- Fund-raising walkabout at Beddington Farmlands, Aug 30
- David Lean Cinema: The Two Faces of January, Sep 4
- David Lean Cinema: Fading Giglolo, Sep 6
- Thornton Heath Festival, Sep 7
- Stop the Incinerator Quiz Night, Sep 8
- David Lean Cinema: Camille Claudel, Sep 11
- Warlingham rugby dinner with international Richard Hill, Sep 12
- Soul Symphony Community Choir sessions, Sep 16-Dec 23
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- David Lean Cinema: Chef, Sep 18
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Sep 20
- South Croydon business breakfast, Sep 20
- Open House London weekend, Sep 20-21
- David Lean Cinema: A Night At The Cinema in 1914, Sep 22
- Activity to Work back-to-work workshops, Sep 23
- David Lean Cinema: Jimmy’s Hall, Sep 25
- Streatham Common 6M race, Sep 27
- Fancy dress family funday, Sep 28
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Cinema Ruskin film show, Oct 18
- South Croydon business breakfast, Oct 18
- South Croydon business breakfast, Nov 15
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
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