One step forward, two steps back for UKIP, as in the week that Douglas Carswell jumped ship from the Tories, their members in Croydon North opted to select their branch chairman, Winston McKenzie, as their parliamentary candidate for next May’s General Election.
McKenzie, who finished third in the by-election in the constituency two years ago, beat the “challenges” of five other candidates. They must have presented extraordinarily badly to see the electoral liability who earlier this year proclaimed “Croydon is a dump” preferred to them.
At least the hustings next spring may offer some entertainment value, as with McKenzie and the Tories’s Vidhi Mohan on the candidates’ platform, they will make the election debates look like the annual day-trip from the local home for the bewildered.
But the selection – yet again – by UKIP of the former boxer as their candidate can only serve to undermine any vestige of political credibility which their party leader Nigel Farage attempts to create. How many votes nationally will McKenzie stunts, like the “Croydon Carnival” last May, cost UKIP ahead of the General Election?
Only this week, McKenzie was held up as a prime example, along with Godfrey “Bongo-bongo land” Bloom, Roger Helmer and Anna-Marie Crampton, as the sort of ridiculous, throw-back candidate which makes UKIP unelectable and unpalatable.
Usually publicity-desperate UKIP sources from across south London were noticeably tight-lipped this morning about the outcome of last night’s hustings meeting. The embarrassment of this latest Croydon North decision must be immense for them. The only worse piece of news they could have received this morning was a membership application from Mike Fisher.
McKenzie has taken recently to punctuating all his tweets with the word “Champ”, in capitals, like a punch-drunk old boxer who is showing the signs of having taken one punch to the head too many. Yet even he was silent on his latest selection “success” overnight.
Of course, with a more credible candidate, UKIP were not going to get very far with Croydon North – Labour’s Steve Reed OBE had a 12,000 majority at the 2012 by-election. Having McKenzie among their PPC will at least give a party that is widely regarded as racist and homophobic the chance to have someone of Caribbean descent at the photo ops with Farage.
Beyond that? Michael Crick, of Channel 4 News, will be delighted, as will the rest of Fleet Street’s political sketch-writers, as McKenzie’s performances on the stump are guaranteed car-crash comedy gold. Otherwise, once all the votes are counted, McKenzie can expect to lose his deposit, so at least he’ll be making a contribution to public funds.
- Exclusive readers’ offer: a free glass of wine for diners at Albert’s Table
- Special readers’ offer: 25% off meals at PizzaExpress Purley
Coming to Croydon
- 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
- Police question time, LNK at Centrale, Sep 17
- 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
Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 407,847 page views (Jan-Jun 2014) If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at email@example.com