There must be an election coming up: Croydon’s serial political loser, Winston McKenzie, has been on the telly again.
Not that his latest incoherent appearance did McKenzie any good, because UKIP managed to snub him over selections as their candidate for London Mayor.
That dubious honour goes to Peckham-born Peter Whittle, a former member of the Conservative Party, who is the surprise pick ahead of the better-known Suzanne Evans.
But then, Evans has managed to upset UKIP leader Nigel Farage with some of her on-air remarks. Thus, the one candidate for selection who had some sort of London-wide profile somehow got overlooked when it came to UKIP picking its candidate for London Mayor.
What McKenzie, who used to boast of being UKIP’s “Commonwealth spokesman”, must have done to blot his copy book with Farage, we can but guess, because he has been dropped like a hot brick since earlier this year.
McKenzie did not manage to make it on to UKIP’s “first XI” in the capital, its list of 11 candidates put forward for a place on the London Assembly (none of whom have much chance of success, based on the their party’s 2015 General Election results in the capital).
UKIP’s list candidates include Whittle and Evans, the self-styled “anti-sharia campaigner”Anne Marie Waters, the former Radio 1 DJ and rubbish calypso composer Mike Read, and even Inside Croydon‘s favourite shouty UKIPper, Elizabeth Jones.
But not Winston.
Maybe McKenzie taking to local TV news studios earlier this month to announce his “campaign” for London Mayor and proclaim that “London needs an enema” – which appeared to be his only policy for the capital – ruined his already threadbare chances.
UKIP is the fifth party to declare its candidate to run for London Mayor, following Labour selecting Tooting MP Sadiq Khan, while the LibDems chose Caroline Pidgeon from a field of… errr… one, and the Green Party nominated Sian Berry.
Oh, and George Galloway will represent himself, under the banner of the Respect Party.
The Tories are midway through the open primary vote for their London Mayoral candidate, with the millionaire Old Etonian MP, Zac Goldsmith, the overwhelming favourite.
Of UKIP’s decision to pick Whittle (did they have a vote of members? Did Nigel pull a number out of a hat like an FA Cup draw? Who knows? Who cares?), The Spectator’s politics blog had this to say:
“This isn’t as much of a surprise to Coffee House readers as it might be to others. In August we reported rumblings that Nigel Farage might be trying to stitch up the race to exclude Evans, who he regards as a threat (she was UKIP leader for a few days in between him resigning and un-resigning). The party’s London MEP Gerard Batten also told Coffee House that the process was ‘undemocratic’ and that he wasn’t getting involved in it.
“Whittle is well-liked in the party, but he does not have the profile that Evans does. Of course, this is just fighting to come fifth in the overall race, but the main value of the Mayoral race for UKIP is that it raises the party’s profile for the London Assembly elections at the same time. So selecting a good candidate is still important.”
There’s an element of understatement there about Whittle’s subterranean public profile. Despite having been a candidate for UKIP in May’s General Election (in Eltham) and following Saturday’s Mayoral candidacy announcement, Whittle still had fewer than 1,000 Twitter followers by lunchtime today.
Londoners should probably be grateful that Farage himself decided not to utilise his over-developed public profile and run for London Mayor. After all, City Hall’s been run by one public school-educated buffoon for the last eight years, so by that measure, Farage would seem well-suited for the job.
But UKIP’s lack of popularity in multi-cultural London means that Farage would have risked another election defeat. And potentially a bad one. Losing elections too often is not a good look for a full-time politician. Far better for him to continue to pocket the generous MEP’s allowances from Brussels and appear on Question Time more often than his one-MP party really deserves.
It’s certainly a lesson which Croydon’s “Chump” Winston McKenzie might learn from.
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