The “Chump from the Dump” has suffered another election knock-out. But as WALTER CRONXITE reports, the wannabe politician doesn’t always lose his deposit
Being an ex-boxer, and a not very good one at that, Winston McKenzie should be familiar with the need to have someone in your corner prepared to throw in the towel to stop their fighter taking too much of a beating.
So after they counted up the votes last night for the Witney by-election, someone really ought to step in and stop the “Chump from the Dump” from taking any further electoral punishment. Unless, of course, McKenzie’s candidacy in elections is his way of raising money from unsuspecting supporters.
Yesterday, standing for his latest political party, the far-right English Democrats, McKenzie finished 12th of 14 candidates, the voters of an entire parliamentary constituency giving the perennial deposit-loser fewer votes than he got in a ward by-election in Croydon earlier this year.
In the by-election prompted by former Prime Minister David Cameron flouncing out of parliament (where will he get his next job? Brussels?), McKenzie polled the grand total 52 votes (he got 70 votes in Thornton ward in May).
That placed McKenzie behind someone calling himself “Dickie Bird”, though not the cricket umpire, and standing for UKIP (how that must have stung McKenzie).
McKenzie was also taken less seriously by the voters of Oxfordshire than the candidate from the Monster Raving Loony Party.
And by someone standing for the “Bus Pass Elvis Party”.
Even “Lord Toby Jug”, of the Eccentric Party, managed to get seven votes more than McKenzie.
Now, psephologists tell us that McKenzie’s poor showing in Witney should not be taken as an indicator that the English Democrats are entirely a busted flush: up at Batley and Spen yesterday, in the by-election called after the murder of Jo Cox, the English Democrats were crassly opportunistic to put up a candidate. And some people actually went to the trouble of voting for them, in significantly larger numbers than they voted for the English Democrats in Witney.
No: the reason for Winston McKenzie’s cringe-makingly poor showing in Witney was Winston McKenzie.
Even the chairman of the English Democrats, Robin Tilbrook, has come close to admitting that McKenzie was only selected as a candidate for Witney because… well… there wasn’t much of a choice.
“We are a small party, and we don’t have very many members who are happy to put their heads above the parapet when it comes to standing in by-elections,” Tilbrook said. Pressed on how many people actually offered to stand for his party in Witney, Tillbrook said “a couple of candidates”, but he refused to provide any further detail. It sounded very much like McKenzie was the only volunteer.
“We are happy to have Winston helping us in the campaign,” Tillbrook said.
‘A slightly weird thing to say’
Tillbrook also attempted to clarify what happened to thousands of pounds raised earlier this year in an abortive attempt to put South Norwood resident McKenzie on the ballot paper for the English Democrats as a candidate for Mayor of London.
It is worth noting that McKenzie’s time as a leading figure within UKIP came to a bitter end last year after he and Lady Bowness, his frequent companion and the sometime treasurer of the local UKIP branch, were suspended by that party during an investigation over the unaccounted spending of supporters’ donations.
The London elections came just a couple of months after McKenzie quit UKIP, claiming to have discovered that some of its members are racist. He then had a short-lived appearance on Non-Celebrity Big Brother, as the token politician, where he hoped to raise his “profile”, and some party funding. That quickly went pear-shaped when he was chucked out after a week as his homophobic bigotry was exposed.
For the Mayoral election, McKenzie and Marianne Bowness failed to get the nomination paperwork completed satisfactorily. In a city of more than 6million people, McKenzie somehow managed to get himself nominated by someone who had already nominated another candidate.
McKenzie had been trying to crowdfund his campaign, asking for donations from the public, with a £60,000 target to pay towards leaflets and other expenses. He needed £20,000 of that just as a form of deposit and to pay towards the cost of the official election booklet to be distributed to households throughout the capital.
McKenzie claimed on Twitter that “£20,000 was paid in cash at City Hall” for the London election.
But a couple of calls by Inside Croydon have shown that claim by McKenzie to be untrue.
Officials who supervised the election process for the Greater London Authority have confirmed that no money was paid by McKenzie for his unsuccessful nomination.
Even Tillbrook, a solicitor by profession, has confirmed that McKenzie paid over no money, saying that the Chump’s tweet was: “A slightly weird thing to say.”
Tillbrook said, “I went with Winston and his assistant…”, meaning Bowness, “to the London Assembly building. We didn’t make the payment.”
Tillbrook said that the £20,000 has been raised “partly by the party, partly by the candidate”. When McKenzie’s nomination papers were rejected, no payment needed to be made to the authorities. “It was nothing untoward,” Tillbrook said. “The money was proffered, but it was not paid. Our money, we kept. His money, he keeps.”
Tillbrook was unable, or unwilling, to detail how much of the £20,000 had been contributed through McKenzie’s fund-raising activities. “I can’t remember off the cuff,” he said.
What appears to have happened, whether through accident or design, is that Winston McKenzie walked away from City Hall that day with several thousand pounds in money which had been donated in good faith for the purpose of his standing in the Mayoral elections.
What remains unexplained is what efforts, if any, McKenzie has made in the past six months to return any of that money to his various donors and supporters after he was unable to use it for the purpose intended.
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