ELECTION COUNTDOWN: Our political editor, WALTER CRONXITE, reports on the finalised candidates list for the Town Hall elections, which eventually got published by the council while the returning officer was on holiday
He’s back. Again.
After an absence of nearly two years from what he thinks is politics, but most dispassionate observers agree is low farce whenever he is involved, Winston McKenzie, the failed boxer, failed night club owner and serially failed election candidate, is asking people to vote for him once more.
McKenzie has thrown one of his flamboyant fedoras into the ring for Croydon’s local elections on May 3, where he is an approved candidate in Waddon ward.
When his name appears on ballot papers for the Town Hall elections it will be beside the ninth different political party in McKenzie’s unfulfilled political career.
He has even set up his own political party – probably because no one else would have him. McKenzie is understood to have been barred by the Electoral Commission from registering “Unity” (a name he used for a previous failed party more than a decade ago) as his party name, but has been allowed “Unity In Action”. Though there’s no trace of the fledgling political force anywhere on the interweb. So maybe that ought to read Unity Inaction.
Croydon Council finally got round to publishing the statement of persons nominated yesterday lunchtime, three days later than most London boroughs, and just a couple of hours before the legal deadline. Not that Jo Negrini, the council chief exec who picks up a few extra thousand pounds in the role as the returning officer for the borough, was bothered. Negrini had booked herself off on holiday until Thursday…
There’s little about the nominations about which to get too excited.
The Tories and Labour have both managed to scrape together a full slate of 70 candidates across the 28 wards. In terms of the number of candidates, the Greens must be regarded as Croydon’s third party now, as the LibDems in the end managed to find just 46 people prepared to be paper candidates – two fewer than in 2014 and leaving eight wards uncontested by St Vince Cable’s party.
In total, 266 ordinary people have put themselves up as candidates for election to become councillors, plus Paul Scott.
While some had been celebrating the apparent demise of the BNP, as none of their sitting councillors in other local authorities were seeking re-election, here in Croydon they appear to be alive and kicking, standing three candidates (one each in the two New Addington wards and in Selsdon and Addington Village).
But then Croydon also has one candidate from Duma Polska – Polish Pride, with Malgorzata Roznerska on the ballot paper in Thornton Heath for the party established just last month by John Zylinski, a Polish prince and property millionaire who once challenged Boris Johnson to a duel using swords (so they can’t be all that bad).
There’s little independent activity in Croydon in 2018, though, with just three individuals challenging the established political duopoly: Donald Speakman, the sometime Tory councillor in Purley and Woodcote, Mark Samuel in South Croydon, and Andrew Rothschild in Crystal Palace and Upper Norwood.
Waddon, the only ward in the Croydon South parliamentary constituency held by Labour, has the most candidates of any – 14 – due in part to the presence of McKenzie and his long-time assistant, Marianne Bowness – the former wife of Lord Peter Bowness, the ex-leader of Croydon Tories.
According to Wikipedia, Unity In Action will be the ninth political party that McKenzie has joined or been a candidate for, in addition to standing for election several times as an independent. McKenzie disputes Wikipedia’s tally, maintaining he has never been a member of the Labour Party.
McKenzie has never been elected, but he did get a significant volume of votes on Celebrity Big Brother when he was overwhelmingly voted out of the house after expressing homophobic views.
McKenzie describes himself on his Twitter profile as “Former London Mayoral,Candidate,will challenge again in 20/20 former Proffesional Boxer!” There’s no mention of his political party.
Politically, he was last seen failing to get his forms filled in properly when the English Democrats thought it would be a good idea to have him as their London Mayor candidate in 2016. But according to Robin Tilbrook, the founder of the English Democrats, McKenzie left that party a few months ago.
“There was no acrimony,” Tilbrook said today. “He wanted to concentrate on London, and to focus on the interests of black people, more than we do at the English Democrats.”
And which would be a surprise to no one, other than Winston McKenzie.
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