I spotted this story in the revived local paper, The Fulham Chronicle (confusingly titled London Weekly News and Fulham Chronicle). According to The Chronicle, Greg Smith, the “high flying” leader of the opposition Tory group on Hammersmith and Fulham Council, is being tipped as the front runner for the newly vacated Kensington seat. But “high flying”? Someone’s having a laugh.
As readers will be aware, the current incumbent, Malcolm Rifkind, stepped down a couple of weeks ago after being suspended by his party for being caught on camera offering his services to an undercover reporter for a nice tidy sum. Labour’s Jack Straw was also caught, thus proving there’s little difference between Nu Labour and the Tories. In the ensuing row, Rifkind complained that his MP’s salary was insufficient and he could make loads of money elsewhere. Then he flounced off.
Greg Smith is well-known to this blog for being a member and founder of the Young Britons Foundation and for offering little in the way of opposition to the ruling Labour Party. The only big idea the Tories have offered is an anti-litter campaign and, er, that’s it. Since losing last year’s local government elections, Smith and his party are still licking their wounds and crying into their Martinis (or whatever they drink).
Kensington as a constituency is the revival of an old constituency of the same name. It was joined with Chelsea between 1997 and 2010 and is usually the kind of constituency that selects a high profile, often flamboyant, figure. Smith is neither of those things. Previous MPs for Kensington and Chelsea include Alan Clark and Michael Portillo. It was considered to be one of the safest Tory seats in the country.
The Chronicle’s article closes with “Councillor Smith is highly regarded in Conservative circles”. Shrugs. Well, how about stating the obvious for a change? If Smith is selected, then who will take his place as group leader? Mark Loveday, who, coincidentally is also a member of the YBF? I can’t think of anyone else.
Smith is up against the likes of Toby ‘Helmet Head’ Young; former H&F councillor and fellow YBF founder, Donal Blaney; footballer, Sol Campbell and cricketer Andrew Strauss. Christ, what a shower.