Friday, March 18, 2005

Undead Walk the Streets of Romford

Shortly after Michael Howard ascended to the Tory throne (or maybe shortly before, my memory fails me in this), he went to visit a factory in Romford. It is a matter of parliamentary etiquette for one MP to inform another when they are visiting each other's constituencies. On this occasion, Rosindell recived a 7am phone call saying, "Michael Howard will be visiting Romford this afternoon. Don't be there."

Rosindell is an enigma among MPs. He is the former researcher to drunk-driving MP Vivian Bendall, ejected in 1997 and rejected again in 2001. There are recurrent rumours about his paternity, stemming from his physical resemblance to the literary Lord Jeffrey Archer, but such rumours are not to my knowledge substantiated in fact.

Rosindell, seems never to have had a life outside politics and is known as a one man campaign machine. Forced out of the Right-wing Monday Club, he is perceived as a proto-fascist authoritarian rather than a soft liberal-left Tory. It comes as no surprise to see Margaret Thatcher and Norman Tebbit out in Romford making the national papers and supporting their protegé.

I can imagine Tory strategists blanching this morning when they saw the pictures. While they are making every effort to display a new, friendly side to Michael Howard, divorcing him from the poll tax and other failures, Rosindell in one effort overturns the whole Tory campaign, reminding the public what they voted to get rid of - Reminding people what lies in the dark heart of the Tory Party.

Of course, Rosindell will no doubt increase his majority because of this stunt as Romford is one of the few places where Maggie is still revered. But middle of the road Tory voters may yet be chased into the arms of Labour and the LibDems with the constant reminder of the relationship between Maggie and her erstwhile acolyte Michael Howard.

According to Guardianistas Romford is to England what Texas is to America - politically different. But is it? Rosindell is a superb machine politician, Guido was not at all surprised when he was made a Vice-Chairmen of the party. Rosindell is Tory Boy, as a lad he campaigned in Labour council wards for years. He won and became a Tory councillor with a rock solid majority - then he swam against the red tide in Romford at the General Election which brought him to the notice of the chattering classes. He has a strong personal local following. He scares the hell out of the chattering classes and is loved by taxi drivers. He is truly the political lovechild of Thatcher and Tebbit - that might be classed as proto-fascism in Monkey's brain - but Blunkett thinks similarly. The flag, the hard man image, its populist and it wins votes.

In the future Rozza could be to the Tories what Ken Livingstone is to the Labour party, not liked by the ruling party elite (New Labour Project / Notting Hill Set) but too much of a popular party asset to be wasted. I'll make this prediction, Rozza will one day be Mayor of London. Wait and see.


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