He left the Tories, apparently in disgust at their proposals for further development of Heathrow Airport, last year, and fought a by-election as an independent, which he then lost to the LibDems’ Sarah Olney. But Zac Goldsmith has now attempted to emulate Churchill in defying Lloyd George’s dictum - “A man can rat, but he cannot re-rat” - by rejoining the Tories as their candidate for his old seat of Kingston Park.
Not quite got that Man Of The People thing, Zac
No change in Tory policy on Heathrow has been detected, but perhaps Zac has become bored with just sitting there counting his enormous pile of inherited money, the legacy of his deeply unsavoury late father James Goldsmith, whose best remembered legacy was an ultimately abortive attempt to close down Private Eye magazine in the late 1970s over suggestions he had something to do with the sheltering and disappearance of Lord Lucan.
The Tories’ constituency chair Georgina Butler has gushed “We are delighted that Zac Goldsmith has been reselected as the Conservative candidate for Richmond Park and North Kingston in the forthcoming General Election, and we look forward to having him back again as our representative in Parliament … He is widely regarded the best MP that Richmond Park and North Kingston has ever had”. Yeah, right.
As Jon Stewart might have observed, two things here. One, Goldsmith’s disgracefully divisive campaign for the London Mayoralty last year was not the mark of the “best MP” any constituency ever had, and probably contributed in no small measure to him losing that by-election, despite the Tories sending several big guns to pitch for him, although he was supposedly independent. His attacks on Sadiq Khan were bang out of order.
On the last Sunday before the Mayoral poll, Goldsmith was gifted a full page article in the Mail on Sunday which was used a photo of the bus that was bombed as it traversed Tavistock Square on July 7, 2005. It got worse as the headline told “On Thursday, are we really going to hand the world's greatest city to a Labour party that thinks terrorists are its friends?” The image of the bombed bus had previously been used by the BNP.
Zac and his pal from way back
But worse than that was Goldsmith’s longstanding friendship with former cricketer Imran Khan, who is now a politician in Pakistan. As my good friend Sunny Hundal told last year, Khan had backed Goldsmith’s bid to become an MP in 2010, and his run for Mayor. Goldsmith, in turn, had declared that his pal Imran should be Prime Minister of Pakistan, a prospect that has horrified many in that country - for one good reason.
Imran Khan has defended, and advocated dialogue with, the Pakistani Taliban, a stance which prompted one commentator to observe “Imran Khan truly believes that the Pakistani Taliban have a legitimate cause and that they are people with whom negotiation, dialogue and compromise is a possibility … the Pakistani Taliban is the most backward, savage, cruel and downright despicable group of fighters in the world today”.
So next time the Tories talk up Zac Goldsmith, don’t forget who he’s been endorsing, and who the real terrorist sympathiser is. Zac Goldsmith is not fit to be an MP.