IT was only twelve months ago that we posed the question over whether the Tories could, or perhaps should, have won back the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency at last May’s general election, given the polls-defying success the party had elsewhere in the country. As energetic as Tulip Siddiq’s victorious campaign was for Labour, the margin of her majority was not so emphatic that it could definitively answer the question: what if the Conservatives had gone full kitchen sink?
Instead, you will still find Tories in Hampstead whispering about the lack of spark in their local campaign and referring to their candidate Simon Marcus, who if we use the words of the Evening Standard, hardly a hostile newspaper, was described as “visibly tired”. A month after the election, he moved out of the area – to Kent – but insisted that this was not a reflection of how committed he had been to overhauling Labour’s miniscule 42 vote majority, warning: “politics and idle gossip go together”. He won’t take too much interest then in the backstage gossiping about why his parliamentary quest here is not mentioned in the bio filed to his new blog.
Simon, a former councillor in Hampstead Town and the clear winner of an open primary to become the parliamentary candidate here, isn’t disappearing from our screens, however. On Friday, he popped up on the Victoria Derbyshire Show on the BBC in support of Andrea Leadsom’s push to be Prime Minister. He likes her personality and warmth, he said, as the show assembled six Conservative members pondering who their new leader should be.
Leadsom’s Brexit offer may also appeal, given Simon’s thoughts on the matter. After all, on the aforementioned new website, he sounded positively Euro-sceptic as he reminded us before the referendum vote that… Oswald Moseley had believed in a federal Europe.
“If the EU kept the peace in Europe, exactly who was beating the drums of war? Harold Macmillan? Giscard d’Estaing? Helmut Kohl? Such a prospect simply didn’t exist in a broken Europe reliant on aid from America. How could Germany, France or Britain have gone to war when Germany was divided and there were hundreds of thousands of US troops based there?, ” he said. “Actually there was one chap who wanted to keep the dream of 1940 alive, Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists. He was very keen on a Federal European Superstate.”
In another article, he questioned how fair it had been for people to be so critical of Boris Johnson for making a comparison between the EU and Hitler’s ambitions. “Though there are plenty more mad and bad people and plots, it is still considered wrong to suggest that the EU is the continuation of a Nazi project, or even a communist project – despite the hard-line Communists in the European Parliament,” he wrote in an article titled ‘On The European Union And The Fourth Reich, Boris Had A Point’, and accompanied by a picture of the German and EU flags flying together.
In a borough which voted heavily for remaining in the EU, it makes you wonder how Simon would have sold all this to his Hampstead and Kilburn constituents had he won last May.