Rod Liddle

Two sides of the same coin

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There’s a revolt growing in the Surrey East Conservative Association about the candidate imposed upon them by David Cameron - a black businessman called Sam Gyimah. Some locals insist that Sam’s business ventures have been rather, you know, iffy and they were not terribly happy to have “selected” him from a shortlist which contained no straight, white males or indeed members of the Bullingdon Club. The implication is that Mr Cameron is so desperate to have black people standing as Tory candidates he would cheerfully have imposed upon Surrey East Robert Mugabe, Cheerful Charlie Taylor of Liberia or Ghost Face Killah out of Outkast, given the chance, but ended up with Sam instead.

Local activists have started a petition to have him dumped from the safe seat, claiming that he has been the director of “three liquidated companies and one which went into receivership.” Meanwhile, Sam has suggested that the campaign against him is racially motivated; after all, what’s out of the ordinary, otherwise, in a Tory candidate being an Oxbridge educated banker who has had questionable business dealings? Conservative Central Office, out of a love for democracy, has told Surrey east to shut up carping or face being disbanded. It seems to me that both sides in this little spat are correct and that the answer for the people of Surrey East on May 6 is to look somewhere else on the list of candidates for a place to inscribe their X.