Political parties come and go. Some grow from ideological commitment; some are born amid the turmoil of great political rifts. Britain's newest party is coming into existence because a former newspaper editor wanted to leave his car at the station.
Kelvin MacKenzie was standing in the car park at Weybridge station, in Surrey, looking at a notice announcing that the local council was putting up parking charges by 43 per cent, from £3.50 to £5. Suddenly, the millionaire former editor of The Sun saw red. Hence the Red Mist Party, whose leader and sole member so far is Kelvin MacKenzie.
There will be a Red Mist website where anybody who is fed up because they have had a brush with bureaucracy can join up. It is a party that will take the politics out of politics, allowing you to feel furious without burdening you with working out how to solve the world's problems.
Yesterday, Mr MacKenzie put his new creation to the test by running for a seat on Elmbridge Borough Council, which covers Weybridge. The Independent went there to see if an upheaval was under way, and found a prosperous, crime-free suburb where the most exciting thing happening was a game of bowls. A sense of excitement there was not but, to give Mr MacKenzie his due, people knew about him.
"Oh yes, he's the editor of... is it of The Sun?" said Arthur Levy, 86. "I read a bit in the paper about him. He's angry about parking." John Forbat, 76 and a Tory, added: "I suppose anybody who reads The Sun regularly will recognise the name – but you see, there aren't that many Sun readers in Weybridge."
Mr MacKenzie said he was pleased at the recognition he has achieved, and was hoping to pick up about 210 votes – not enough to unseat South Weybridge's sitting Tory councillor, Glen Dearlove, but a springboard for the future.
When the results were announced last night, his prediction turned out to be almost spot on, with Red Mist receiving 227 votes to Dearlove's 679.
"I'm surprised people know because I have the accounts, and I have only spent £124.30p on this campaign," he said. "I started this because I lost my temper, but I've learnt a lot of things, and the most interesting is that if you have a passion about something, you can do anything you choose. If you're intense enough, you can change something. I'm going to start the Red Mist Party. Anybody who has a sense of rage... about anything they see, hear, or read can become a member. Most people are not political with a capital P, but things annoy them. What it will probably turn into is a grumpy old gits' party."
Lenin, eat your heart out.Reuse content