Simon Carr: Zac's like an amateur but it's usually the professionals that win

The Sketch: Politics has started to get him in its coils. I fear for him

Related Topics

The election leaflet on Hammersmith Broadway was the first good, clear, indication of how the Tories are addressing the deficit. It listed a number of very significant savings Boris has either made or would make in the future. Then (and I don't know why) the leaflet told us to vote Labour. But Labour's plans to cut the deficit aren't anything like as clear as this.

This proves that Zac Goldsmith is not a professional. He's straightforward, like an amateur. And like an amateur, he'd resign if his party reneged on one of his personal pledges. It's why he's likeable. We like amateurs. The only trouble is that unless the game is handicapped, the professionals win.

For those of us who believe in the diversity and equality of the House of Commons, it is essential Zac is elected. Young, handsome, rich, Sir James Goldsmith's son, he is in a tiny minority of candidates – and subject to the sort of ethnic vilification that is actually now illegal.

With such a backdrop, it was to the credit of the community regeneration people that he was so politely received at his meeting at the Castlenau Youth Centre in the London Borough of Richmond. They weren't natural Tory voters there, with the estate opposite and "things happening you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy".

Perhaps 15 people sat, stood and listened. A child at his feet played with a toy rocket, clicking detachable panels on and off. It would only fly if you lifted it in the air and made whooshing noises. There must have been some metaphorical possibilities there but Zac had started to speak.

He has an attractive way about him, a carefree lilt to things he says, even when returning fire. It wasn't entirely clear whether the audience was satisfied. The child with the rocket shook her head and took the panels off the sides and started again.

It was when defending his honour that he fired up. It had been impossible to stop the media mania about his affairs (I blushed) so here's his rebuttal. He's always been resident for tax purposes. He may have also been a non-dom (I didn't follow) but that had finished a full year before it had come out. And the fact that his principal residence is in a trust means it'll attract full capital gains.

"If politicians are caught telling lies I think they should be slung in jail," he said. That would certainly give him a clear run at the Richmond seat, if the jury saw things his way. "When I saw Nick Clegg talking about cleaning up politics, it turned my stomach," he said.

His introduction to politics has bruised him. The process has started to get him in its coils. I fear for him. A woman at the back rather went at him saying how fed up she was with the relentless negativity of public life. It wasn't clear that Zac was exonerated from this. She said, "I feel impotent."

"You are," Zac told her. He really is not as other MPs, is he? He also said: "When you build something round here there seems to be a law that says it has to be ugly."

People who stand for office were "very peculiar", he said. They were part of the "grubbiest profession" and the sort of people who'd stand for an elected House of Lords would be "slimy egotistical scumbags".

He might be overtrained just at the moment. I recommend a short break between now and the day of the election.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation NQ+

Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...


Highly Attractive Pakage: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - A highly attractive oppor...

Senior Marketing Manager - Central London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (Campaigns, Offlin...

Head of Marketing - Acquisition & Direct Reponse Marketing

£90000 - £135000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Marketing (B2C, Acquisition...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Norovirus the food poisoning bug that causes violent stomach flu  

A flu pandemic could decide next year’s election

Matthew Norman
J. Jayalalithaa gestures to her party supporters while standing on the balcony of her residence in Chennai. Former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is one of India's most colourful and controversial politicians  

The jailing of former film star Jayalalithaa Jayaram is a drama even Bollywood couldn’t produce

Andrew Buncombe
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?