Next up, the Haltemprice byelection on July 10 where nominations have just closed. Former shadow Home Secretary David Davis faces not much more of a challenge to get elected than Mugabe does today, having failed to get the main parties to oppose his civil liberties campaign by standing.
Poring down the list of the 25 fringe candidates, I see lurking there the name of that fine old crooner Ronnie Carroll, now 73, a famous Cregagh boy long before that Man U scout discovered George Best.
For those of you who don’t know, Ronnie was a big TV star in the early 60s. He came fourth in the Eurovision song contest in 1962 and 63. Remember his entries, fellow boomers? “Say Wonderful Things”, “Ring-a-Ding Girl”: and his biggest hit “Roses Are Red”, which peaked at No 3, also the title of his 2003 autobiography.
Each time, Ronnie scored a respectable 4th out of 16 entries.
Ronnie’s voice hasn’t lost its charm, as you just about make out from this low-definition offering from last year, which technically, fails to do him justice. Ronnie is a bit of a serial byelection fighter, having stood in his home territory in North London as a Rainbow candidate and in three other contests. He’s now entering the lists against Davis as “Make Politicians History.” For Ronnie, politics seems a bit of a lark, according to the few words he’s spoken about it to his local paper..
He seems to owe a lot to his backer George Weiss who I believe supported Ronnie’s come-back album a couple of years back. I’ve heard it and it’s charming – quite daring Nat King Cole and Sinatra classics included that he manages to bring off.
Ronnie has fared a whole lot better in Eurovision than in by elections – which is some kind of record, I suppose.
The other spark of local interest is Newtownards’ finest Col Tim Collins on the stump for Davis next week.
I wouldn’t mind hearing Ronnie, though, if he ever turns out to campaign. Pure nostalgia.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London