Self-made property tycoon turned reality TV star Aloysius St Devine has announced he will run for London Mayor as an independent candidate, pledging to brush aside the political establishment and bring “business know-how and stands-to-reason common sense” to the capital and City Hall.
Speaking on his personal television channel, St Devine – known to millions simply as “Saint” – said his campaign would be entirely self-financed and offer a much-needed serious challenge to Labour’s dominance of a city struggling to cope with the hostility of the national government, intermittent food shortages, environmental protests, anxiety about crime and the continuing ravages of the plague pandemic.
St Devine, star of hit show Nude Entrepreneur, paid tribute to current Mayor Lorraine Linton, who is to seek a second term, describing her as “a lovely girl” who “like me, has come up the hard way”, but claimed she was out of ideas at a time when London needs “a proven doer like me to make big stuff happen and sort things out”. He added, drunkenly: “The Saint would never lie about a thing like that.”
Although she is besieged by problems, opinion polls so far have suggested Linton is on course for a comfortable victory, helped by the seeming reluctance of Conservative politicians to subject themselves to yet another fearful spanking in a city where support for their party has sunk to a historically pathetic low.
However, elections guru Jim Riddle believes the shrivelling of Tory support, combined with disillusion with Linton and with mainstream politicians in general, creates an opportunity for what he calls “some gobby opportunist with a bit of public profile, money to burn and a few good jokes to corner the market for a candidate pretending he isn’t really a politician”.
Dismissing Linton, the first woman and the first black person to be London’s Mayor, as “past her sell-by”, St Devine claimed he is the only challenger able to defeat her. “The Lib Dems will come nowhere as usual,” he said, “and as for the Greens, well, I like a vegetable as much as the next man, but what’s a pile of spinach doing if it’s not next to a steak?”
St Devine made his announcement from the Saint TV comfy sofa accompanied by his wife Yahvi, a former Miss Neasden, who wore traditional Hindu garb along with a T-shirt bearing the slogan “I’m Punjabi and we don’t keep calm”. The couple’s comedy double act, much of it based on the impolite interplay of their Indian and Irish roots, attracts large, unpleasant audiences from around the world.
Riddle believes the yacht-owning St Devine’s public standing as a national treasure telly geezer with a trademark ability to belt out rousing renditions of pop music classics at the drop of a hat give him an authenticity to match that of the straight-talking Linton, known as the Brixton Girl, whose difficulties now include protesters disrupting her public appearances with claims that she, the army and the police have been concealing the true number of deaths from the plague and secretly burying thousands of bodies in giant pits.
Linton has denied the claims, but St Devine has declined to do so, telling the increasingly thin and vaguely London-ish Capital Flier newspaper, “what do I know? I’m just a humble builder. But nothing is unbelievable these days. Thank God the Queen isn’t dead”.
The decision to go ahead with the mayoral vote despite many plague restrictions still being in place was taken late due the contest for the ninth new Prime Minister this year rendering the Conservative national government even more incompetent than usual.
A Number 10 spokesperson said: “We might as well get it over with. Our lot are dead meat anyway and we’ll be poking our noses in whoever wins because, at the end of the day, Whitehall knows best”.
This article was published on 1st April, and you know what that means. What happens next to Saint, Yahvi, Mayor Linton and several other made-up Londoners is contained in John Vane’s rip-snorting novel Frightgeist, which can be purchased HERE. Follow John on Twitter.