Zac Goldsmith

Zac Goldsmith

Infobox Politician
name = Zac Goldsmith

imagesize = 200px
caption =

office = Parliamentary candidate for Richmond Park
election_date =
runningmate =
opponent = Susan Kramer
incumbent =
birthname =
birth_date = birth date and age|1975|01|20
birth_place = Westminster, London, England
death_date =
death_place =
party = Conservative Party
constituency =
otherparty =
relations =
spouse = Sheherazade Goldsmith (m. 1999)
civil partner =
children =
residence =
occupation = Environmental activist
religion =

website = []
footnotes =

Frank Zacharias "Zac" Robin Goldsmith (born 20 January 1975) is an English environmentalist and aspiring politician.

Goldsmith is one of the heirs to the wealth of his father, the late billionaire financier, James Goldsmith.cite book | last = Fallon | first = Ivan | month = December | year = 1991 | title = Billionaire: The Life and Times of Sir James Goldsmith | publisher = Hutchinson | location = London | id = ] From 1998 to 2007, he was editor of "The Ecologist" magazine, which was founded by his father's brother, Edward Goldsmith. During this time, he also became a leading London campaigner and media commentator regarding environmental issues. He is currently the "Ecologist"'s chairman. He and his wife, author Sheherazade Goldsmith, run a small organic farmhouse in Devon, and have invested in various Organic food businesses.

Goldsmith publicly joined the Conservative Party in 2005.cite news |last=Wheeler |first=Brian |title=Interview: Zac Goldsmith |publisher="BBC" |url= |date=2006-01-11 |accessdate=2007-10-08] The same year, he was appointed deputy chairman of the Conservative Quality of Life Policy Group, which published its policy recommendations, called the "Blueprint for a Green Economy", on 13 September 2007. He was placed on the party's so-called A-List of prospective parliamentary candidates by Opposition Leader David Cameron in 2006.cite news |last= |first= |title=The A-list in full |publisher="Independent on Sunday" |url= |date=2006-05-28 |accessdate=2008-06-05] Through an open primary in March 2007, Goldsmith was selected to contest the constituency of Richmond Park against the incumbent, Liberal Democrat Susan Kramer, in the next United Kingdom general election.

Early life and career

Born at Westminster Hospital in London, Goldsmith is the middle child of Sir James Goldsmith and his third wife, Lady Annabel Vane-Tempest-Stewart. His parents were both married to other individuals when he was born,cite news |last=Middlehurst |first=Lester |title=My husband and my dog had a lot in common, says Lady Annabel Goldsmith |publisher="Daily Mail" |url= |date=2006-09-14 |accessdate=2007-10-08] but in 1978, they married each other to legitimize their children.cite book | last = Goldsmith | first = Annabel | year = 2004 | title = Annabel: An Unconventional Life | publisher = Weidenfeld & Nicolson | location = London | id = ] Goldsmith was raised at Ormeley Lodge in Ham with his siblings, Jemima and Ben, a businessman. He has five paternal half-siblings,cite web |last=Lundy |first=Darryl |title=Person Page 5917:Sir James Goldsmith | |url= |accessdate=2007-09-28] and is also half-brother to Robin and India Jane Birley, his mother’s children from her first marriage to Mark Birley.cite web |last=Lundy |first=Darryl |title=Person Page 20305:Lady Annabel Vane-Tempest-Stewart | |url= |accessdate=2007-09-28] His father, who was known to maintain polyamourous relationships, moved to New York in 1981 with his French girlfriend and was henceforth a rare presence in Goldsmith's childhood.

Goldsmith received early education at Richmond's King's House School and The Mall School in Twickenham. At the age of nine, he attended Hawtreys. He enrolled at Eton College but was expelled at 16 when marijuana was discovered in his room.cite news |last=Berens |first=Jessica |publisher="The Observer" |url=,3858,4647305-110648,00.html |date=2003-04-13 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Young, gifted and Zac] He earned four A Levels from the Cambridge Centre for Sixth-form Studies before leaving England to travel abroad.cite news |last=Bertodano |first=Helena |publisher="The Daily Telegraph" |url= |date=2000-03-27 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Golden boy in his Dad's old jacket] As a child, Goldsmith was an avid reader of Gerald Durrell's work and had a self-described obsession with Sir David Attenborough's wildlife programmes.cite news |last=Lean |first=Geoffrey |title=Zac Goldsmith: The green gambler |publisher=Independent on Sunday |url= |date=2005-12-11 |accessdate=2008-06-03] He later recalled, " [Attenborough] was my hero, and it was his work that made me fall in love with the natural world."cite news |last=Roberts |first=Alison |publisher="The Evening Standard" |url='slowfood'/ |date=2004-04-06 |accessdate=2008-06-20 |title=Indulge in 'Slowfood'] His ecological interests were further nourished when his father gave him a copy of Helena Norberg-Hodge's book "Ancient Futures", with a note saying, "This will change your life."

After school, he traveled through New Zealand, Mexico, Hungary, Italy, Thailand, and worked in the United States and India. Goldsmith lived in California for two years, working first for an organization called Redefining Progress from 1995 to 1996 and later as a researcher for Helena Norberg-Hodge's International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC) during 1996-98.cite news |last=Edwardes |first=Charlotte |publisher="The Daily Mail" |url= |date=1999-09-25 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=The billionaire's son] While working with ISEC, Goldsmith traveled to India. He spent a short time on an ashram in Rajasthan and lived in Ladakh for six months, studying traditional cultures and helping run a tourist education program.cite news |last=Mollard |first=Angela |publisher="The Sunday Times" |url= |date=1998-07-19 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Green giant - Interview - Zac Goldsmith] He continues to serve as ISEC's associate director.cite news |last= |first= |publisher="Debrett's People of Today" |url= |date=2001-05-24 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Debrett's People of Today] cite news |last= Pepinster |first=Catherine |publisher="The Independent" |url= |date=2001-08-12 |accessdate=2008-08-21 |title=Interview: Zac Goldsmith, campaigner and ecologist]

Editor of "The Ecologist", 1998-2007

Under the editorial management of ISEC and his uncle Teddy, in 1997, Goldsmith was appointed reviews editor of "The Ecologist".cite news |last=Wilson |first=Steve |publisher="Sunday Herald" |url= |date=2000-04-23 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Goldsmith hopes relaunch will revive The Ecologist's fortunes] cite news |last=Goldsmith |first=Edward |publisher="The Ecologist" |url= |date=1997-07-17 |page=130 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Editorial] In 1998, he became editor-in-chief and director of "The Ecologist", but didn't draw a salary. On 28 March 2000, the magazine was relaunched with a new format and design. He toned down the academic character of the publication in an attempt to make it accessible to a wider audience. Despite doubling the magazine's circulation, he was unable to expand it beyond a worldwide circulation of less than 25,000. In 2001, Goldsmith presented "The Ecologist"'s first 'Environmental Steward of the Year' award to United States President George W. Bush."cite news |last=Goldsmith |first=Zac |publisher="The Sunday Telegraph" |url= |date=2001-07-08 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Dubya, my Green hero] He said, "It's not because I like Bush - I loathe him and see him as a criminal - but because he has single-handedly put the environment at the top of the global agenda."

Goldsmith launch the magazine's international editions in French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese,cite news |last=Dempster |first=Nigel |publisher="The Daily Mail" |url= |date=1995-01-28 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Zac names day to tie the knot] and announced future plans of a US version. He also gained media exposure by giving press interviews regarding special topics featured in the magazine's latest issues. In his own writings in the "Ecologist" and other magazines, Goldsmith has sharply criticized Al Gore, whose Green "track record is hopeless" according to him,cite news |last=Goldsmith |first=Zac |publisher="The Ecologist" |url= |date=2000-12-01 |page=3 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Who won? Who won?] and Bill Gates. He is an admirer of Sir David Attenborough and Prince Charles. "Attenborough is, more than anyone else, ever, responsible for making millions of people fall in love with the natural world," he has said.cite news |last=Carpenter |first=Julie |publisher="The Daily Express" |url= |date=2007-05-03 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=We're Britain's saviours]

In January 2006, after indicating his interest in electoral politics, he announced that he would "step back" to let the magazine become more independent of him.cite news |last=Tempest |first=Matthew |publisher="The Guardian" |url= |date=2006-01-17 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Green brief makes Goldsmith loosen reins at Ecologist] The magazine accumulated losses of £232,390 in 2006. Goldsmith resigned as the "The Ecologist"'s editor in June 2007, saying, "The magazine has to remain impartial and feel free to have a go at the Government and at the Conservatives. So I can't both be the editor and a parliamentary candidate." He remains the chairman and director of the "The Ecologist".cite news |last=Walden |first=Celia |publisher="The Daily Telegraph" |url= |date=2007-06-14 |accessdate=2008-06-05 |title=Boris role is not for me, says Zac]

Monsanto conflict

In September 1998, with Goldsmith at the helm, "The Ecologist" critically covered the alleged anti-environmental record of the multinational genetic engineering company Monsanto, including a broadside against genetically engineered foods written by Charles, Prince of Wales.cite news |last=Brown |first=Paul |publisher="The Guardian" |url= |date=1998-09-29 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Printers pulp Monsanto edition of Ecologist] The magazine's printing firm, Penwells of Saltash Cornwall, feared libel litigation from Monsanto and pulped the 14,000 copies of the edition.cite news |last=Nash |first=Sally |publisher="PrintWeek" |url= |date=1998-10-02 |accessdate=2008-06-04 |title=Legal fears force Penwell to abandon magazine] Goldsmith reacted by stating: "We are shocked and amazed. We have a long history of being forthright about environmental issues and attacking powerful organisations, yet not once in 29 years has this printer complained about or expressed the slightest qualms about what we were doing." Monsanto expressed ignorance and surprise over the printer's actions, and denied the assumption that the company might have pressured Penwells to silence the condemning coverage. The edition was eventually printed by a small London printer - whose name was not disclosed - and went on to become the biggest-selling issue of the magazine ever.cite news |last=Blackhurst |first=Chris |publisher="The Evening Standard" |url= |date=2007-04-19 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=The Green millionaire sets out his plan for the Blues] Immediately after the controversy, the UK's two leading magazine distributors, W H Smith and Menzies Distribution, refused to carry "The Ecologist", but WH Smith has since resumed stocking the title.cite news |last=Morris |first=Sophie |publisher="The Independent" |url= |date=2007-07-16 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Has the age of the green magazine finally arrived?]

Activism and investments

Goldsmith sits on the advisory board of the JMG Foundation, which disburses grants globally to a range of environmental advocacy groups using the fortune left by James Goldsmith. His investments, most of which have incurred financial losses,cite news |last=Walker |first=Tim |publisher="The Sunday Telegraph" |url= |date=2006-05-28 |accessdate=2008-06-05 |title=Reverse Midas touch] are run by a Cayman Islands-based company called Organic Investments Limited.cite news |last=Walker |first=Tim |publisher="The Daily Telegraph" |url= |date=2007-04-17 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Goldsmith is banking on organic growth] He is a shareholder in the Chelsea farmers' market and has helped finance a fledgling Chelsea food store, the Organic Warehouse.cite news |last=Walker |first=Tim |publisher="The Daily Telegraph" |url= |date=2008-08-08 |accessdate=2008-08-15 |title=v] He was also a founding donor and backer of a now-defunct British newspaper, "The Sportsman", which was published shortly for seven months in 2006. Goldsmith is currently President of the National Gardens Schemecite news |last= |first= |publisher= |url= |date= |accessdate=2008-08-05 |title=NGS List of Trustees] and a trustee of the Royal Parks Foundation.cite news |last=Hopkirk |first=Elizabeth |publisher="The Evening Standard" |url= |date=2006-09-08 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Hello Money! Bridget's Big knickers put up for sale] He is also a patron of: the Manuka Club, a donor network founded by his brother Ben to finance campaigns that oppose industrial development in the British countryside;cite news |last= |first= |publisher= |url= |date= |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title= Manuka Club: About Us] the Mihai Eminescu Trust, that conserves and maintains communities in Transylvania and the Maramures;cite news |last= |first= |publisher= |url= |date= |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title= The Mihai Eminescu Trust: About Us] and the Fortune Forum, a philanthropic organisation.cite web |last= |first= |publisher=Fortune Forum |url= |date= |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=The Board]

panel on 27 January.cite web |last= |first= |publisher=Soil Association |url=!OpenDocument |date=2007-01-19 |accessdate=2008-06-20 |title=One Planet Agriculture: Preparing for a post-peak oil food and farming future]

Goldsmith is an experienced speaker and writer on environmental causes in Britain. He has debated twice at the Oxford Union and was a keynote speaker at The Sustainable Environment Foundation's annual conference on 17 April 2008.cite news |last= |first= |publisher=Low Carbon World |url= |date= 2008-02-12 |accessdate=2008-06-20 |title=Zac Goldsmith to speak at Living in a Low Carbon World 2008|format=PDF] On 2 November 2002, he became part of the Bristol Schumacher Memorial Lecture series by delivering a lecture entitled "Beyond the 'Uncle Sam' Monoculture".cite web |last= |first= |publisher=Schumacher UK |url= |date= |accessdate=2008-06-20 |title=Can we create a local world?] cite news |last= |first= |publisher=Conservative Party |url= |date=2006-09-08 |accessdate=2008-06-20 |title=Zac Goldsmith: Parliamentary candidate] He has written columns for national newspapers in the UK including "The Daily Mail",cite news |last=Goldsmith |first=Zac |publisher="The Daily Mail" |url= |date=2000-08-06 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Why I believe my father was a victim of the great cancer cover-up] "The Evening Standard",cite news |last=Goldsmith |first=Zac |publisher="The Evening Standard" |url= |date=2007-11-12 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=London just doesn't need a third Heathrow runway] "The Observer",cite news |last= |first= |publisher="The Observer" |url= |date= |accessdate=2008-06-20 |title= Goldsmith columns] and "The Telegraph".cite news |last=Goldsmith |first=Zac |publisher="The Daily Telegraph" |url= |date=2001-10-20 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title= Is green the new blue?] cite news |last=Goldsmith |first=Zac |publisher="The Daily Telegraph" |url= |date=2002-03-23 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title= Earth's wake-up call] He is also a contributor to magazines such as the "New Statesman"cite web |last= |first= |publisher="New Statesman" |url= |date= |accessdate=2008-06-20 |title= Articles by Zac Goldsmith] and the members-only "Quintessentially Magazine".cite web |last= |first= |publisher=Quintessentially |url= |date= |accessdate=2008-06-08 |title=Editorial Team] In 2003, Goldsmith was awarded the Beacon Prize for Young Philanthropist of the Year for his contribution to environmental awareness and protection. In 2004, he received the Mikhail Gorbachev's Global Green Award for International Environmental Leadership.cite news |last=Husbands |first=Helen |publisher=Newsquest Digital Media |url= |date=2007-10-31 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Zac Goldsmith is a 'Great Briton']

Political career

Goldsmith is currently the Conservative parliamentary candidate for the constituency of Richmond Park. He publicly joined the Conservative party during its annual conference on 5 October 2005, where he stated, "A Conservative who is not also in his heart an environmentalist cannot legitimately be described as a Conservative."cite news |last=Carlin |first=Brendan |publisher="The Daily Telegraph" |url= |date=2005-10-06 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Green Goldsmith planning a Tory future] He joined the party because he believes New Labour is increasingly associated with big business and is too authoritarian and centrist. The Green party, on the other hand, he has stated is "not really a serious party... [due to] all this stuff about revolving leaders."cite news |last=Jeffries |first=Stuart |publisher="The Guardian" |url= |date=2005-12-03 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=True-blue green] In May 2006, he was one of the prospective parliamentary candidates featured on David Cameron's A-List. Since then, though, Cameron has sought to distance himself from Goldsmith's brand of environmentalism. In 2008, Cameron said of Goldsmith's advisory role, "We have a lot of people on the environmental team and [Goldsmith] 's one of many. He doesn't overpromote himself but I think sometimes people attach an enormous amount to him."cite news |last=Hari |first=Johann |publisher="The Independent" |url= |date=2008-08-25 |accessdate=2008-08-25 |title= Cameron is wily but he's beatable]

His familial links to politics include his grandfathers, who were both Conservative members of parliament; Frank Goldsmith was a Tory MP and the 8th Marquess of Londonderry representated County Durham as a member of Ireland's Unionist party. His half-brother, Robin Birley, has also been a longstanding financial contributor of the party. Before 2005, Goldsmith supported and was involved in the campaigns of Michael Gove MP and Joanne Cash. As part of the Conservative party, in 2006, he said: cquote| If you had asked me six years ago would I want to be part of the Conservative Party I would have said no. I am cynical about politicians. My experience of politicians has been thoroughly negative. I have found that politicians are people that can not be taken at face value. There are very few politicians I have been impressed with.

On 16 March 2007, Goldsmith won an open primary, conducted by the Richmond Park Conservative Association, to become the Conservative challenger for incumbent Susan Kramer's parliamentary seat.cite news |last=Blades |first=Hollye |publisher=Newsquest Media Group Newspapers |url= |date=2007-03-22 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=The battle has just begun for Tories’ new candidate] He had originally planned to stand in East Hampshire, a safe Conservative seat, but he changed his mind. "I just didn't know East Hampshire... I would have had to get worked up about issues that I didn't care about. The whole thing was so artificial. I had a panic and I wrote to them telling them I couldn't do it," he later explained.cite news |last= Cooke |first=Rachel |publisher="The Observer" |url= |date=2007-06-34 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=The golden boy of the green movement has now turned blue] Richmond Park ranks as the Tories' 65th target seat, requiring a swing of 3.6 per cent to overturn the 3,613 Liberal Democrat majority.cite book | author= Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher | year = 2007 | title = Media Guide to the New Parliamentary Constituencies | url = | publisher = LGC Elections Centre | location = London | id = ISBN 0 948858 45 1]

Policy positions

In April 2005, Goldsmith claimed that if he was Prime Minister, he would "introduce direct democracy... which means that ordinary people can call a referendum on any subject they want, providing they can gather enough signatures."cite news |last=Goldsmith |first=Zac |publisher="

Goldsmith is an opponent of globalisation and has been a vocal supporter of the Euro-sceptic views that were the mainstay of his father's politics. In a 2001 editorial entitled "Cowards one and all," he claimed that all three of the major British political parties were corporation-friendly and unwilling to tackle what he perceives are the dangers of globalisation.cite news |last= Goldsmith |first=Zac |publisher="The Observer" |url= |date=2001-05-20 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Cowards one and all] He has explained his Euro-sceptic stance thus: "Europe is a decision-making machine that has grown far too big. We have no access to the decision-makers, we don't even know who they are. We do need to work globally to counter major issues like climate change, but the EU is not solving problems... Laws that should be made at the local level are tumbling out of Brussels, and are literally killing our small producers."cite news |last= Pepinster |first=Catherine |publisher="Independent on Sunday" |url= |date=2001-08-12 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Zac Goldsmith, campaigner and ecologist - `Tainted money? What money isn't?'] He is a supporter of the Democracy Movement and an advisory board member of The European Foundation, a London-based Eurorealist think tank that seeks to renegotiate the treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice.cite web |last= |first= |publisher=The European Foundation |url= |date= |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Personnel]

Goldsmith is a pro-hunting advocate. He has proposed a "heavy purchase tax" for highly polluting automobiles and is an advocate of a levy on aviation fuel, particularly on cargo planes.cite news |last=Gerard |first=Jasper |publisher=The Sunday Times |url= |date=2005-12-04 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Interview: Jasper Gerard meets Zac Goldsmith] He is opposed to nuclear power and believes that without subsidies, the industry would cease to exist. One of his main objections to expanding the use of nuclear power reactors in Britain is their increased vulnerability to a possible missile attack and the example they set for unstable regimes rushing into nuclear power programmes. "Nuclear power can only ever contribute 18 per cent of our energy needs, so attention on it is exaggerated. With a very light touch, by being more careful about what we use, energy consumption can be improved across the board by 33 per cent - so that's nearly twice what nuclear can do," he has claimed. He has also supported the Forests Now Declaration, calling for new market-based mechanisms to protect forests. He is a critic of supermarkets, having called the industry "just a mess, a disaster, but more than that, it's soul destroying."

Quality of Life Policy Group

In December 2005, David Cameron appointed Goldsmith as the deputy chairman, under former environment secretary John Gummer, of a Quality of Life Policy Group. The commission was entrusted with the responsibility of examining carbon emissions and other quality-of-life issues such as climate change, clean air and transport, and to offer policy ideas based on the review.cite news |last=Lyons |first=James |publisher="The Western Mail" |url= |date=2005-12-10 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Cameron recruits eco maverick to policy review on warming] The group's 600-page report, co-authored by Goldsmith and Gummer, was published at the Royal Institute of British Architects on 13 September 2007. It was touted as a detailed blueprint for the creation of a "green economy", but the conclusions were not binding. Goldsmith said, "I'd be happy if only half of it was accepted."cite news |last=Flintoff |first=John-Paul |publisher=The Sunday Times |url= |date=2007-09-09 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=You're going green ...or else]

The recommendations of the policy group included: higher taxes on short-haul flights and gas-guzzling cars; power station waste heat levy; rebates on stamp duty; a moratorium on airport expansions and curbs on energy-wasting household goods; disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions in large listed business's financial reporting; council tax for people who make environmentally-friendly improvements to their properties; verification and certification on bio-fuels, including full life-cycle assessment of greenhouse gases; use of Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO); new charges for parking at out of town superstores; feed-in tariffs for small-scale low carbon technologies; a clampdown on energy-wasting stand-by lights; and a cap on energy use by domestic appliances.cite news |last=Morgan |first=Vivienne |publisher=Press Association National Newswire |url= |date=2007-09-13 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Cameron in Quality of Life manifesto pledge] A report published by the committee in October 2006 came out in favor of imposing carbon taxation.cite news |last=Branigan |first=Tania |publisher="The Guardian" |url=,,1886212,00.html |date=2006-10-03 |accessdate=2008-08-15 |title=Cheap flights vote is blow to green plans]

Besides opposition from the Labour Party, some of these proposals were criticised by green campaigners, the aviation industry and even a few Conservative politicians. Roger Helmer, a Tory MEP, described the proposals as "half-baked", adding that, "The whole approach is anti-Conservative."cite news |last= Peev |first=Gerri |publisher="The Scotsman" |url= |date=2007-09-14 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Tories' green plan slated by all sides] Tory MP David Wilshire, whose constituency borders Heathrow, opposed the restriction on expansion of airports and said, "You can't fiddle about with aviation and make gestures, price people out of flying and make it an elitist activity for the wealthy."cite news |last=Murphy |first=Joe |publisher="The Evening Standard" |url= |date=2007-09-13 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Tories split over Green taxes on cars and flights] Cameron, however, stated, "It is a very good report and there is much of it that we will include in our manifesto." Journalist Macer Hall commented in the "Daily Express":cquote| Goldsmith seeks to remove the ethical dimension – the exercise of free choice – from daily household decisions. Tories of his ilk seem to have stolen from socialism the idea that the tax system should be used to change human behaviour rather than being a necessary evil for funding essentials such as defence and policing.cite news |last=Hall |first=Macer |publisher="The Daily Express" |url= |date=2007-09-12 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=How dare millionaire Goldsmith lecture the voters on 'sacrifice'] Hall further claimed that Goldsmith's ideology "would penalise ordinary people." Political commentator Alex Singleton later analysed: " [Gummer and Goldsmith] failed to grasp the Cameron agenda, producing a policy report on the environment and quality of life that was too wedded to dated top-down thinking and draconian regulations. Their report was a wasted opportunity for developing practical and thought-leading policies."cite web |last=Singleton |first=Alex |publisher=Telegraph Blogs: Brasneck |url= |date=2008-04-08 |accessdate=2008-06-12 |title=Cameron redefines the centre ground]

Criticism and controversy

Goldsmith's vast inherited wealth has been portrayed as a political liability by critics, with many commentators accusing him of being an out-of-touch elite. He has countered by stating, "I don't need to have a career in politics. I'm in a very, very luxurious position, but I am in a position of strength." A BBC press release about one of his televised interview appearances introduced him as someone whose "detractors say he's a spoilt rich kid indulging a romantic personal obsession that has little to offer the real world". Goldsmith claims that while he might be "easy to dismiss", he is not a playboy or a "hooray". "I wouldn't reverse anything that has happened to me in terms of my life or my background, because I totally depend on it. The fact is that if I didn't have all that, if I was just the editor of The Ecologist, then The Ecologist would not be growing, because I wouldn't have the kind of platforms that I have," he explained in 2003. He has, though, admitted that he is "not 100% comfortable with [his] background" even as "it has made [his] life possible".cite news |last=Vidal |first=John |publisher="The Guardian" |url= |date=2002-11-07 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Can Zac save the planet?]

In 2008, Goldsmith was embroiled in a breach of electoral rules after he donated £7,000 to his local party while he was not on the electoral roll, which is in violation of standard campaign rules. Goldsmith, who spent £90,000 of his personal fortune to finance his parliamentary campaign in 2007, defended himself by explaining, "For a few weeks last year I was not on the electoral roll, as I had removed myself from Kensington and Chelsea and was in the process of signing up in Richmond. Whatever was donated in that time may have to be repaid, but there is no suggestion that it was anything other than an oversight."cite news |last=Mason |first=Ian |publisher="Richmond and Twickenham Times " |url= |date=2008-08-19 |accessdate=2008-08-21 |title=Goldsmith denies election funding claims]

Family and personal life

Goldsmith married Sheherazade Ventura-Bentley on 5 June 1999 at St Simon Zelotes church in Knightsbridge. The wedding was followed by a reception at The Ritz and a dance at Ormeley Lodge.cite news |last=Dempster |first=Nigel |publisher="The Daily Mail" |url= |date=1995-01-28 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title=Zac names day to tie the knot] The couple have two daughters, Uma Romaine (b. 10 April 2000) and Thyra Amber (b. 2002), and a son James (b. 2003). Goldsmith has stated that his children will not feature in campaign literature.cite news |last= |first= |publisher="The Evening Standard" |url=
date=2008-06-06 |accessdate=2008-08-16 |title= Zac: keep the family out of it please, Dave
] The family divides its time between a London home and an Elizabethan farm in Devon. In 2008, their London residence moved from Chelsea to Barnes. The family owns a maine coon kitten and two dogs, a mongrel and an Irish wolfhound.cite news |last=Goldsmith |first=Sheherazade |publisher="The Daily Mail" |url=|date=|accessdate=2008-06-04 |title=Make eco-warriors of your four-legged friends] cite news |last=Beardsall |first=Jonny |publisher="The Daily Telegraph" |url= |date=2007-06-16 |accessdate=2008-05-29 |title= My Perfect Weekend: Sheherazade Goldsmith] The Goldsmiths grow seasonal produce on their convert|300|acre|km2|sing=on farm in Devon, where they have a vegetable garden, apple trees, a wildlife pond, and keep cows, pigs, sheep, chickens and three herds of Dartmoor ponies.cite news |last=Gordon |first= Byrony |publisher="The Daily Telegraph" |url=|date=2002-08-28 |accessdate=2008-05-25 |title= Would you like a strawberry with jet lag? ]

Goldsmith is described by his mother and reporters to be of a gentle nature. His early girlfriends included Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and Caroline Hickman.cite news |last= Burleigh |first= James |publisher="The Daily Telegraph" |url= |accessdate=2005-12-10 |title=All that glisters could be Goldsmith] He has been a cigarette smoker since the age of 14. He is also an enthusiast of poker, which he plays at the Aspinall's club once a week with family friends. He claims to mostly wear recycled Saville Row suits that belonged to his late father. He was featured in Vanity Fair's 67th and 69th Annual International Best-Dressed Lists.cite news |first= |last= |title=Vanity Fair Presents The 67th Annual International Best-Dressed List 2006 |id=ISSN|07338899 |publisher= "Vanity Fair" |page=323 |date=2006-09-01 |accessdate=2008-05-29] About British media, including the press garnered by his sister's former partner, Hugh Grant, he once said, "I don’t think the coverage I get is that negative... I think the British press has got a lot to answer for generally. I take everything I read with pinch of salt and just assume most of what I read isn’t true. As for Hugh [Grant] , to talk about him is a minefield because it can so easily become a headline."cite web |last=Mcgibbon |first=Rob | |url=|date=2006-03-16 |accessdate=2008-08-16 |title= Press Conference With...ZAC GOLDSMITH]


External links

* [ Zac Goldsmith - Conservative Candidate for Richmond Park] , official site for Parliamentary campaign
* [ Zac Goldsmith (1975– ), Editor of "The Ecologist"] , as featured in the National Portrait Gallery
* [ Rob McGibbon meets Zac Goldsmith] , online video interview

Associated organisations:

*" [ The Ecologist] ", magazine formerly edited by Goldsmith
* [ National Gardens Scheme] , of which Goldsmith is currently President
* [ Quality of Life Challenge] , Conservative policy group co-headed by Goldsmith

NAME = Goldsmith, Frank Zacharias Robin
SHORT DESCRIPTION = English environmentalist
DATE OF BIRTH = 20 January 1975
PLACE OF BIRTH = Westminster, London, England

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