Boris battling Binface and Buckethead
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Boris battling Binface and Buckethead

It is hard to get too excited by this week's UK election as it seems to have come down to a question of who is the least unpopular. This is not as simple as it sounds because they are all unpopular, so it could turn into quite an entertaining scrap.

Fortunately there are some characters involved who will serve as a reminder that elections don't have to be a total bore. These are the people who run for office in the true traditions of democracy without a hope of winning.

Readers may recall that in the 2017 election, a gentleman called Lord Buckethead, an "intergalactic space lord", contested the Maidenhead seat of prime minister Theresa May. His manifesto promised "strong, but not entirely stable leadership". He was easy to spot in public appearances as he wore a bucket on his head. Alas he failed to convince the electorate and had to settle for 249 votes.

Lord Buckethead has since changed his name to Count Binface and this week will be contesting the Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat held by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. However, another Lord Buckethead has emerged representing the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, and will also be taking on Boris. Binface was not too upset at someone pinching his former name and said he was looking forward to "a receptacle-to-receptacle" debate.

Standing in the same constituency is Bobby "Elmo" Smith who wears a ridiculous furry red outfit resembling the Sesame Street character. Elmo appeared to be undeterred that in the 2017 election he attracted a grand total of three votes, which some said was three too many.

Fishing for votes

Another established eccentric is Mr Fishfinger, who has been campaigning in Westmorland and Lonsdale dressed as a frozen fishfinger. At the last election in the same constituency he attracted a respectable 309 votes. He hopes to do better this week with his "manifishto" which some call a load of "codswallop", but includes the enticing "free fishing rods" for everyone.

In Bath a gentleman called Bill Blockhead is campaigning for the UK to leave the solar system by 2028. The way things are in the UK at the moment it could come sooner than that. He is also calling for a "clear national policy on pancakes". Mr Blockhead, who promises in his manifesto "free guinea pigs or alternative small rodents for every citizen", has a most convincing slogan of "Don't vote for Bill, he's a blockhead."

Loony tunes

Some background on the aforementioned Loony Party is in order. With its inspirational slogan "Vote For Insanity, You Know It Makes Sense", the party was founded by a gentleman called David Sutch, previously known as the singer in the 1960s rock group, Screaming Lord Sutch and the Savages.

Although Lord Sutch passed away in 1999, a number of his thought-provoking policies are still being aired.

Some of the Loony Party's earlier proposals have even become law in Britain including all day opening for pubs and the, not to be sniffed at, Passports For Pets.

Among Loony Party proposals that could possibly be adopted in Thailand are banning all vehicles from expressways with the exception of bicycles, and ensuring all fast food outlets carry the following health warning, "May contain elements of real food."

Taking the biscuit

The Loony Party was a pioneer in exotic names for its representatives. In 1981, the Loony candidate for the Crosby by-election went by the name of Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-lim-bus-stop-F'tang-F'tang-ole-Biscuit-barrel. The name was hijacked from a Monty Python sketch.

When announcing the results on election night, to avoid embarrassment the returning officer wisely just called him Tarquin Biscuit-barrel, which still prompted a few guffaws. Mr Biscuit-barrel received 223 votes, which was probably 222 more than he thought he would get, assuming he voted for himself.

Moment of truth

The last December election in Britain was held back in 1923, the three main protagonists being Stanley Baldwin (Conservative), Ramsay MacDonald (Labour) and HH Asquith (Liberal). Just like the 2019 candidates, they were not exactly adored.

Winston Churchill's view of Baldwin was the splendid observation that "he occasionally stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened".

Asquith was frequently criticised for his devious nature, with British society hostess Lady Cunard commenting that he was "black and wicked, with only a nodding acquaintance with the truth".

MacDonald also attracted critics, David Lloyd George observing: "He has sufficient conscience to bother him, but not enough to keep him straight.''

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Roger Crutchley

Bangkok Post columnist

A long time popular Bangkok Post columnist. In 1994 he won the Ayumongkol Literary Award. For many years he was Sports Editor at the Bangkok Post.

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