The Top 10: Joke candidates

It makes you proud of British democracy to see someone in a silly costume standing next to the prime minister as the votes are counted

John Rentoul@JohnRentoul
Friday 30 April 2021 10:05
<p>Count Binface, campaigning for London mayor on a platform of turning the Trocadero ‘back into a truly top-notch video arcade’</p>

Count Binface, campaigning for London mayor on a platform of turning the Trocadero ‘back into a truly top-notch video arcade’

Thanks to Alan Robertson for proposing this list, possibly even before the last general election – it may have been Lord Buckethead at Theresa May’s count in 2017 that inspired it. Anyway, in order that you are fully informed of the wealth of choice available in our great modern democracy, its time has come.

1. Count Binface. His manifesto for the London mayoralty enlivened a dull election so much that he polled better than Laurence Fox, a supposedly serious anti-lockdown candidate.

2. Landless Peasant. Derek Jackson of the Landless Peasant Party (slogan: Land is power) stood behind Gordon Brown with his clenched fist raised at the 2010 election declaration in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath. Thanks to Alan Robertson.

3. Catherine Taylor-Dawson, of the Vote For Yourself Rainbow Dream Ticket, recorded one vote at the 2005 general election in Cardiff North. Nominated by Benjamin Dixon.

4. H’Angus the Monkey, whose real name was Stuart Drummond, became the first and only directly elected mayor of Hartlepool in 2002 and served for three terms until the post was abolished in 2013. John Peters.

5. The Birthday Party, whose main policy is to hope for a miracle, contested the 2015 general election. One of Arieh Kovler’s list of 20 parties competing in that election, including the Al-Zebabist Nation of OOOG, Children of the Atom, and World Peace Through Song (Joe Stead, The Singing Politician).

6. Auberon Waugh contested North Devon for the Dog Lovers’ Party against Jeremy Thorpe in 1979. Slogan: “A better deal for your dog.” Nominated by Philip Murphy, Sam Evans and Paul T Horgan. 

7. Richard Huggett of the Literal Democrats, perhaps the most effective spoiler candidate ever. He won more than 10,000 votes in the 1994 European parliament elections in Devon, which the Liberal Democrats lost by 700 to the Tories, prompting the law on names on ballot papers to be changed. Thanks to John Oxley, Stephen Date, Nick Hillman, Dan Weinbren and Simon Gamble.

8. The Monster Raving Loony Party is fielding 13 candidates in Kingston-upon-Thames on 6 May – all in the same ward. Another from Simon Gamble.

9. Roy Jenkins ran against Roy Jenkins in the Glasgow Hillhead byelection, 1982. Roy Jenkins won. Nominated by John Nicolson.

10. Tom Barber stood for the No Fruit Out of Context Party in Battersea in 2001, fighting against the scourge of pineapple on pizza. Anthony Wells recognised that this is an important issue and no joke, but nominated him anyway.

No room, then, for the Elvis and the Yeti Himalayan Preservation Party, which stood in Nottingham East in 2017. PD Anderson complained about more broken promises, as neither Elvis nor a yeti has yet to be found alive in Nottinghamshire.

Jon Patience is the winner of the coveted “There’s always one” award for nominating Shaun Bailey, the Conservative candidate for London mayor.

Next week: ill-judged breakaways, to mark the sad passing of the European Super League.

Coming soon: people who were going to be priests, starting with Stalin, Shane MacGowan and Tony Abbott, the former Australian prime minister.

Your suggestions please, and ideas for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by email to

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