Beer and British politics: The Pub Landlord runs for office

British politics just got a bit less depressing: A new candidate just entered the race for a parliamentary seat, a comic named Al Murray running under the name of his comedy character, the Pub Landlord. His party’s logo looks a lot like the one the U.K. Independence Party (Ukip) uses, and although I hate to give Ukip any space in my earth-shatteringly influential blog, the joke doesn’t work unless you know a bit about who the Pub Landlord’s making fun of.

Ukip wants to take the U.K. out of the European Union and get rid of all of us pesky foreigners. Or maybe they don’t want to get rid of quite all of us, because Ukip’s leader is married to a woman from Spain, so presumably they’ll make exceptions, but basically they don’t like furriners coming over here, taking British jobs and speaking funny languages on their streets. Last I heard, the party leader’s wife had a paid job in his office, but I guess that wasn’t a British job, it was some other kind of job, so it must be okay.

Irrelevant Photo: Mulfra Quoit, an ancient monument in West Cornwall

Irrelevant Photo: Mulfra Quoit, in West Cornwall

What else does Ukip stand for? Well, it sort of depends when you ask and who you ask and what sort of mood they’re in. And whether they’re still in the party, because periodically one of their candidates goes too far and gets thrown out. One proposed banning Islam and tearing down mosques. Another posted anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim statements on his Facebook page. A third was convicted of assault. Let me quote the Mail Online here: “The Ukip official charged with vetting the party’s election candidates has revealed he spends half his time ‘weeding out the lunatics’. . . .

“The remarks come after one Ukip candidate was recorded making homophobic, racist and obscene comments—while another was exposed as a fantasist after becoming embroiled in a public sex scandal.”

Ukip does stand for a good pint of beer, though—that’s been pretty consistent and to date no one’s been thrown out for it. And they’re polling well considering that they’re a minor and basically bonkers party. Well enough to scare the bejeezus out of the major parties and drag them all into a discussion of what to do about immigration, as if everyone agreed that immigration is what’s wrong with—and probably the only thing wrong with—the country.

But back to the new party: Its name is Free United Kingdom Party, or FUKP. (Yeah, go ahead and pronounce it.) And what’s its platform? The Pub Landlord promises to burn down the Houses of Parliament for the insurance and brick up the Channel Tunnel to keep immigrants out. His most inspired proposal is revaluing the pound so it’s worth £1.10. About cutting immigration, he says, “This is the greatest country in the world and people want to move here. We need an MP to make things worse. Look no further.” On corporations and globalization, he says, “Blah blah blah paradigm blah blah blah, blah blah dialectic blah blah blah blah blah blah game-changer.” Which is pretty much what all the politicians are saying.

Finally, he pledges that the U.K. will leave Europe by 2025 and the solar system by 2050.

Politics hasn’t made this much sense since Screaming Lord Sutch ran on the Official Monster Raving Loony Party ticket.

29 thoughts on “Beer and British politics: The Pub Landlord runs for office

  1. Hi, Ellen, I wanted to ‘Like’ this about 500 times, but thought I might crash your site!
    PS. Great photo, but are you sure it’s an Irrelevant one? Isn’t that another pesky furriner hiding behind the stones??

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love both of these political parties (real and satirical). The UKIPs would be fantastically successful here in the USA. The only real problems that we have in this country are immigrants from below a certain border, and too much free speech. The FUKP party should certainly be banned, as recent news events show the deadly consequences of satire.

    One would imagine that a war in which 10 million people were indiscriminately rounded up and slaughtered would cure humanity of the ugly kind of thinking that leads to groups like Ukip. But, on a daily basis, I hear talk that is dangerously close to that way of thinking. “If only we were rid of the [insert minority group here] things would be so much better”.

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  3. I was told that foreigners leave Europe via seacontainers in Zeebrugge and Calais, because of Schengen agreement…
    Separating from Europe won’t prevent those people from moving in….and don’t break up that chunnel cause I still have to visit England, but surely will come back to my hometown, where live is not that bad…

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  4. Yes, the wall-building idea is only a temporary solution for those hiding behind them. Someone should tell the big shots in La Jolla and Montecito, California. About Texas: my son moved there, plunging me into despair. Four years later he gets it and hopes to return to California some day. On my first road trip there I was a bit overwhelmed by the biggest billboard (naturally, it’s Texas) ever seen–perhaps it can be seen from space. It said “Yes We Can SECEDE!” I thought we had settled that issue. I just hug the coast here and hope we can clone Cal’s governor and thereby spread some sanity around. Love your details on UKIP.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish someone would explain to me why America won’t simply allow states that want to secede to do so. I mean, assuming that a vote was taken and a strong majority (not just 50.01%) of the voters wanted it, shouldn’t freedom extend to letting people go? To clarify, when I say “America” I don’t mean the gubmint. Of course the gubmint wants to hang onto as much control and tax dollars as it possibly can. But ordinary citizens, like yourself, get angry and contemptuous – why?

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      • A bit of background here: Secession in the U.S. was never exactly about freedom. It was about the freedom to oppress someone else–initially to continue slavery, then later to continue legal segregation. These days there’s still a huge dose of racism mixed into it, although the anger from a lot of other issues gets poured into that form as well.

        The issue of freedom’s never a simple one. If the vast majority votes (or would vote) that a minority shouldn’t have the same rights as they do, where do we stand on that issue?

        Liked by 1 person

        • I know slavery was an argument, but am not convinced it was the core reason. Admittedly, my reading is limited – I grew up learning about the Boer War, not the Civil War – but I do believe the real heart of the issue was economics. The North depended on the agricultural output of the South, and wouldn’t let them go. The South would assuredly have continued using slaves, arguing that they couldn’t afford to produce cotton any other way – but if the North hadn’t depended on them, they could simply have turned their back and applied sanctions. As for Texas … really? I simply don’t believe they’d go back to oppressing minorities (any more than they are oppressed, anyway). And if they do, the minorities could up and leave.

          I think that if you truly believe in democracy (in the sense of one person, one vote) as a way to protect groups’ civil liberties, and if you truly believe America is a republic created out of a bunch of disparate individual states, you can’t justify letting a bunch of people outside of Texas vote to force Texas to stay. If you think doing so is justified because you believe a liberated Texas would immediately begin abusing the rights of “minority” individuals, then we should go out and annex EVERY country that doesn’t follow the Great American Way to Liberty, Freedom and Justice for All, and damn well force them to shape up and fly right.

          Of course all this is purely theoretical for me. I haven’t bothered to follow the arguments, and I don’t have strong opinions about secession either way. Except that I have a sneaking suspicion that Americans generally would be a whole lot better off if the country got divided up on cultural grounds … I should blog about that sometime.

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          • I agree that economics were behind the Civil War–seems like they’re behind damn near everything that happens in this world of ours–but that doesn’t mean that slavery’s out of the discussion. It too was part of the story. Could the anti-slavery forces have found some other way to act? In the abstract, possibly, but at the moment, in the mess of real politics, not necessarily. As for minorities getting up and leaving if they don’t like what’s happening where they are, in the places where that’s happened it hasn’t been pretty. The division of India and Pakistan comes to mind. As a multiple minority myself, I can’t shrug the question off lightly.

            I’m not going to argue for anyone annexing other countries in the name of freedom. Freedom’s been used over and over again to crank people up about wars, and it’s pretty regularly a disaster, although there have been a few exceptions. World War II comes to mind. I don’t have an easy solution for this, and I can’t create an overarching theory of what’s justified when. What I do know is that I don’t trust the motives of the people yelling for secession.

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            • Since the discussion’s somehow gotten more serious than I expected (I’m serious about politics but had somehow thought of Notes as an almost serious-free zone), let me add that I appreciate both you and your discussion of the issue, even when I’m disagreeing with you.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Well, thank you … and since most of my head is pretty much a serious-free zone, any further discussion depends on your other followers. I have no meaningful suggestions as to how we can do things better, and a lot of the time don’t really care that much. Well, that sounds cold, and I don’t mean it that way – I CARE, but have learned not to lose sleep over things I can’t change.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Somewhere in the middle of a night’s sleep, it occurred to me that for me the overarching principle shouldn’t be whether some chunk of territory can leave a political union but whether people have social and political rights. So I’m agnostic on the question of secession but not on questions about how people are treated. If that’s any sort of contribution to the conversation.

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    • I haven’t lived in the U.S. since the effort to reorganize health care began, so I’m not up to date, but I know enough about for-profit health care to take a risk and say, “Not in the U.S. there isn’t.”

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  5. Pingback: When rights and freedom collide | American Soustannie

  6. Pingback: Continuing the conversation | Notes from the U.K.

  7. This convo got very serious after I left it. I don’t know why I can’t reply to certain comments, so I’ll do so here.

    From Ellen Hawley: “If the vast majority votes (or would vote) that a minority shouldn’t have the same rights as they do, where do we stand on that issue?”

    In US law (which owes great debt and shares much with UK law), we stand on the Constitution. The Constitution (for the most part) stands as a bulwark against intrusion on the rights of minorities (in the general meaning of that word). That doesn’t mean that laws aren’t passed every day that are unconstitutional, but we have the right to challenge those laws. Sometimes the courts agree, and sometimes they disagree, and sometimes it takes them 200+ years to come to a resolution on a matter.

    Shorter, less pedantic version: democracy is not hegemony.

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    • I expect lawyers and lay people could argue for ages over the extent to which the U.S. Constitution protects the rights of minorities. Which is probably why it can take as long as 200 years to come to a resolution on some issues. But yes, it does give us something to work with.

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