News from the fringes of Britain’s election: a midweek bonus post

Elections are serious business, and this one is especially serious, so let’s take you on a tour of its crazier fringes. 

The most important fringe is unraveling in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, a London suburb where Boris Johnson, also known as Britain’s prime minister, is trying to keep his seat in parliament. At the last election, his majority was small–in the neighborhood of 5,000 votes. If he loses his seat but his party wins a majority in the Commons, it will have to find itself a new leader, he’ll have to find himself a new hobby, and the new leader will be the new prime minister. 

Johnson’s most serious challenge is from Labour, so we’ll skip that. We’ll also skip the Liberal Democrat, the Green Party candidate, and anyone else we’d have to take seriously.

The most interesting challenges come from Count Binface and Lord Buckethead. We’re looking at a particularly bitter fight there, because Count Binface used to be Lord Buckethead but had an unpleasant set-to on, as he put it, planet Copyright and had to reincarnate as Count Binface.  

Are you keeping up with this?

Neither am I. Lord Buckethead was–or, I guess, still is–a character in a 1984 movie, Hyperspace, that no one ever saw.  Or so says one newspaper. Another says he was a character in a 1980s Gremloids, another movie that no one ever saw.

Do we care which movie it was? No. Here at Notes, we’re completely nondenominational about bad movies. All we care about is that a comedian, Jon Harvey, appropriated the character.

Buckethead likes to run against prime ministers. He’s run against Theresa May, David Cameron, John Major, and Margaret Thatcher. I believe someone else was being Buckethead part that time, but do we really care about that? Probably not. 

This business of popping around the country to run against prime ministers is made possible by an election law that doesn’t demand that candidates live in the areas they hope to represent.   

The law also doesn’t make candidates use their real names in elections, and that’s a gift to those of us whose spirits need lifting in these dismal times. It doesn’t even make them define real. All they have to do is file papers and pay money. 

So the man who used to be Lord Buckethead is now running as Count Binface, but someone else is running–also in Uxbridge and et cetera–as Lord Buckethead. Count B. has said he looks forward to a “receptacle to receptacle debate” with him.

As Count B. (writing on Twitter as @CountBinface) explained, “At a time when political precedent is being broken all over the place, I find myself effectively standing against not just (current) Prime Minister @BorisJohnson but also myself. I think that’s a first.”

In a separate tweet, he explained that he’d renounced his peerage because in an earlier campaign he’d promised to abolish the House of Lords. 

The current Lord Buckethead is running on the Monster Raving Loony Party ticket.

Guys, I don’t make this stuff up. I only wish I had the sort of mind that could.

Another candidate running against Boris Johnson in Uxbridge and Wherever is William Tobin, who announced that he doesn’t want anyone’s vote, he’s only running because as a long-term British resident in the European Union he’s no longer eligible to vote, although he is eligible to run for office. He wants to raise the profile of 7 million disenfranchised voters who will be affected by Brexit but get no say in British politics. 

I haven’t confirmed that number. Can we agree that there are a lot of them, though?

Enough for Uxbridge and So Forth. In other constituencies, the most interesting fringes I’ve found belong to the Monster Raving Loony Party, whose candidates include: the Incredible Flying Brick, Earl Elvis of Outwell, Howling Laud Hope, Citizen Skwith, and the Baron and the Dame, who must have found a way to run jointly, because they’re quite clearly two people. I struggle to recognize people, but even I can manage to tell them apart: One’s shorter and the other has a long, scraggly beard. They’re both male. One of them being called the Dame is a British thing and has to do with pantos, which are–oh, never mind. It’s too complicated to explain in a short space but but it’s not about trannies or queens. It’s a recognized theatrical form, and a strange one. 

The Monster Raving Loony manifesto includes a proposal to “reduce the national debt by selling the castles back to the French. (Buyer dismantles.)” 

Wish us luck, world. We need it right now.

74 thoughts on “News from the fringes of Britain’s election: a midweek bonus post

  1. I love that in the middle of all this shite (not sure I can write that here but happy for you to delete it and replace it with nonsense/lying/subterfugeousness or chicanery – any one or all will do) the traditional eccentricity of this once great nation, has not been subsumed into the mire. Fab post, made me smile a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was just wondering, though probably should not be given current societal mores and their enforcement, whether men self indentifying as women could be accused of cultural appropriation…this niche in society being already filled by pantomime dames….and, I suppose, women self identifying as men could suffer the same accusation given the role of principal boys in pantomime. In the context of the election I could quite see Johnson as one of the Ugly Sisters…

    Liked by 1 person

    • That gets us into the thorny question of whether women have a separate culture from men. I’d argue that it’s more of a subculture, however–

      No. It’s too early in the morning for this. If I hurry, I might still be able to go back to bed.


  3. I hope Count B doesn’t win. When I was in college (university to those who don’t speak real English) I frequented the House of Lords. They had a decent beer, but better pizza. It was a pizza house run by one of the frats on campus. I really don’t want Count B to close it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read your post and the impeachment hearings are on tv. Both seem equally hard to understand and hard to follow. But if you run under a fictitious name and win, what name do you then use when you are sworn in and his do you prove it was you. British politics is complex in general. A lot of rules and traditions. Seems to have worked so far. Let’s hope it keeps working.

    Liked by 1 person

    • In answer to all of that, I have no idea but I’d guess you’re sworn in under the name you used as a candidate. You can’t elect one person (or name) and then swear in a different one, can you? The real problem would come when someone with a very tall bucket on his head takes his seat in the Commons and wants to speak, which in some cases involves putting a top hat on your head, and can’t reach the top of his head. Oh dear! What to do, what to do?


  5. Hah ! As for not having to live in the area you are running from – allow me to remind you that over here in the Former Colonies, our Chief Executive resides in an alternate Reality. Maybe we could swap him out for Lord B or Count B ?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Deliriously disturbing stuff, Ellen. Thanks so much for notes from the uk, as always.
    A more severely loony cast of fictional characters would dissolve suspension of disbelief within minutes. That first mention of Binface and Buckethead had me quite convinced that you were weaving a parody — visiting your links dispelled that notion in quick order. More a quickening, I am thinking. Gads of mad!

    Liked by 2 people

    • If someone made this stuff up, I’d admire their ability but it wouldn’t be half as funny. Some links to Lord Buckethead (and probably Count Binface) have a wonderful picture of Lord B. in a lineup of serious candidates, with a massively tall bucket on his head, making some silly gesture. It’s priceless.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I love it when the declarations come in on TV and the returning officer has to keep a straight face as they read out all the silly entries with equal gravity to the ‘serious’ stuff… It kind of takes your mind off the other rubbish for a second or two.

    Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, we all say bin, but it’s still dustbin really. Which is why the people who empty your bins are called dustmen. As a wholly irrelevant aside, which I know you’ll appreciate, Dickens wrote a novel, Our Mutual Friend, which featured a dustmen who became very rich by sorting through the refuse he collected and selling what he found.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I read Our Mutual Friend some years ago but don’t remember the character. Probably because it wasn’t my favorite of his novels.

              Dustmen calls up a silly image in my head, but really it’s not sillier than the American version, garbagemen, which should call up an even worse image but doesn’t because I don’t really hear the root words anymore.

              Liked by 1 person

              • In Australia, where it is not uncommon to make a diminutive out of a number of words simply by tacking “o” on to the root/initial syllable (hence “smoke-o” for a cigarette break, “arvo” for afternoon, “ambo” for an ambulance paramedic and so on), a dustman may well be called a “garbo”. In that profession, one might well be expected to “vant to be alone”.

                On a point of electoral pedantry (I know this stuff because I was very much involved in it once) – to stand for election, the forms you have to submit must include the nominating signatures of a proposer and seconder, and 8 electors within the constituency. I suppose it wouldn’t take much waylaying people in the pub to get those.

                Liked by 1 person

              • 2. I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard at all. Especially if you approach them late in the evening, when all sorts of odd things sound good. Thanks for mentioning it, though. I’ve been trying to put together a post on how elections work here, but I keep disappearing down rabbit holes. I’m not sure it’ll ever come together.

                1. That’s fascinating and utterly weird. I’ve never heard of -o turning anything into a diminutive or–well, it’s not quite a diminutive. Slang. Shorthand. But then language is arbitrary, in spite of its rules. As long as everyone understands how it works, it works.


  8. Good luck.
    Not to be too negative, because citizens who live in glass countries cannot cast stones, but apparently elections in democracies have gone adrift from their origins.
    I hope Agent Orange doesn’t find about the potential sale of your castles.That would be just up his alley.
    Sigh. It’s a world gone mad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think in general people like it. I’m not a big fan–I watch it occasionally but I’ve missed quite a bit. It treats the monarchy too seriously for me to be more than an occasional visitor. What do you think?


  9. You have given me some good laughs to start the day. I have been trying to keep up with the UK shenanigans from Australia but after reading your wonderful post I now realise there is much happening over there that I have missed. Visiting from #bloggerspitstop

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you stopped by. Until the elections started, I was doing regular posts on the Brexit mayhem, which was in unequal parts funny and depressing. I focused on the stuff that was in shorter supply, but when I got away from the keyboard it depressed me anyway. The chance to write about this sideshow came as a gift.

      I suppose once the election’s over, I’ll be back to writing about Brexit, although my focus wasn’t meant to be on British politics but on culture, history, and assorted oddities. But by way of justification, politics here have been very odd lately.


  10. From the States—thank you for reminding the world that the whole world is crazy!! We are busy playing snakes and ladders with an obese orange adder. I do hope that soon the insanity will end. But, alas, it is all about the money. Thank you for some wonderful laughs this morning!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We all need a few of them if we’re going to stay sane in these awful times. I join you in hoping that politics will give us less to make fun of soon and that the only craziness left will be the deliberate Count Binface kind.


    • That was really inconsiderate, scheduling it on your birthday. On behalf of my adopted nation, I apologize. Whereabouts in the country are you?

      (You’re right: There’s a lot riding on this election.)


  11. I think technically if the conservatives won but Boris lost, he could be offered a peerage and lead the party from the House of Lords. I am not a fan so I don’t want that scenario. I think British politics is crazy but then I consider the American version…..
    I support our labour M.P. unlike Jeremy Corbyn. The two fell out a few years ago and she was sacked from the shadow cabinet.
    P.S. I think the conservatives will win with a small majority.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You raise an interesting point and I did a quick google search. It looks like a lot depends on party rules, not governmental ones (which strikes me as bizarre, but never mind, the whole system’s been cobbled together and shows it), and as one site says, how they’re interpreted would depend on the level of support the prime minister who’s been deposed as an MP has among returned MPs. I will say that if that happens it’ll get very strange very quickly.

      Not that it hasn’t been strange for some time here.

      Liked by 1 person

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