Size isn't everything. I have a large, eye catching top hat but that doesn't really mean a thing. So it gets me attention in the street. Along with the tartan trousers and the tailcoat and badges. Which can be very useful when you are trying to get people to vote for you in a general election. But they are just bright colourful items of clothing. They aren't important. They don't mean anything. Which is what a few people said about The Monster Raving Loony Party. But actually very few. The majority of people on the streets and in the pubs were pleased to see us. By 'us', I mean myself and my small band of loyal supporters - about four of us most days, all dressed in suitable attractive attire. It's true many people were surprised to learn that the Party was still going strong (we fielded 19 candidates across the country) after Screaming Lord Sutch's untimly death in 1999. I told them that it had been a big blow to us all but that the party had decided to party on. Sutchie was an inspiration to us all and we were determined to keep his brand of loony politics flying in the face normality
Most people were glad that we were. There were an awful lot of disillusioned people on the streets of Hackney - fed up with New Labour, Diane Abbott and politics in general. I had been one of them for a fair few years - "Don't Vote, the government always get in", and "Anyone who wants to be a politican shouldn't be allowed to", was my way of thinking until I joined The Offical Monster Raving Loony Party. Then I realised that a vote for The OMRLP was a real protest vote. If I could persuade all those people who don't normally vote (so don't vote normally) to vote for me I wouldn't win but at least they would have a say. And if they wanted, a bit of a song and dance too. And I got 248 of them! Not a lot by normal standards but as I said before size isn't everything. I knew I was getting somewhere when a middle-aged man came up to me while I was having a quiet pint in The Rochester. "You're that Raving Loony bloke aren't you?", he said. I nodded. "Well you've got my vote -there's no other c*** worth voting for."
I'd launched my election manifesto at the beginning of March at The Shakespeare in Allen Road. The pub was beautifully decorated with yellow and black balloons and streamers. There had been a small 'Don't Miss' article in that week's Time Out and the place was packed. Entertainment was provided by my band The Big Fibbers. I am a Big Fibber! - I'm the OMRLP shadow minister for Blatant Lies and Big Fibs. Fed up with Labour lies? Well vote for me and I'll make the world a better place, give everyone a free banana, do anything you want me to, etc. etc. At least I was going to be honest about the fact I was lying.
One of my most popular policies (or big fibs) was the banning of the bendy bus because they are too big and bendy and they don't make accordian type sounds as they go round the corners. I think a lot of people are missing the old 73 routemaster. I was surprised that I didn't get more stick for wantng to bring back the stocks in place of Anti-Social Behavour Orders but people really seem to want something done about this yob culture. I know - Lets ban hoodies!!!!? We're supposed to be the loonies!
The count, at the town hall on election night, was pretty interesting too. Lots of boring standing around waiting for the results but we managed to have some jolly good fun. Everyone seemed really pleased to see us, oh, except Dianne Abbot - she wouldn't even say hello. She's obviously a far too serious politican to be seen with people like us. And we are just ordinary people who want to put a bit of fun back into politics. If anyone would like to help us please contact knigelknapp@hackneyloonies. We need someone to stand in South Hackney as well next time.
Photographs ©Luigi Cifali, Amy Scaife.