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Think politics is boring? Check out Britain's 'Official Monster Raving Loony Party'

Ranjan Crasta | Updated on: 13 June 2015, 15:07 IST
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Mad Max Bobestsky, Baron Von Thunderclap and Sir Oink-a-lot sound like characters in a zany '80s cartoon, but these were all actual candidates in the recently concluded British elections. Meet Britain's Official Monster Raving Loony Party (OMRLP) - an actual political outfit that gives new meaning to the phrase 'democracy is a joke'. So fringe they could pass for an act at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the OMRLP isn't a new phenomenon. Started in the early '80s by musician David Sutch, the party is almost a live-action parody of politics in Britain.

Meet the Official Monster Raving Loony Party; a real party that gives new meaning to the phrase 'democracy's a joke'

As if the party's name didn't already imbue it with enough humour, Sutch also began the trend of picking bizarre monikers. Better known as 'Screaming Lord Sutch, the Third Earl of Harrow', Sutch holds the English record for most elections and by-elections lost. He contested 49 times and lost his deposit every single time. Every party candidate has since followed suit - though not for want of trying.

The party, whose treasurer is Nick the Flying Brick, has over 1,300 members, though only 173 are paying members. Funding recently ceased to be a problem when an eccentric cartoonist left the party three million pounds. Sometimes truth truly is stranger than fiction, though given how strange the OMRLP aspires to be, that's not so surprising. Nick the Flying Brick responded to the donation by saying, "Now we can produce some decent election ads, the current ones are so boring." And that's exactly what they did:

Taking funny seriously

For a party defined by strange names, gaudy hats and a slogan that reads 'vote for insanity', the OMRLP takes being funny fairly seriously. They've had a manifesto for every election dating back to 1987, even if they include campaign promises like turning all of the UK into a theme park to create jobs.

While most of their ideas are intentionally too bizarre to implement, some of their 'loony' ideas eventually were implemented. The party had pushed for passports for pets way back in their 1983 manifesto - a policy eventually implemented in 2001. They're currently pushing for poetic license - god knows they would qualify for it.

Oh, they also have their own campaign song called the 'Monster Mash':

Name-calling and factions: politics as usual!

While one cannot imagine internal disagreements in a party where literally anything goes, there have been a few. They've had breakaway factions in the past, with disagreements over how silly the party should be. The party has even had splits to parody the intra-party tensions in mainstream political parties.

While they've traditionally flown under the radar, they have been noticed by their more 'serious' competition. Gordon Brown once called them "a party of eccentric fools", which, funnily enough, is much milder than calling someone a raving loony monster.

Funding recently ceased to be a problem when an eccentric cartoonist left the party 3 million pounds

Criticism aside, the party has actually performed well by their standards, and even managed to outperform the right-wing British Nationalist Party that had won all of two seats in the European Parliament not too long ago. Their success seems to have inspired a gamut of similarly nonsensical parties, including the Blah! Party, the one-man Beer, Baccy and Scratchings Party, the Bus Pass Elvis Party and the less-imaginatively named Eccentric Party.

With this sort of competition, the OMRLP probably needs to up their game, but with forward-thinking policies like selling the castles back to France to pay off the national debt, and granting the unicorn the status of being an endangered species, they'll probably do just fine.

First published: 13 June 2015, 15:07 IST