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09th Jun 2017

Let’s celebrate Lord Buckethead and Mr Fishfinger, the weirdo heroes of British democracy

They may not have got the votes, but they won our hearts

Rich Cooper

Politics is both deadly serious and inherently ridiculous.

The governance of our country is carried on the elected shoulders of a few hundred people. Statistically speaking, at least a few of them are going to be absolute fucking morons. Unfortunately for us, one of those morons turned out to be the Prime Minister.

Yes, by calling an unnecessary general election, Theresa May has shot herself in the foot and the Conservative party in the face. She’s burned down her own house and left the insurance cheque on the kitchen table. She has, in the kindest of terms, bollocksed it up magnificently, and we’re all laughing like drains.

Elections are not normally so amusing; indeed, will we still be laughing when the DUP are propping up the Tory minority in parliament? The most we usually get in the way of electoral laughs are the odd gaffe, titters at an awkward handshake, or poor old Jeremy Vine trapped in his Tron-like dungeon of digital graphics.

This is because elections are, on the whole, meant to be taken seriously. We’re choosing the people who will represent us, who will vote and make decisions on our behalf, so it’s in our interest to pay attention, listen to what they’re saying and not dick about too much.

But we are Brits, and alongside queueing, drinking tea and being hopelessly in love with our own stereotypes, are really bloody good at dicking about. We’re so good at it that some of us get on the ballot sheet and offer to dick about on behalf of our local constituents.

While Theresa May’s clusterfuck and Jeremy Corbyn’s massive electoral sesh are dominating the front pages today, it was Lord Buckhead that truly captured the imagination of the British public.

Standing against Theresa May in her constituency of Maidenhead, Lord Buckethead stood tall (very tall, in fact), running on a campaign that promised to “stop buying arms from Saudi Arabia” and “start buying lasers from Lord Buckethead”, as well as a pledge to banish Katie Hopkins “to the Phantom Zone”.

His identity is unknown, but His Bucketness has stood in general elections before: against Margaret Thatcher in 1987 and John Howard in 1992. Though he only won 249 votes, Theresa May’s palpable disdain for Lord Buckethead was more than worth the deposit he paid.

Lord Buckethead may not officially represent the people of Maidenhead, but he did them proud, particularly when he pulled out a sweet dab as his result was read out. A beautiful moment; the freedom of democracy incarnate.

Then, up in Kemble, Cumbria, there was Mr Fishfinger, running against Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron. After conducting a Twitter poll that suggested a fish finger might be preferable to Tim Farron as leader, the candidate changed his name to Mr Fishfinger by deed poll and put himself on the ballot.

He got a respectable 309 votes and was clearly chuffed to have done so; his “manifishto” promised free fishing rods for all, no tax on fish and chip shops, and free fish for NHS staff. Though he didn’t win, he never trouted himself, not even for a moment, and proved that when you have the strength of your convictions, any fin is possible.

To the outside world, it must look ridiculous, and that’s exactly why Lord Buckethead, Mr Fishfinger and everyone of their ilk are so brilliant.

Tim Farron gave an acceptance speech while a man dressed in a home-made fish finger costume had stood in the background. The Prime Minister of our country was forced to stand on the same podium as a man dressed as a cross between Darth Vader and a stovepipe. Until the final count was called, all of them stood as equals, all theoretically able to represent their people.

Politics is important, but it is also absurd. For a country so steeped in history, a visible chunk of our political process is based on pettiness, hurt feelings, toys being hurled from prams, stabbed backs, and in rare instances such as the election just gone, cock-ups of a simply staggering scale.

We need people like Lord Buckethead and Mr Fishfinger to bring us back down to earth, to remind us that, however improbable, a man in a fish finger costume could sit in Westminster and probably not do that bad a job. Their Great British brand of absurdity comes in a long line of loonies – be they Monster Raving or Monty Python – that hold up a mirror for the important and powerful to catch a glimpse of themselves in.

So hats off to Mr Fishfinger, and long reign Lord Buckethead, valuable public servants both. No doubt we’ll see them again in six months when the next election rolls around.