Top 20 crazy and funny-named parties in the 2015 General Election

Conservatives. Labour. Liberal Democrats. Scotish National Party. UKIP.

Boring.

Luckily, there are loads of parties standing candidates in the UK’s 2015 General Election. Here’s the 20 most interesting, funny and crazy-sounding parties, taken from this rather longer list of all ‘micro parties’. Read on:

 

1. (An) Independence From Europe

This breakaway party from UKIP founded by former MEP Mike Nattrass is best-known for having a silly and confusing name, stealing an old UKIP ad in 2014, and for confusing some UKIP voters into voting for it by mistake.

 

2. Above and Beyond – Demanding a New Vision for Politics – Trying To Fix A Broken System

Abovebeyond

 

The Above and Beyond Party has the longest full name of any of the parties, a logo, a website and is contesting 5 seats. It has only one policy – that there should be a “none of the above” option on General Election ballot papers and that this would fix politics, somehow.

 

3. Al-Zebabist Nation of OOOG

The party with the strangest name, the Al-Zebabist Nation of OOOG claims to be a “registered political party and growing religious movement” with a “divine mission to free the Afro-Thanetian Zaliphate from the grips of Broadstafarian and English hegemony” and urges “Renounce Your White Skin”. Russia Today profiles the party:

‘Led by Prophet Zebadiah Abu Obadiah, real name Robert Bealer, the Al-Zebab party is campaigning for the separation of Thanet from England, the banning of “hetro-marriage,” the legalization of heroin and the consumption dog meat.

One of their most controversial policies calls for the complete eradication of Broadstairs, a small coastal town in Thanet, which Al-Zebab says is rife with “racist and fascist ideology.”

The party also campaign for tax breaks for bearded families. Children and women will have to wear fake beards, Zebadiah said.’

In case it isn’t clear, the whole thing is a joke designed to troll UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who is the candidate in South Thanet.

 

4. Beer, Baccy and Scratchings

Originally the Beer, Baccy and Crumpet party, the Beer, Baccy and Scratchings party was forced to change its name because the Electoral Commission decided that the word ‘crumpet’ was obscene and demeaning to women. Its leader Ray Hall is contesting Eastleigh.

 

5. Children of the Atom

A one-man party which wants to replace all money with a new type of ‘debt-free’ currency and radically reduce the population. The party website claims “We are rewriting our manifesto because people just didn’t get it”

 

6. Eccentric Party of GB

Lord Toby Jug and some other guy

A Raving-Loony-style party running against Boris Johnson in Uxbridge. The candidate, Lord Toby Jug, is campaigning to get no votes at all, after betting against himself at 50/1.

 

7. Hoi Polloi

Another one-man party, Geoff Moseley is a photographer who’s contesting Hornsey and Wood Green for the second time. I just liked the party name – Hoi Palloi literally means “the people”.

 

8. Justice for Men and Boys (and the women who love them)

A Mens-Rights anti-feminist party, Justice for Men and Boys thinks that women are the problem. Policies include massively restricting abortion, banning circumcision and enforcing child-support payments when the father has signed a written agreement to support the child. But at least they have a funny and somewhat creepy name.

 

9. Magna Carta Conservation Party Great Britian

 

magnacarta

 

I’d hoped that the Magna Carta Conservation Party was devoted to ensuring that our few full copies of Magna Carta were properly cared for, stored in temperature-controlled rooms behind glass and perhaps restored if they got damaged. Unfortunately it seems to be one woman who’s very upset about something to do with planning permission in Woking.

 

10. Manston Airport Independent Party

I’ve only included this because I originally misread the name as the Manston Airport Independence Party, which would have been much more interesting.

 

11. Population Party UK

Another one-man party that wants to reduce the world’s population. Their party website includes a quote from the Queen (“There can be no long term stability when the rate of population growth exceeds the rate of job creation”) which seems to be fictitious.

 

12. Removing The Politicians

Also known as “Rebooting Democracy”, this party was established about a month ago by former Green candidate Keith Garrett. It aims to replace elected politicians with “a system in which we will use citizens’ panels and assemblies instead of politicians, selected in a similar manner to juries, that will use evidence based policy making to work towards the country’s short, medium and long term goals. These goals will be set by referendum mechanisms so we directly get to choose where we want our country to go“. He’s standing in Cambridge.

 

13. something new (nothing borrowed. nothing old. something new.)

One of the more confusing long names, Something New is another one of the ’21st Century politics’ parties. They have alliances with the Whigs (yes, there’s a Whig party), the Pirate Party and Removing the Politicians/Reboot Democracy.

 

14. Stop emotional child abuse, Vote Elmo

A gimmicky campaign in David Cameron’s Witney constituency, the ‘party’ is run by Bobby Smith who’s campaigning for more access to his children. His policies include twinning Witney with Houston, Texas, so that they could put up signs with “Witney Houston” on them.

 

15. The Birthday Party

dobbs
Dave Dobbs from his previous campaign for Mayor of Bristol

 

A vehicle for David Field aka Dave Dobbs, a South-West England campaigner who wants to encourage more engagement in politics and whose main policy is to hope for a miracle.

 

16. The Roman Party.AVE

Founded by French bus-driver Pascual Jean-louis, the Roman Party contests elections in the Reading area. With no website or published manifesto, I have to figure out its policies from the leader’s Twitter account:

 

17. U Party

The U Party inspired me to write this list, after I saw it was standing a candidate in Hampstead and Kilburn. Rather uninterestingly, it seems to be a vehicle for pension lawyer Robin Ellison and wants to reform pensions.

 

18. The Ubunbu Party – Apolitical

 

The Ubuntu party was founded in South Africa last year and now seems to have branches all over the world. The UK branch promises to abolish the Bank of England and aims to awaken global consciousness to create a world without money. The party also has a conspiracist flavour; the party ran in South Africa with a Holocaust Denier highly-placed on the party list, and the UK party posts things like this:

if you had a relative in the 1st or 2nd world war its time you knew these wars were to make the banksters money, rothschilds buildersberg in a nut shell. so keep in mind there in control now. this cabal doesn’t care that our loved ones are dead down to their greed.

Posted by Ubuntu Party UK on Saturday, April 25, 2015

 

19. Vapers In Power

This isn’t the stoner party I expected. Vapers in Power is a single-issue party campaigning against restrictions on e-cigarettes, in particular the EU Tobacco Products Directive.

 

20. World Peace Through Song

worldpeace

 

Adorable.

Two-Tier Exams

One of the commonest criticisms of Michael Gove’s proposals to reform England and Wales’ examinations is that it would recreate a two-tier system: more prestigious O-levels and less-good CSEs, instead of the universal GCSE that exists today.

The problem with this argument is that many commentators don’t seem to realise that GCSEs are themselves a two-tier examination system.

GCSEs have a wide grading system. There are nine possible grades obtainable at GCSE, A* (the best) to G and then U, which means Unclassified. Technically, anything other than a U is a pass-mark. Despite this, there is a de facto acceptance that a ‘Good GCSE’ is one with a grade of A*-C. School league tables measure the number of students obtaining A*-C. Many colleges, universities and employers consider anything below a C as effectively a fail-grade.

This is acknowledged in the structure of the GCSE exams themselves. Many GCSE subjects – including core subjects English and Maths – are formally examined in two different papers: Foundation and Higher.

The Higher track has possible grades of A*-D. Any student that takes GCSE Higher exams (and coursework) and doesn’t get at least a D fails all the way with a U grade.

The Foundation track offers grades of C-G. The absolute best that a student in the Foundation track can do is to get a C-grade, considered the lowest “good GCSE”, but it’s actually pretty hard to fail a Foundation exam outright. Anyone who actually gets a C in a Foundation paper probably shouldn’t have been sitting it; they should have taken a Higher paper and possibly achieved a higher mark.

In many schools, GCSE subjects with tiered exams are taught in ability-streams or sets, with the top classes being prepared for the Higher paper, the bottom sets learning material for the Foundation course, and maybe students in middle classes being assigned to a course by their teachers depending on performance.

This initial streaming, though, would usually happen at the start of the GCSE course, at age 14.

Interestingly, the Government’s own DirectGov website describes these as “tiers”:

…you have a choice of two tiers: ‘higher’ or ‘foundation’. Each tier leads to a different range of grades. Your subject teacher normally decides which tier is best for you.

Many private schools won’t offer Foundation papers at all and won’t sit students for them, so journalists who didn’t come up through the state system and whose children go to private schools might not have encountered them. Perhaps that’s why they haven’t been mentioned very much.

So is the Gove proposal really that different? I don’t know, and certainly there is at least some fluidity in the current system. A student who improves rapidly can be moved from the Foundation to the Higher track. Perhaps this could  be preserved betwen CSEs and O-Levels?

On the other hand, given that there’s already a two-tier system we might as well treat it with some respect. What would be more impressive: a low A in a future CSE or a high E-grade in a GCSE today? Nick Clegg’s answer would presumably be the latter, but it’s not clear to me that he’s right.

(Bad) ideas to stop the looters

People have lots of ideas about tactics that should be used to quell the mobs. Some of the most common ideas, though,aren’t very good.

This is because we keep talking about the “riots”, but what’s happened the last few days aren’t really riots. They have no political cause, no demands, no agenda. They have no single target, They are, on the whole, small groups of people out to steal and smash and burn. If the police protect shops then they’ll burn cars. When the fire brigade comes, they’ll leave and go back to looting shops.

Considering these robberies as “riots” had led some people to suggest that the police need to use the traditional tools of quelling riots. These are the wrong tools for the actual situation.

Water Cannon

Water cannons are a crowd-control measure that has never been us in mainland Britain. They are a bit like giant hoses on the front of armoured vehicles which pump out water under high pressure, and they look a bit like tanks. People near to the cannon will be pushed back and might be knocked off their feet. People further away will get wet. Water cannon can be used to break a large charging mob or a driven towards a stationary mob to disperse them.

Water cannons are pretty useless against small fast-moving groups of people who don’t really care where they cause trouble. They’re too big, too slow and too targeted. If they’re deployed at one end of a street the looters will hit the other end. If they deploy at both ends, the looters will hit the next street.

Tear Gas

Tear Gas is an irritating gas; it makes you cry, your eyes sting and it can even blind in high enough concentrations. It’s actually a fine powder, so when people rub their eyes they make it worse.

Tear gas can disperse crowds if it’s shot into the middle of them, but this can be dangerous to do unless the crowd is able to get away. It can also be used as a defensive measure to stop protesters crossing past a line.

Tear gas is more mobile than water cannon so it can be deployed more easily. But ultimately, it suffers from the same core problem – it moves on the looters down the street, or to the next street. It doesn’t stop them, arrest them or deter them overall.

Curfews

This is just a rubbish idea, for two reasons:

  1. How are police going to enforce a curfew if they don’t have the numbers to police the mobs at the moment? People will break the curfew and be emboldened to start stealing.
  2. Curfews are to stop trouble at night. Yesterday the looting started before 4pm. I feel like a lunchtime curfew isn’t really an option

(inspired by a good tweet from David Aaronovitch)

London riots and media ‘blackouts’

I will write a fuller blog on the London riots later, but just wanted to comment on a theme seen in some of the tweets and chatter: that the media somehow covered up the latest rioting in Enfield and other places in London.

The news is rarely instant. It often takes hours for something to be reported as “BREAKING NEWS”. That’s because newsrooms are big and have lots of things happening. It takes time to get cameras to a scene when something’s happening. Sometimes the initial reports take time to make it to a news-desk, or are contradictory by the time they get there.

Twitter means that we can (and often do) know about things before they appear on the mainstream news. As a twitter-addict and news-addict, I follow in turn many people with the same twin afflictions. I am very used to seeing a big story break on Twitter hours before it appears on the BBC. Lots of other people are less used to this, so when they saw hundreds of tweets about trouble in Enfield but no footage on the BBC, they assumed it was some kind of cover-up.

When journalists on the scene showed empty buildings rather than ongoing riots, some people assumed it was part of a conspiracy rather than because the looters were in cars, moving fast and not wanting to be on the news nicking  42-inch tellies.

When the BBC news website wasn’t updated, they assumed there was a D-notice rather than that it was a Sunday night in August so maybe the BBC website team was just a little light on the ground.

When nobody reported on the riot in Hemel Hempstead, they complained but didn’t consider the possibility that there wasn’t actually a riot in Hemel Hempstead.

Tonight proved again that Twitter is now the primary medium for news. This doesn’t mean that journalists have no role to play. I got my news tonight from the Guardian’s Paul Lewis on the scene in Enfield and Edmonton, the Telegraph’s Andrew Hough in Brixton, and Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy (who’s still out on the streets of Walthamstow trying to help). Two of those are broadsheet journalists and all were using Twitter.

In a public incident, Twitter will always beat traditional news media for speed. We’re all just going to have to get used to that rather than scrambling about for conspiracies.